By Pat Goodman
I looked up from my cramped barstool and noticed a ‘Maximum Occupancy’ placard on the wall; it read “not to exceed 87 persons”. Behind the bar stood the establishment’s owners Trent Thomas and his wife Debby. Obviously indifferent to the Fire Marshals code, they were merrily going on about their business of welcoming new customers and old friends alike. Outside, cars were overflowing into neighboring parking lots and the cold January air flowed through the open doorways of Black Dome Mountain Sports as more than 150 people crowded into North Carolina’s most iconic outdoor retailer.
Family-owned and operated for more than 25 years, Black Dome in Asheville, NC is not your ordinary shop. Yeah they have a friendly, helpful staff and offer a huge selection of outdoor paraphernalia like most other outdoor retailers, but alongside the smell of brand-new merchandise you’ll notice the tasty aroma of microbrews on tap: Conspiracy at Black Dome; “Great beer and great gear means shopping has never been more fun!” So when representatives from the Carolina Climbers Coalition and the American Alpine Club asked me to provide entertainment for their fundraiser at B.D., Rumble in the Rhodos I swiftly agreed, knowing it was gonna be something for the record books.
Two aspects of climbing I believe wholeheartedly in are; safeguarding our climbing resources and encouraging people to live their dreams. This event killed two birds with one stone with proceeds benefiting access and climbing grants. My presentation was well received and the silent auction/raffle proved fruitful, raising over $4,500 for Friends for trail work at Rumbling Bald and the AAC’s Live Your Dream Grant.
As the sunrise began to glow through the windows of Black Dome I raised my full pint glass to the three remaining attendees of the Rumble in the Rhodos event. Trent, Pascal, Tim and I watched as the quiet of the night turned into the hustle-bustle of daily city life, pondering the wonderful conversations that fueled our all-nighter. Debby came in around 8:30 am, looked at us all evenly and commented about the great turnout of last night’s event and how it seemed fitting we inadvertently carried our loving communities stoke through the night…”legendary” they said.