Churchbowl rock fall

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Dirty Bird

climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 4, 2012 - 05:50pm PT
Went up to churchbowl today (wed. april 4th)and there were tons of manzanita bushes at the base of the Bishop's Terrace. To the climber's right there was about a hundred feet of destruction (rock, dust, busted ass trees). Loose pebbles and even a tree branch fell while we were looking around the area. We decided it looked a little to recent and too active for us to risk doing a climb we had done many times before. Just a heads up. From curry village, we had heard a rock fall last night at about 11pm, it could have been the same one, I don't know. If anyone is heading out that way to climb, be safe.
Greg Barnes

climber
Apr 5, 2012 - 11:53am PT
Any more details?
Plaidman

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Apr 5, 2012 - 01:38pm PT
Details and specific routes. It would be great to know exactly where. Pics anyone?
the base of the Bishop's Terrace. To the climber's right there was about a hundred feet of destruction (rock, dust, busted ass trees).
I guess this is specific. I if I remember correctly the rap off is on the climbers right of Bishops Terrace.
gstock

climber
Yosemite Valley
Apr 5, 2012 - 05:59pm PT
Be advised:

Two rockfalls originated from a source area almost directly above Bishop's Terrace on the 3rd and 4th of April. Both occurred at night, with the first occurring at about 11:15 pm on April 3rd and the second at 10:35 pm on April 4th.

From the source area, falling rocks were steered by a series of southeast-dipping ramps just to the west (climber's right) of Bishop's Balcony. The short second pitch of Bishop's Terrace leading to the base of the Balcony was hit hard by rock debris. Some rocks went over the first pitch of Bishop's Terrace, though there weren't obvious impacts. The rappel route from the top of the first pitch was hit hard, with the big oak tree there losing several limbs.

Overview of the 3-4 April 2012 Church Bowl rockfall
Overview of the 3-4 April 2012 Church Bowl rockfall
Credit: gstock

At the base, there is a lot (hundred of tons) of fresh rock debris scattered over an area about 300 feet across, extending eastward from the base of Bishop's Terrace. Small rocks were falling every few minutes when we were in this area.

Fresh rock debris and tree damage just east of the Bishop's Terrace st...
Fresh rock debris and tree damage just east of the Bishop's Terrace start
Credit: gstock

Impact craters just east of the start of Bishop's Terrace
Impact craters just east of the start of Bishop's Terrace
Credit: gstock

The source area can be clearly seen from Ahwahnee Meadow. Although I'm not able to predict future behavior, I have seen cleaner source areas than this one. Future rockfalls are possible.

Rockfall source area above Bishop's Terrace
Rockfall source area above Bishop's Terrace
Credit: gstock

Bottom line: These were relatively large rockfalls that impacted the Bishop's Terrace area hard. It's very lucky that they occurred at night. For now I strongly advise against climbing Bishop's Terrace or any routes on the eastern side of Church Bowl. Routes farther to the west near Church Bowl lieback were not affected. Please help to spread the word.

Greg Stock
Park Geologist
greg_stock@nps.gov
(209) 379-1420
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 5, 2012 - 06:07pm PT
Future rockfalls are possible.

I take it you're not a betting man.

The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Apr 5, 2012 - 06:23pm PT
Did the bench survive?

If so, someone evacuate it, quick!
cleo

Social climber
the canyon below the Ditch!!!!
Apr 5, 2012 - 07:29pm PT
The bench did survive! Most of the debris is to the east, but make no mistake, there is flyrock near the bench.

-Val
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Apr 5, 2012 - 07:35pm PT
How about that big-ole boulder at the top of the rise when you rap down from the Bishops balcony?? I can't wait to see if that baby makes it to the road when the base earth around it erodes and it begins its tumble toward the Ahwahnee meadow...
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Apr 5, 2012 - 07:42pm PT
Holy crap. I climbed it two days ago on the 3rd.

Ken
Plaidman

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Apr 5, 2012 - 08:14pm PT
WOW!!! Thanks Greg for the photos and the MORE than detailed information. Hope that area cleans up some and we can get on it this fall. I love Bishops Terrace. One of my favorite climbs.
KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Apr 5, 2012 - 08:31pm PT
Hope that area cleans up some and we can get on it this fall

Doubt it. 30+ years later, no one goes near Koko's. Softballs were still raining last time I checked.
JesseM

Social climber
Yosemite
Apr 5, 2012 - 08:36pm PT
Hello folks,
Greg and I just returned from surveying the rockfall damage at Church Bowl (Bishop's Terrace) area.

Although there is always a possibility of rock fall on Yosemite's crags, domes, and walls. We feel there is an elevated level of risk for rock fall over Bishop's Terrace over the next week or so. Therefore we have temporarily closed all routes at Church Bowl East of, but not icluding, "Church Bowl Tree".

Let us know if you have any questions,

Thanks,
Jesse
Yosemite Climbing Ranger
jesse_mcgahey@nps.gov
209.742.3289
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
Apr 5, 2012 - 09:35pm PT
There goes the tonalite of Glacier Point again…
nature

climber
CO
Apr 5, 2012 - 09:37pm PT
Thank you Greg!


Edit: oh yeah, you too Jesse!
cragnshag

Social climber
san joser
Apr 5, 2012 - 10:00pm PT
Looks like a lot of dirt behind where the rocks let go. There are some really big trees right over the release area.

Perhaps this was more a case of trees/ roots prying the rock away from the face than freeze/thaw or internal rock stresses? Or both, but the cracks were invaded and made wider by root growth?

Who wants to inspect the release area to give us more info? :)
Brock

Trad climber
RENO, NV
Apr 5, 2012 - 11:46pm PT
Very helpful
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Apr 6, 2012 - 01:43am PT
Therefore we have temporarily closed all routes at Church Bowl East of, but not icluding, "Church Bowl Tree".

Closed? You mean there is a sign that says it is not advised to climb the routes, and there will be no line?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 6, 2012 - 03:15am PT
This still looks pretty unhappy...
This still looks pretty unhappy...
Credit: healyje
enjoimx

Trad climber
Kirkwood, ca
Apr 6, 2012 - 03:25am PT
What are you talking about? That's a sweet new roof crack.
hoipolloi

climber
A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
Apr 6, 2012 - 10:48am PT
Vitality M- what's your point? You pissed 'the man' is closing routes? Go ahead and rope up and climb there, sounds like a good idea! Idiot. Get over it.
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