Biggest block or flake you've trundled in the Valley...?

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healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 16, 2007 - 04:00pm PT
Having only been there once, and staggered at the size of the loose stuff just hanging up there (including the Texas and Boot flakes) I'm dying to know...
Wild Bill

climber
Ca
Jan 16, 2007 - 04:16pm PT
Did anyone here ride to glory on the former flake on Half Dome's regular NW face? It happened the day before we got there (July '91), and boy were we surprised to find it missing. Pitch 8, was it?
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Jan 16, 2007 - 04:41pm PT
Top of the 3rd pitch of Arrowhead Arete, sometime around 91, maybe 92. Used to be a foot locker sized block just sitting on the left side of that ledge, directly above the preceding pitch. On New Year's Day we trundled it in the interest of public safety, reasoning there was no one down in Indian Canyon or the base of the route at the time.

It bounced once and hit the f*#king Arrowhead, dayum it was awesome. Every time I've been up there since I'm glad we did it, it was poised to kill someone someday.

Cheers
DMT
Blinny

Trad climber
NorthWestMontana
Jan 16, 2007 - 05:39pm PT
I didn't trundle it, it trundled me!

On the descent from JoJo (base of Washington Column, in the ValleyOfTheHardBodies) I stepped on a refrigerator sized block that IMMEDIATELY took off like the skateboard from hell. . . I rode it long enough to get my wits together and jump off and that sucker went crashing through the forest like a meteor!

FRIGHTENING!

The smell of O3 was EVERY WHERE!

It's a good thing there weren't people below us.

YIKES!

eKat
Ricardo Carlos

Trad climber
Off center, CO.
Jan 16, 2007 - 05:46pm PT
Wish someone had, late 70s maybe fourth or fifth pitch on nutcracker. I reached up grabbed a long pointy block only to have it move. I yelled down for my partner not to touch it as at least three parties were below. The last party said they would kick it lose. Well a day or so later it came loose and cut a guy open badly. I heard his swami was all that was holding his guts in.

I climbed the route a few years later and no block. It may have been true about the guy?.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jan 16, 2007 - 06:06pm PT
Aproximatley 5' square by 9" thick off Coral Corner on Aquarius spring '82. Like Ekat said, it trundled me! It spun, fell several hundred feet before hitting the wall, bounced into the forest clipping trees in it's wake. There were people down there and everything. When it was over, there was cheering from the ground and from all over the wall.

Truly amazing both to see, and for the fact that no one got squished!


Now if you want to take about the desert, the trundles get considerably larger, if not as long lasting....
John Moosie

climber
Jan 16, 2007 - 06:50pm PT
Hey Blinny, Mine was similar to yours. Not really out climbling but just playing in the back country. Coming off of triple divide peak in southern Yosemite I stepped on an 18 inch thick slab that was about 20 feet by 10 feet. It started moving fast and I realized I was surfing off the mountain. Jumped off and it went crashing down the slope. Big clouds of dust. Whoa man....
Blinny

Trad climber
NorthWestMontana
Jan 16, 2007 - 06:54pm PT
HEINOUS, moosie! But, hey. . . we both lived to tell the tale!

YAY!

eKat
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 16, 2007 - 06:57pm PT
The block that Todd Skinner and Paul Piana dislodged from the top of the Salathe Route must have been pretty substantial.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jan 16, 2007 - 07:03pm PT
Putting up new routes, or climbing old routes people haven't done in a long time, gives ample opportunity to tundle...

Eric has often instructed me to "clean" up a route after he has lead through the mine field of lose stuff... one in particular was at the top of a pitch, which he had the good manners not to mention to me until I was there...

"Hey Ed, see that block just sitting there, maybe you could push it off so it doesn't kill us next time we come up here.."

Sending that sucker down towards the road was truely frightening! and fun! why is that?

Then there are the times when you are just pulling stuff off and flinging it... that was Hand Job a couple of weekends ago, just cleaning flakes forever, especially 'cause you didn't want to move off that scabby sh#t...

So, this is a related discussion: why do we describe the size of loose stuff in terms of household appliances?

a microwave sized... a refrigerator sized... etc...

any ideas?
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Jan 16, 2007 - 07:04pm PT
Biggest thing I ever saw was either Werner and the famous Base of Half Dome trundle, or Shultz and the top of the Shield Trundle.... both in the 40megaton range.
John Moosie

climber
Jan 16, 2007 - 07:10pm PT
Yep we lived. When I finally got off of it I was 100 vertical feet below my buddy. His eyes and his mouth were wide open and his face had that HOLY SHIZZLE look. I probably looked the same. When my buddy got down to me I said " What took you so long? " He said, " I missed the bus. "
couchmaster

climber
Jan 16, 2007 - 07:12pm PT
I'm waiting for Neal Olsen to show up and talk about his trundle of the big block above camp 6 on the Nose which he rode down like Slim Pickens on the Nuke, sometime in the 70's.

Well, rode it till it snapped his leg anyway. Werner posted that great pic of Bridwell with Neal in the litter doing the first El Cap rescue somewhere else on this site earlier.
Burns

Trad climber
Arlington, VA
Jan 16, 2007 - 07:28pm PT
Last summer on the nose a block came off that was, based on the scar, a 3' tall pyramid about 1'x1' at the base. I heard it coming and thought it was a helicopter. Looked over towards the valley to see a monster block spinning downwards. The Nose was packed that day, probably a dozen people in all below the block. Nobody got hit. I was too terrified of more blocks coming down to watch it fall. I just cowered like a beaten dog up against the wall (I was in a fairly protected spot). Turns out it came off from just above the belay at the bottom of the last crack pitch below the final bolt ladder. It was one of two rockfalls while we were on the nose. It amazed me that as much traffic as that route sees, there's still sh*t falling off of it.
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Jan 16, 2007 - 07:29pm PT
What happened to the loose block on Nose above camp 6 with all the ratty webbing?

The night before this thread started I dreamed I was climbing at this trad site I had never visited. I was about 2 pitches up and I found a loose block
Ricardo Carlos

Trad climber
Off center, CO.
Jan 16, 2007 - 07:34pm PT


Remember the rock fall in the valley during the Mammoth Quake?
WBraun

climber
Jan 16, 2007 - 07:42pm PT
Hehehe, You remember that Russ. Walt and me. Then years later we trundled the entire Dolt Hole. Sheared the bolts below.

Monster trundles ...... good fun.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 16, 2007 - 07:44pm PT
It may in part depend on the definition of trundling, for which no better reference exists than "The Fine Art of Boulder Trundling". The biggest recent rockfall was probably that on Glacier Point Apron a few years ago. The Cookie slides of the late 1970s and early 1980s were pretty large, too. But both were from natural forces.

I'd take trundling to mean deliberate or accidental dislodging of a rock by a climber. Hopefully there isn't too much (or any) deliberate trundling happening in the Valley - not a good place for such antics. Though some fun can be had with intentional trundling, in the right environment.
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Jan 16, 2007 - 11:54pm PT
A couple of things......

I remember Neal Olsen telling me when he broke his leg on El Cap in 1972 (I think) that he smoked his whole stash waiting for the rescue to arrive. When Bridwell was lowered down to Neal, the first thing Neal did was offer Bridwell a toke! Probably the most successful of the early El Cap rescues as Bridwell was lowered, with Neal, all the way down the face.

Back in the mid-70's The crux of Moby Dick Left (the chimney) used to be getting around a refrigerator-sized(it was more like the size of 2-3 refrigerators) chockstone at about 3/4 height. That block ain't there no more! It fell out years ago.

Bruce
ec

climber
ca
Jan 17, 2007 - 04:01am PT
Hell, we need some action on this thread!

ec

climber
ca
Jan 17, 2007 - 04:12am PT
Hell, we need some action on this thread!

cliffhanger

Trad climber
California
Jan 17, 2007 - 05:50am PT
Going fast on the Steck-Salathe in 1980, I pulled up on what I thought was a solidly embedded chockstone, 2' thick x 12' high x 7' deep. At the midway point it falls out of the crack with me. And since I was climbing faster than my belayer could pull it in I had 6' of slack in the rope. When the belay caught me the block was going fast enough to give me a nasty whack on my thigh. The very loud explosive noise as the block hit below was scarier than the fall.
Gunkie

climber
East Coast US
Jan 17, 2007 - 07:18am PT
Not in the valley, but climbing at a place called Green Pond [illegal] in Sussex County NJ we mysteriously caused a huge section of overhang to cut loose from near the top of this cliff.

Now it's illegal to climb there as it was then, circa 1980. Also, at the base of the talus slope was a residential neighborhood where we parked in a cul-de-sac and cut between two homes to access the cliff.

It was weird watching this rockfall happen. It busted off about 10 feet to our left. We never really even touched this section of rock. It seemed like everything was going in slow motion with very little sound. Then BOOM! It was incredibly loud. My ears were ringing for a couple of hours afterwards and we were very lucky to not have been in the way. The rockfall was so big that 10" diameter trees were falling like dominos and it created a swath of destruction 20 meters wide x 50 meters long. Rock dust hung in the air like a signal flare telling the authorities where the culprits [us] were hiding.

We figured that one [all?] of the home owners would call the cops right away and we'd get nabbed. So we topped out on the climb and ran way back into the woods, through all kinds of poison ivy and tick infested grasses and then followed a trail about three miles around the backside. We stashed our gear near the trailhead and walked about two miles back to the car like nothing happened. Surprisingly enough, there were no cops, no fire engines, and no one around.

We slipped into the car, picked up our gear and didn't go back there for a year.
sling512

Trad climber
Chicago
Jan 17, 2007 - 07:27am PT
Dang Gunkie! that's a great story!!
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Jan 17, 2007 - 09:48am PT
I was doing Space on El Cap in '96 and on the "Pillar of the Community" pitch, there was a 8' x 4' flake about 3 inches thick that was bypassed by a rivet move. I accidently caught the flake with my aiders or my hammer, which was dangling down. The flake came loose and was just barely perched there, so I sent off.

You know how a playing card dropped from a height can flutter far away from the plumb-line? Well this flake dropped for perhaps 300 feet and then began to spin & flutter and started curving into the ampitheater. It hit way in the back near where South Seas begins and sent a bunch of folks near the start of Mescalito running for their lives. Scary stuff! I used to feel safe in the ampitheater but no longer. No place is safe, when it's your time to check out, it's your time. Deal with it or stay home.

In 2001, E E & I were blasting on Born Under A Bad Sign and several blocks, each the size of a Dodge cargo van came roaring down the wall. I thought it was a jet fighter at first until I saw the falling blocks. They hit about 100 yds away and the ground shook like mad. Smelled that Ozone smell that Blinney referred to earlier. Kind of made for some serious apprehension as we climbed towards the Devil's Brow area where the blocks had come from.

Levy
dirtineye

Trad climber
the south
Jan 17, 2007 - 10:36am PT
Well not in the vally again, but in the BSF in Tennessee, there have been several garage sized rocks fall in the roads there, one was dynamited, the other was left there to close a trail. It is truly as big or bigger than a two car garage.

Noffsinger and I were in the fork once and heard one of these things fall, snapping and crushing trees as it went. We were really happy to be far away from the action.

As to why trundling is so much fun, I dunno, it just is. Nothing is better when you get right down to it. What else can put such a smile on your face?

Sadly, the best trundles go to the second. You just can't go dropping really big heavy things on your second. Besides, you might screw up your rope that way.

My favorite trundle of all time though was a tree, that must have weighed about a ton. it was gigantic, dead, and as things turned out, hanging by almost nothing. It really should have killed us both when I touched it and the whole thing moved. After some debate, it was decided that we would climb carefully around it, which was a good thing, after all. Later, a visit to the top of the cliff with nobody below revealed that a couple of light taps with a foot was all it took to send the whole thing crashing down, in a glorious loud shattering and smashing and splintering and exploding of wood.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 17, 2007 - 10:53am PT
Hey y'all,

I'm on Grand Cayman Island right now, just checking in. I have rather limited time on the www, but I was wondering, could someone please email this link to Tom [that's his user name here] - we trundled a HUGE ASS flake off of Cosmos this year!

We found rap slings all the way up to this thing, and a brand new bolt right next to it from where the freaked leader bailed. It was shown as a head and rurp crack on the topo - we scarfed a #3 1/2 Camalot from behind it, that's how far it was hangin' out!

I riveted around it with three holes, then we very very carefully hauled our pigs past it. When I came up after hauling, I swung over to the thing and trundled it, with Tom taking the pictures! It was an icosoles triangle about ten feet high by one foot thick by about three-four feet wide at its base. We were only about 600' up, so could shout to the base to make sure nobody was there.

When it exploded, grenade-sized hunks of granite shot all the way down to Sacherer Cracker and beyond. Man, you coulda taken out a whole platoon of Iraquis with that single salvo of granite shrapnel.

Well, cheers and beers. American beers. Can you believe the local brewery - Stringray Beer - is closed right now for maintenance, and I have to drink Merrican stuff??? Life is 'ard, mates.

Well, off to the beach for snorkelling, then back onto the ship with smuggled beers for $2 so I don't have to pay six bucks on the ship! Sheesh.

Off to Jamaica and Dunn's River Falls tomorrow, man.

Irie, mon - irie.

Pete
Dingus Milktoast

climber
NorCal
Jan 17, 2007 - 11:11am PT
92 summer Stu and I were scouting routes up Sonora Pass way, very near the upper limit of granite, couple miles above Chipmonk Flat. We came across this giant block standing on end, size of maybe a mid sized bus or the tractor size of a tractor trailer. It made a convenient perch to see the cliff below so I hopped across a 2 foot gap to its summit.

It moved! Freaked me out so I jumped back. Looking down it was perched on a sloping ledge. Laughing, Stu sat down, stuck his legs across and pushed. It moved again, back and forth.

"Help me out here Dingus," says my trundling friend. "Let's see if we can eliminate this hazard."

"What if it slides and then leans back this way?" I asked. Stu looks at me, looks at the rock and shrugged. But he moved anyway.

So we each sat slightly to the side, one on each corner and started rocking it with our legs, ready to run if we needed.

It only took 5 well timed rocks and the thing just slowly toppled and fell about 30 feet to the ground. There was no runnout or we wouldn't have done it.

It shook the earth! A deep noise, can't be faked and that gunpowder/flint smell. Man it was awesome.

A year or two later those 3 characters in Montana killed someone trundling from the top of some peak. I've been pretty reluctant to trundle for fun ever since.

DMT
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jan 17, 2007 - 11:25am PT
Nice action photo-reportage, Eddy Joe!
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