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. A full write up of the accident is now available, many thanks to Eddie Media, Brad Woolf, and Robert Hutchins for their time and effort in examining the accident scene. We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Mark's family.

There will be a memorial service for Mark this Friday:

The Climbers Memorial Gathering for Mark Byers details:

Service will start at 6 at the TOP of the mountain. Please allow yourself enough time to get up there at a pace that is comfortable for you. 

Friday, March 14, 2014 
(see note below for the start time of 6, but allow enough time for the hike to the top)

Dixon School Boulders area of Crowders Mountain
108 Vandyke Road, Kings Mountain
(please google for directions, but this is located at exit 5 off I-85, follow signs to boulder area). 

There is a walk of about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile to the boulder area called Buzzards Roost where we will gather at 6pm -- please allow enough time to park your car and make the hike. Once parked, walk along the road to the cross walk and flashing light. Follow the neon colored sign at the Crosswalk for the entrance to the short cut to the top.

As part of the service, there will be an opportunity to share a memory or say a few brief words on what Mark meant to you. It is voluntary, and should be kept brief so that everyone who wants to share is able to speak. 

The service will end with a moment of silence, followed by a flower petal release into the air. 

We will depart the area approximately 7:45pm in order to get to the parking lot by 8, which is when the park closes. 

I hope to see you there...

Please Note that Mark's viewing and service will be held on Saturday, March 15 at 11 am. The location is Cecil Burton's Funeral Home in Shelby.

That same day there was a high angle rescue with a helicopter off of Maginot Line at Shortoff in Linville Gorge. That climber is now recovering in the hospital with numerous broken bones, but is expected to make a full recovery. The climber involved has said he will be submitting a full Accidents in NA Mountaineering report once he leaves the hospital, but it appears that the fall was due to a broken hold while somewhat runout above a ledge. When the hold broke he took a long fall onto the ledge. Best wishes for a speedy recovery and a return to climbing. Many thanks go to everyone involved in the rescue, which involved teams from Burke County, the USFS and the surrounding area as well as climbers on other routes at Shortoff who pitched in to help a fellow climber in trouble. 

Sadly, these stories don't end here as we learned late on Wednesday night that one of the USFS personnel involved in the Shortoff rescue was killed in the line of duty. Jason Crisp was a veteran Forest Service Officer and we extend our condolences to our friends and partners at the Forest Service as well as to Officer Crisp's family and friends.