Brian McCray


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Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Aug 25, 2014 - 10:56am PT
Sorry to see you go... Safe journeys my friend.

Social climber
Angelus Oaks, Ca
Aug 25, 2014 - 11:11am PT

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
Aug 25, 2014 - 11:14am PT
Very sorry to hear this tragic news. I knew Brian when he and Rox had a big run in Yosemite several years ago.. he was one of the great ones and we are better for having known him... so many are leaving early in our community these days... very sad indeed.
the albatross

Gym climber
Aug 25, 2014 - 11:29am PT
We shared some good times, and some absolutely miserable moments way out on the edge. Brian was a unique and amazing individual, so much more of a person than simply being an uber rock climber. Poet, writer, thinker, critic, miner, explorer, artist; art, book and mineral collector, rigger, prankster, cobbler, the list goes on.

Thanks for sharing the ride and being my friend,
Brian, you were one of a kind.



Aug 25, 2014 - 11:30am PT
I only met him once. He had a grip of steel, an offbeat sense of humour, one tough dude. RIP
The Lisa

Trad climber
Da Bronx, NY
Aug 25, 2014 - 11:34am PT
My condolences to his family and friends. The world has lost a Renaissance man.
wayne w

Trad climber
the nw
Aug 25, 2014 - 11:41am PT
Thanks for the photo tributes to our friend, Ammon and Kurt.

One of my favorite walls ever was a push of Bad Seed on El Cap, with Brian and Hans Florine. Brian hiked the hard aid pitches quickly. Hans and I barely had a chance to drink a bit of water and have a quick snack before we were moving again. Now that Brian is no longer with us, I will treasure the memory of that spectacular day all the more.

My condolences to his friends and family.

Big Wall climber
Salt Lake City
Aug 25, 2014 - 11:54am PT
What sad news to hear today. A true adventurer and someone I always looked up to in the climbing community. Flyin' Brian will be missed and never forgotten. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

Sport climber
Made in California
Aug 25, 2014 - 12:09pm PT
"I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings."

~Mary Oliver

My deepest condolences to all who knew and beheld the beauty of Mr. McCray.

the albatross

Gym climber
Aug 25, 2014 - 12:09pm PT
Brian had an outrageous sense of humor and we shared many a laugh over the last decade.

Here's a sample of some of the many fun emails we enjoyed. This was back when the feds were seeking input for the Red Rock management plan.


Big Wall climber
So Cal
Aug 25, 2014 - 12:10pm PT
Damn, this just sucks to hear about. Brian was so solid as a climber. Terrible news.

Aug 25, 2014 - 12:40pm PT
Very sad. Best wishes to all family, friends, and anyone influenced by this man's life.

Bob J.

Social climber
Angelus Oaks, Ca
Aug 25, 2014 - 12:40pm PT
I wrote this this morning for my dear friend Brian McCray. He will be missed so much. Fly my friend

I lost my friend. So many people knew you as this bold, salty, strong, tell it like it is machine. I knew you as my friend. I met you at the tender age of 17, and instantly you made an impact. You took me under your wing, seeing something in me that no one else saw, not even myself. You tested me, you shaped me, you helped me realize what you saw. Life seemed a little easier with you just a step away. Not just as my climbing partner, but as my friend. So many events that marked my life, you where there in full support, ready to go to battle with me. We talked about our fascination with the “dark art” that is adventure climbing. We knew that it wouldn't get you or I, but we had to find our own edge. As I laid in a hospital bed not knowing if I would walk again, climb again, or be able to play with my 2 year old son again, you visited me nearly every day. I knew I was in bad shape when I saw you at my bed side. You didn't do this. People were too much hassle. You stayed for hours daily. Having you there did so much more then any medicine could have ever done. You supported me. You helped an 23 year old, with tubes and wires, with broken bones and a broken spirit, sit up for the first time since the accident. You brought my 2 year old son comfort while his Daddy laid there in agony. When it was time for rehab, you called to check my progress. You pushed me. You made me fight. You brought my hero, Jim Bridwell to my house to wish me well. You guys made fun of my wheelchair as we devoured a whole box of fudge pops listening to Jim tell stories of climbs that we have dreamt about, and ones that you would climb in record pace.
I miss you my friend. Why now? Why does our story have to end now? How do I venture up to these cliffs without you? I always knew that no matter what I climbed myself into, you would be able to get me out. No matter what life struggle, my friend was there to help me shoulder the load, march into battle, and fight. To give it the best fight you can give, and not take no for an answer.
I have so many memories of you. Climbs that have yet to be repeated thanks to the hard work, level head, and just plain insane way you approached them. Some of these moments will never be shared. Words cannot describe the emotion behind them. Words do it so little justice. Those will remain locked inside my head, the way I remember them, protected from the way the world would want to portray them. I do remember how you comforted me when my grandmother got sick. She had days to live. You knew I couldn't be home. You took me out to your secret crag. The hours it took to drive out there we sat in silence. We arrived around 10 at night. I was still in so much pain from my accident. I couldn't walk without sticks, and you carried the bag to the base of the wall. We sat there all night talking, laughing and crying under the canopy of stars and an overhanging limestone cliff illuminated by the glow of our camp fire. I felt my grandmother leave the earth. You sat there and held me. I will never forget that moment. Weeks later we returned to that very cliff. You held the rope as I nervously started up the scrappy cliff. My first lead since breaking myself almost to the point of failure. I clipped the anchor after 30 minutes of the most terrifying 100 feet of my life. You lowered me to the ground, and the energy level couldn't have been higher. You grabbed me, we screamed, we both knew that I was going to be ok. The KurtBurt and Brian show would go on.
So many things I want to say to you. Not the why’s. I know why. I want to tell you thank you. I want to tell you than you made a profound impact on an over anxious kid, with dreams bigger then the world. Thank you for making those dreams come true. For helping me realize what potential I have inside of me. I want to tell you good bye. I want to see in your eyes that you believe that I will be alright. That I have what it takes. You where a true friend. Not many of those left anymore. Good bye my friend, may the next journey fill your soul with the light that you gave so many back here. I will miss you, and I love you.

"When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with
fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more
time to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home."
-Tecumseh (Shawnee)

Trad climber
Aug 25, 2014 - 12:48pm PT

terrible news

Aug 25, 2014 - 12:49pm PT
Thank you for sharing that Burt. I am sorry for your loss.

Social climber
Greensboro, North Carolina
Aug 25, 2014 - 12:54pm PT
This is really sad news. :( My condolences to Brian's friends and family.

I knew Brian from West Virginia and the season I lived in the Valley. He was an amazing climber, a true Hard Man, but he was also approachable, friendly, and encouraging. RIP Brian.

the albatross

Gym climber
Aug 25, 2014 - 01:11pm PT
Thanks for sharing that, KurtBurt. Rest assured Brian knew we loved him.

Brian was without doubt among the most talented and skilled of persons to ever scale a rock face. It always saddened me how lamely the mainstream climbing media portrayed Brian. Those of you that only knew Brian through the media caught a shallow, agenda-driven glimpse of a most complex, caring, kind and deep-thinking individual. Brian was in his own league.

Edit: klaus if it's any help, Brian told me numerous times that he had thorough respect for your talents and your El Cap routes.

Social climber
Aug 25, 2014 - 01:25pm PT
hey there say.... oh no... very sad, for the loss of your dear friend, ammon... :(

deep condolences to his family and loved ones... :(
prayers for his family, as they move on through this sadness... :(

oh my, dear burt... just read your story, i don't know you, but i will surely put in some extra prayer time, and help support someone, in this way,
as you move on without this dear friend... :(
Magic Ed

Trad climber
Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Aug 25, 2014 - 01:45pm PT
Oh, no, not Flyin' Brian!!! Sad, sad news.

He left some great routes in the Potrero.

Trad climber
Tucson, AZ
Aug 25, 2014 - 01:46pm PT
Today I am wearing my Fly'n Brian t shirt. It was by chance. Someone unfamiliar with climbing asked me what the shirt was about and I told them about Brian with enthusiasm.

When I got word of Brian's passing I was truly saddened. I only met Brian a handful of times, but he was very kind and encouraging to me. I have been sending my shoes to him for around 15 years, and with every pair he returned came a thoughtful email. I asked his advice on climbing stuff from time to time and he was always generous in sharing his sage advice.

Sincere condolences to his friends and family. What a great man. He will be greatly missed.

Geir Hundal
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