Hiker dies at Linville Gorge in NC mountains, marking season’s second fatal fall

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For the second time this spring, a hiker has died in a fall at Linville Gorge in the western North Carolina mountains.

Michael Patrick Ryva fell about 80 feet in the gorge and died at the scene, WBTV reported. He was from Forest Park, Illinois, the station said.

The fall happened around 12:25 p.m. Thursday while Ryva, 30, was hiking Rock Jock Trail, and “crews were still working to extricate him” late in the night, The Morganton News Herald said. The wilderness area is about 65 miles northeast of Asheville.

Details of how Ryva fell have not been released. Rock Jock Trail is described as a “relatively difficult” hike that grows more precarious in bad weather, Hikingproject.com says.

North Carolina experienced pop-up thunderstorms throughout the day Thursday.

“The Rock Jock Trail (RJT) is a rugged and remote, moderate-to-strenuous 6-mile hike along Dogback Mountain in the Linville Gorge Wilderness. You won’t find more dramatic views of the gorge than this,” theoutbound.com reports.

It’s the second fatal fall of the season in the wilderness area.

Burke County Search and Rescue reported a hiker died in “a long fall in the area of Babel Tower” on April 17. The hiker’s identity was not released.

Linville Gorge is a section of Pisgah National Forest that was carved by the Linville River and “drops 2,000 feet” below the surrounding mountain ridges, the U.S Department of Agriculture says.

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