8/25/14 - Brian McCray, a prolific big-wall and free climber, and founder and operator of Fly'n Brian's Resoles, has passed away.
McCray first came to prominence at Seneca Rocks and the New River Gorge in West Virginia, where he was one of the leading free climbers and first ascensionists in the 1990s. Among his major new routes in the East: Proper Soul (5.14a), put up in 1997. He moved to Las Vegas in 1998.
McCray had a huge talent and appetite for climbing, and he applied it widely, from free climbs to big-wall speed ascents. Often partnered with Ammon McNeely, he did several important first one-day ascents on El Capitan, including Aurora, the Wall of Early Morning Light, and Atlantic Ocean Wall. In Zion National Park, where he sometimes worked as a guide, he did first ascents, speed ascents, and first free ascents of several walls. He also did many new routes and first free ascents in Red Rock, outside Vegas, including the first ascent of Sauron's Eye(5.10 R A4) on Rainbow Wall.
Climbing with Jim Bridwell and three other partners, McCray did a new route on the east face of Bear's Tooth in Alaska. He also climbed major new routes in Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan.
"He was such a good man, great climber, and terrific friend," said one close friend of McCray's. "I am in a state of shock."
The Las Vegas resident is suspected of having committed suicide.
A gallery of photos of McCray climbing can be found at his resoling website.
Sources: Climbingresoles.com, American Alpine Journal, various friends of Brian McCray