Huge Rockfall - West Face of El Cap

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Llewelyn Moss

Big Wall climber
LZ Loon
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 17, 2017 - 08:56am PT
All –
Beware. On 9/16/17 we intended to climb the West Face of El Cap and discovered that the area has been completely obliterated by rockfall. The gully has been wiped out completely. The climber’s bivy has filled in with 2’ of fresh talus. It is unrecognizable. There are huge craters in the ground and the surrounding walls in the gully have been hit hard by huge rock. Many of the trees in the gully have simply disappeared. White dust covers everything. This was huge.

After climbing a very dusty, rock-impacted first pitch of the West Face (and getting a bird’s eye view of the destruction) we made a decision to get out of there. Rockfall barely missed the West Face P1 bolt anchor. We climbed KP Pinnacle and then walked over to Ribbon Falls where we were able to get a better vantage point of the source area.

It appears that a massive section of wall immediately above the end of the West Face’s Thanksgiving Ledge Traverse has fallen off. There is a huge white impact scar right on Thanksgiving, on the part of the easy traverse where there may not be much gear. The source area is very high on the wall. Rockfall fanned far up the gully, past Beyer’s route, all the way down to Mirage. We even saw evidence of the rockfall on the west side of KP Pinnacle!! Yowza. The rock fall scar and path of destruction are visible without binoculars from Ribbon Falls.

Please be careful!!!
zip

Trad climber
pacific beach, ca
Sep 17, 2017 - 09:01am PT
DAAAMMMN!
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Sep 17, 2017 - 09:02am PT
Hope no one was hurt,
any pics?
TFPU
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Sep 17, 2017 - 09:14am PT
Damn. Makes me think of rolling dice.
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Sep 17, 2017 - 09:19am PT
Yikes! Hope no one was hurt.

I hope Greg Stock sees this and chimes in after he has a look see.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Sep 17, 2017 - 09:52am PT
Must have sounded like big thunder.

DMT
Matt Thomsen

Big Wall climber
Places
Sep 17, 2017 - 10:18am PT
Yeah it happened Thursday afternoon. It was big, saw it from the meadow. Looked like a few car size blocks ripping down the gully.
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Sep 17, 2017 - 11:20am PT
Place is falling apart . . . glad no one was in the way.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 17, 2017 - 12:17pm PT
Thanks for such a complete report.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Sep 17, 2017 - 03:17pm PT
Just wear your magic helmet, you will be fine.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Sep 17, 2017 - 06:05pm PT
Thanks for the report, get any pics of either the base area or the fresh scar area above Thanksgiving?

Must have been creepy making your way up the gulley through the rubble, good call on bailing!
anita514

Gym climber
Great White North
Sep 17, 2017 - 06:22pm PT
Any news about a recent rockfall on Waterfall route?
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Sep 17, 2017 - 08:06pm PT
Who says geologic time is slow?
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Sep 17, 2017 - 08:14pm PT
Damn it, people! I've only done two Grade VI's--The NWF of Half Dome and the West Face of El Cap, and you had to go and ruin both of them. Knock it off. Actually, I spent the night on that pitch 11 ledge that fell of HD. Freakin' spooky. As with this rock fall, it's amazing that no one was at the base. Climbers be having some luck with these two rock falls.

BAd
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Sep 17, 2017 - 08:46pm PT
BAD,

There's just as much value in a last ascent as there is with a first ascent.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 17, 2017 - 08:48pm PT
BAD, how do you deal with such guilt?
WBraun

climber
Sep 17, 2017 - 09:55pm PT
Sh!t is supposed to fall off.

It means it is still alive.

If it was dead it would be Disney Land ......
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss On the End of a Wet Fist
Sep 17, 2017 - 10:01pm PT
^^^^^^^ LOL! No, really! Bwa-ha-ha! One of the best Yogi quotes ever - seriously.........
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Sep 17, 2017 - 10:04pm PT
hey there, say... Llewelyn Moss...

thank you for the warning, for all the folks here...
EdBannister

Mountain climber
13,000 feet
Sep 18, 2017 - 12:16am PT
Mr. Braun says it well.


besides,

for the things to be exfoliation domes....


Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Sep 18, 2017 - 06:55am PT
Hah, Jim, good point, although certainly many hundreds have done the climbs since I did them. Still, I can now say, "Well, when I did that climb, it was much different, far more aesthetic, better in every way. Too bad about that rockfall that changed it forever...." Gotta work on my old guy, snide commentary. The Smoking Duck has turned it into an art form.

BAd
Mr_T

Trad climber
Northern California
Sep 18, 2017 - 10:30am PT
That's a huge bummer. I'd done the first 2/3 of the route only to get blasted off by a storm. Never got a chance to go back...

Any photos of the base area?
elle_no

climber
Bay Area, CA
Sep 18, 2017 - 12:50pm PT
Is there any more info on this? I can't find anything about anywhere online.

VERY glad to hear no one was hurt, let alone killed!
Crazy Bat

Sport climber
Birmingham, AL & Seweanee, TN
Sep 19, 2017 - 06:48am PT
I guess we will have to wait for a post about pass the petons pete getting stuck on the wall again to find out more about this rockfall.
rwedgee

Ice climber
CA
Sep 19, 2017 - 08:19am PT
Nobody on this forum climbs anymore
WBraun

climber
Sep 19, 2017 - 08:22am PT
Quit crying like girls,

The rockfall didn't do sh!t on your precious little rock.

You people are such wankers ....
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 19, 2017 - 08:31am PT
Nobody on this forum climbs anymore

speak for yourself...
...I'll try to get some comparison together in the next couple of weeks...

I don't know where the idea that rock fall doesn't happen came from, it is happening all the time. Anyone whose spent real time in the Valley is aware of the changes that are occurring.

Mr_T

Trad climber
Northern California
Sep 19, 2017 - 09:00am PT
The description of this sounds like there's a ton of crap up on the wall at Thanksgiving ledge. That ton of crap would be poised to fall down on a climber. So for those of us who did give the route a go in 2015 and were hoping to go back this fall/next spring, it's a bit concerning.

Is this Rixon's-Pinnacle/Koko Ledge-like rock fall (keep out) or is it run-of-the-mill Middle Cathedral (happens all the time)? I don't recall 2' of new talus periodically appearing at the base of MCR.
couchmaster

climber
Sep 19, 2017 - 02:43pm PT
Wbraun quote:
"Quit crying like girls,

The rockfall didn't do sh!t on your precious little rock.

You people are such wankers .... "


Haha! ^^ Too funny Werner. ^^ Meantime get yer ass off the net and over there to get some photo shots of the rockfall up will ya? Hopefully this gives folks some alternative ideas to work on till we see photos.




D2R2

Sport climber
Earth
Sep 19, 2017 - 03:25pm PT
Cant we dramatize it like fake news for the candy eaters.

It was gnarly, trees splintered, rocks flying through the air, hordes of people everywhere, miraculously no one was killed! The forest will take eons to recover from this devastation! The El Capitan will never be the same even though you cant even see El Capitan from over there. Hordes of silver fish, DEAD, I cant even believe the park is still open!
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Sep 19, 2017 - 04:21pm PT
^^^
Science says there is a strong link to climate change; too hot, too wet, too gnarly! It's expanding the rocks like an atomic broom and bringing El Capitan to his knees.

You can thank America.

DMT
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 19, 2017 - 05:18pm PT
Can't we dramatize it like fake news for the candy eaters?

In the parlance of geology, gnarly is a fairly recent term, but is gaining acceptance, especially among Millennials.

Lithomorphic ecdysis has claim to be one of the fastest-growing branches of geology, also, according to this article I saw in Rock and Eyes magazine.

National Lithographic says the same in one of their recent issues, if I'm not mistaken, which has happened, believe it or not. (And the time that it did, the sh!t really came down.)

But things move very slowly in geologic time, so just give it a rest and mellow out and there will be a Stock Report soon, surely.

Oh, and America thanks YOU, Dingus, for the metaphor!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 19, 2017 - 05:27pm PT
You Valley prancers need to get into some real mountains more often where it's news if there isn't rockfall. :-/
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 19, 2017 - 05:31pm PT
Reilly, you have THE BEST ROCKFALL PICTURE OF ALL TIME. You know the one.
Inner City

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Sep 19, 2017 - 06:02pm PT
R2Driffic
That was hilarious!
Petch

Gym climber
knapsack crack
Sep 19, 2017 - 09:11pm PT
Quit crying like girls,


No sexism here

Doesn't sound like a yogi to me

Love
Proud father of a Girl
ec

climber
ca
Sep 20, 2017 - 06:46am PT
from the Sierra
from the Sierra
Credit: R. Swafford, ec collection
erik griffith

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Sep 20, 2017 - 08:54am PT
Climbed route day after rockfall. (Yes I know, yrr gonna die. Aren't well all)
Just wanted to give everyone a heads up. All anchors and route are still intact and unharmed by the rock fall. Climbers left of the wall was completely peppered and the gully itself seems pretty unstable. Sounds of silt and granite shifting all day below us. We found the huge block that had stopped on Thanksgiving ledge and made the easy 4th class traverse a little trickier to navigate. The feeling of being over there was definitely one of high caution and felt like we entered no man's land. I'd be careful going over there, and probably won't be treading on that side for some time. The route still goes and didn't seem to have any damage besides dusty holds. For how stable the big rock clinging on thx giving ledge, I have no idea.. could be there for the next 1000 years or 10 days. Thankfully it stayed put as we climbed under, on, and around it.
gstock

climber
Yosemite Valley
Sep 20, 2017 - 04:25pm PT
14 September 2017 El Capitan West Face rockfall overview
14 September 2017 El Capitan West Face rockfall overview
Credit: gstock

West Face rockfall source before (left) and after (right&#...
West Face rockfall source before (left) and after (right), and impact area on Thanksgiving Ledge
Credit: gstock

West Face rockfall source before (left) and after (right)
West Face rockfall source before (left) and after (right)
Credit: gstock

D2R2

Sport climber
Earth
Sep 20, 2017 - 04:37pm PT
That's cool! And NOT fake news!
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Sep 20, 2017 - 05:27pm PT
That's what I was waiting for, Greg Stock rocks!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 20, 2017 - 05:44pm PT
That doesn't look like a lot of cubic footage in comparison to all the lamentations.
aldude

climber
Monument Manor
Sep 20, 2017 - 05:58pm PT
Cool....missed Allied Forces !
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Sep 20, 2017 - 06:05pm PT
Thank you GStock! Looks pretty normal. Still glad nobody got hurt.
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss On the End of a Wet Fist
Sep 20, 2017 - 06:39pm PT
I think a helmet would not have helped.
D2R2

Sport climber
Earth
Sep 20, 2017 - 07:21pm PT
Silverfish are people too
john hansen

climber
Sep 20, 2017 - 07:47pm PT
Greg Stock, thanks for the photos. Can you give us any idea how this compares (cubic meters or?) with some other falls?
Maybe the Half Dome one on Reg Route,,,

The "two feet of new talus makes me curious, hard to see the scale in your photos but does look fairly small.
gstock

climber
Yosemite Valley
Sep 21, 2017 - 09:37am PT
From the photos I posted above, I estimate the volume of this rockfall at about 40-50 cubic meters, or roughly 130 tons. Volume-wise, that's a bit more than a Sprinter van. That is certainly large enough to create a lot of debris at the base, but it's not big by Yosemite standards. For comparison, the July 2015 rockfall from the Northwest Face of Half Dome was about 45 times larger at 1,800 cubic meters.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Sep 21, 2017 - 01:18pm PT
Thanks, Greg!
erik griffith

Gym climber
Yosemite National park
Sep 21, 2017 - 01:26pm PT
Wow! Awesome photos. Half of that rock is just sitting on Thanksgiving ledge at the start of the final 5.6 pitch. We climbed around it and slightly on top of it for a couple moves. Seems like it's going to be hanging out there for a while. The Yosemite landscape is definitely an ever changing one.
kingtut

Social climber
carmel, ca
Sep 21, 2017 - 03:46pm PT
TFPU Greg!
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Sep 21, 2017 - 05:45pm PT
Dang, those rock-fall source before and after pictures are so interesting. They make you immediately see how it probably works. That downward-projecting triangle of rock is heavy.

Always had a thing for mass-wasting.
Tom Patterson

Trad climber
Seattle
Sep 21, 2017 - 06:38pm PT
Having had two pretty hairy experiences with rockfall through the years, this kind of gives me the willies.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Sep 21, 2017 - 07:31pm PT
6/10





le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Sep 21, 2017 - 09:51pm PT
Here's the base in April - remember noticing a number of white blocks with that semi-fresh look to them, like the big field of boulders that the south side of the Mirror trail cuts through. But who knows how long they may have been there.



And looking up the West Gulley from the start

mcreel

climber
Barcelona
Sep 22, 2017 - 03:11am PT
Gstock: do you use some sort of software to identify the before/after differences, or it that based on a well-trained eye? Thanks for the images, very interesting.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Sep 22, 2017 - 04:21am PT
Look for fresh rocks/dust.
Then look straight up! :-)
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 23, 2017 - 08:55pm PT
I was waiting for Greg's post for several days, then I got distracted and forgot to check back. Thanks for your excellent posts and commentary. Whenever there's a rockfall event, I've learned to expect Greg to give us the real news. As always, you don't disappoint.

John
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Sep 23, 2017 - 10:15pm PT
Greg, did you ever figure out the origin point for the one I mentioned to you when I did LF with Gomz in May 2009?
moosedrool

climber
Andrzej Citkowicz far away from Poland
Sep 23, 2017 - 10:24pm PT
That's why I stick with gym climbing.

It's too fuking dangerous outside!

Moose
Mr_T

Trad climber
Northern California
Sep 27, 2017 - 08:07pm PT
Maybe the rockfall took care of that annoying fixed rope just to the right?
Jim Pettigrew

Social climber
Crowley Lake, CA
Oct 3, 2017 - 04:26pm PT
I'm obviously late on this one! Yes! It is alive! Look Igor it pulsates with vigor and energy! No not Disneyland only the current messed up concessinare!
Llewelyn Moss

Big Wall climber
LZ Loon
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 9, 2017 - 06:03pm PT
Bump for Jim's reply.

Had a good laugh reading his post, made me smile.
Messages 1 - 63 of total 63 in this topic
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