William McKee

William McKee, a Cashiers local, and all around sports enthusiast died too soon and suddenly on Saturday, October 25. Known to many Cashiers locals and visitors, William was a climber, hiker, runner and cyclist. He was active with the Carolina Climbers Coalition, the Tour de Cashiers, Friends of Panthertown, the Cashiers summer music series. He was a savior to many, offering rides out from Laurel Knob in summer storms and was instrumental in helping private land owners better understand climbers. He will be missed and we send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Hidden Valley

On October 3rd, 2014 the CCC closed on a 21 acre parcel that permanently reopens approximately 1/2 of the cliff at Hidden Valley near Abingdon, VA. With support from the Access Fund Land Conservation Campaign and funds that the CCC had on-hand (much of which came from the Rock and Rave fundraisers) we put together the $45,000 purchase price and the survey and other administrative costs. Now we need your help to pay off the purchase. You can donate on-line now.

The Climbing

Sauratown - 5 year agreement

Last season we were able to reopen Sauratown for a limited number of weekends through a paid lease agreement with Camp Hanes. The decision to commit the funds for only one season of guaranteed access was debated for some time by the board. In the end, we felt like we had an opportunity to demonstrate to the land owner that climbers could be responsible stewards and we could access the cliff and not impact the camp in any way. It was somewhat of a gamble as people accessing the cliff on the closed weekends or other potential issues would have likely meant we would lose access forever.

Climbers and Rescue Teams

In March 2014, a climber rescue at Shortoff Mountain in Linville Gorge required a helicopter rescue and resulted in another climber receiving a ticket from the US Forest Service for disorderly conduct during the rescue. This rescue was covered live on local media stations and the ticket resulted in an uproar in the NC climbing community and was also criticized in local media. Numerous conversations among various parties followed the rescue and resulted in an agreement to hold a joint meeting between rescue personnel, including those involved in the Shortoff rescue, and representatives from the climbing community.

Crowder's Fatality

 

There has been some confusion surrounding the tragic incidents leading up to the death of local Piedmont climber Mark Byers. On a personal note, I'd like to start by saying that Mark was an occasional climbing partner of mine and a regular at my home crag of Crowder's Mountain State Park. Media and eyewitness testimony have created some confusion as to the cause of Mark's tragic fall. In an attempt to shed some light on the event, Bradley Woolf, Robert Hutchins, and I met with park staff today to examine the scene.

New Climbing Permit System at Rumbling Bald

Chimney Rock State Park is adopting the same climbing permit system that is in place at Hanging Rock, Stone, Pilot and Crowder's. Please be sure to fill out a permit when you head up to the cliffs or the boulders. Since the CCC boulderfield flows into the park, even if you plan on staying on the West Side it would be a good idea to fill one out and it helps the park understand how much value we place in Rumbling Bald. Here's the press release from the park:

Accidents in NC

As most folks know by now, there were 2 accidents in NC on Monday, March 10th. At Crowder's Mountain, long-time local and friend to many, Mark Byers, died while climbing alone.  One thing we do know is there was no anchor failure involved, despite what the Charlotte Observer article says. We have confirmed this with the park and with an actual climber evaluation of the scene.

Sauratown Access

Carolina Climbers Coalition has reached an agreement with the owners of Sauratown, previously one of the most popular winter destinations in the NC Piedmont. Home to a number of classic trad lines and a number of excellent sport climbs, the area has been closed for many years due to a variety of factors. If you've never climbed at Sauratown it's the best winter cragging in the Piedmont - steep and pumpy on incredible rock. If you used to climb there and haven't for the 5+ years it's been closed, welcome back it's just like your forearms remember it! 

Laurel Knob Party Report

At Camp Merrie-Woode on Saturday, May 9th, CCC and Cashiers-area climbing enthusiasts celebrated the completion of CCC's Laurel Knob acquisition. Because of the generous support of the outdoor and rock climbing industry, as well as rock climbers the world over, the loans which made the initial purchase of Laurel Knob possible are now completely paid off. Climbers from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and elsewhere attended the party.

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