Emergency personnel rescued a rock climber unable to continue at a point about 200-300 feet from the top of Stone Mountain after starting at the bottom near the Hutchinson homestead Thursday.

“The climber had no injuries. He was just exhausted and unable to get himself down or up any further,” said Chief Cole Wyatt of the Wilkes Rescue Squad.

Wyatt said Stone Mountain State Park rangers and Traphill Fire and Rescue personnel hiked to the top of Stone Mountain and located the climber on a small ledge on the rock face of the mountain.

Wilkes Rescue Squad and Pleasant Hill Fire and Rescue personnel worked together to set up a system with rope and climbing hardware to lower a single rescuer to the climber on the ledge, he said.

“The climber was able to walk up (to the summit) under his own power with assistance from our rope system and the rescuer. Thankfully, the climber was unharmed and only shaken and exhausted.”

Wyatt said the assistance of Pleasant Hill Fire and Rescue “played a crucial role in the great outcome” of the rescue. Austin Fire and Rescue assisted by managing the staging area in the parking lot of the Stone Mountain State Park Visitors Center, he added.

The Alleghany County and Elkin rescue squads were on standby to assist.

Wyatt said he wanted to thank all of the agencies involved for their assistance. The Wilkes Communications Center dispatched emergency personnel at about 3:45 p.m.

The climber, whose name wasn't released had climbed the Great Arch, among the most popular of Stone Mountain's 80 or so climbing routes and also among the most prominent features on the southern face of the mountain.

The Great Arch is a right-facing dihedral that starts at a ledge with trees a short distance above the base of the mountain and nearly reaches the summit of the mountain. In rock climbing, a dihedral is where two planes of rock come together at essentially right angles.

The Great Arch has a crack were the vertical and horizontal planes of rock meet, providing a finger-hold for climbers.

Stone Mountain State Park draws a few hundred rock climbers every year. October and November are the most popular times. Climbers are supposed to register with the park before starting on the mountain. 

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