Nose death flake


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Jun 18, 2013 - 07:00pm PT
I can tell you from personal experience that it will likely come right down along the line of the first three aid pitches of the original Nose.

Nope .... it will be farther to the right.

I've witnessed blocks coming down from 1 pitch below Camp4 and they flew over dolt tower.

Clint has it correct ......

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 18, 2013 - 07:04pm PT
I knew I would be corrected cause I didn't really think about how much further
east the end of the King Swing is than Camp 4. My sense of direction has
been screwed up ever since those blocks whizzed by inches from my pea brain
and created a vacuum which sucked my brains out. ;-)

Jun 18, 2013 - 07:20pm PT
we drill bolt in them and chain them to the wall

That will work.

But what if the thing slides out from the vibration of drilling a bolt into it?


A pile of dirt.
Jun 18, 2013 - 08:09pm PT
nobodys forgetting

amazing how you can advocate simply throwing our hands up

Huh? Troll?
Dr. Christ

Mountain climber
State of Mine
Jun 18, 2013 - 08:14pm PT
Kev, everyone forgets... except the chaff.

Nobody understands... except the chaff.

Maybe chaff should camp out R of Dolt and report back after the block comes down. That is the only way any of us can really be sure it really happened.

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 18, 2013 - 08:59pm PT
im with clint on this one mostly.. based on standing there and looking down the plum line.. it will fall all about dolt tower... but will likely spread out a bit too in chunks and get both sides

Trad climber
Jun 18, 2013 - 09:01pm PT
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..

That statement brings back a fright from Sahara Terror at Tahquitz in the early 80's which is strikingly similar to the OP. My friend was leading when I hear the sound of rock scraping against rock. It slid a few inches but fortunately for me the rock did not trundle. We yelled down for everyone to clear out below. After my friend established the belay, I batmanned around it. It was about the size of a door and 6" thick.

Unfortunately, the very next day a guy dropped it on the woman belaying him. It severed her arm completely and she bled to death at the belay. Could have been me.

It is a roll of the dice. We cannot garden all the objective hazards, but I wish I could go back in time and done something about that block.
Dr. Christ

Mountain climber
State of Mine
Jun 18, 2013 - 09:43pm PT
I'm happy to trundle anything that poses a threat. Why make erosion wait?

Trad climber
Jun 18, 2013 - 09:51pm PT
Why make erosion wait?

Because there are people below.

edit: for long time after the event I searched my soul for what I could have done to prevent that young woman's death. Should have come back in the middle of the night on rappel and trundled it.

Social climber
Jun 18, 2013 - 10:10pm PT
hey there say, climb007, and all... and oh my, johntp, what an awful situation, :O as to the gal... :(

it is so hard when being thankful, we turn and find that someone else, got hit, :(

well, heres hoping that folks that don't read here, can be let known, ???,
somehow, to avoid that section you spoke of... :O

this year had been to sad, as to rockfall, already... though it is part of climbing, as all folks know, it does not mean that 'we can't have a good grapevine of warning' to certain areas...

thanks for sharing with folks,
and here's hoping and praying that if it falls more, it can do it in a night-storm, sometime, when no one is around... :O
Dr. Christ

Mountain climber
State of Mine
Jun 18, 2013 - 10:36pm PT
Sorry johntp, didn't mean to suggest you made a poor choice. Just expressing my desire to transform potential energy into kinetic.

Trad climber
Jun 18, 2013 - 11:11pm PT
No problem. I guess the question is how to address loose rock. To me I see it as an objective hazard to be dealt with. But the fact that this woman died a day after we did the route has always haunted me. I knew it was a serious hazard and did nothing.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 19, 2013 - 01:33am PT

I almost had the same thing happen to me.
There was a loose block/flake at the base of South by Southwest
(Lower Cathedral Spire), which was a natural spot to place the belay.
I saw it move when I tested the cams I had placed behind it,
so I moved my anchor further left.
We thought about trundling it, but were concerned that even in the late
afternoon, there might possibly be someone starting the route below.
We should have sent one person down on rappel to check that out,
then climb back up and trundle.
Instead we left it.

Some months later, 2 good climbers (James Selvidge and partner)
made their anchor there and the block came off.
They slid down a slab towards the edge, but somehow managed to stop.
If they hadn't saved themselves, I'd feel exactly like you did.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jun 19, 2013 - 11:53am PT
I am pretty sure that Boot Flake is completely detached, at least at the top. I assume that it is sitting on a hidden ledge or is attached near the base.

Hasn't anyone read the stories about how spooky it was to piton that thing before the age of clean climbing? The whole thing used to vibrate.

There is a chopped chicken bolt about halfway up it that is hard to see..I think.

I have heard who put it there, but Werner should state it. A very surprising name from long ago.

It will fall off when it is ready. The mass of the thing is enourmous, and the force a climber puts on it is small. How small, who knows.

Trad climber
Davis, CA
Jun 19, 2013 - 01:18pm PT
Hey Guys,

Also went up the Nose this last weekend and saw some movement on this flake. My partner and I were at the belay above Eagle Ledge and were being passed by Chris Belvins' and his NIAD solo (great job Chris!!) when he stepped on the flake above us and we heard a loud crunch and saw the flake sink into the wall about half an inch.

If the flake could be removed safely I truly believe a serious injury could be avoided.


Jun 19, 2013 - 01:26pm PT
Who knows if cleaning the OP flake will set off a larger event? It's not really like a solo stone on a ledge that you could know for sure that it's the only thing headed to the deck.


Jun 19, 2013 - 01:31pm PT
Is the huge flake still there high up on the WEML? Harding said he had to keep a 'TA' (Tight Asshole) and hope for the best and hooked across it. I did this in '81 and it seemed like it was ready to go then too.


Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 19, 2013 - 01:34pm PT
- ScottR.. glad to hear your ok.. the reason I posted this thread was because I knew just how loose that thing is.. so its not surprising that it moved again...

that thing is coming down.. and soon.. its only a matter of how and when its triggered...

that said.. it will likely cause a larger event when it goes.. based on where it is...

no good solution I can really see... lets just pray it doesnt get any of our friends!!

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jun 19, 2013 - 01:48pm PT
Just expressing my desire to transform potential energy into kinetic.

Wes, I like to think the Second Law of Thermodynamics is for our protection, so I do my best to increase entropy.

Seriously, though, I can think of several formerly frightening features that are gone now: Psyche Flake, the Undercling Pitch, the Gong Flake, the Rotten Log, the "killer Death Flake" after the Hog Trough on Overhang Bypass, and most of the El Cap Tree Direct route, to name a few. Regardless of where the plumb line lies, when (not if) this Nose death flake goes, it seems likely to me that it will take someone lower down with it unless we find a way to trundle it and evacuate the likely fall areas soon.

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jun 19, 2013 - 02:02pm PT
That thing sounds serious.

Cheyne to the rescue?
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