North Carolina

Climber survived fall on popular rock face in the Blue Ridge Mountains, officials say

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A rock climber was injured but alive after falling off popular Looking Glass Rock in the North Carolina mountains on Saturday, according to Facebook posts by the Transylvania County Rescue Squad.

The climber fell 100 to 150 feet to the base of the rock, the squad wrote on Facebook.

Around 9:45 p.m., about five hours after the first report of the climber’s fall, the squad announced that the climber had been carried out of the woods by rescuers, driven by ambulance to Transylvania Regional Hospital and then airlifted to Mission Hospital in Asheville.

The climber was conscious and alert when rescuers reached him, the rescue squad told the Observer.

The rescue involved several agencies, including Transylvania County Emergency Management, the Henderson County Rescue Squad and a drone from Connestee Fire Rescue, according to the Facebook post.

After figuring out the climber’s location, rescuers hiked in on the Slick Rock Trail and carried the person out, the Facebook post said. Photos posted on Facebook showed rescuers with helmets and headlamps carrying a stretcher down a set of narrow rock stairs.

Another climber who was reportedly stuck on the rock Saturday was able to climb to safety, according to the rescue squad’s 9:45 p.m. post.

Looking Glass Rock is “a massive rock dome standing like an island in a sea of green in the Pisgah forest,” The Charlotte Observer reported in a 2016 article. “The dome tops out at 3,969 feet, creating a natural amphitheater in the Blue Ridge.”

looking glass rock 2.JPG
Jack Horan The Charlotte Observer

Nearby Looking Glass Falls “is one of the most popular falls in Western North Carolina,” according to the U.S. Forest Service. “The name ‘Looking Glass’ comes from Looking Glass Rock, where water freezes on its sides in the winter and then glistens in the sunlight like a mirror or looking glass.”

The rock, near Brevard, is 130 miles west of Charlotte via U.S. 74.

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Jane Wester is a Charlotte native and has been covering criminal justice and public safety for The Charlotte Observer since May 2017.

Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.

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