A Pilot Mountain Legend: Lloyd Ramsey…
This is the second time in under a month that I have had to post about the loss of a North Carolina climber. It’s definitely not getting easier, and I certainly don’t want to make this a habit. This one really hits me hard because Lloyd Ramsey is someone whom I knew very well. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I’ve climbed at Pilot Mountain and haven’t ran into him. Lloyd was a staple figure at the park, and anyone who has climbed in the area with any amount of regularity would recognize him. Not a lot is known about what happened on Monday evening – in fact, it’s been hypothesized that he may have even fallen while hiking out at the end of the day rather than while climbing. But when he failed to check back in with the rangers per his usual m.o., they went out looking for him, and he was pronounced dead on the scene, at the base of the Three Bears Gully. Lloyd and I had actually been talking and emailing back and forth in recent months quite a bit, as he was anxious to contribute to the guidebook work in any way that he could. I had even written up a character piece on him that I was hoping to include, but he had always brushed it off that there were people that were “far more interesting to read about than him.” That being said, I think now more than ever Lloyd deserves a page or two to shine in the upcoming guidebook. I spent all day yesterday revising and extending the piece that I had already prepared. The following is a rough draft of the latest version, and it seemed appropriate to share an excerpt on the blog…
“When I first informed Lloyd Ramsey that I wanted to do a profile on him for this guidebook, he was flabbergasted that anyone would want to read about him in a book, and hardly felt as though he deserved such an “elevated status” (his words). Though some perhaps found his quirks and oddities less endearing than others, Lloyd was a good-hearted man that was a permanent fixture at Pilot for many years. Those facts alone were enough to warrant his mention in this book, but now that he’s gone, I think including him is essential to preserve and honor his memory.
Were the park staff ever to give out a perfect attendance award, it’s safe to assume that Lloyd would be the leading candidate. Living only a few miles outside of the park, Lloyd spent the majority, if not all, of his free time on the mountain. Though never employed by the state park system, Pilot Mountain was Lloyd’s home away from home, and his love for both climbing and this particular crag was evident to all who had the fortune of meeting him. On weekdays he would show up promptly at 10 am to claim “his” parking place. He would then spend his day in solitude, rope-soloing the popular moderate lines that get overloaded with traffic on the weekends. On Saturdays and Sundays, Lloyd arrived much earlier, and was typically the first to hike in to the crag. Weekends seemed to be more about socializing than actual climbing for Lloyd, as he would make his rounds from group to group, watching others climb and memorizing their exact beta. He would file this information somewhere in his head, and then be ready to recall it again at a moment’s notice. Most Pilot regulars were on a first name basis with him, and newbie climbers were usually very appreciative of his extensive and anecdotal knowledge of the cliff.
Lloyd also had the uncanny ability to know exactly when something exciting was going on, and he always wanted to be a part of it. Although you never knew where and when he’d show up, it was a foregone conclusion that he was lurking somewhere on the mountain, just waiting to pop up, often at the most random of times. One of my fondest memories of Lloyd was the very first time I got on Blind Prophet in the Amphitheater. I was at the upper crux and kept taking repeated whippers. All of a sudden I heard a voice coming from up top, on the other side of the Amphitheater. It was Lloyd, “encouraging” me by shouting, “That’s why they call it 5.12!” He then proceeded to give me an unrequested run-down of the crux beta of every person he’d ever seen on the route. He asked me how tall I was, did a few calculations in his head, then with a worried look on his face shouts back, “Uh-oh, you’re in trouble!” I admit that at the time his “advice” was not that well-received, but what Lloyd may have lacked in tactfulness, he more than made up for in sincerity. No one cheered harder for me than Lloyd when I came back two weeks later and sent the route.
Lloyd passed away at the base of the Three Bears Gully sometime on July 30, 2012. Many of the details surrounding his death remain uncertain, but those who knew him can hopefully find solace in knowing that Lloyd’s final moments were spent doing what he loved best in the place he loved most. I think it’s safe to say that Pilot Mountain will never be the same without Lloyd Ramsey. No matter how much time goes by, I know I for one will probably always half-expect to see him popping out from behind a rock with his camera, or hear his unmistakable guffaw from farther down the trail. But although in my heart I know that won’t happen again, I like to think that he now has a special bird’s eye view of everything happening on the mountain. Rest in peace Lloyd Ramsey.”
I am also considering adding in some quotes from other climbers that interacted with Lloyd on a frequent basis. If anyone has anything to add – whether it be a one-liner or a longer story, please submit it on here in the comments section, or email it to me privately. For any interested, here is a link to an article in a Mt. Airy online newspaper. Also, I will post a comment as soon as I find out about funeral arrangements, so keep checking back if you are interested in that information.
46 Responses to “A Pilot Mountain Legend: Lloyd Ramsey…”
Such a nice piece, Erica. I’m really glad he’ll be in the
guidebook, he was a Pilot ‘Legend’ for sure!
Nicely said. I met Lloyd on my 2nd trip climbing ever, my boyfriend and I were climbing on a very crowded day at Pilot. Lloyd asked us to join him and another climber that were on a route that we had intended to climb, we were happy to wait but Lloyd insisted that we climb with him. As a true beginner his advice and encouragement on that route and several others we climbed with him that day were much appreciated.
Lloyd added so much to the experience for me that day. He was full of stories and advice, encouragement and praise. Pilot Mountain will never be the same without him.
I met Lloyd in the fall of 2007 when I had just started rock climbing. Over the course of the next year, Lloyd and I climbed together many times when we were the only ones at Pilot. I’d head up there after my last early afternoon class and set a route with a fixed line so I could work it. Lloyd would pop up with his cheerful smile and inquisitively ask me how I had rigged things. I’d show him my harness, usually connected to the rope via an ascender and a prusik, and he’d make a few suggestions and nod his approval. Since I was new to climbing, he took it upon himself to make sure I was safe and was never condescending. He often would set up another rope near mine and we’d both rope solo together.
Lloyd was a mentor to me. He was always encouraging and sending up helpful hints. Once he said he’d never seen any other woman on-sight this lieback like I did. I didn’t believe it, but his words felt good anyway!
Lloyd, I will miss you, the your friends and fellow climbers at Pilot will miss you, and most of all, Pilot Mountain will miss you. Thank you for having been my friend.
I started climbing outside at Pilot, and Lloyd was there watching for my very first lead. When I lead “any major dude” recently, and was finishing on the easy moves past the crux, I could heard Lloyd laughing. He was there standing by the anchors, waiting for me, and as i clipped them he said “I’m gonna have to change the way I look at you!”. Climbing is rewarding in itself, but Lloyd sure knew how to make it feel even better.
I really enjoyed reading this article and will miss Lloyd very much. I have to admit I was not very fond of him when I first started climbing at pilot. Hearing beta while climbing or saying things like, “Watch out buddy, you’re gonna fall!” was not very welcomed at a crux a friend of mine was climbing; however, I learned to chat with him every chance I got and I remember the last time I chatted with him on the 18th of Feb, after my proposal to my fiance on top of chicken bone, that Lloyd and I chatted for a good 15 minutes about the new chain anchors in the little ampitheater and just in general having a great time catching up on all the happenings at pilot. I will definitely be looking further on the site for funeral details if you get them and pass them to anyone that would like to attend.
Long before we knew Lloyd’s real name, we used to call him “Pilot Mtn. Pete”. I’ll never forget him approaching us on a very crowded day and showing us the Pool Hall area. This area is climbed much less, likely due to the long hike in/out or due to the use of natural anchors. Either way, we sat up on top of the Pool Hall and had a nice talk about the local emerging plant life and birds while I setup an anchor.
I used to laugh when he would challenge us by saying something like “I saw an English guy climb it using just the arete” followed a dowsing from the beta hose!
He will be missed.
Well where do I start , As a young enexperinced climber never setting up an anchor in my life , not knowing anything about the sport Lloyd taught me and my brother Matthew everything . When I first met Lloyd he approaches me and asks what im gonna get on today , not sure what he ment he gave me the run down of the mountain he knew so well , this is where our relationship began . He taught me how to build my first anchor in 2009 .He taught us the fundamentals of equalization and cross loading the risks of ” doing such a dumb thing ” . He always was there belaying me and yelling up at me of a hold I couldn’t see but guided me through my first climbs simply by yelling up to me .At fist I never understood how he could tell me and know the moves that had to be made simply by his memory of the route , with much help from him I completed my first routes with his guidence .As time went on our relationship grew and I brang more climbers with me and he always was there to tell us what happened that day or who was on what routes .This man has impacted so many people and I feel so honored and blessed to have got the opportunity to have been taught by him , He was always critical of peoples shotty anchors and would br the first to let you know about it without concern of feelings or pride . He kept a lot of people alive that way so that they could enjoy the place he and so many others loved yet another day . I like to think he’s looking down on all of his climbing buddies and still shaking his head when people make careless decisions on the crags . He will be greatly missed and monsters certainly never forgotten , I think the route he loved so much would be named after him , he did so much for that park and the people that enjoyed it .” Lloyd we miss you buddy “
I had the pleasure of climbing with Lloyd last weekend as well as this past Sunday. I am new to Pilot this summer and every time I visited he gave me valuable advice that has helped me progress as a climber. The first time I met him he yelled up to me “your arms are for balance and your legs are for power.” I will never forget that advice and since then I always welcomed his comments and suggestions.
He showed me “Spindrift” down at “The Beach” and told me it was one of his favorite routes and that he had named it himself. He then climbed the route like a pro and I never for a second thought he was 70. I never felt safer than when I was setting gear with him and I will always remember him and his help he was so grateful to bestow.
We will miss you Lloyd
What an amazing legacy to leave behind. Our sincerest condolences go out to his loved ones and family.
Thanks for this blog post & the wonderful pictures! I was so happy to get the pictures! Lloyd was notoriously camera shy at my place and I have almost no pictures that show his face. I will get these two pictures framed.
Lloyd was my uncle, my Mom’s brother. I enjoyed hearing everyone’s comments – it helped me understand why he loved going to Pilot so much! I’m pleased he made an impact on you guys, I promise he loved every minute of it.
Lloyd was a mentor to me also. He taught me landscaping. Over the past ten years we worked together. It wasn’t always work, he would email interesting web page links at least 1-2 times per week. Other emails would be long discussions of what he was doing at Pilot or how good the pizza was for supper (back when he was eating pizza!).
The comment a few of you made about him being able to out-do the younger crowd sure hit home! My first project was to plant Japanese Lugustrum bushes in my yard to block the view of the road. This simple project consisted of 22 3-gallon Lugustrums that Lloyd delivered in his van, complete with composted cow manure and all the tools to get the work done. He suggested what to plant, went and got them, and then taught me how to do it. We did all 22 that day, and he worked me into the ground. We later conspired on many more projects, I have nearly 150 plantings in my yard that we either did together physically, or virtually – by phone – with his constant advice.
Lloyd will be missed for sure – but I am really glad he went out on his own terms in the place he loved so much.
I’m working with other family & friends to plan a small get-together at Pilot to celebrate Lloyd’s life. Lloyd wouldn’t want any pomp & circumstance so we will have to keep it low-key! I’ll sure keep you guys in mind and won’t do anything without letting you know.
Thank you so much Paul for the link and the unique stories you have to share about your wonderful Uncle. I look forward to hearing when you plan on getting a pilot get together have myself, fiance and a friend in Charlotte wanting to attend.
I am Leslie, Lloyd Ramsey’s sister. I am very appreciative of all the wonderful memories everyone has been sharing. I hope that I can meet some of you when we come to Pilot Mountain to return Lloyd to the place he so dearly loved. As you might have read in the Journal article, I can’t handle a rock face, but my hiking poles and I will persevere until I make it up high enough to be there with you.
Paul: I took a photo of Lloyd from above as he finished what he told me was his first multi-pitch climb. It was from the top of Moores Wall. I emailed it to him and have since deleted it never thinking it would be the only photo I took of him. I’d love to see it again if possible.
He was a person who took pure joy in helping others with their goals. He purposly connected me with people he thought would help my climbing advance. He was a selfless person who put himself at risk of scorn by pointing out that the actions of others may put the mountain and our sport at risk.
He literally gave me the hat off his head when the sun shone brightly in my eyes.
In the short time I knew him he introduced me to two people that I expect I will have long lasting friendships with. That gift will last forever.
There are other postings about Lloyd at carolinaclimbers.com.
Thank you so much Paul . Please keep us updated
From today’s Winston-Salem Journal:
Paul, as you probably know, Lloyd’s past included a long association with Audubon Society of Forsyth County. I often exchanged email with Lloyd about Pilot Mountain Hawk Watch, other bird sightings at the park, his bluebird box project at Horizons Park a couple of years ago, and much else. A number of chapter members posted remembrances of Lloyd on our own listserv, forsythbirds. I can collect them into one document and email them to you, if you like.
One of the first times I met Lloyd was right after Christmas. I had received my first set of draws and was excited to try lead climbing for the first time outside. I decided to start with Secretary in the Amphitheater. Along came Lloyd, who had watched me climb once before, and said there was no way I could make it to the top! That was a quite unwelcome comment, and I tried anyway. Well, I made it to the anchors, and he came along the trail just as I was cleaning the route, and was so excited that I made it!
We became fast friends after that. He took lots of pictures for his website, and made it a point to always stop and chat with me, and ask about my latest adventures. One hot day, I had heat exhaustion. He stood there with me while I drank lots of water, then carried my pack and helped me hike all the way out to my car. He was always so excited about climbing, and was always offering a helping hand.
Lloyd was one of the best things about climbing at Pilot, and he will be missed by many. He made an impact on everyone that met him.
Lloyd was so dialed, I only met him twice but I could just sit there and talk to him as long as he wanted to talk and listen even longer. I am pretty sure we have the same spirit animal. The wolf.
First time we met, he just pointed at me, he looked me in the eye, he saw my soul. And with his thick haggard finger he said, “5.8, 5.8”
Thank you all for sharing such beautiful words about Lloyd.
To Paul – Please share my deepest condolences with your family. Thank you so much for commenting. It is wonderful that you have so many living reminders of Lloyd’s life in the form of your landscaping! I really enjoyed the article you linked to in the Journal – it showed me several sides of Lloyd that I wasn’t aware of…
A low-key get together sounds great, please keep us in the loop.
Good morning, Erica – It is 12:13 in the early morning of July 8, 2021, and I am writing you because I cannot go to sleep without trying to contact you. I may have tried to contact you about this same time in 2014 which was the time I was reading everything I could find about Lloyd Ramsey and you are described as a sister, I believe. I believe I gave up on learning anything about Lloyd and/or Ann when I read that he didn’t even want an obituary should he pass .My husband and I knew them at LSU. Not only was Lloyd a new student in Landscape Architecture along with my husband, but we lived almost across the street from their apartment. Needless to say, we were good friends. There is more to tell, but I’m not certain about how many words/letters I am allowed to use, so I will simply ask you to respond to this comment for, hopefully, further discussion. Larry (my husband) and I had wondered many times about Lloyd and Ann. I regret deeply that we lost contact with them .I do so look forward to your response. Sincerely, Emily Hubbard
I met Lloyd (with 2 L’s as he introduced himself) a long time ago. Recently he became my primary climbing partner. He caught my lead falls, and pushed me to climb harder and harder, and I pushed him to climb just as hard. I will never forger the look on his face when he climbed Mama Bear. I’ve never seen him happier. He told me that was his first time he finished the route.
I’m happy to have witness another one of Lloyd’s finest climbing moments. After many arguments with him, he finally tied into the rope that I put up on Devin in the White House, a few yells of encouragement and a little beta and he made it to the top to clean the route (without falling). It was awesome to see him succeed on routes that he deemed as impossible for him.
Last time we climbed together I was trying to talk him into climbing Herculean after me. I failed to convince him, however I have no doubt in my mind that he wouldn’t have sent it.
Don’t know how many people know this about him, but he was a juggler. He was trying to teach me to juggle ever since I told him that was one of the things I wanted to learn.Unfortunately we only had 1 training session.
You will be dearly missed Lloyd with 2 L’s!
Vlad I saw a note that I think was from you and Todd attached to climbing rope in his carport. That touched me deeply as I to will miss him more than words can say. Bill
Lloyd Ramsey was a true climber at heart. He loved to explore new lines and looked at climbing like a game of chess, focusing on each and every move as if he wanted to squeeze every ounce of fun from the experience, not just for himself, but everyone he met. It wasn’t just a hobby to Lloyd, it was his lifestyle, and a positive attitude. He had mentioned a few health issues that put a damper on his climbing, to which I could also relate, but his focus was still on getting out there and pulling down and having fun. In my opinion, that’s one of the marks of a true climber.
The climbing community is full of colorful characters, and Lloyd was certainly no exception. Amazingly, at 70 years old, he could still out-climb and out-beta many of us young whippersnappers, and as a long time connoisseur of all things climbing myself, I enjoyed sitting on a summit with Lloyd talking shop. It’s hard to fathom how many people he helped along the way with his 5.14 beta recall and willingness to lend a hand, even to those he just met.
Pilot Mtn. simply won’t be the same without him. To Lloyd I say, rest in peace my friend, and hope your pulling golden jugs in the sky!
Hey Todd, a friend saw what you put at Lloyd’s house, that was really cool!
Where at carolinaclimbers would I find posts about Lloyd? It’s carolinaclimbers.org, right? Do I have to be logged in to view the forums, or where are the posts?
The Day I first met Lloyd. I was crawling up from down below at the Big Amphitheater and when I stepped on a rock at the side of the trail here comes Lloyd smiling from ear to ear as he recognized me from brief meeting earlier that day where we said hi as we were introduced. One foot on the rock and pulling the other up I reach out and he grabs my hand with a firm grip, it was definitely the grip of a climber. I was there watching because I was interested in getting into climbing and was wondering if I could do it. I was encouraged after meeting him and knew I wanted to try so I bought shoes and a harness.
I continued to visit Pilot to watch and learn before I would step into the harness. Every time there was Lloyd energetic and smiling. We talked some more and out of know where he says “you can do this”. I let him know I had bought shoes and a harness, naturally we know what came next “go get them and let’s put you on the rock”. It was late in the day on a Sunday but he stayed there patiently belaying me try after try as I inched my way up getting higher with each climb. As I would stop to rest and get use to the height he was patient and would calmly say take your time, that’s who he was. He helped me take my first steps upwards encouraging me the entire way.
We will miss you my friend!
The Day I first met Lloyd. I was crawling up from down below at the Big Amphitheater and when I stepped up on a rock at the side of the trail here comes Lloyd smiling from ear to ear as he recognized me from brief meeting earlier that day where we said hi as we were introduced. One foot on the rock and pulling the other up I reach out and he grabs my hand with a firm grip, it was definitely the grip of a climber. I was there watching because I was interested in getting into climbing and was wondering if I could do it. I was encouraged after meeting him and knew I wanted to try so I bought shoes and a harness.
I continued to visit Pilot to watch and learn before I would step into the harness. Every time there was Lloyd energetic and smiling. We talked some more and out of know where he says “you can do this”. I let him know I had bought shoes and a harness, naturally we know what came next “go get them and let’s put you on the rock”. It was late in the day on a Sunday but he stayed there patiently belaying me try after try as I inched my way up getting higher with each climb. As I would stop to rest and get use to the height he was patient and would calmly say “take your time”, that’s who he was. He helped me take my first steps upwards encouraging me the entire way.
We will miss you my friend!
It was with great sadness that I learned that Lloyd Ramsey died at Pilot Mountain on Monday. It makes me sick to my stomach. I will confess that I haven’t been sleeping very well; he’s been on my mind. This is my tribute to him, I figure this is the least I could do.
For those of you who don’t know him, he is a retired guy who loves climbing. He was at Pilot Mountain practically every day. On the weekends he would be up and down the trail along the length of the climbing cliffs several times a day, always with an eager smile on his face and almost childish excitement. He had to have been in great shape.
I was out at Pilot this last Sunday climbing with a group of people and as things were winding down, the last members of the group were starting to head home, he came up the trail and stayed to watch us climb. Knowing that I didn’t like to leave if I still had the energy to climb he asked if I would like a belay on something. He mentioned that he going to refill his water and that he would meet me. I asked if he would refill one of my Nalgenes since I was nearly out of water. He said he would be glad to, and he meant it. That was the kind of guy he was. As the climbs would empty out on the weekends he and I would often be some of the last people still there. During these times I got to know Lloyd a little bit.
Feeling somewhat low on energy, after mulling various choices, I decided on Bat Out of Hell (5.11.b), which I had tried to climb once before, following somebody else’s lead. We hiked to the top to the anchors and as I stood there pondering how I would secure myself as I leaned over to attached my gear to the bolts he scampered down to a ledge by the edge and held out his hand for the gear. “Yikes,” I thought, wishing he hadn’t done that. Reluctantly, calmly I gave him the gear. He stood there by the edge on this ledge while I rigged myself to rappel down on the route and set some directionals. Finally, feeling increasingly uncomfortable, I said, “It would be better for both of us if you would come back up here.” He shrugged nonchalantly as if to say, ‘What is the big deal?’, but he climbed back up from the ledge for which I was thankful. He graciously offered to carry my pack down to the base of the climb as I rappelled.
With some effort I was able to hang a couple of directional draws to take the tree out of play. Before trying it myself I was able to convince him to give it a go with some prodding and encouragement. As we walked out as the sun was setting we talked about Pilot Mountain and climbing, his favorite subjects. He was always up on the latest developments. He was particularly excited about the new anchors being put in and the old bolts that were being replaced. As we walked past the infrequently climbed Coppertop area we talked about possible route lines there and some ways that anchors might be set to explore them. He told me how the Park’s previous superintendent had been put in jail for embezzlement, pointing to the fence rails that had been unnecessarily marked for replacement by a fencing contractor who was the superintendent’s buddy. He bitched about the steps and the plans to redo the main trail in a different location. He had intelligent opinions and liked to share them.
He put a lot of work into making a website: http://www.climbpilotnc.us He took pictures of people climbing and offered to send them to them. He also spent a fair amount of time maintaining the park’s trails, particularly the small trails that allow access to the tops of the climbs. He always carried a pair of pruners at the ready. He cleared debris and brush. He wasn’t paid a lick for this service and did so happily and proudly.
When I first met him we got off on the wrong foot. I thought, “Who is this guy with all of these unasked for questions and comments?” However, realizing that he was going to be around I thought to myself, “Let me try this again. Ultimately he seems to be a nice guy who is a little lonely and really into climbing.” Subsequently, we came to understand and respect each other. I was happy to see him and he always seemed to be upbeat.
I was surprised when he told me that he had only been climbing since 2007. About a year ago he almost gave up climbing, I believe at his doctor’s urging. He said he had collapsed or something like that and also mentioned some back issues. He asked me if I wanted to buy some of his climbing gear. Apparently within a week or so he had changed his mind, I remember him shrugging and poo pooing the doctors. He was addicted. I don’t think he could give it up.
It’s just hard to fathom and get my heart around the fact that I was talking and talking with the man on Sunday and that he was dead on Monday. He was a good man.
I am very thankful that you spent this final time with my brother Lloyd. You and I can both know that among his final hours there was this great time with you. Thank you. Thank you.
Thanks for sharing this Bruce.
I first met Lloyd with my friend Aaron during one of my first climbs at Pilot. Over time Aaron & I got to know Lloyd and we spent more time getting to know what a great climber and person he really was. I have been off of the mountain for over 1 year now fighting cancer and my friend Aaron has climbed with Lloyd at least 26 weekends over the past year that I have been out. Just before I took the year off, Lloyd took pictures of “Outhouse” a newly created route that Aaron created. Lloyd came up with the name being that it was to the left of “Pee-Break”. Lloyd took pictures of Aaron and I climbing this newly created route and put them on his website. The day was perfect (February 2011) and was about 46 degrees out. I remember it like yesterday. This was a true gift to me, because I was able to look at pictures of us climbing during my long fight with 4 cancers. Thank you Lloyd for being an inspiration to me and so many other first time climbers. Lloyd, may you always be climbing for all eternity; you will be missed by so many and especially by Aaron & I.
Your friend forever,
Climbing at Pilot Mtn will loose some of its luster for me now that Lloyd has passed. He was the Shepherd of Pilot Mountain and not just of Pilot Mountain but for many who encountered him there. He seemed to always be there if anyone needed help (sometimes startling quick :)) and his enthusiasm was contagious.
I know I will see him again out there whether it be through an encouraging word or a hearty laugh and a bright smile. Here’s to a life worth celebrating and a man whose selflessness inspired many. I’m gunna miss you Lloyd.
It has taken me awhile to voice my affection and loss of Lloyd Ramsey. We were the best of friends for the past 20 years and trusted each other with what we hold dearest in life.
I can never do justice in summarizing the past 20 years, but I will try, as Lloyd was much more than a rock climber. Lloyd was a life long learner; his education did not stop at Harvard and his pleasure was teaching others especially children, as they were so receptive to his gentle demeanor.
How did I first meet Lloyd? It was because of “Dog” a female German Sheppard. They lived across the street from me and my then 4-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son. Of course we would politely wave and chatted a few times. I was impressed that he never allowed “Dog” to get too close to my fearful daughter like many owners do with the comment “ don’t be scared he/she won’t hurt you”, a dog positioned face to face with a 4-year-old is scary and Lloyd respected that. One evening I took a large ham bone and scraps over for “Dog”. I asked Lloyd how she liked it and he came back with “ What do you mean “Dog” I enjoyed it!” From that point forward any time there were leftovers they were his.
One morning due to illness I did not go to work and the kids did not go to school, there was a knock at the door and it was Lloyd checking up on us to be sure we were ok, as we did not follow our normal routine. This action endeared me to him and from then on we took care of each other.
Lloyd had many passions, Miller Park, streams, Juggling, keyboarding and lastly rock climbing. When Lloyd had a passion for something he was “all-in”. He loved a challenge whether it was an activity or a person. Rock climbing was a late in life passion, he loved the beauty the grace the attention to detail and the socialization it provided.
Lloyd demanded to stay active both physically and mentally; his greatest fear was being limited in any capacity. He was passionate about life, physical well-being and leaving this world a better place.
I think our friendship endured because we accepted each other despite our quirks and were able to forgive when needed. It was a true blessing that he left us in the manner that he did. He lived and died on his own terms.
I will forever miss him.
Lloyd’s website is http://climbpilotnc.us/
This was a way for him to teach what he learned. As a non-climber, I am devouring it.
Today Diana and I went to retrieve Lloyd’s van from Pilot and Ranger Nick answered my question: What does Beta mean? I thought it was something else and I learned that Beta means to give knowledge.
Hey Paul, It looks like Lloyd’s website is down. I contacted the hosting company and they still have the data available to bring it back online. I would love to do this for Lloyd and fellow Pilot climbers, but I need some information to access or transfer the web hosting. Please contact me if you can help. Thanks!
BIG THANKS to Neil for putting Lloyd’s http://climbpilotnc.us/ website back in operation!
I’m so glad to see the Knob back up!
The previous observations could propably be made by scores of fellow climbers. Lloyds generosity, his humility, his good cheer, and his intricate knowledge of all things Pilot were remarkably exceptional. I was fortunate in our friendship that Lloyd would confide his concerns and ask for advice in relation to his style of interactions at cliffside. Introspectively, he wanted to improve. I found that amazing and inspiring.
One day, taking a break from climbing, we walked around the Knob. Offering me a botany lecture, he pointed to plants at our feet, giving the common and latin names for four invasive species. He then discussed six endangered species on the Knob, and where isolated specimens of them could be found in the climbing areas. Some bird watchers came by and Lloyd discussed with them all the species currently in the park and where they nest and are commonly seen. Lloyd always shared himself in the most unassuming way. A rare individual indeed. We have been honored to have known him.
Lloyd first spoke to me as I rode my bike through the parking lot at Pilot Mountian, he asked me how many times I came up the mountian a week like I was up their all the time. I just laughed because I knew he was up their awhole lot more than I was. I am just glad he started a conversation with me. After that I would stop and talk or give him a smile and a wave when I saw him. I remember one time he gave me a pointer on how I was riding my bike up the mountian, and you know he was right. I saw my first timber rattler about a week and a half ago on the side of the road going up the mountian. I was looking forward to telling Lloyd all about it. I never got chance to tell him about it. I think about him ever time ride up the mountian now, he will be missed.
Thank you so, so much for writing this article. Lloyd mentioned a piedmont book that was due to be published by the end of the year; I’m so happy to know you’re including an excerpt on Lloyd. Although I knew him for only a brief period of time, he had a huge impact on me. I will always remember his unsolicited commentary, his laugh, his words of encouragement. Pilot will not be the same without him.
I know this is a bit delayed/late, but I thought I’d share my Lloyd story anyways.
I first met Lloyd almost a year and a half ago while I was belaying someone trying to attempt a trad lead on Honey Pot. Very very silly, I now know. And Lloyd was not shy to point that out. Lloyd was walking by, and *immediately* yelled out “Why are you trying trad on the worst rock and route on this mountain?!” We both were immediately taken aback, and laughed (well I may have laughed a little more than my partner). I let my partner down, as they removed their protection, and when we were done, Lloyd rattled off a bunch of advice. Honey Pot was the worst route here to attempt trad on, and had named a bunch of other routes that were better ones to try at Pilot. He not only knew the routes, but so many details about all of them! I thought “Wow, as much as this guy knows and says, he must be like the gatekeeper to Pilot Mountain’s climbing or something.” Little did I know at the time, he pretty much was. 🙂
We climbed Pilot many times after, and had spoken to others about Lloyd. It seemed like most everyone that ever climbed there more than a couple of times a year knew him — and they, like us, enjoyed his company and were amazed by his boundless knowledge of Pilot’s climbs as well as his ready willingness to share all of it. We met Lloyd again a few times after, and although he was always helpful, each time Lloyd said that he didn’t remember us. But that all changed the next time I met Lloyd. That time, I was climbing with other friends, who climbed much harder than my previous partner and were very well known to Lloyd. That day, Lloyd and I exchanged a bunch of stories and had a really great conversation. He had taken the most spectacular pictures of me on Gentle Ben. I struggled at the crux, but his photography skill made it look like it was effortless for me. We traded contact information so he could send me my pictures, and asked that I write a description of myself so he’d remember who I was to send me the right pictures — since he met so many people almost every time he went out to climb. It now made sense why he never remembered me before. He laughed so hard when he read my description back to me: “The super short brown girl with blue eyeballs that you took pictures of climbing Gentle Ben.” But he never forgot me again. 🙂 And that came in handy every time I saw him, because he’d readily give me advice on all the routes I planned to climb after. I can’t say how many times his advice helped me out, and every picture he ever took of me climbing made me look like a ridiculously awesome climber — even if I wasn’t and struggled on the climb.
Lloyd was, and still is, an inspiration to me. As healthy and active as he was/seemed, I just took for granted that he’d be around at least long enough to teach my kids how to climb. I’d feel accomplished if I can keep active and climbing for at least half as long as Lloyd did. I hope I can.
I now know that, if you climbed at Pilot, you were *so* cool if you knew Lloyd. However, what was actually *REALLY* awesome, was if Lloyd knew you back. 🙂 He will truly be missed by many, especially me.
Wow. When reading about the accident and wondering if it was him, then the pictures here just jogged my memory. I met this ambivalent character quite a few years back and I watched him toprope solo when he wasn’t busy telling stories, taking pictures and of course, spraying the beta! I admit I had long since forgotten his name and I haven’t made it to pilot very much since but I won’t forget his love for the mountain. It was contagious and he shared it with anyone who had ears to hear and eyes to see. Climb safe.
Nick, thanks for sharing. I have actually yet to get back to Pilot since Lloyd’s passing, but while probably be up there some time this spring. It won’t be the same without him!
I would like to point out my respect for your kindness for people that must have help with in this situation. Your personal commitment to getting the solution up and down turned out to be unbelievably significant and has usually encouraged guys just like me to attain their objectives. Your amazing warm and friendly publication indicates a whole lot to me and even further to my peers. Warm regards; from each one of us. air jordans
Missing Lloyd more today than ever.
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I planted a tree today using Uncle Lloyd’s shovel, tarps, and the methods he taught me. I’ll never forget him.