ALLEGHANY COUNTY, N.C. – The body of an ice climber that was found along a popular climbing spot on Blue Ridge Parkway, has been identified. The National Park Service identified the dead climber as Ralph Edward Fickel, 59, of Boone.
According to friend, Fickel was an experience climber; He had been climbing for over 30 years and there was nothing he loved more. However, the parkway at the time was officially closed due to snow. “It appears he was coming up from below and may have slipped,” said Tim Francis, the manager of the parkway’s Pisgah District.
Francis goes to say that maintenance workers saw his vehicle parked Wednesday afternoon on Ice Rock. Thursday morning, they noticed it was still there, and had a look around. They spotted him lying face down in the snow, about 200 yards below. Speculation is that he fell about 70 to 100 feet, and hit his head.
He was about 60 years old and worked as a guide for Rock Dimensions in Boone. “He loved adventure and loved being out there,” Ryan Beasley, owner of Rock Dimensions said. “He was a caring guy. A good person to climb and hang out with, a good friend.”