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Rapelling accident at Moore's Wall, NC
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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jul 9, 2012
El Chorro

I've heard some rumours that a 19y/o was killed in a rapelling accident at Moore's Wall over the weekend. Does anyone know if there is any truth to this? I can't find any information online.

EDIT: This has been confirmed, as you can see down thread.

You will be missed Eric Metcalf. Condolences to the family.
thestokesnews.com/bookmark/19251496
youtu.be/ZvWn1-xTIWM


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By Steve86
Jul 9, 2012

Edit:

This is an awful tragedy. My condolences.


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By Climbnc128
From Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Jul 9, 2012
Twinkie 5.12a at the RRG

I was at moores sunday and didn't see or hear anything of that nature happening

EDIT: I was climbing with eric before this happened. It's so sad that this happened. Everyone please be safe outthere!


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By Canon
Jul 9, 2012

Someone on Reddit said his brother was killed while climbing with four other people. Fell 250ft. No other details.


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By sanz
From Raleigh, NC
Jul 9, 2012
One of my first trad leads, on Ooga Chocka at Crowder's Mountain.

I heard something about this at the TRC today but can't confirm.


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By Cragmama
From North Carolina
Jul 9, 2012

Unfortunately I believe that it is true. I was out at Moore's on Sunday as well but I think it happened after we left, which was around 5:00. A friend of mine works in the ER at that little hospital near moore's - one of my climbing partners got a text from her last night around 8:00 saying that she just got word that paramedics were bringing in a young man who had fallen at Moore's. She had known we were out there and wanted to make sure we were okay. She texted us again about 30 minutes later and said that he was pronounced dead on arrival. Apparently he had rapped off the ends of his rope, but she didn't know what section of the cliff.

That's all I know, and like I said, its all secondhand information. I'm sure more details will surface soon. It's been bothering me all day thinking about it.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Jul 10, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Man, bummer. I get crap all the time about being anal checking knots and pinch testing biners and taking up two ropes when technically only one is needed. Idk, maybe it's just me, but incidents like this and a few others that have happened to friends lately just reinforce (to me, at least) the necessity of being anal and double checking every single simple little thing that if neglected or done incorrectly, becomes anything but simple. I recently had a friend fall 20 feet at a gym and deck because he forgot to clip into an auto belay. This guy has been climbing for decades. Seems silly, but no more than not knotting the ends of a rope if you're not sure how long your rap is.

My condolences to the young man's friends and family for the loss of this young man. Truly a tragic occurrence. Please be safe and diligent out there and don't be reluctant to be the "anal guy" that checks and rechecks everything.

  • Edit: I don't want to be morbid or disrespectful in any way. However, if more details do surface, such as what route the climber was on, or which station he was rappelling from, what length his rope was, etc. I would be interested in knowing. Again, no disrespect intended, and heartfelt condolences to friends and family of the victim.


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By sanz
From Raleigh, NC
Jul 10, 2012
One of my first trad leads, on Ooga Chocka at Crowder's Mountain.

So sorry to hear this. Both recent deaths in NC have happened the same way. I too would be interested in knowing the details if anyone has them and feels comfortable sharing.


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By William Rhyne
From clayton, nc
Jul 10, 2012

this is a real tragedy. I feel for the climber's family and friends. he was a real strong guy. Much love to the family.


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By Joe Virtanen
From Asheville, NC
Jul 10, 2012
Pit BBQ

A terrible thing to happen to such a young climber.

Thanks for posting details Erica. Such a shame that it happened in a completely preventable manner.


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By gabemcg
From Phoenix, AZ
Jul 10, 2012

Joe Virtanen wrote:
A terrible thing to happen to such a young climber.



Definitely, Joe. I climbed alongside him a bunch this year at the gym. Horribly sad and such a shock.


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By James Glover
From Boulder, CO
Jul 10, 2012

My condolences to family and friends.

thestokesnews.com/bookmark/19251496


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By CodyAllen
From Raleigh,NC
Jul 10, 2012
Champagne Jam on rope

Good Guy. Very Sad.


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Jul 10, 2012
tanuki

Condolences to Eric's friends and family.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Jul 10, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Another story with a little more background on the victim if anyone's interested.

www.dailytarheel.com/article/2012/07/unc-sophomore-dies-in-r>>>


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Jul 10, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

Damn, saw him a lot in the UNC climbing gym. Super strong climber and seemed like a really nice guy.


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By William Rhyne
From clayton, nc
Jul 10, 2012

does anyone have info on a service or anything?


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jul 10, 2012
El Chorro

In the first article is states that the accident occured in the Sentinel Butress area and In the last article it states that he fell 270 feet. Unconfirmed but reliable source says that Eric clipped only one strand of the rapell rope(s).

I am struggling to come up with a scenario that would have him falling that far (top of Moore's to the ground) on any of the rap stations near the Sentinel Butress. I guess it's possible at a few stations but not likely.

Very sad today.


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By eric zschiesche
Jul 10, 2012

Sometimes,... this journey we share with one another, ends too soon. Even though, I did not know Eric Metcalf personally,... a deep sadness rests upon my heart. To his family and friends, I extend my condolences. May the love and sorrow and strength you share,.. help you on this difficult trail.


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By Crag Dweller
From New York, NY
Jul 10, 2012
My navigator keeps me from getting lost

Ryan Williams wrote:
In the first article is states that the accident occured in the Sentinel Butress area and In the last article it states that he fell 270 feet. Unconfirmed but reliable source says that Eric clipped only one strand of the rapell rope(s). I am struggling to come up with a scenario that would have him falling that far (top of Moore's to the ground) on any of the rap stations near the Sentinel Butress. I guess it's possible at a few stations but not likely. Very sad today.


My condolences to the family and friends.

I know of similar accidents where the fall distance reported included the distance down the hill side next to the crag. I don't know this area. Is it possible that's the case here as well?


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By Ezra Ellis
Jul 10, 2012

If he fell from the top of sentinel butress it would be right at 200 feet especially if he slid down hill a bit it might approach 240 or 250 feet,


my sincere condolences to his friends and family.

Be careful out there y'all, ANY of us could make the same mistake,
-Ezra


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By Wensley Barker
From Cos Cob, CT
Jul 10, 2012

I don't post much but felt compelled to add my voice here. First, my most fervent condolences and prayers to all of Eric's family and friends. I am so very sorry for your loss.

I realize I am opening myself up to pushback but I think it bears repeating that we should always knot the ends of our rappel ropes. I know it is much discussed and well understood, but too many climbers who know better rap off the end of the rope. Climbers like me. I've been climbing for years, read Accidents in N. American Mountaineering, am aware that this is a common cause of accidents, and considered myself diligent about this. And yet a year and a half ago on a sport climb, I failed to knot my rope ends and took a fifty foot fall. I was injured, but I was very very lucky and recovered fully.

So what do I have to add to the discussion? I guess just this: I've learned that we are all susceptible to making mistakes, even ones about which we are very aware. I believe the best defense against human error is standardization. This is why as an aviator I and all my peers used checklists for tasks we did all the time. It's why we're taught to say "On belay/belay on/climbing" the first time we go out with a guide or take a lesson in a gym. One of the allures of a sport like climbing is that it is rarely standard. Things pop up, and we're forced to make quick decisions and improvise. There is always objective hazard. But adhering to a process on the routine stuff frees us up to focus on these things.

Sorry to go on about this in this forum, which should rightly be about honoring the loss of a fellow climber. I hope I've not offended anyone. But if I can convince anybody to please knot your ropes every time, and to confirm it visually and verbally with yourself and/or your partner, maybe it will mean one less such tragedy.

-Wen


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By David Barbour
From Longmont, CO
Jul 11, 2012

There are few people I enjoy climbing with as much as Eric. He was really an inspirational person to be around and I still can't believe this has happened.

Please double check your setup, every time. It's easy for experienced climbers to become complacent.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Jul 11, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Ryan Williams wrote:
Unconfirmed but reliable source says that Eric clipped only one strand of the rapell rope(s).


Man. What a tragedy. Please please please check each other out there. It only takes a few seconds to pinch a biner, or get another set of eyes on a belay device or knot. Considering the potential for what could occur if you don't do it, it seems at the very least irresponsible not to.

I'm deeply sorry for the loss of your friend, David. Sounds like he'll be missed a great deal by many people.


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By boo
Jul 11, 2012

This is two climbers in a week for me. One a very good friend and now a young man at a crag that feels like family.

Everyone check each other.
Double check yourselves if you are alone.

Eric will be missed by a lot of people at Carolina. Lots of love to his folks as they try to understand this. Much, much love.


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Jul 11, 2012
El Chorro

I haven't seen Eric in a few years, and I'm sure if you had asked him, he would not have remembered me. But I sure remember him. Like so many great people that leave us all to soon, he seemed to make a large impact on people, just by being himself.

I remember the first time I saw Eric. He hucked a huge dyno toward the corner of the bouldering wall that faces the entrance of TRC. When he caught the top of the wall, his body swung so far out that the kids and parents standing there jumped away like they had just witnessed lightening strike. If he had of let go, he would have flown far past the edge of the mat and probably landed on someone. Of course he held on, as he knew that he would. He was in tennis shoes, and hadn't even started warming up yet.

Eric was one of those people that could do anything. Back then he was barely old enough to drive. And yet every time I went to TRC during those summers when I lived in Raleigh, he was there, warming up on all of the routes that were too hard for me to attempt. He was never shy about helping out, and always enjoyed watching us normal people climb while he was resting. I will not forget his smile. How could I? It's the only face I've ever seen him make.

I remember wondering what it might feel like to be that good (as good as Eric) at climbing - or that good at ANYTHING! But for Eric, climbing was only the tip of the iceberb. He was that good at EVERYTHING! And I'm sure he was going to be that good at anything and everything that he ever set his mind to.

You made a huge impact in your short time with us Eric. You will be missed.


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