Not Cool - Huge boulder dislodged by climbers on Opal Sunday

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Not Cool - Huge boulder dislodged by climbers on Opal Sunday

Post by squamish climber » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:25 pm

I was belaying my partner up Memorial Crack on the North Apron Sunday afternoon, watching some climbers descend fixed ropes on the top third of Opal Wall between the Opal and the Manitou or there abouts. One of them sent down a motorbike-sized boulder that exploded on the lower slab below sending debris into the forest. It's darn lucky there was no one at the bottom.
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Post by scrubber » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:07 am

Yikes, I don't suppose if you know whether or not they had the area cordoned off and signed do you? It's great that more folks are getting into the hard work of creating new routes, but the increasing frequency of stuff like this occuring (if there was no safety in place) won't continue for long before we have our priveleges revoked.

I in no way claim to be innocent of this. When cleaning my first long route I nearly hit one of our local ledgends walking below. Jim Sinclair was walking up to Rock On just as I sent one of the few rocks from Calculus Crack down. I hadn't even thought about blocking off the area. I just yelled "ROCK!!!" for about 20 seconds before sending anything more than the usual sand and weeds down. I don't think Jim and his partner ever even heard me, nor would they have known where it was coming from if they did hear me. In hindsight this seemed grossly neglegent and ignorant on my part. It was a shocking wake up call and a very lucky near miss. To this day it is the scariest thing that has ever happened to me climbing.

Hopefully this post might lead someone else to re-evaluate the approach they take to route development. Our days are numbered unless we get our acts together on this.

Kris Wild

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Post by harihari » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:40 am

I'm guilty of what Kris did and I second the motion...caution!

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Post by Dooley » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:46 am

Were they cleaning or was it a accidental release?
When in doubt....run it out!!!!

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Post by squamish climber » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:23 am

They didn't have wire brushes, crowbars or other cleaning gear. It looked to me like they were descending the fixed ropes to install belay/rapel stations lower down the route. They did have a haul sack with them. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but if the route is being developed and there's potential for rock fall I don't think it's smart to be on it during a Sunday.
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Post by harihari » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:11 pm

True. This is where Rock On is, and its attendant lines of parties. Bad move, esp. on a Sunday. A reminder to the trundlers...

a) Good on you for making a new long route! Squamish needs these and applauds you.

b) Please follow best practices. These include

-- cordon off the area underneath with flagging
-- leave a handheld radio on the ground, or post your cell #, and have a cell and/or radio with you while cleaning, so those passing by can call you to get past.
-- post warnings well in advance on here, supertopo, gripped and cascadeclimbers.
-- put warnings at the trailheads
-- do not clean/trundle in trafficked areas on weekends. If your route is ina busy area, fix your ropes, and clean on wet evenings or weekdays.


Considering that this has become an issue on Parks' radar, we gotta be real careful. I'm sayng this from my own experience.

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Post by Peter » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:59 am

There are alot of assumptions being made here, that's just as dangerous as the proposed negligence.

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Post by jipstyle » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:20 pm

Peter wrote:There are alot of assumptions being made here, that's just as dangerous as the proposed negligence.
Yep. Just the other day, the news reported a hiker killed by rampant assumptions. :P

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Post by Dru » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:34 pm

I don't think Mt Meager posted any warning signs before unloading 40 million cubic meters down Capricorn Creek on Friday :p

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Post by jipstyle » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:35 pm

Dru wrote:I don't think Mt Meager posted any warning signs before unloading 40 million cubic meters down Capricorn Creek on Friday :p
You 'don't think' ... so, you're making an assumption?

;)

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Post by Anders Ourom » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:38 pm

A landslide in Meager Creek in 1975 killed four people. Much smaller than the recent slide, but still a huge event. Their bodies were never recovered.

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Post by gnarnaphobe » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:46 pm

Dru wrote:I don't think Mt Meager posted any warning signs before unloading 40 million cubic meters down Capricorn Creek on Friday :p
pretty sure meagers been shedding rock slides for years and years, and they we're warnings of the massive one that slide last week

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Post by Tricouni » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:57 pm

The warning signs were there for Meager: past history there is a pretty good predictor of future history. If I were in charge of decision-making for Forestry, I'd probably just seal off the bridge across the Lillooet (if it's still in) and declare Meager Creek off-limits.

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It was me.

Post by jred » Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:34 pm

The trundle was done late afternoon, there was a clear view of the trail and we had a person down on the ground walk the steep forrest screaming what we were doing and making sure all was clear. The trail to the unpopular Powakwatsi (sp) was well out of range of rock fall and the forrest which the rock was falling into is steep and un-walkable. Our ground person would have prevented any person or nerdy, annoying twat from entering the danger zone. Thank-you Peter for mentioning the obvious. Post edited by administrator to conform with forum rules

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Post by pinner » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:21 pm

I've gone exploring up the gulleys on more than one afternoon, scrambling about in steep, un-walkable forest, along the bases of most of the walls, eyeballing old tatty fixed lines and the mess of water jugs, cookstoves, tarps, brushes, axe handles, and shitty t-shirts that go with them. I know other rambling folks do too.

Just because a trail isn't popular (or in existance) doesn't mean noone's there.

Someone yelling in the woods is a good idea too, but woods are noisy, especially when you're bushwhacking, and voices don't carry too far in boulder-choked gulleys with dense, steep, unwalkable forest and rock crags poking out all over the place.

There are just too many climbers now. sh*t must be marked off, clearly, side to side, no possible way in without seeing, and even then still don't drop big sh*t (or any sh*t if you can help it) unless it's raining.

Please

Before someone dies, and all the regulatory sh*t we've all been worrying about in Frimer's threads comes to pass, or someone gets charged with manslaughter, and someone loses a family member and friend. Too many climbers die from other sh*t, we don't need this way, too. Post edited to conform with forum rules

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