Tahquitz Rockfall


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Messages 61 - 79 of total 79 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Trad climber
Madison, WI
May 4, 2017 - 04:33pm PT
I should clarify I guess. Climb the loose block if you have to but for the love of God don't place behind it, a take could rip it out.

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
May 4, 2017 - 04:44pm PT
What you want to do on those routes is to sneak up the rock. Quiet concentration, always aware. Just because the climb is going easily, and the day is beautiful doesn't mean that things can't go totally to sh×t with a single misjudgement of the rock.

Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
May 4, 2017 - 05:47pm PT
No kidding! Did something easy over there with Juan de Fuca and he only let me lead one pitch. It was like climbing on a pile of marbles. Definitely in cat's feet mode, I was afraid to breathe.

I forgave him, though.

Trad climber
monrovia, ca
May 11, 2017 - 04:28pm PT
Lest we get lulled into thinking rockfall is only on the north face, I remembered this rockfall from the Trough in May 2012.

Follow the link in MP and it'll take you to climbers account. I think the second climber chimes in later on the forum.

Albert Kernberg

Social climber
Los Angeles
Jul 17, 2017 - 01:05pm PT
Not really looking to revive this thread, but as the injured climber it seems as though I should comment.

Eternally grateful to the rescue personnel, my climbing partner and Ryan. Without each of you involved, I'm sure the outcome of my accident would have been quite different. Ryan, thank you for everything. Including immediate access to your father and most importantly making sure David was able to get off the rock safely. I'm sure I'll see you around and will provide all the long hugs necessary for such an assist. Thank you!

I'm most regretful of the other climbers I endangered. Ambyrlnn, I hate that I caused an event which nearly injured you and your boyfriend. I'm sorry. I'm happy you two were not injured.

Rock fall occurred when I attempted to mantel over a large block. The ledge was sloping and I attempted to mantel at the lowest point. Stupid mistake which nearly killed me and injured other climbers. As the rock broke, it pushed me into a wall, then fell first, followed by me. As mentioned in other threads I broke my scapula, glenoid, lots of ribs and punctured my left lung. Had I fell first, the rock would have killed me. For me, I'm happy it didn't happen. Additionally, I'm happy Ryan didn't assist David with lowering my body.

I'm doing physical therapy, regaining movement in my arm and enjoying a lot of time with my wonderful family. Thank you for all the stranger 'get wells'. It means a lot.


Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Jul 17, 2017 - 01:51pm PT
Best of luck to you in recovery.
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
Jul 17, 2017 - 02:56pm PT
Glad to hear you are doing ok, heal up. Thanks for posting and letting us know.

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Jul 17, 2017 - 03:21pm PT
Thanks for posting up, Albert. Glad you are well.


Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Jul 17, 2017 - 03:37pm PT
Great to hear you are recovering. Funny, I was recounting a story about a rockfall incident on Tahquitz around 1990 to a friend the other night. We both thought of your accident and wondered how you are doing. That's a great post you wrote (except for the bit about not wanting to resurrect this thread:-) I think everyone here is pleased to hear your progress report.

I wrote up an account of the rockfall which I witnessed 27 years ago. It could use a good editor, but here it is.

There is a route on Tahquitz Rock called Zeno’s Paradox. It’s not a complete climb, but rather one beautiful pitch, a sort of variation to The White Maiden’s Walkway. Its exposed location, high on the steep left side of the White Maidens’ Buttress gives the climber an excellent view into the North-West Recess including all the trade routes from The Long Climb over to WhoDunnit.

Zeno’s begins by climbing up and left from the top of pitch two on The White Maiden’s Walkaway into the base of an intimidating left facing corner. After a good stretch of strenuous lay-backing the corner arches left. This is the crux, where one must climb through the overhang onto a steep face protected by a bolt or two… It looks like El Camino Real on steroids.

Standing at the airy perch at the base of the corner, I took in the view. Below me to my left there was a fellow sitting comfortably on the ledge at the top of pitch one of The Long Climb. His leader was doing business with pitch two, The Mummy Crack. They appeared to be having a casual time.

I was about halfway to the roof when I heard the dreaded call from above: “ROCK!!!” I froze, locked my foot into the crack, and searched the sky for the bombardment to come. It must have taken a big bounce off one of those sloping ledges up high since it was way out in the air – not tumbling down the rock face. It was at least a cubic foot in size, and I watched with fascination as it dropped silently into the cool shade of the North-West Recess, ever closer to the cliff as it fell. Then it hit.

The point of impact was the ledge, right next to the afore-mentioned belayer on the Long climb. There was flash and explosion like a grenade. The ledge and climber were obscured by a cloud of dust. As the air cleared, the belayer began screaming until his lungs were empty. He gasped for air like a drowning man breaking the surface of the water. Then came another awesome primal scream. As this process repeated itself I realized there was another person yelling as well; my partner, back around the corner, who could hear but not see what was happening. It was past time for me to get back to work. Charged with a crazy kind of energy I swarmed up the rest of the pitch like a man possessed.

Later, in Humber Park we met the fellow who was so nearly killed. He looked like a Civil War Veteran, a white bandage around his head and his left arm in a makeshift sling, streaks of dried blood on his face and clothes. He was propped up in the bed of a pickup drinking Coronas and selling his climbing gear. I told him what I had seen, and that he was very lucky. “Your screams were most impressive. You should be an opera singer with a voice like that.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

His partner passed around some beers and we all had a good laugh.

Trad climber
Upland, CA
Jul 17, 2017 - 04:29pm PT
Joe/Albert, it's great to see your post!
Best wishes for a full recovery.

Ojai Alex

Trad climber
Alex Bury
Jul 17, 2017 - 06:05pm PT
Much thanks for posting, Albert. Glad you are well and on the mend.
I was on the wall the very next morning. Great to hear the whole story.

Social climber
The Past
Jul 17, 2017 - 09:26pm PT
Good progress report Joe/Albert. Stick with the physical therapy, and hopefully you'll be back at it, good as new. My wife is a PT so I can say from experience that it's a good idea to listen to, and do, whatever they say (haha). Seriously though, good luck on the rehab - get after it.

A general comment: Seems to me that anybody who has spent any time climbing around the north side of Tahquitz has at least one rockfall story (usually multiple) they can relate. That says something. It is the nature of the Tahquitz beast, always be heads up over there, whether climbing or on the ground. Even when doing nothing more than briefly traversing the base it always feels like a war zone of sorts, where bombs can potentially arrive with little or no warning.
Albert Kernberg

Trad climber
Los Angeles
Jul 18, 2017 - 09:30am PT
Thanks everyone. No intentions to sell gear. Depending how bouldering and gym crack sessions go, I'll be back for the Josh and Red Rocks season.


Monument Manor
Jul 18, 2017 - 10:44am PT
Or just climb over @ shady,solid Suicide...

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Jul 18, 2017 - 12:04pm PT
Or just climb over @ shady,solid Suicide...

That's been my gig for a while. I figure I've done what I'm ever going to on Tahquitz so why risk getting flattened now ;-)
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Lassitude 33
Jul 18, 2017 - 12:16pm PT

Great to hear that you are recovering and (of course) your first person narrative of what happened.

Like others, I've witnessed the unpredictability of rockfall at Tahquitz, and how once solid seeming features can dangerously loosen over a season or two.

Best wishes,


Social climber
Jul 18, 2017 - 12:28pm PT
Albert, glad to hear your healing up and looking forward to getting back out on the rock. And thanks for posting up your version of what happened to you.

culver city, ca
Jul 18, 2017 - 12:32pm PT
So glad to hear your are healing well, best wishes.

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Jul 18, 2017 - 01:22pm PT
Good to see your on the mend...

so many of these incidents end with the injured climber never returning to the sport.

Good luck with the recovery.

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