Your Wildest Trundle


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Apr 5, 2010 - 01:44am PT

Jun 16, 2008 - 09:10am PT
Hopelessly waiting for the heat to subside, Richard Leversee and I lay in the parking area with haulbag and pack packed. We arrived to do an FA on North Dome at Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon NP. Then this guy comes up to us, asking if we were going to climb. In the following conversation we discovered that 'Mike' had minimal experience, but was 'volunteering' to sign-up. Lever and I looked to each other with the, "are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Sure, someone to help with the load (haul slave). Mike was an employee in the park and we drove back to his place to pick-up his gear. Soon after that we were humping to the base in the summer heat.

The route followed this crack system to the left of TM's route (a huge corner), diagonaling out left towards the center of the face. Mike, being the last off of the belay had to do a big lower-out on this one pitch, "Hey, there's this huge loose block out here, what should I do?" We looked down at Mike and his new friend, a one-foot thick, fifteen-foot high and four-foot wide block literally teetering on its end. We had Mike get just above the obelisk and gather up any spare rope that may be dangling around it. Then we screamed, "ROCK!" for about five minutes to the tourists below and warnings for them to clear out.

Then with a gentle kick, Mike sent this thing down! First, it fell outward, hinging at its base falling down the face like a huge surf board. The sound of it pushing air was unnerving. The block hit the slab below and exploded into gazillions of pieces, sending many large chunks rifling through the forest. Lucky, no touroids were injured in the making of this FA.

Uh, and I'll never do any of those slab routes down there now, either!

 - ec

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 5, 2010 - 01:51am PT
Yes, trundling is a very dangerous sport. "Look out below!"...
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 5, 2010 - 02:03am PT
I believe that the Scots version of "look out below" is "gardyloo!".

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 5, 2010 - 02:07am PT
That has a nice ring to it. I wonder what that warning might sound like in other languages. Anyone else out there know how someone in another realm might express this?
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 5, 2010 - 02:13am PT
In Norwegian, they say "stein!". And they're not referring to beer.

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 5, 2010 - 02:19am PT
On Venus they just laugh. So if you hear chuckling from above you better duck.

Social climber
Apr 5, 2010 - 12:52pm PT
Going over the lip.
Going over the lip.
Credit: miwuksurfer

Trad climber
North Carolina
Apr 5, 2010 - 01:46pm PT
Never trundled anything big, had to fall some trees off a 300' bluff once.

I DO know who trundled 'the bomb' from The Legendary Nuclear Bomb route on Looking Glass... but it's classified.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Apr 5, 2010 - 02:27pm PT
I was on a geology field trip in Northern New Mexico. We stopped at the bridge on HWY 74 where it crosses the Rio Grande river. I think it's about a 1,000 feet above the river there. 3 of us carried a 150 lb rock out to the middle of the bridge and dropped it into the river.

I'd rafted that section 3 times and so we were really careful to make sure that no one was down there. It hit right in the middle of the river and splashed water on both banks, pretty amazing sound also. I'd probably be the old fart trying to talk the kids out of doing that nowadays, but it was sure fun back then.


Trad climber
portland, or
Apr 5, 2010 - 02:32pm PT
My best trundle ever was in 1973 (Tami, I got you beat, that's 37 years ago!). My friend and I were at the summit of Little Annapurna, in Washington's Enchantment Lakes region. The summit elevation is about 8,400 feet. Some 4,000 feet below, to the south, is Ingalls Creek.

We started rolling boulders over the edge, you know, the ones that strong, teenage kids can move, say microwave oven size. There were some other people in the area, and one woman yelled, "Stop that, you're hurting my stomach!"

So we moved on to a side canyon, and by that time the other people, including the one with the boulder-induced apendectomy, left. So off we went, to the vertical bowling alley. Suddenly, I noticed one of my boulders, on its way down, hit a LARGE boulder(Volkswagen Beetle-size), and it moved an inch! Exceitedly, I kept rolling bouilders down that way, and finally, ever so slowly, it started to move, and did not stop moving.

At that point I yelled, no screamed, over to my freind, across the canyon, who was lost in his own cordite-producing activities. The monster boulder parted ways with the moutainside, and slowly lumbered down the thousands of feet, taking with it many more. The noise and dust rose for at least five full minutes.

After it was over, my friend said when he heard me scream and saw that monster boulder slip off the cliff, he thought I was going with it to my doom. Like the woman, I too had a gut-ache, but only from laughing uncontrollably for at least an hour! Needless to say, I recovered, and felt good for having helped Mother Nature's process of erosion!

Trad climber
Beautiful, BC
Apr 5, 2010 - 02:43pm PT
I sent a 4x8 pancake sliding down Slab Alley on the apron late one night, long ago, I was sure it wiped out all the bolts on the route. A few microwaves off the North walls with Dean and Randy. Got something huge off of Squamish buttress once too.

Another wierd slow motion trundle off a new route in penticton called Leaner which kinda chased poor Randy on the ground, it was not a high trundle.

The best was a round double volkswagon at Place Glacier which went all the way thru the alpine zone into the subalpine blasting out trees like toothpicks. A giant bowling ball I was able to get moving with not much effort.

Jim I remember trundling into that gully you speak of as well.

Nowadays trundling in Squish is out of the question, but I am glad we got all the big shyte down before the place got so popular

Social climber
Apr 5, 2010 - 03:53pm PT
That's classic..

"Contact with the 2000' rubble gulley causing a torrent of trees,rocks and dirt. The noise was deafening. What now ? Craig, the voice of reason says, "we should go"


isn't that a pretty common experience when pushing rocks/boulders off the top of anything?

too funny.

All my trundle experiences were duds..

Had one in the Gorge, Bishop, that a buddy pushed, we watched, then heard the voice from below "Hey"..

let's get outta here!!!

Another in Buttermilk Country, got a freezer sized boulder to start moving, then it slid for about 5 feet, exploded into a million pieces, theh rained down the familiar oatmeal grains over the boulder we were standing on...

Total dud!!!

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 5, 2010 - 03:58pm PT
I heard somewhere that the Army Corps of Engineers used dynamite to remove a bunch of glacial erratics from the tops of many domes in Tuolumne because they were thought to be a danger. Ten thousand years or so up there, a danger? Maybe they were anticipating some trundlers.

Trad climber
Apr 5, 2010 - 04:05pm PT
The more common trundles end up in a minboggling explosion of dust, sparks and cordite smoke. I've always been amazed at how fast a rock gains terminal velocity, and the finality of the plummet.

Rarer are soft landings.I was on a dinky 90 foot basalt crack in a chossy little canyon in AZ when I pulled up to a good six inch ledge stance. Standing on it I pulled out a green camalot and placed it behind a fridge sized block/flake thing that was sitting on the ledge. It was about 4 feet wide and about 8 feet tall, a little layback section. I tugged the cam once as I set it and a little shower of grit flowed out of the base of the block and it shifted downwards a couple of inches before stopping. I was too afraid to even move. I didn't clip the piece, and moved out onto the face and ran it out on pockets to the top. I rigged a rap and headed diagonally. When I got to to top of the block I nudged it with my foot and it went like it was on grease. It did a front flip and then fell clean about 70 feet before it hit the soft dirt with a huge resounding bass thud that echoed against the far wall. It teetered for a second before sliding down through the scrub clearing out a 6 footpath, and thudded again in the dirt at the bottom. The crater it left at the base of the climb was huge. The thud sounds are something I'll never forget.

Trad climber
Apr 5, 2010 - 04:40pm PT
A memorable trundle year ago off Midnight Rock almost made it to Hwy 2. Mastadon might have the foto of the alleged trundlers turned danglers after their footrest left the station.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 5, 2010 - 04:43pm PT
Clode mentions an extremely useful technique, the "chain reaction" boulder. Often the larger boulders are stuck precariously and inaccessibly below the locus operandi. But artfully aimed smaller stones can sometimes dislodge the larger.

I wonder if any of the Apollo astronauts did any trundling on the Moon?

Trad climber
Albuquerque, NM
Apr 5, 2010 - 04:59pm PT

search down the page for:
The Overlook Ban, Deputy Dawg, and a car jack...
Concerned citizen

Big Wall climber
Apr 5, 2010 - 05:17pm PT
Not as a trundler, but as a trundlee, I think back to Seneca Rocks in the 1970's. I was bushwhacking across on the hillside below the rocks on the west, and I was about to leave the brush and step into the talus under the notch between the South and North rocks when some climbers chose to trundle a large block. I recall one of them calling to the other about the wisdom of doing so, and the response being that no one would ever be hiking down there. I stepped into view at that very instant, just as the block started its descent. I had no difficulty in moving to safety, but apologies were yelled down anyway.

Big Wall climber
Nor Nev
Apr 6, 2010 - 03:52pm PT
Ok this ones for the records and i'm talking some serious distance on this one.

I took my dad to hike Boundary Peak in the Whites. It is the highest point in Nevada and as Nevadans we should do the right thing and see what it is like on top of Nevada.

Once above tree line which is interesting as the only trees around are the oldest trees on earth we get to the top. Once on top I notice there are some big rocks just sitting there waiting for a trundle. The circe below is huge and goes for many thousand feet down. I see this rock that is about as big as a big truck tire and shaped like a tire. So my dad knows nothing about trundle and I am not a huge fan as i always worry there is someone below out of sight but in the path, and of course if you have trundled they can be visious on nature.

I see this rock and I have to trundle it. It is too perfect of shape and size not to trundle. I walk over and give it the slightest push, and low and behold the thing just takes off. My dad asks WTF are you doing and I explain that this is just a one time shot and he just stands there shaking his head. i tell him to watch this rock go.

Open circe bowl with a morain in the middle. The rock takes off and it is rolling like a tire and it is now doing about 100 mph I assume as it has now gone well over 1500 feet down the mountain. I am now scared seeing the speed and distance it has traveled in a short time. The thing is just flying and at the bottom it hits the moraine. I think it caught about 500 feet of air and lands on the uphill side of the opposite side of the circe and just keeps going. It is now almost out of view and still going when it hits a huge bump and then goes airborne again. gets all out of center and finally crashes. It had to have gone close to a mile. Scared the sh#t out of me. I then spent the next half of the day telling my dad to stop trying to trundle every rock he saw.

I do not trundle any more but that one really opened my eyes as to how far a rock can go with the slightest push.

looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Latitute 33
Apr 6, 2010 - 04:11pm PT
1982, Jonny Woodward, myself, Maria(may have participated) and a couple other Brits trundled a very large (refrigerator++) size boulder at Gogarth. It sat perched on the steep grassy slopes directly above Wen Zawn (home of Dream of White Horses, T-Rex, etc.) We were participating in a "Climber Exchange" at the time and discovered a kindred joy of trundling with the Brits.

The boulder required only moderate coaxing before it tumbled and then free fell directly into the sea below. Given the grassy slope, we had to be extra careful not to join the downward trajectory. A climber got a photo of it from across the way, but I have no idea what ever happened to the picture.

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