Nose death flake

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climber007

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 18, 2013 - 02:41pm PT
a heads up for folks who like to play on and around el cap.. and especially the nose..

I added to the route beta for the nose: http://www.supertopo.com/rock-climbing/beta/Yosemite-Valley-El-Capitan-The-Nose

regurgitated here:

Just did the NIAD (almost... 36 hours :-) this weekend and wanted to give a shout out about a death flake!!

After the king swing at the belay marked as p17 in the supertopo.. there is a large hollow suspended/wedged flake directly above the bolts..

my partner stepped on it inadvertently while setting off from the belay and it slid down several inches.. we thought it was gonna take us out right then and there... was pretty terrifying for the rest of that belay.. as there is no where to hide from it..

I did not have anything in our kit to mark it.. tried with my chalk but it didn't take well...

im not sure this one will ever be safe to trundle unless there is a coordinated effort with NPS as its location would send rock fall some of the busiest areas on El Cap..

so anywhoo... be warned.. and for gods sake avoid yarding on it or placing any gear under it.. especially if you are aiding and plan to weight the gear!!

Here are zoomed out and in pics of me taken by Tom Evans while I was belaying there..

zoomed in
zoomed in
Credit: tom evans
zoomed out
zoomed out
Credit: tom evans
ec

climber
ca
Jun 18, 2013 - 02:47pm PT
Thx.

Ironically, you coulda posted the same about Boot Flake!

 ec
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jun 18, 2013 - 02:58pm PT
what DOES hold the boot to the wall? faith?
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jun 18, 2013 - 03:03pm PT
Except the Boot flake didn't just shift a few inches down recently.

Hope the word gets spread quickly. Such a popular route with so many folks below. We don't need another loose rock incident this year.

For those who haven't read the beta post, The flake indicated shifted and scared the crap out of the op and his partner. Be careful to avoid bumping it! Let everyone know!

Tough year and hopefully this post saves lives.

Hey Cheyne! Another project for ya!

BTW Grats on the nose in a push!

climber007

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 18, 2013 - 03:17pm PT
thanks climbski2!

I was in the valley for the bad incidents this year and I really hope our climbing compatriots will all do what they can to help each other avoid similar fates!

in retrospect I should have added the text from the beta post to this thread to... I only started the thread after the beta post because of a question coming in on the beta post, and I did not want to clog it with back and forth posts..

so I will edit this post to also contain the text from the beta post...

McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Jun 18, 2013 - 03:50pm PT
The Park Service should be informed and something should be done about it. To not do that and for nothing to be done is irresponsible all around. Times, they are a changing!

I don't see a big problem with a pre-emptive rescue. It's either that or climbers should get organized to do something about it. Get up there, clear the ground and let it go. To do nothing though is so f*#king stupid. Clearly though, this would need at least Park Super-Vision. That could be the name of the new Park entity for the task of trying to mitigate the killer flake problem. Call it the PSV.
Dr. Christ

Mountain climber
State of Mine
Jun 18, 2013 - 03:54pm PT
choss!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jun 18, 2013 - 04:06pm PT
There is also a decent sized loose flake on the next pitch - traversing 5.7 you do right after a pendulum. It was just standing there as I down-climbed. Smaller, but way more unstable. Someone should put it in their haul bag and pack it out. Even though sucker is heavy.

Subject of this thread added excitement to my lead last time I was there. Avoided it. Cold be a disaster for a climber and cold easily kill whoever is belaying. Even though there are lots of flakes like that in the mountains, and climbers should know to avoid flakes like that, this one is on a super popular route and should probably be removed with assistance of NPS or something. Earlier events prove that it could easily kill people hiking/climbing popular base routes, or lower pitches on El Cap. :/
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Jun 18, 2013 - 04:09pm PT
I look at Tom's pics all the time and it just looks nasty in places. I have only done the section from Camp 4 in the gray bands up the final Nose. I just remember the upper dihedral as being beautiful but I knocked a good set of blocks down from the Camp 4 area in 1972.

what DOES hold the boot to the wall? faith?
Based on what the Boot must weigh, there can't be much holding it on. The Boot is a long standing objective hazard - clearly classic - the mitigation committee should leave it alone.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jun 18, 2013 - 04:53pm PT
I always assumed that the boot flake is integral to the wall. ie underneath is actually a fair bit of continuous rock. I suspect that the edges have been extruded due to internal pressure. just my very uneducated guess however.

How much is continuous and how strong that makes it.. how quickly is it weakening?

Gads I hope some freeze cycle rips it off some winter.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Jun 18, 2013 - 04:59pm PT
There appears to be a lip of rock that is integral to it that connects to its back side and comes down below and forms it's springy pedestal. There has to be a lot of pressure on the pedestal but the flake also sets back into a shallow corner correct? . It would be interesting if somebody could take a scope up there to measure the pressure on the pedestal. It may be an explosive amount. It would shear like a mini-earthquake.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Jun 18, 2013 - 05:00pm PT
Seems like the plan could be, get rangers permission to clear off that part of el cap for a day, in winter I guess, then people rap the nose and trundle everything loose, with a crowbar and a list of known hazards. And while they're at it, bring a some extra grande trash bags and clear out the tin cans and whatnot from the bivy ledges.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Jun 18, 2013 - 05:03pm PT
It would be sad if the Boot did not die a natural death. It could be studied more. Isn't that what governments do? It would be interesting to know more since it's such a landmark.

There is already the lower alternate route - the Jardine Traverse. Ray is always thinking ahead!
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Jun 18, 2013 - 05:05pm PT
what DOES hold the boot to the wall? faith?


I wonder if all this cool geo-mapping of El Cap will shed some light onto the 'adhesive faith' which holds Boot Flake to the wall. It's amazing.


I'm curious as to which flake has the most 'adhesive faith', Boot or Texas Flake?


cool thread BTW,

edit: cool in as much as a PSA...forgot this wasn't the mapping thread. Bygones.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jun 18, 2013 - 05:10pm PT
Just so folks know this talk about the Boot flake is very offtopic.

Please spread the word about the loose flake on pitch 17 and perhaps the block on the next pitch that Vitaly mentioned. A good heads up to anyone going up cannot hurt. Lets not have anymore repeats of the tragedies earlier this season!


OT

heh I can't imaging anyone or any agency deliberately trying to remove the boot flake. As hazardous as it may seem it's just kinda rediculous to remove based on it's history of remaining attached with so many folks yarding on it regularly.

I wouldn't be surprised if that thing would still hold on if explosives were used. Then again I wouldn't be surprised if the next breath of wind or cam placement knocked her off.

Thems the breaks and that truly is what we chose to deal with as climbers.

Quite different from suggesting that a clearly loose and dangerous flake on a popular route should be removed during the next offseason as Cheyne recently did with the one on Freerider.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Jun 18, 2013 - 05:14pm PT
Agreed, the Boot is there to stay until it's gone. I hope it's caught on film though.
ec

climber
ca
Jun 18, 2013 - 06:43pm PT
I wonder if the database shows any increase of instances during long dry periods? The ooze and slime that seeps through the cracks may be what's holding those blocks in (watertention).

 ec
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Jun 18, 2013 - 06:50pm PT
To the OP or anyone who is familiar: where is the fall line more or less? Would it come down on the Freeblast pitches, or farther east? If it fell plumb, would it land east or west of Pine Line?

Considering that it shifted under body weight or less, it seems there's a fair chance it'll go this season given how much traffic there is on the Nose.

Maybe the standup folks that sent the block in the Monster OW could ride again...
Dr. Christ

Mountain climber
State of Mine
Jun 18, 2013 - 06:54pm PT
Interesting hypothesis ec.

Although if there is more rock fall during dry periods (?), I would expect it is a result of higher temperature fluctuations in the dry rock compared to wet rocks.

Water is a huge heat sink and, if present, would keep the temperature of the flakes more constant. Of course if the water freezes there is a large increase in volume...


Wiggled out a 100 lb block the other day. Good times.


I sure would like to see the NPS step up and permit the trundle... for public safety of course... just make sure you get it on video!!!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 18, 2013 - 06:55pm PT
where is the fall line more or less?

I believe the fall line from there is to the right of Dolt Tower.
I could be wrong, though. Best to test first by "dropping a carrot".
(Old Paul Piana joke about the big boulder that came off the top of the Salathe' Wall).

A temporary measure would be to tie a sling around it and anchor it to the flake above it.
That way at least people will notice that it may be loose.
Even if someone organizes a careful trundle operation for it, it may be
stuck and not want to come down. So don't expect it to be easy....

P.S. The NPS does not maintain routes / safety of routes.
It's up to us climbers.
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