Half Dome Rockfall?

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Dave Miller

climber
June Lake, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 5, 2015 - 01:58pm PT
Just got a call from a buddy who is currently at the top of pitch 11 (pitch above the Robbins traverse) of the regular route on Half Dome and he says the ledge there is missing! Anyone heard of recent rock fall on HD? He's done the route before so I kinda trust what he's saying, as outlandish as it sounds.
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Jul 5, 2015 - 04:13pm PT
A little late for April Fools. Anything to this?
Dave Miller

climber
June Lake, California
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 5, 2015 - 04:38pm PT
Apparently they bailed cause they couldn't reach the anchor which is still there but with no ledge below it. He said there was a big dirt outline where the ledge was supposed to be. He also mentioned the area around the base of HD looked kinda gnarly but he just thought it was from the recent rain storms. Will be interested to find out what's going on up there, that's one of my favorite routes in the world.
DonC

climber
CA
Jul 5, 2015 - 04:41pm PT
wow, I remember that as a pretty big/long ledge with lots of good size rocks on it
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Jul 5, 2015 - 05:21pm PT
Spooky bump
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jul 5, 2015 - 06:00pm PT
Just glad it didn't fall off when we were there!
Must not have been anyone there, or this would be posted already?
Dave Miller

climber
June Lake, California
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 5, 2015 - 06:04pm PT
Sadly it looks to be true. Here is a photo taken looking up from the Robbins traverse. There's a lot that is missing!

And here's a photo of the debris field at the base


Photos were taken by my buddy Drew
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Jul 5, 2015 - 06:09pm PT
Damn exfoliation.
WBraun

climber
Jul 5, 2015 - 06:29pm PT
YOWZA !!!!!

Rock Armageddon !!!!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 5, 2015 - 06:30pm PT
Wow, looks like a new bolt ladder might be needed to reach the corner system?
Besides the p11 bivvy ledge, it looks like the flakes used for the "tunnel through" variation are gone, too.
mongrel

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Jul 5, 2015 - 06:31pm PT
Regarding comments above, yes it was a good sized and rather long ledge system. I'm glad it didn't fall off while we were BIVIED on it some 25 or 30 years ago (topping out the next day). That would be a seriously rude awakening. Somebody ought to post this over on Beta, by all rights, the party who discovered it.

Edit to add: a new ladder or some free or aid climbing that's a lot harder than anything else.
Travis Haussener

Trad climber
Salt Lake City
Jul 5, 2015 - 06:34pm PT
Looks like a first ascent variation is in order
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 5, 2015 - 06:41pm PT
Whoa - big news!

John
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA/Boulder, CO
Jul 5, 2015 - 06:47pm PT
I will donate some bolt on holds if someone wants to re-establish the free variation:-)
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 5, 2015 - 06:50pm PT
wonder if the rat's had anything to do with it? those mutha's kept us up all night when we slept there:(~~~

definitely has something to do with climate change tho. So it's prolly man's fault;)
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 5, 2015 - 06:53pm PT
^^^one post up
what about Serenity or The Nose?
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 5, 2015 - 07:08pm PT
Should I mention that the free variation bypasses the Robbins Traverse?

First Psyche Flake, then the Undercling Pitch, now the end of the Robbins Traverse. Pretty soon, all of the distinctive sections when I first started climbing will be mere memories. Oh well, someone will be able to say they made the Last Ascent of the Robbins Traverse.

John
ß Î Ø T Ç H

climber
Jul 5, 2015 - 07:12pm PT
The route is compromised, NPS should step in and create a via-ferrata out of it.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Jul 5, 2015 - 07:35pm PT
hey there say, dave and all... glad no one had to through that experience, :O
say, does anyone have before and after pics...

as, i am not knowing how it looked before, but would be interested to learn...
RP3

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
Jul 5, 2015 - 08:17pm PT
WOW! The route has significantly changed! I bet it will be a while before anyone frees it again...

2 weeks ago:

Now:
Climbnrok

Trad climber
LA
Jul 5, 2015 - 08:26pm PT
Good shot of the old P11 ledge in this trip report from 2013.

http://www.markpthomas.com/mountaineering/trip-reports/california/half-dome-regular-nw-face
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
Jul 5, 2015 - 08:28pm PT
Dr. Stock, paging Dr. Stock. Comments please!
Captain...or Skully

climber
Boise, ID
Jul 5, 2015 - 08:33pm PT
The price of being on a living Earth. Change is the order of the day. I'd say get used to it. Nothing is forever.
jsb

Trad climber
Bay area
Jul 5, 2015 - 08:37pm PT
Here's some side-by-side before and after photos.

Zoomed out

Zoomed in
Captain...or Skully

climber
Boise, ID
Jul 5, 2015 - 08:50pm PT
Quite a bit o fresh stone there, eh?
Half Dome is the adventure stone after all.....
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Jul 5, 2015 - 10:11pm PT
Mother of God.

So all of this material, gone?




Last summer we repeated it, and of the whole route, there was one move that seemed more serious and more difficult than the first time.

It was that jingus step across to gain the sloping rail and the .11 (usually wet) crack left of the squeeze, just off of this ledge. Is it possible that that move was harder because there had been some separation? Hmm.

Scary, wild. Truly f*#king wild, the more you think about it! Someone must have seen or heard this event. Who's got the story? gstock?

Edit: I wanted to climb that keyhole variation. Damn.
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA/Boulder, CO
Jul 5, 2015 - 10:29pm PT
Probably due to some tourons trundling rocks off the top:-)
rwedgee

Ice climber
CA
Jul 5, 2015 - 10:31pm PT
Must have cut loose amongst all the recent thunderstorms at night or there would be a witness....check the base.
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
Jul 6, 2015 - 06:58am PT
WWRRD? Sell bracelets to fund a long bolt ladder to the pendulum connector.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Jul 6, 2015 - 07:25am PT
Well now I have to go back to North Dome and take new photos! A 'before and after' from the same perspective.

For those who want to pan around that area close up, check this out and turn off the layers (upper right) if they are distracting.

http://038dbbc.netsolhost.com/maps-gis/half-dome-map/

Here is an annotated bit:
Bad Climber

climber
Jul 6, 2015 - 07:25am PT
Uh, I bivied on that ledge! Yikes, yikes, and double yikes. As my buddy Pete, bro of Klaus, says: Impermanence is a MOFO.

Play safe, kids.

BAd
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Jul 6, 2015 - 07:31am PT
Holy cow!!! Triple yikes!
overwatch

climber
Jul 6, 2015 - 08:11am PT
Thats how bedouins have sex


















F*#king intense
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Jul 6, 2015 - 08:27am PT
I blame Le_Bruce, pictured here in the very act.


His thrutching and thrashing and poor form probably weakened the flake.
rmagner15

Trad climber
Cathedral city, ca
Jul 6, 2015 - 09:13am PT
Destroy all.
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Jul 6, 2015 - 09:22am PT
I blame Le_Bruce, pictured here in the very act.

Burn him before he pulls off boot flake!
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
Jul 6, 2015 - 09:24am PT
The park cervix should have chained the flake to the wall like the rocker block on Moonlight. Looks like there are plenty more flakes that need to be chained and pronto.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Jul 6, 2015 - 09:26am PT
Can the date be narrowed down by ST folks who climbed the route in the last month? How could this possibly have happened without people noticing?

EDIT: I guess bad weather would have ensured no climbers on the route and night + storm could have made it not very obvious.
ClimbingRanger

Trad climber
Yosemite, CA
Jul 6, 2015 - 10:22am PT
Hey folks,

The Yosemite climbing management along with the park geologist are actively investigating the recent rockfall event on pitch 11 (it's disappearance) of the Regular Northwest Face on Half Dome. We will be evaluating it this afternoon from the ground and will be up at the base and on the route tomorrow to get a closer look.

We know that getting over to the anchors at the end of the Robbins Traverse is unlikely due to the routes current state. We recommend holding off on climbing the route until we have more information. As we gather more details we will keep the community updated here and on the Yosemite Climbing Information website.

http://www.climbingyosemite.com

If you have information about the event or questions, you can reach our office at 209-372-0360 or contact us from the website.

Thanks and be safe,

Brandon Latham
Climbing Ranger
Yosemite National Park
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Jul 6, 2015 - 10:26am PT
Thanks for the update Brandon. Keep us posted.
JohnnyG

climber
Jul 6, 2015 - 11:15am PT
haha! I slept jammed into the bottom of that chimney once. Miserable night. Good riddance flake!

Lorenzo

Trad climber
Portland Oregon
Jul 6, 2015 - 11:25am PT
That makes the third major feature I've climbed past that is gone.

Wiesner route at Seneca, the Gendarme, now this.

Fourth, if you count the rotten log.
pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
Jul 6, 2015 - 11:33am PT
ATTENTION

the route Tis-sa-sack has a lot of missing features :(

I climbed the route in 2001 and believe some features are missing!

can we get the park service to fix up that route while were on the subject!!!
Mongo88

Trad climber
Clinton,CT
Jul 6, 2015 - 11:51am PT
The Gendarme, the Rotten Log and The Old Man of the Mountain, too
martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
Jul 6, 2015 - 12:17pm PT
I haven't climbed the NWF since 1976 or something. When I did it I led a pitch called the Robbins Chimney? Is this correct and is it still there? It was a pain in the ass 5.9 squeeze as I remember.
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Jul 6, 2015 - 12:39pm PT
Honestly- some jobs in Yos are a giant waste of resources

I'm guessing you have not had much experience with our guberment.
steveA

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Jul 6, 2015 - 12:55pm PT
Glad I did this route a few years ago with my son, since I wouldn't go back.
I did an early ascent of the Direct NWF, back in 1972, with John Bouchard, and we experienced an enormous rockfall, below us, around 11 PM. We were perched on a ledge, below the visor, and we thought the whole cliff was coming down.

Each time I've been up there, there has been stuff coming off, and I consider the place kind of spooky.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 6, 2015 - 12:59pm PT
Each time I've been up there, there has been stuff coming off, and I consider the place kind of spooky.

Me, too, Steve. Galen Rowell told me in 1971 (before my first journey there) that he thought it was one of the most active faces in the Park.

John
MattF

Trad climber
Bend, Or
Jul 6, 2015 - 01:03pm PT
I just did the route last spring, and I was thinking of trying to go back and get a free ascent at some point. I was curious exactly what was missing now, so I tried as best as I could to match up the pictures with the Supertopo from the Big Walls 3rd edition I have. Here's my best guess on how much of the route is actually gone based on the topo:

NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Jul 6, 2015 - 01:09pm PT
Imagine being in the midst of the tunnel through when the rock starts a subsonic sighing...

So le_bruce, are you still going to rope-gun me up this thing some day? Bivy at the base? And no more using your superhuman strength to make those blocks loose!
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
Jul 6, 2015 - 01:13pm PT
Seriously, a little Sugru and epoxy and the face will be good as knew.
wayne burleson

climber
Amherst, MA
Jul 6, 2015 - 01:15pm PT
Climbed it on June 4, 2015 and all seemed well...
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Jul 6, 2015 - 01:48pm PT
I have. Here's my best guess on how much of the route is actually gone based on the topo:

Yeah, you can still see that corner, but the tension traverse to the start of the 5.7 chimney goes nowhere now! That chimney empties into air.

All of this is gone - you can see how the flake probably burst out about here based on the horizontal crack splitting the apex of the spreading. Nasty P-delta effects going on here. The outward sloping bits above would have fallen right off. You can see some of the remnants above still hanging in the latest photos, though ...


It looks like the entire outer flake on the right fell off, fracturing from the face somewhere just above the tension traverse:

Strom

Boulder climber
Tiburon, CA
Jul 6, 2015 - 03:14pm PT
Here is a video I shot before the rockfall took place. I think the piece that came off can be found around 6:09 to 6:50 in the video. I am glad no one got hurt below on the death slabs or on the route!

https://youtu.be/xxIFoegtMx4

I also found a photo of the ledge that is now missing. Apparently everything next to the main wall with the bolts on it is gone.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Jul 6, 2015 - 03:15pm PT
I can't resist thinking about this since I saw those horizontal cracks and the huge displacement at the line partway up P12. I wonder what the NPS geologists think about this as the action that ripped that flake off?

Texplorer

Trad climber
Sacramento
Jul 6, 2015 - 03:38pm PT
Leave it to government route-setters to only change a route once every decade and only one pitch at that.
ruppell

climber
Jul 6, 2015 - 03:44pm PT
I'll bet gravity is the action that ripped the flake off the wall.
skitch

Gym climber
Bend Or
Jul 6, 2015 - 04:03pm PT
God dammit! I was planning on doing it this year. Guess I'm going to have to bring a few dozen bolts, good thing I'm really tall!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Jul 6, 2015 - 05:05pm PT
Mark, damnit, please get the hell out with that calamity science because I'm not open to any line of thinking that renders the future of those three chimney pitches as anything but ultra stable/permanent. Easily some of the best pitches I've ever climbed - you too?

If that whole flake mass that forms those chimneys is going to peel sooner rather than later (read in our life times), someone please get up there and salvage that section of holy splitter off the 12th belay. Aesthetic overdose in me when I see that thing, can't let it get pulverized in the talus, it'd be like losing the Mona Lisa. Perfect splitter leading to perfect airy chimney leading to blue blue sky, all in that setting, ahhh



Nearly shedding a tear thinking about it.

Micronut: if that thing does fall I give you and your new truck a 24 hr window to drive up the Death Slabs, where you'll huck the remnants into the bed and deliver to Oakland for my mantlepiece, deal?

Nutjob: No but we can still go do the ski jump to spireview
WBraun

climber
Jul 6, 2015 - 05:17pm PT
Caltrans is coming to pave a new road up the Regular Route for all the n00bs who are crying ......
CCT

Trad climber
Jul 6, 2015 - 05:55pm PT
Anyone know how long it takes lichen to colonize fresh granite? Look at this photo - lichen above the exfoliation zone, no lichen below. So, the split can't be older than a hundred years or so, right?

mongrel

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Jul 6, 2015 - 06:12pm PT
Yeah, le_bruce, that's a nice looking splitter there, but I'm not that sorry the 5.9 squeeze is gone. I recall it as not being very fun with a lot of rack. Why I didn't have just a couple pieces and no aiders, just stupid I guess, but it wasn't a very fun pitch up top. And I usually like chimneys and wide just fine.

It's too bad the bivy is gone. It was good, with nice separate spots for two, and not stinky when we did it because you only end up there if you start super late or walked up that morning. Rocks falling from high up fall right over you, a little ways out in space (this happened, or maybe a body).

The Wombat is certainly right, the next chimney pitch or two are next, and not that far in the future, I'd wager. Some future year, a famous ledge higher. It'll be known as Thank-God-I-Wasn't-On-It Ledge.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Jul 6, 2015 - 07:14pm PT
Easily some of the best pitches I've ever climbed - you too?

Yep! Makes me sad I might not ever get a chance to do them again.

I'm not that sorry the 5.9 squeeze is gone

It looks like its still there. It just lost the 5.7 beginning and a floor to cap the bottom :-)

In a more vertical and rocky sense, the flake collapse seems like it could be similar to a glide avalanche, with the flakes on the N Face almost positioned like these slabs, ready to go as soon as meltwater debonds them enough from the slabs.
F10

Trad climber
Bishop
Jul 6, 2015 - 07:20pm PT
Time to chain Boot Flake to the wall before it goes.........

Maybe not, I've heard it has been missing on several April 1st, but is still there !!
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Jul 6, 2015 - 08:29pm PT
I like that I always read info here firsthand and then see it the next day on the climbing magazine sites.

Go supertopo!
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Jul 6, 2015 - 09:36pm PT
Don't take anything for granite . . . impermanence is the rule.
ElGreco

Mountain climber
Jul 6, 2015 - 10:16pm PT
Wait, wait. le_bruce implicated again?? The dude was the one who filmed the massive May 2011 rockfall!

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1516671/Half-Dome-Death-slabs-rock-fall-5-27-11-video

I sense some kind of self-destructive fetish here whereby he climbs the juicy splitters to exhaustion and then stuffs them with dynamite.

I was on this thing on Jun21. The recent chit chat on the beta page about rockfall made me uneasy. Sleeping at the base and being on the Slabs was not exactly carefree - let's put it that way. On the day of the climb, we saw two blocks come down in sequence. We were traversing up and right towards the Robbins bolt ladder at the time. Not sure if they were from the visor or lower down.

People mention rockfall in relation to this face all the time. Is it really that active? Or do we just read about the eventful ascents but never know about the 100s that don't witness any rockfall because... there's nothing to write about?

I find it astounding that on a long Jul4 weekend, and with the spring running, no one was on a trade route like this or on the Slabs. Did the thunderstorm chances put people off? Whatever the reason, let's be thankful (if indeed no one was on/near it and we won't hear about a missing party in the next day or two - I sincerely hope not).
john hansen

climber
Jul 6, 2015 - 10:19pm PT
Ephemeral.
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Jul 6, 2015 - 10:25pm PT
Bring a bolt kit . . . everywhere!
Edge

Trad climber
Betwixt and Between Nederland & Boulder, CO
Jul 6, 2015 - 10:31pm PT
When the last layer of the RNWF falls waste from the Half Onion, then the route I climbed will be no more, it will be as if I climbed 5 feet out from the new face, levitating up memories.

I find that fascinating.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 6, 2015 - 10:38pm PT
When I first did the RNWF in the 70s, I stopped a pitch below Big Sandy and was looking around for the usual fixed pin anchors. I finally found them and they were hidden behind a flake that had moved diagonally such that you could no longer pound on the pitons as they were originally placed. I leaned out and followed a 30 degree rising fracture line as far as I could see in the outside plate that forms Big Sandy so it is moving too!
big wall paul

Trad climber
tahoe, CA
Jul 6, 2015 - 10:53pm PT
So it the regular nw face classic shut down?
This is the first big shut down since Hockey Night in Canada lost two pitches 8 years ago. anyone remember that episode? Lot of talus created there. I'll have to ask cragnshag about this. He probly doesn't care since he's too busy doing first ascents in the Valley on lesser known cliffs.
I figure everybody and their mom must be heading up the death slabs to establish the new connection for P10-12. If I didn't have wife and two young kids, that's where I'd be heading.
Paul.
tripmind

Boulder climber
San Diego
Jul 6, 2015 - 11:30pm PT
I'd bet that all the sh#t and piss that has filled all the big cracks at the major ledges have seeped down and started weathering the attachment points of these types of flakes, causing it to separate over time. Poop tube enforcement soon.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jul 6, 2015 - 11:36pm PT
Added to my list: Direct North Face Lower Cathedral Rock (with Kor), El Cap Tree Direct (with Sacherer), major rock fall past us on El Cap Nose while we were on Dolt Tower in 1985 (from the Grey Bands? with Claire Mearnz), Seneca Gendarme, North Face Middle Teton, North Face Mt Temple (with Margaret Young and Jim Richardson), major rock fall from near summit of Grand Teton North Face while I was soloing it in 1963, a few others I've previously listed on ST...the mountains are alive...
steveA

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Jul 7, 2015 - 03:34am PT
I bet the Direct NWF will become more popular. I assume the rock is more stable than the regular route. I feel it could be done by a fast party in a day, but it took us 2 days, back in 1972.
It is a beautiful line.
gstock

climber
Yosemite Valley
Jul 7, 2015 - 06:18am PT
Brandon Latham and I scoped this (literally) yesterday afternoon. I don't have a lot to add actually, beyond what's already been posted here, but here is some additional information, some of it speculative:

The rockfall occurred affected pitches 11 and 12 of the Regular Route on the Northwest Face (see image below, rockfall source area shown in red). The failure consisted of a relatively thin, triangular-shaped rock sheet at least 60+ meters (200+ feet) on the longest side. The thickness of the sheet varied from about 1-3 meters (3-9 feet), suggesting an approximate volume of roughly 800 cubic meters.


The lack of direct observation strongly suggests that the rockfall occurred at night. Thunderstorms occurred on the night of July 2 and the early morning of July 3, dropping 1.8 cm (0.72 inches) of rain in less than 24 hours in Yosemite Valley, and probably more at Half Dome; when I observed Half Dome early on Friday morning water was still streaming off of it. Most likely the rockfall occurred just after the peak of precipitation early on the morning of Friday, July 3. The inclement weather probably accounts for why it appears that no climbers were present. I was listening for rockfalls during the storm, but it may be that it sounded like one of the many thunderclaps that night.

More information about the condition of the route can be found on the Yosemite Climbing Information website: http://www.climbingyosemite.com

Mark, your idea for the failure mechanism has merit. I tend not to think of the stresses as P-Delta forces, but the basic idea of slab buckling is valid, and in fact you can see such buckled slabs in many places in Yosemite on lower-angle terrain. The puzzle always is to figure out why the failure occurred at that exact moment. My colleague at the USGS (a civil engineer) and I have been pursuing different ideas about thermal stress triggering, and have documented rather large diurnal movements of a flake near Royal Arches due to temperature fluctuations. In this case I suspect that water was also involved, but it makes sense to me that hot summer temperatures would cause daily cyclic deformations that propagate cracks into the remaining solid rock ("rock bridges"), and then a final shot of water into the cracks elevates cleft pressures and off it goes.

And yes, by its very exfoliated nature the Northwest Face is prone to rockfalls. The database of Yosemite rockfalls (http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/746/); shows 8 documented rockfalls from the Northwest Face since 2006, but I'm sure that many more occurred that were not documented. Intriguingly, there are no documented rockfalls from the Northwest Face in winter. This may simply be due to under-reporting during this time of the year, but it could also relate to the thermal stresses that I mentioned above, as the Northwest Face gets direct sun only during the late spring and summer.

I've posted this before, but this quote by Galen Rowell about the Northwest Face seems especially relevant now. Could he have been writing about the area that just fell?

"Several hundred feet above the base, the narrow crack in which we were inserting pitons widended. It became a chimney, large enough to crawl inside. At either side of the back wall of the chimney there was a three-inch crack, continuing out of sight for hundreds of feet overhead. The back wall was eight feet behind the present surface, parallel to the main cliff. The cracks completely separated it from the outer rock, on which I was climbing. Here was the northwest face of the future, fully cleaved and waiting patiently, be it one or one hundred thousand years until it gleams for a geological moment in the noonday sun."

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

Social climber
joshua tree
Jul 7, 2015 - 06:33am PT
^^^Thank You GStock.
That Rowell quote is gnarly!
bbbeans

Trad climber
Jul 7, 2015 - 08:10am PT
wowowowowowowowowowowowow.......... That is an amazing quote Dr. Stock. Thank you for your analysis!
pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
Jul 7, 2015 - 08:24am PT
Bring a bolt kit . . . everywhere!

100%
Jason A Graves

Trad climber
Carlsbad, CA Anchoredman.com
Jul 7, 2015 - 09:26am PT
Trying to look on the bright side... maybe the11c corner and 5.7 splitter leading up into the chimneys will have a much more exposed and classic feel to them now?

TripleS_in_EBs

climber
Poulsbo, WA
Jul 7, 2015 - 09:45am PT
Here's a photo from Sept 2009 compared with Dave's copied from page 1 of this thread.


Here's what we said about the ledge in our trip report:

"One pitch before the chimney system, we hopped across the rumored collapsed ledge at the end of pitch 11. It was intact but it wasn’t so much a ledge as it was a collection of blocks seemingly wedged by climbers behind a large up-opening flake. These kinds of flakes are common on the face and perhaps even define the character of it. A student of Yosemite once described how the successive detaching of huge flakes created the wall in its current form and how the continuing detachment of those presently in place would unveil the future surface of the northwest face. Merely by peering behind one, a climber could possibly glimpse a yet unborn Half Dome face that his grandchildren might one day climb freshly upon."

http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Half-Dome-NW-Face-The-Good-The-Bad-and-The-Obsession-With-Bivying-on-Big-Sandy/t11369n.html

The way those blocks were piled in behind the top of the flake made me think of a climber-built patio, but maybe they were deposited there naturally.

It will be interesting to see how this event affects the route. That ledge is (was) pretty key since it allows a big rightward traverse from the end of the pitch that follows the Robbins pendulum to the giant flake that forms the chimney pitches.
G Murphy

Trad climber
Oakland CA
Jul 7, 2015 - 10:51am PT
Greg Stock - would a seismometer have picked up the event so you could tell exactly when it happened?
c wilmot

climber
Jul 7, 2015 - 10:57am PT
It seems plant growth and rodent waste/gathering could have an effect on rockfall as well. I myself noticed they were most frequent a few days after rainfall in the valley
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Jul 7, 2015 - 11:07am PT
The way those blocks were piled in behind the top of the flake made me think of a climber-built patio, but maybe they were deposited there naturally.

Climbers have always done their part in terms of depositing on the Reg.



Man have I become a scold on the subject of climbers leaving trash on and near routes. Cranky old wet towel.

El Greco: we can neither confirm nor deny, etc.

OP mentioned the base looking gnarly. I don't really have a pic with a good angle on the before version, but in this one, you can see the top of Big Sandy. In the before pic on left, the ledge would have been skier's right, so you can maybe kind of compare what that base area used to look like

Mr_T

Trad climber
Northern California
Jul 7, 2015 - 11:30am PT
Soooo we're gonna get a youtube vid from Greg Stock along these lines?

[Click to View YouTube Video]
TradMike

Trad climber
Cincinnati, Ohio
Jul 7, 2015 - 11:39am PT
When I climbed it back in 2004, it was spitting rocks out of that area while we bivied on the sloping ledge. I told my partner, it is only a matter of time before we lose the entire route. Now, not much is holding up all that loose stuff above. Big Sandy is next.
Roots

Mountain climber
Tustin, CA
Jul 7, 2015 - 12:14pm PT
I added the ledge to my vintage climbing collection. It looked funny hanging out the back of my Tundra on the drive home, but hey..it's catalog #2014 now.
tahoemnts2

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Jul 7, 2015 - 12:16pm PT
Aliens.
MisterE

Gym climber
Being In Sierra Happy Of Place
Jul 7, 2015 - 12:41pm PT
31/64th's Dome...
HeldUp

climber
Jul 7, 2015 - 01:05pm PT
31/64th's Dome...
Clever!

Part of the majesty of Yosemite, especially late at night in the Valley, is the sound of rocks falling and the echoes bouncing across the canyon walls. You never knew where it was happening, but you knew exactly what was happening.
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 7, 2015 - 01:20pm PT

Big Gulps huh? Welp Seeya later!
brotherbbock

Trad climber
Alta Loma, CA
Jul 7, 2015 - 01:22pm PT
GNAR!
WBraun

climber
Jul 7, 2015 - 02:15pm PT
Caltrans is up there today assessing and evaluating the situation.

Cannon

Trad climber
Murrieta, CA
Jul 7, 2015 - 02:15pm PT
No way. I bivyed on that ledge. It was an awesome sunset. Comfortable. That's gonna change that section for sure
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Jul 7, 2015 - 02:18pm PT

Man have I become a scold on the subject of climbers leaving trash on and near routes. Cranky old wet towel.

You may be a cranky old wet towel...

But that doesn't mean you're not right!!
RonV

Trad climber
Placerville
Jul 7, 2015 - 02:28pm PT
squishy

Mountain climber
Jul 7, 2015 - 02:51pm PT
Wussy...
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Jul 7, 2015 - 03:01pm PT
We used to call it the slow mans big sandy bivy. I guess now slow men need not apply.
reptyle

Trad climber
Kali
Jul 7, 2015 - 03:07pm PT
Good thing no one was under that! I had a similar experience on the NW Direct route back in the dinosaur days. A storm drove myself and my partner Forrest back to the valley and when we returned to the base the area had been blasted by a large fall. We had to dig for stashed gear.
At the risk of boring everyone, I have to repeat: gravity is ruthless and relentless and infinitely patient. It knows that it will win every battle eventually.
D-<
squishy

Mountain climber
Jul 7, 2015 - 03:21pm PT
lol...
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jul 7, 2015 - 03:41pm PT
Rock Hard

Social climber
Fairfield, CA
Jul 7, 2015 - 03:58pm PT
The LA Times had this article on the rock fall this PM

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-rock-fall-at-yosemite-national-park-20150707-story.html
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Jul 7, 2015 - 04:21pm PT
hey there say, hardrock... thanks for the link, will go see it...

:)
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Jul 7, 2015 - 04:24pm PT
This thread is linked in the story.. Lol
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Jul 7, 2015 - 04:39pm PT
hey there say, steve grossman...

as to this quote:
Jul 6, 2015 - 10:38pm PT
When I first did the RNWF in the 70s, I stopped a pitch below Big Sandy and was looking around for the usual fixed pin anchors. I finally found them and they were hidden behind a flake that had moved diagonally such that you could no longer pound on the pitons as they were originally placed. I leaned out and followed a 30 degree rising fracture line as far as I could see in the outside plate that forms Big Sandy so it is moving too!

this was very interesting... thanks for sharing...

also, gstock... thanks for all the info, as well...

and everyone... have not had a chance to read it all, but even though i am not a climber, i really appreciate learning and seeing what is going on, with the rock...


like to see a few more before and after, shots, too, :)



EDIT:
SAY, steve A and john, as to this quote:

Me, too, Steve. Galen Rowell told me in 1971 (before my first journey there) that he thought it was one of the most active faces in the Park.

John


thanks for sharing...
hmmm, also--it seems to give the feelings, of, the slow shifting rock, unseen by our eyes... gravity calling to whatever is up, perched on framework, etc, until too much happens, too hard and fast...
a tad here, a tad there... frameworks hold stuff very well, but when the framework shifts, oh my... :O


neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Jul 7, 2015 - 04:41pm PT
hey there say, big mike... wow, oh my, yep... supertopo is getting 'out and about' as to the 'ye ol' news-articles' ...

:O

edit: or actually, supertopo is getting PULLED OUT AND ABOUT into them... as news folks suddenly now seem to know where to find needed info, which they have lacked...



super news, from a super-site, ;)

:)
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Jul 7, 2015 - 04:50pm PT
hey there say, PellucidWombat, wow, say,
THANKS for the neat drawing and the 'popped off pic' etc, of the idea of the rock fall...

very interesting...


say, also, i have seen more of the before and after shots now...

say, if someone can put a few more, NEXT to each other, as before and after, that would help me a bit, too, being that i never climbed the route, etc, so i'd get a better eye-view, this way...


EDIT, FOR ABOVE, IN MY POST:
just saw jsb's post, of pics... can understand a lot better now, :)
from the distance, etc zooming in... :)


hope so, but if not, i can still go back and study...
always wished i could have studied geology, etc, more, :))
back in the OLD old days, before i got married, etc... :)
Kironn Kid

Trad climber
Jul 7, 2015 - 04:57pm PT
I bivied on that ledge. It was of a decent size. Rat infested too :-/
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jul 7, 2015 - 05:57pm PT
We used to call it Half Rubble because it (The Dome) was such a big junker. But what a location!

JL
MisterE

Gym climber
Being In Sierra Happy Of Place
Jul 7, 2015 - 06:31pm PT

I DID see that flake - hanging with a base crew, as flakes are wont to do.

Things go south so fast...

chill

climber
between the flat part and the blue wobbly thing
Jul 7, 2015 - 07:53pm PT
Thanks Obama.
Edge

Trad climber
Betwixt and Between Nederland & Boulder, CO
Jul 7, 2015 - 08:48pm PT
I slept on that ledge in 1983.

On Long Ledge.


I led the Robbins Traverse below that, and at the start of that pitch there was a 15' tall flake that I began climbing only to have it tip out and almost peel. I pushed it back towards the wall and jumped off to get out of the way. Once it settled I had to tiptoe up it again to reach the bolt ladder. I heard it fell off a couple winters after.


Meyers said the squeeze/chimney pitch off of Long Ledge was "5.9, poor pro", so I did the A1 variation instead.


Nigel took the next classic lead.

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jul 7, 2015 - 10:24pm PT

From his description of the area in question, this sounds like the late-departed flake's first clean ascent. I could be wrong.

"Now, well into our second day, it was Doug’s turn to lead. From my ledge in the middle of Robbins Traverse I watched him struggle. He tired vainly to place a nut ten feet above me in a narrow crack with flaring sides. Was this as far as we could go?

"Doug’s right leg began to shake like and old-fashioned sewing machine. He came down and rested. This section is usually climbed by pounding in pitons and using direct aid....

"Doug could find no nut that the flaring crack would accept, so he tried a different way. As Dennis fed out rope, he traversed downward to a crack only a few inches wide.

"Our spirits lifted as we watched Doug “free climb”.....Soon he reached a perfect slot where at last he placed a nut that not even the weight of a car could have budged.

"This nut gave Doug the confidence to continue free climbing. Soon he had his hands on a ledge a hundred feel long and half as wide as a city sidewalk. The difficulties of the Robbins Traverse were behind us."
--Rowell’s article, an excerpt, p. 786.
National Geographic, June 1974.


A month after this was published in NG (the three--Rowell, Hennek, and Robinson—-had climbed it in 1973, pretty obviously), Jerry Coe and I went up and still found pitons useful, though we tried to honor the clean concept: the 5.9 as hard as it ever was, I guess, since neither of us could free climb it; and we scooted on through to Big Sandy with no thoughts of objective hazards or compromised ethics--we'd done our level best.

Wake me up when Thank God Ledge is gone. That will be of immense interest to me because we bivouacked there the next night!
snowhazed

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
Jul 7, 2015 - 10:54pm PT
The previous pic shows such huge trail of fallen rock debris- right under the start of the route, nice illustration summary of this thread
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jul 8, 2015 - 12:06am PT
Makes me wonder what the dome looked like before the NE Buttress started being quarried by glacial ice forcing its way round to the Tenaya Canyon glacier. Quite an impact zone for monster rivers of ice!

It seems obvious that this side/corner of the monolith got the brunt of the pressure from that confluence.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jul 8, 2015 - 12:28am PT
A couple of weeks ago, Brother A told me he'd just gone up do the route, but they bailed at the base because of some rock fall. This was before the system came down, I believe.

Hey Hoipaloi, what's the story?




A great pic of the chimney system [shamefully] stolen from
http://www.markpthomas.com/mountaineering/trip-reports/california/half-dome-regular-nw-face:

WanderingJim

Boulder climber
Walnut Creek, CA
Jul 8, 2015 - 09:04am PT
Wow... I was camping on the JMT between the Clouds Rest and Half Dome trailheads on July 4th and 5th.

Based on reading the comments here, it sounds like the collapse happened between July 4th and July 5th.

If that's true, I might have heard the collapse from where I was camped.

I remember hearing a loud thundering crash when I was relaxing after a long days hike. Wouldn't have seen anything from where I was, but definitely remember hearing something loud and looking around.

I'll probably never be able to be sure it was this collapse I heard, but the timing sounds right.

k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jul 8, 2015 - 09:27am PT
So Honnold's free solo line will never be repeated....

Certainly an interesting thought. Also, the Triple Crown (and other such link-ups) just became more demanding.
ClimbingRanger

Trad climber
Yosemite, CA
Jul 8, 2015 - 11:27am PT
An update has been posted on the Yosemite Climbing Information page. We are working on a more detailed post with photos and details from our climb up to pitch 9 (the bolt ladder) yesterday.

http://www.climbingyosemite.com

Yosemite Climbing Management
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 8, 2015 - 11:47am PT
THanks for the update. I particularly love the understatement the permeates it. The missing pitches were mentioned on the front page of today's Fresno Bee. This provides more evidence - if I needed it - of how deeply into the mainstream climbing now penetrates.

John
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jul 8, 2015 - 11:56am PT
John,
So true, I see climbing everywhere in media now. I say we go back to hexes and Liberty biners. That will thin the crowds.
looks easy from here

climber
Ben Lomond, CA
Jul 8, 2015 - 12:09pm PT
Thanks. I saw Greg's estimate of the slab that fell off being 200' tall, but that didn't really click until I saw the image of the whole face with it highlighted.


That's a big chunk of rock!
drwb

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jul 8, 2015 - 12:17pm PT
This is the account of when Scott Sinner and I came across the missing ledge system on top of pitch 11


July 5th, Scott Sinner and I woke up at 3:45 am for a car to car ascent of Half Dome's RNWF. This would be my 3rd time up the wall, Scott's first. Arriving to the base of HD, I noticed that the climbers trail no longer existed and some alterations to the spring at the base. I shrugged it off just thinking it was from the recent storms that have been coming though the Sierras.

Scott took the first block to the top of pitch 6. I took over from there since I was familiar with the route. After completing the Robbins Traverse we were exited to enter the chimneys and simul away. I moved out onto the face to climb pitch 11 (my least favorite pitch of the route). In go mode, I followed the terrain that was present. Soon I found myself 140 from the belay. It turned out I was climbing the down climbing portion of the free variation.

I remember yelling down to him at some point that I don't remember any of this. Yelling back "I thought you've climbed this before!"

I was so confused. Stopping and looking at the topo, I knew something was not right. I was lowed 60 feet from a block and was able to back clean some gear, untie, pull the rope and got back on belay.

There was some frustration between Scott and I. He was annoyed because I was wasting time and the fact that I do not see the obvious ledge system. I kept telling him, "Dude, there is nothing there!" I swung around on a pin to check thing out. That's when things dawned on me...the whole system flaked off.



I came back to the belay and Scott tied in to check things out. Yep... the whole ledge system was no more.

This is when I called Dave Miller. We climbed the route a few years ago and Dave knows the route better then anyone I knew. I asked him if he has heard anything about any rock fall on HD. He was blown away! After our conversation he went online to do some research. That's when he created this thread.

Scott and I were both stunned! We hung out at the belay for a good while, laughing and eating Sour Patch Kids before we started to bail.

[Click to View YouTube Video]

While bailing, everything started to make scene. The base, the broken trees and all the trash...



Retreat turned out to be not so bad. Scott and I have gotten good at retreating with one another, that's one thing we are good at. We only had a 60m and 2 grigris. We managed to get down with a mix of down climbing and rappelling. We bootied some bail gear from previous parties. When on the ground, we only left 1 nut and 2 carabiners from our own rack.

When packing up, we ran into a group of 3 foreigners who were going to climb the route the next day. They spoke little to no English. We tried to explain what has happened...we only hope they understood and did not attempt the route.

I really want to thank Dave Miller for getting the word out. I did not want anyone else to go up there and epic, get hurt or get rescued.

I believe that this happened during the recent stint of storms in the Sierras. This would explain why no one herd it and why we were the first to come across it.

We are still scratching our heads about the experience...but most of all, laughing about it.

Be careful out there yall! Next time you climb something, double check to see if its still there!




JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 8, 2015 - 12:24pm PT
Thanks, drwb! This would make a great trip report, too. Maybe with some luck, we'll be able to find out who made the Last Ascent.

John
TakeMeForGranite

Trad climber
Logan, Utah
Jul 8, 2015 - 02:27pm PT
When I did this route on June 3, my partner led the pitch right after the robbins traverse. While he was standing on a huge chock stone in the bottom of the chimney, the chock stone dropped about 2 feet. I think he broke the route.
wayne w

Trad climber
the nw
Jul 8, 2015 - 02:33pm PT
Jim Herson and Hans Florine won't have to worry about losing the speed record on that one!
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
Jul 8, 2015 - 02:48pm PT
I think he broke the route.

Could it be the LA?
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Jul 8, 2015 - 04:52pm PT
I think he broke the route.
That's a CLOSE call. Indeed he may have "broken" the route. I'd say you're very lucky to have made it to the top.
Did any of the big flakes feel shifty?
Billy Smallen

Trad climber
SLC
Jul 8, 2015 - 06:28pm PT
I know this is way off topic by this point, but I couldn't resist as I am still having the same "I slept on that ledge!" creepy feelings that many others are. Pics from 2005:



Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 8, 2015 - 07:18pm PT
I marked the "after" photo from http://www.climbingyosemite.com/portfolio/half-dome-rockfall/
to show the shortest route to connect over the missing flake section.
Given that it's kinda steep and smooth, my guess is it would take 2-3 bolts to reach the old p11 anchor, then 5-7 more to reach the bottom of the 5.11c corner.
This might be thought of as an extension of the diagonal bolt ladder on the Robbins traverse below.

It might also be possible to climb further up left on corners/flakes,
and pendulum far right, but it may be too steep to pendulum that far.

For free climbing, that might involve climbing on the right side of the new rock scar and then underclinging back left?
Would be risky at present due to the freshly broken rock; would be wise to check for loose rock on rappel first,
as Brandon Latham and Greg Stock described some definitely loose sections when they investigated on July 7.
(Watch for their updated report).
DM88T

climber
free solos 3rd class
Jul 8, 2015 - 08:06pm PT

pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
Jul 8, 2015 - 08:17pm PT
EXPANDOME
MisterE

Gym climber
Being In Sierra Happy Of Place
Jul 8, 2015 - 08:18pm PT
Thanks for the NPS shots - wow.

RE: the photos -it is an understatement to say "the climber's trail is gone", as stated by drwb in his TR.

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 8, 2015 - 09:14pm PT
Hard to tell exactly from photos, but it looks like the right side of the initial chimneys section has solid support.
If it was substantially supported by the loose flake that left, one might think it would have come off then?

Maybe more relevant - might be wise to go higher in the 5.11c corner before tensioning right to the chimney system.
(High enough to get above the fresh rockfall area).

Prior rockfalls in this same area:
1. 1968 - Psyche Flake (former moving chimney - apparently was well above the Undercling Flake?)
2. 1987? - Undercling Flake. This was slightly above the new rockfall, and is shown in one of the old photos in this thread. Was mentioned in "50 Classic Climbs" description.
Roger Breedlove photo, ca. 1974
Edge's 1983 photo - Undercling Flake directly above the leader.

le_bruce's more recent photo - Undercling Flake gone.

original from http://www.markpthomas.com/mountaineering/trip-reports/california/half-dome-regular-nw-face
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Mexico City, D.F.
Jul 8, 2015 - 10:18pm PT
He definitely broke the route. Well, there is a great opportunity up there now to reconnect the route.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 8, 2015 - 10:28pm PT
there is a great opportunity up there now to reconnect the route. I wonder if there is a way that would maintain the overall grade of the route, and not a run out 5.14 pitch?
Yes - see my 7:18pm post and photo above.
Many options; one is fairly simple.
Maybe an even better option will be possible on close examination....
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Jul 8, 2015 - 10:38pm PT
nobody should be allowed up there anyway, unless they are Native Americans or John Muir,

going to rap bolt that broke-ass route this weekend,

did anybody find a blue colored sling clipped into the wreckage?
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Jul 8, 2015 - 10:43pm PT
Love ya Sprock!

limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Jul 9, 2015 - 10:56am PT
Climbing magazine made a whole story based off of Clint's post.

http://www.climbing.com/news/whats-next-for-damaged-half-dome-route/
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Mexico City, D.F.
Jul 9, 2015 - 11:50am PT
I can't believe nobody has bagged the FA yet. It's the most iconic rock face on the planet.

Just realized also that nobody is ever going to repeat Alex Honnald's solo.
Trashman

Trad climber
SLC
Jul 9, 2015 - 12:01pm PT
I'm interested to see if they look for a logical free connection, or go with the 20th century approach of "bolts from here to there". May be blank enough that it's moot, of course.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 9, 2015 - 12:09pm PT
Climbing Magazine ... Clint ...
Dang, I'm finally famous! :-)
But I was not the first or only one to wonder about how/when the climb will be reworked. I mean, Brandon and Greg already went up there and came back down before I even posted....

Better yet, see the fresh 7/9 update of Brandon and Greg's report - more details and up-close photos of key points in the rockfall section:

http://www.climbingyosemite.com/portfolio/half-dome-rockfall/

The newly posted photos suggest to me that the belay stance atop p12 (5.11c corner to tension traverse right) is intact, although there is a freshly broken block just to the outside of it.
That block is not needed for the stance, but people might touch it, so it should be tested carefully.
The p13 handcrack to chimney looks intact, but as Ron noted, who knows if chockstones / flakes in the chimneys loosened up, etc.
Lorenzo

Trad climber
Portland Oregon
Jul 9, 2015 - 12:26pm PT

Jul 9, 2015 - 12:05pm PT
Smart people are waiting. Who wants to be the first to test if the rest of the flake/chimneys are still attached good? YOu know- the ones hanging out into space, non supported by that flake and ledge that went buh-bye..


"yur lead",, naww YOU can ave it~~~Noooo, I insist YOU get the first lead! OK, we will flip for who belays..

I'm wondering why it would be better to be belaying UNDER the guy up there testing the flakes.....
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 9, 2015 - 12:34pm PT
I confess to temptation here. I also confess that it's 41 years since I've done any climb longer than a Grade IV, so the odds of acting on that temptation are nil.

Still, if I were to make it across first, would it now be the "Robbins-Eleazarian Traverse?"

Oh well, even if my wall climbing is hibernating, my dreaming is operating full force.

John
wayne burleson

climber
Amherst, MA
Jul 9, 2015 - 02:04pm PT
Nice work Clint! But I think those bolt estimates may be a bit low. The friends of the OP who came upon the missing ledge could probably better estimate. Some short penji's might save some bolts... but we need to keep it A0, right?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 9, 2015 - 02:43pm PT
Yeah, those are guesstimates "for sure"! (And since you were there in June your estimate is probably better than mine).
Something at an "accessible" grade (like the rest of the climb) would be good, since a lot of people do the route.
Actually I've been somewhat surprised at how many people use the Skinner bolt ladder at the top - it's really part of the free version of Half Dome Direct NW Face, not the original Regular NW Face to the left (where I believe the aid crux is).
But I guess the Skinner bolts made it onto the supertopo for the Reg.
And some people may just want to get up in the easiest way at that point.
There's certainly room up there for a couple of different ways to bridge the rockfall gap.
namascar

Trad climber
Pasadena, CA
Jul 9, 2015 - 03:55pm PT
I remember there was a lot of junk up there
tripmind

Boulder climber
San Diego
Jul 9, 2015 - 04:21pm PT
Anyone find any chalked holds in the debris field at the base of the wall? That would surely make for a really nice souvenir.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jul 9, 2015 - 04:25pm PT
With all the visible loose rock at the top of the flake it's easy to imagine smaller pieces falling down behind the flake and slowly but surely wedging it off over time.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Denver CO
Jul 9, 2015 - 05:01pm PT
I never really thought about it before, but I guess all these big features are potentially expando flakes, and you could force them open by dropping a rock down into a crack, and then the temperature changes and there are brand new stresses and it opens, then the process repeats. I guess all the features we climb on are going to fall off eventually. That's what they're doing in slow motion, exfoliating. As for Ron's concern, maybe someone could rap down from the top to survey the loose rock situation. For the big features still connected, there is really no way to tell what's holding them on. You could also just wait to see what happens, as long as you want.
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Jul 10, 2015 - 08:52am PT
Anyone find any chalked holds in the debris field at the base of the wall? That would surely make for a really nice souvenir.

Mashed up old dropped 'biners?
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Jul 10, 2015 - 10:03am PT
For the big features still connected, there is really no way to tell what's holding them on. You could also just wait to see what happens, as long as you want.
^^^The definition of Yosemite big walls.
Even Greg Stock would like to know what sort of magic glue holds Boot Flake to the Big Stone.

I don't want to speak for Greg but......
Greg and colleagues have shown that diurnal expansion of large flakes due to the heating/cooling cycles is significant. This must strain (stretch) the rock where the flake is attached to "baserock" (whatever THAT is in the Vertical World). Yes, even "solid" granite is plastic. This is in addition to winter freeze thaw cycles (water expands just as it turns to ice).
Each strain cycle likely causes micro cracks in the connection between slab and base. They grow. The result is inevitable......sometime in the future.
(Musings of a NOT geologist)
I highly recommend "Geology Underfoot In Yosemite" by Allan Glazner and Greg Stock. Which reminds me I need to read it again.

We're all rolling the dice every time we climb flake systems. I cringe slightly every time I muscle into a steep lieback up the side of a flake.
Stick to face climbs and chimneys if you want 100% confidence the granite won't take you for a ride.
Someday even Reed's Pinnacle will take a ride down the hill.
rwedgee

Ice climber
CA
Jul 10, 2015 - 10:28am PT
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Jul 10, 2015 - 02:07pm PT
I wonder how much longer this one on the Third Pillar of Dana will last? ...


johntp

Trad climber
socal
Jul 10, 2015 - 02:16pm PT
Ok, any bets on book flake?
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jul 13, 2015 - 08:35am PT
Man, this is so lucky that nobody got whacked. The majority of days this time of year, there are always climbers all over the route and bivying at the base. I've done it over 4th of july, and it was covered with parties.

The odds that the route was empty was dodging a bullet. It would have creamed anyone at the base. Since the lower part of the route is a little left of the rockfall, perhaps someone on the lower part of the route would have been spared.

Like others, though, I once bivied on that long ledge at the end of P11. Freaky.

From the photos, there are three layers of flakes right there. The outside flake seems to be what is gone. So the runout chimney is history. The A1/5.11 crack to its left is still there.

If some 5.12 free variation is done to replace the missing rock, I feel that the bolts should be placed close enough to aid them, Keeping the route grade where it was. The 5.9 chimney looks like it is gone.

There used to be a flake sticking out of one of those chimney pitches a little higher up. You had to layback around of it. It was kind of spooky, but It fell off (someone said 1987), making that move easier.

The Robbins Traverse pitch is hopefully mainly intact. It was a cool pitch, and had the hardest mandatory free moves on the route, IMO. I remember doing it and thinking how hard that must have been in old clumker shoes and caveman gear used on the FA. It was one of the better pitches.

The traverse free moves reminded me of Jackson's Wall Direct on Castle Rock in Boulder Canyon. I always thought it was a little stiff for 5.9.
Vic Klotz

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jul 13, 2015 - 01:39pm PT
Robbins ladder, part two?
ElGreco

Mountain climber
Jul 13, 2015 - 10:36pm PT
Using the stated estimate of 800 cubic meters of rockfall and a density of 2.75g/cm^3 for granite, that's 2,200 metric tons of rock that fell, or 2,425 U.S. tons.

That's equivalent to 27,500 people (at 176lb each). Imagine that on top of you next time you sleep at the base. Sweet dreams.
Physicus

Sport climber
Dresden, Germany
Oct 5, 2015 - 09:24pm PT
We climbed the Half Dome Regular up to and including the 11c-crack variant of Pitch 12. The new bolt ladder and the following traverse/mantel to the begin of the sickle-shaped 11c crack variant poses no problems, just a few moves at about 5.9 (reportMantel2Pitch12.jpg). The pitch itself is unchanged (reportPitch12.jpg). The same is true for the regular pitch 13 (reportPitch13_start_detail.jpg shows the belay station and reportAbovePitch12_overview.jpg the whole Pitch 13).

However, this last image shows that there is no convential way to do the transition from the end of the 11c variant to this belay station which is about 6 m to the right and 3 m up. Either you have to throw a rope sling around the block below the belay (reportPitch13_start.jpg). However, to do this, you probably need advanced cowboy skills. If at all, the sling will catch the loose block at the lower end of this image which also indicates the boundary of the rock-fall zone (a jagged line rising from the bottom to the right edge of this image).

Another option would be to further work up above the end of the 11c variant to get to a bolt 6 m above, or to a rusty piton in the corner at the same height, allowing a pendulum traverse to the block at the base of Pitch 13 (reportAbovePitch12_detail.jpg). However, the dihedral to the bolt/piton is completely blank (reportNoCrackAbovePitch12.jpg), so one has to throw a rope to the piton (the rope will not catch the bolt), or bring very small artif gear, or a 6m-clipstick. Finally, the images reportBelowPitch13.jpg and reportMissingChimneys.jpg give impressions of the broken zone/missing chimneys below Pitch 13.

In my opinion, the best option would be to place three or four further bolts diagonally up allowing a regular pendulum traverse to the base of Pitch 13. Since such a traverse would be similar to the two traverses at the Pitches 11 and 12, it would not change the character of the route but would allow restoring one of the best climbs in the world.
[photo[photo[photo[photo[photo[photo[photo[photoid=429775]id=429774]id=429773]id=429772]id=429769]id=429766]id=429765]id=429763]
jose gutierrez

Trad climber
sacramento,ca
Oct 5, 2015 - 11:58pm PT
Hi Physicus,

Did you bring any cam hooks or beaks to try and aid the mungy seam past the TT bolt after the 11c section? A friend and myself were also shut down trying to get to the second bolt which was ~6m past the TT bolt, we had no aid gear as we were not prepared for anything harder than the original climb demanded. I hate aid climbing and am not very experienced with it, but I was wondering how hard it would have been if we had the right tools.

I also think that if one did get to the second bolt then you shouldn't need to do any lasso shenanigans, as the pendulum/TT would be committing, but possible since you could lower approximately 9m down to traverse/swing 6m to the bellow the belay(reaching the new rockfall zone). My guess is that the guys from Idaho did not lower off the higher bolt far enough to make this possible. Either way the aid required to achieve this will likely shut many parties down, or they will resort to non-clean methods of aid. As it stands now I think the RNWF will have very few ascents each year.
Physicus

Sport climber
Dresden, Germany
Oct 13, 2015 - 01:19pm PT
Hi Cosmiccragsman,

many thanks for fixing the images. What did I do
wrong in submitting them?
Physicus

Sport climber
Dresden, Germany
Oct 13, 2015 - 01:56pm PT
Hello Jose Gutierrez,

I did not bring any specific aid gear since I expected from photos of the rockfall on the internet that the TT would work just as in the past (due to the perspective, the belay for Pitch 13 looked lower than the TT point although it actually is higher).

In the meantime, I have news of a successful ascent by some Tzech guys. On my recommendation, they brought pitons, ball nuts and other small gear and could pass the ~6m section. They left one piton in place. If I understood them correctly, it is now possibly to climb/aid this section by using this piton, a very small cam/ballnut - and the vegetation below the second piton/bolt.

They also said that a pendulum is not possible from the second bolt since the arete is in the way. However, by doing a classical TT traverse, they could just reach the crack below the belay station and insert a cam on which to pull over. Moreover, above this second bolt, the dihedral looks less blank and a higher cam can probably be placed if need arises. Finally, they reported that the rest of the route (Pitches 13+) was perfectly normal.

In summary, it seems that Half Dome RNWF is possible again using free-climbing gear if this includes very small cams or ball nuts - and the piton does not get ripped. Nevertheless, the final word (three more bolts?) is probably not yet spoken.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 13, 2015 - 01:57pm PT
When Alex Saunders and Matt did the whole climb in early September,
they brought some better aid gear to reach the 25' higher bolt anchor on Arcturus:
 green C3
 small cam hook
 small Pecker (aka beak)
They also used a rope toss to catch the lower part of the p13 crack to pull across the traverse.
http://www.supertopo.com/tr/North-West-Regular-on-Half-Dome-goes-updated/t12839n.html
D-Rail

Trad climber
Calaveras
Jun 21, 2016 - 02:25pm PT
So the regular route has been done since the new changes. Are people doing this often? Is a lasso maneuver required still?

Has anyone been up the death slabs lately?

Daryl
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