Your Wildest Trundle


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A long way from where I started
Apr 4, 2010 - 12:23am PT
So------what is the odor from a freshly trundled boulder after impact???

Always reminded me of cordite. There's a lot of sparks (gazillions, when a big boulder hits) involved.

Apr 4, 2010 - 12:35am PT
Most probably "flint" from the quartz and feldspar from the granite.

Trad climber
Just me and three kids
Apr 4, 2010 - 12:36am PT
OK, since we're all getting confessional here...

Does trundling your cat in a suitcase down the back stairs count? I must have been about 8 and co-perps were my brothers.

Yes, the cat was fine (though big time freaked out) and I've always felt terrible about it. Boys on the loose!

And this was back in the dark ages in the early 70's when I was just a wee naughty lad.

Oh shite, I just remembered we also somehow got her into a pillow case and swung her around in the air a few times... something about space travel training.

That kitty went on to lead a very long life, maybe another 12 or 15 years.

Zoinks! What were we thinking? Ah... we weren't.


Social climber
Apr 4, 2010 - 12:48am PT
Eric do you ever get a ghastly feeling that cats are.......out to getchya?

:-D "cos if you you know where that juju came from.


Interesting that SMELL accompanying big bad trundles. Then again all the trundles I've done were GRANITE. I'm so parochial, yeah, I know. But THAT SMELL.

WHAT IS IT !?!?!

Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 4, 2010 - 12:49am PT
We used to put our cat under an upturned laundry basket, to see what would happen. He was a giant ginger cat named Marmaduke McCavity, and quickly figured it out. I can't imagine trundling him, although once or twice I've spun dogs or cats around on a smooth floor. Doesn't do much for their ability to walk, or their temper.

Social climber
Apr 4, 2010 - 01:40am PT
Since everyone is fessing up.....
Three of us trundled a fair sized boulder in the Fry Creek Conservancy, a few years ago. What was different about this one was how far it went. At first it bounced down some granite slabs, then went from side to side in a narrow gully a bunch of times, before flying over the side and taking out a number of trees. Yes, we did feel guilty, at least for a few minutes. Well, it was in a conservancy. After that we changed the name of this activity from 'trundling' to 'bowling for goats'. Way more fun! Cheers H.

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Apr 4, 2010 - 02:37am PT
The cordite reference made me think of my truck... Actually, that smell is the same stuff that is in my Corbomite device on my truck.

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 4, 2010 - 02:52am PT
Nice thread. I was exploring a large cliff band down in a canyon below Castle Rock. This was years ago when there was a lot of private property around Castle and caretakers with guns and we had to cross a section of private property to get to these cliffs. Anyway, on our initial foray, we found a nice 5X10X3 foot chunk teetering atop the only real crack on the whole face. It was about 300 feet of air and then about two solid minutes of all the pieces and various destruction rumbling down the steep hillside.

Another fun trundling story but not because of size was a time with Dave Yerian and Bruce Morris coming off of Daff. We were screwing around trying to put up some dumb new route. We weren't to the point of pulling out a drill yet, though. On the way down , Yerian cuts loose a basketball size chunk and it is not going in a favorable direction. A few hundred feet down the slope we encounter a couple of British climbers coming up to climb something. Yerian is the first to meet them and in his typical friendly manner greets them. They proceed to get a bit snippy about the trundle and tell Dave not to bother visiting The British Isles to climb. Yerian just shrugs and smiles and says,"that's O.K., we don't need your dinky little routes." I think we were looking for those guys the rest of the day. Not to mess with them again, just to avoid them.

Apr 4, 2010 - 05:04am PT
Biggest one I had a chance to trundle was about the size of the big two door commercial refrigerator, about 600', all slightly overhanging.

Let me just say it was a bad idea.

It exploded much louder than we anticipated, way louder. I could not hear my buddy for a couple of minutes. It pretty much evaporated into dust as it hit the ground, granite on granite.

Shock wave stripped all leaves bare from some five trees in the 40 feet radius. Dust mushroom went up in the air reaching us in some 10-15 sec covering everything in the fine grayish silt choking us up for a minute or two. We both looked like we just came out of the chimney.

Michael Hjorth

Trad climber
Copenhagen, Denmark
Apr 4, 2010 - 05:54am PT
Sounds like a good one, NoRush!

Mighty's link to a similar tread more or less ends this one, specially with his copy of the Mountain-29 article.

Trundling is a nice and respected passtime for geologists in Greenland. Called "rulle-mik" [rulle = roll; mik = iniut for something you do]. It's even put in as a topic in the Geological Survey of Greenland's booklet for newcoming geologists.

And the setup for best trundling is discussed late into the nights in camp: Rocktype; round or square boulder; slopetype; impact area; etc. One crazy geologist I worked with always had a small lump of dynamite and a detonator in his pack should he encounter a large potential trundle.

My favorite is a round granite boulder that only two strong men can move from a granite slab above a lake. Granite doesn't breakup easily; rounded rocks reach the highest speed; you can see (and FEAL) the full traject on a slab; a lake at the bottom gives a nice finish.

My best is unfortunately not on photo. 2 m x 2 m x 2 m above a 500 meter steep gully. We were three guys leg-stemming it down. The basecamp manager thought we were dead. Gave us a very angious radio call.

Here's a small one from South Greenland:

We threw a lot down this 700 m cliff. But it was boring: Couldn't hear nor see the impact:


Social climber
Apr 4, 2010 - 07:41am PT
This probably won't count as a legitimate trundle but the above posts revived this repressed memory...

1975 from my 6th floor dormitory window at Loyola University in N.O. in a seemingly innocuous idea I tossed a Motorola TV set to the empty parking lot below. A brilliant flash of blue light resulted, entertaining those who witnessed.

One of several considerations I failed to have was that I was the last room on the hallway so Campus Security eventually surmised that it came from 1 of 6 rooms and with a little further thought narrowed it down to 2 of 6 due to the state of the Motorola. Of those 2 rooms one was vacant....

A long way from where I started
Apr 4, 2010 - 12:11pm PT
and there's always that giant festering turd garibaldi. lots of ammo there.

Don Serl and I spent considerable time one day trundling on the ridge below Atwell (the pointy bit on Garibaldi). The problem there is that while you can trundle anything (the entire place is a turdpile, as Bruce says), nothing ends up being too spectacular because everything is so fragile it breaks up right away. I don't think there's anything you could call real rock on the whole peak.

Gym climber
Apr 4, 2010 - 12:26pm PT
It must have been 35 years ago, back in High School, I was out on Catalina Island. We'd hike up to the nearby "peak" on the weekends. Atop was a stone outcropping. Some fool, one day, decided to bring a couple of crowbars, a six pack, and 6 or 7 buddies.

We managed to wedge loose this block that was about the size of a bathroom stall.

We all pushed with our feet, and the thing went. Pretty steep at first, it really got going. When it got down to the trees, it instantly turned the first oak into a load of toothpicks. It then split in two, and you could see each half tearing through the forest for about 100' in each direction.

Bud Talls, crowbars, and High School buddies. Nothing like it.

A long way from where I started
Apr 4, 2010 - 12:49pm PT
Bud Talls, crowbars, and High School buddies. Nothing like it.

And the great thing about it is that it's still just as good decades later. Doesn't matter if you're 15 or 30 or 45 or 60 or 75...

Kick-starting a two-ton surfboard
Kick-starting a two-ton surfboard
Credit: Ghost

The block on the right was about 6 x 3 x 1. Getting it off the wall not only made the climb safer, but saved us a lot of work trail clearing.

Trad climber
Apr 4, 2010 - 01:04pm PT


Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom
Apr 4, 2010 - 01:10pm PT
Wasn't there an article is one of the Brit rags - subsequently reprinted in "Games Climbers Play" called "The Joys of Trundling" or some such?

They always tells us not to trundle and we always do. It's one of the true joys of going into the hills.

Apr 4, 2010 - 01:26pm PT
Two trundle fests stand out.

Steinbock during the filming of K2.
The top of the 2000' north face slopes a bit at the top and was littered with nuggets up to VW size. We had a crew of 8-10 FX guys and "Safety" riggers including Weis, Sibley, Lane, Corbin, Dean and I think Flavelle and Berntsen. We had crowbars and bodies to spare and it was awesome!

Parrot's Beak during our 1980 trip to the Cirque.
Our route ended up on a huge ledge near the top of the bell shaped buttress.
I had led the pitch and was the first human on the ledge as far as I know.
I tied the rope off so Dave could jug, unroped and started trundling. In the space of a few minutes I had an artillery barrage of household appliance size nuggets exploding into dust. Soon Dave had joined me leaving Scott and Phil to follow with the bags and our efforts became frenzied and manic.
We could hear Scott and Phil hollering from below, "Save some for us!".

Honorable mention goes to Schultz and McDougall (maybe Brooke as well) for trundling a huge limestone gendarme near Strone de Formin during Cliffhanger. It was apparently twenty or thirty feet tall and measured in numbers of tons.

I also recall working with Lane and Flavelle using hydraulic jacks to dislodge a twenty ton "Hazard" while filming Ace Ventura south of the Bugs.
Now that was a beauty!


Apr 4, 2010 - 09:51pm PT
Early '80's with Shipley from El Cap Tree ... lots of shrapnel.

Mid 90's White Rim Trail Utah with my friend Lee - I've got the video of this one, which is hilarious - us, slightly inebriated, big block, pushing it over, only to have it not go over the edge and instead shatter at the very edge - I guess you've got to see the video.

pip the dog

Mountain climber
planet dogboy
Apr 4, 2010 - 11:36pm PT
for me, a flake almost precisely the size of just a standard home refrigerator door. though, alas, with me attached. this on an east coast (US) cliff where climbing was, then, "illegal"(ish?). as such i had to crawl my own broken butt out, as i was solo and it cost me a compound fracture of my right tib/fib combo, a broken wrist, & etc. sheesh.

though "Trundle" - as i understand the word -- means an intentional and controlled 'cleaning' of obvious disaster for you and those who might later follow. as such, my highball gone unintentionally and suddenly much amiss doesn't qualify. so, uh, never mind.

fun thread, though. replete with some truly fine photos.

me, i'd trade (one of _your_) significant body parts to climb with Michael Hjorth. that dude is clearly tuned into some outstanding rock not yet known to the unwashed masses (ok, me). oh, happy Chiloe -- Hjorth's pal and our clan's very own International Man of Mystery. i want Chiloe's job -- well, actually, what i really want is just his frequent flyer miles and his local contacts. i'm rather certain that his actual job duties would give me _such_ a brain cramp.

BITD, when my pals were doing odd stuff in the outer bitterroots (rock almost great, but alas usually with a band or two of undercooked stuff - at least on the long and really pretty lines) those who seconded those undercooked bands were called "rock goalies” -- and for good reason. we'd flip a coin at the base, then trade leads -- as no one wanted to play rock goalie in the EasyBakeOven stuff. far better to lead (even with the lame pro therein), then be tied in on a short leash in the target zone below.

it was there i learned to give myself at least 5 or 8 feet of 'play' beneath the hanging belays -- as it gave me at least the hope of avoiding the "AH FOOK! -- INCOMING!" far bigger than any helmet could ever handle.

people wonder why, to this day, i often tie off oddly (and admittedly, foolishly) long below most belays, even on solid stuff like Tuolumne. hard to translate "INCOMING!" -- or that special smell of rocks sparking nearby. yeah, kinda like the smell of lightning’s ozone or elmo's fire (i myself have never smelled cordite) -- but i believe it simply doesn't translate into ascii. that said, a smell you'd definitely remember if you ever smelled it, all up close and personal.

i’m much digging this thread. keep it coming.


Social climber
Apr 5, 2010 - 12:08am PT
First THAT SMELL and then the taste of adrenaline in yer mouth.

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