Guide to the Ralph Fickel Papers, 1970-2010

Summary Information

Title: Ralph Fickel Papers, 1970-2010
Collection: AC.490
Extent: 6.5 linear feet (8 boxes, 1 half-sized manuscript box, 1 oversize box, 2 oversize folders)

Ralph Fickel was a rock and ice climber in North Carolina who attended Appalachian State University and served as a guide and teacher to beginner and more advanced climbers. His papers include his climbing journals, notes, and hand-drawn notes as well as correspondence, equipment catalogs, and organizational brochures. His interests in climbing, geography, and military history are represented in this collection.

Creator: Fickel, Ralph, 1950-2010

Biographical/Historical Note

Ralph Edward Fickel, Jr. was born on March 21, 1950 in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Ralph E. Fickel and Margaret Sherby Fickel. He lived for many years in Greenville, South Carolina and Boone, North Carolina. He was a graduate of Appalachian State University, receiving a Master's Degree in Geography. Fickel was a veteran mountain climber for over thirty years who pioneered more than 70 first ascents on rock and ice in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Maine, the High Sierras, the Grand Tetons, the Desert Southwest, and the Nepal Himalayas. He spent several winters as caretaker of the Harvard Hut on Mt. Washington, did a solo trip to the Sierra Range as a high school student, and summited a 6,000 meter peak in the Himalayas. He completed the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Toprope Site Manager Course and worked as an instructor for the North Carolina Outward Bound School. Fickel also taught grade school and college courses. He earned certification as a Single Pitch Instructor with the Professional Climbing Instructors Association and was also certified in Wilderness First Aid through SOLO. He worked mountain rescue for the Appalachian Mountain Club and the National Park Service, where he has served as a park ranger in North Carolina.

Ralph Fickel died on March 3, 2010 at Doughton Park in the Blue Ridge Parkway from injuries received from a fall while mountain climbing.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains Ralph Fickel's personal papers, maps, organizational brochures and newsletters, and ephemera. Included in his personal papers are his climbing journals, correspondence, employment records, and hand-drawn climbing routes and notes. The maps included in the manuscript collection are those with insufficient publication information to be cataloged or are hand-drawn maps. Other maps donated with the collection have been individually cataloged. Organizational brochures and newsletters include information on military parks and battlefields, national parks and forests, and the Sierra Club. The ephemera series primarily contains equipment catalogs, but also includes backpacking and camping guides, posters, and expedition and seminar catalogs.


The Ralph Fickel papers are arranged into four series: Personal Papers, Maps, Organizations, and Ephemera. Materials are arranged alphabetically within each series. Oversize materials are arranged in order within the series, but are housed separately at the end of the collection.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room without restrictions. Please use the digital scans of the journals rather than the originals as a preservation measure.

Acquisitions Information

This collection was donated in 2010 by Margaret Sherby Fickel, Ralph Fickel's mother, after his death along with his book collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Cynthia Harbeson, 2011.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], AC.490: Ralph Fickel Papers, W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA.

Container List

Series I: Personal Papers, 1970-2008

Series Description

This series contains transcriptions and digital scans of Fickel's journals, which he titled "Mountain Notes," school papers relating to his geography coursework, climbing notes, correspondence, and personal records such as certificates, employment records, and research materials. The materials are arranged alphabetically.

ASU Contract, 1993 Box 1.1
ASU Survey Box 1.2
Blue Ridge Parkway Interpreter’s Manual Box 1.3


Box 1.4
Climbing Guides Box 1.5
Climbing Notes and Hand-drawn Routes Box 1.6
Correspondence, 1973-2003 Box 1.7
Crossnore School Reference Forms Box 1.8
Employment Records, 1998-2001, undated Box 1.9
Hound Ears Bouldering Competition Box 1.10
Journal of Argentina Trip, December 29, 2007- January 21, 2008 Box 1.11
Mountain Notes Transcriptions and Digital Scans Box 1.12
Photograph of Fickel as a child Box 1.13
Research Materials Box 1.14
School papers- A Community Responds to the Pressures of Growth: The Foscoe-Grandfather Community Box 1.15
School papers - General Box 1.16
School papers - GHY 5200 assignments Box 1.17
School papers- Internship: Rough Ridge, A Visitor Impact Study-Grandfather Mountain, N.C., December 14, 1999 Box 1.18
School papers- Microcomputers in Geography and Planning, Spring 1992 Box 1.19
School papers- A Problem in Park Planning-The Rough Ridge Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina Box 1.20
Wildfire Powersaws Student Workbook, December, 1991 Box 1.21

Series II: Maps, undated

Series Description

This series includes maps, both handdrawn and printed, that do not contain sufficient publication information to be cataloged into the library's collections as part of the Ralph Fickel Memorial Collection. The maps are arranged alphabetically. National parks, regional areas, and states are represented in these materials.

Blue Ridge Parkway Area Box 10.1
California Box 10.2
Colorado & Montana Box 10.3
Hand-drawn and unpublished maps Box 2.1
Miscellaneous Box 10.4
Nantahwa National Forest Oversize Folder 1
National Parks Oversize Folder 2
Pisgah National Forest Box 10.5

Series III: Organizations, undated

Series Description

This series contains information related to organizations such as the National Park Service, National Forest Service, Sierra Club, and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Materials include brochures, newsletters, and manuscripts and are arranged alphabetically.

American Alpine Club Box 2.2
Blue Ridge Parkway Box 2.3
Department of the Interior Box 2.4
Flying Moose Lodge Box 3.1
Historic Sites and Parks Box 3.2
International Parks Box 3.3
Military Parks and Battlefields-Arkansas Box 3.4
Military Parks and Battlefields-Georgia Box 3.5
Military Parks and Battlefields-Maryland Box 3.6
Military Parks and Battlefields-Mississippi Box 3.7
Military Parks and Battlefields-Missouri Box 3.8
Military Parks and Battlefields-Montana Box 3.9
Military Parks and Battlefields-New Jersey Box 3.11
Military Parks and Battlefields-Pennsylvania Box 3.12
Military Parks and Battlefields-South Carolina Box 3.13
Military Parks and Battlefields-Tennessee Box 3.14
Military Parks and Battlefields-Virginia Box 3.15
National Forests-California Box 3.16
National Forests-Colorado Box 3.17
National Forests-General Box 3.18
National Forests-Georgia Box 3.19
National Forests-New Hampshire Box 3.20
National Forests-North Carolina Box 3.21
National Forests-South Carolina Box 3.22
National Forests-Washington Box 4.1
National Forests-Wyoming Box 4.2
National Memorials Box 4.3
National Monuments-Alaska Box 4.4
National Monuments-Arizona Box 4.5
National Monuments-California Box 4.6
National Monuments-Colorado Box 4.7
National Monuments-Georgia Box 4.8
National Monuments-Idaho Box 4.9
National Monuments-Maryland Box 4.10
National Monuments-New Mexico Box 4.11
National Monuments-Ohio Box 4.12
National Monuments-Oregon Box 4.13
National Monuments-South Carolina Box 4.14
National Monuments-South Dakota Box 4.15
National Monuments-Utah Box 4.16
National Monuments-Washington, D. C. Box 4.17
National Park Service Box 4.18
National Parks-Acadia Box 4.19
National Parks-Canyonland Box 4.20
National Parks-Chaco Culture Box 4.21
National Parks-General Box 4.22

National Parks-General 

Box 4.23
National Parks-Grand Canyon Box 5.1
National Parks-Grand Teton Box 5.2
National Parks-Great Smoky Mountains Box 5.3
National Parks-Mount Ranier Box 5.4
National Parks-Natchez Trace Parkway Box 5.5
National Parks-North Cascades Box 5.6
National Parks-Redwood Box 5.7
National Parks-Rocky Mountains Box 5.8
National Parks-Sequoia and Kings Canyon Box 5.9
National Parks-Shenandoah Box 5.10
National Parks-Yellowstone Box 5.11
National Parks-Yosemite Box 5.12
National Parks-Zion Box 5.13
National Recreational Areas Box 5.14
National Seashores Box 5.15
Sierra Club-Argonaut Box 6.1
Sierra Club-Bartram Bulletin Box 6.2
Sierra Club-Book Catalogs Box 6.3
Sierra Club-Carolinas Group Box 6.4
Sierra Club-Foot Notes Box 6.5
Sierra Club-General Box 6.6
Sierra Club-Mountain Laurel Box 6.7
Sierra Club-White Water Canoeing Section Box 6.8
Sierra Club-Wilderness Outings Box 6.9

Series IV: Ephemera, undated

Series Description

This series includes equipment catalogs, hiking guides, posters, and newsletters, all relating to climbing, hiking, or camping. The materials are arranged alphabetically by type of material, then by title.

Appalachian Trail Box 6.10
Backpacking, Climbing, and Camping Guides Box 6.11
Catalogs-Adventures Box 6.12
Catalogs-Black Diamond Box 6.13
Catalogs-Black Diamond Box 6.14
Catalogs-Choinard Equipment Box 6.15
Catalogs-Great Pacific Ironworks Box 7.1
Catalogs-Grivel Mount Blanc Box 7.2
Catalogs-Hiking and Climbing, General Box 7.3
Catalogs-Hiking and Climbing, General Box 7.4
Catalogs-Hiking and Climbing, General Box 7.5
Catalogs-Hiking and Climbing, General Box 7.6
Catalogs-International Mountain Equipment, Inc. Box 7.7
Catalogs-Jagged Globe Box 8.1
Catalogs-Jagged Globe Box 8.2
Catalogs-Mammut Box 8.3
Catalogs-Metolius Climbing Box 8.4
Catalogs-Misty Mountain Threadworks Box 8.5
Catalogs-Mountain Tools Box 8.6
Catalogs-Mountain Travel Box 8.7
Catalogs-Mountain Travel Box 8.8
Catalogs-Palisades School of Mountaineering Box 8.9
Catalogs-Patagonia Box 8.10
Catalogs-Seminars and Expeditions Box 9.1
Catalogs-Seminars and Expeditions Box 9.2
Catalogs –The Ski Hut Box 9.3
Catalogs-Wild Things Box 9.4
Museums and Attractions Box 9.5
Newsletters-Access Notes Box 9.6
Newsletters-General Box 9.7
Newsletters-News World News and Views Box 9.8
Posters Box 10.6
State Parks Box 9.9

Restricted Files From Series I

This section contains the original notebooks that Fickel used as his journals, entitled "Mountain Notes." The materials are arranged in chronological order.

Mountain Notes, Volumes I-III [Restricted for Preservation] Box 11.1
Mountain Notes, Volumes IV-VI [Restricted for Preservation] Box 11.2
Mountain Notes, Volumes VII-IX [Restricted for Preservation] Box 11.3
Mountain Notes, Volume X [Restricted for Preservation] Box 11.4
Notes, 1970, undated [Restricted for Preservation] Box 11.5