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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.