What's The Biggest Chunk Of Granite You Set Loose?


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Dr. Rock

Ice climber
Castle Rock
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 15, 2008 - 01:14am PT
Their rock just landed:

Inner City

Trad climber
East Bay
Jun 15, 2008 - 01:33am PT
E gad a rina, that sounds really scary...mine was with a party of three on Hobbit Book nearly 20 years ago. I was climbing second and about 15 feet up the first pitch. My friend Craig was waiting to start his first ever real rock pitch. As I stepped up on a block, it gave way and I jumped up to keep from falling with it. It started quietly and then became louder and scarier as it went. Craig was out of the drop zone, but his eyes looked otherwise. He didn't speak for two pitches and even then seemed mildly in shock.

It was such an incredibly loud noise as the thing broke up in the lower bowl (block size was 2 by 4 feet or so.)

....I think I know who cleaned out the block on east butt of el cap that was spoken of...I guess there may have been more than one though...

...there was an incredibly loose-seeming flake on overhang bybass a bit back. That thing is gonna go...or has.


Trad climber
Memphis, TN
Jun 15, 2008 - 07:04am PT
Not exactly related but close. The most "scared" I've ever been climbing.

Topped out on "Mungeanella" in the valley, waiting for my partners to finsish the first pitch on the next route, I was gathering gear, drinking water, etc. sitting on a big tree covered ledge.

Without any warning, no whistle, no nothing, a grapefruit sized rock, lands (explodes) about a foot from my right knee. It must have been going about 300 miles an hour as it cratered and then zoomed off into space. I have never seen anything with that much engergy. It was almost like a bomb.

I did not have my helmet on at the moment but quickly placed it on my head. Not that it would have done any good with that thing. If it had hit me on the head, I would have been DEAD, regardless. I was trembling.

When I got up to my partners, I asked why they never shouted "ROCK!" They said that they never loosed a rock and that they never saw or heard it. That it must have come from above them. OK I guess, but still. Damn close call.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Jun 15, 2008 - 08:21am PT
1985 Rojers Rock. We are at the tree rap station at the top of the slab on the right side . It looked brushy so we didn't throw the rope . Mike was in the rapell and jut ready to start rapping when the ledge fell out from underneath us leaving us hanging from the tree. It was truck hood size and a foot or so thick. crashed down the face splintering trees like matchsticks, leaping and bounding with sparks and ozone finally hitting the water 600ft below with the biggest splash I have ever seen...
We were so lucky that it went before one of us started the rap and that we had not thrown the rope.

Big Wall climber
Hong Kong & Wales
Jun 16, 2008 - 03:59am PT
This reminds me of a good story from a friend... he was coming out from pushing a new cave, a good few hours of jugging from the surface - the rope was deviated on what looked like a solid pillar twice the size of a fridge... it appeared to be bomber for the duration of the trip/expedition when unfortunately it decided to come loose whilst he was on it, it blew away from the wall, flew down towards him missing him... thinking it was going to snap the rope, fortunately the shonky bit of dive line used to deviate the rope snapped before the rope did (good reason to use low breaking strength cord for deviations...), however it ripped a leg loop off his harness, shredded the rope nicely and f*#ked one of his jammers I think... a guy waiting below heard it coming down bouncing off the walls from a long way up and literally crapped his pants...
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 16, 2008 - 04:15am PT
Where's Dave Turner. He's got some bragging rights on this thread for his "block party" affair.

for me, starting the West face of El cap in a day with Corbett BITD, I was cleaning a pitch and a TV sized block came off in my hands. I swung it past me (or me past it) but it headed straight for the loop in the rope. It barely missed then I heard it crashing and exploding below



Jun 16, 2008 - 10:27am PT


You haven't lived until you've trundled at the Gunks. Noone trundles at the Gunks. Serious.

Jun 16, 2008 - 12:10pm PT
Hopelessly waiting for the heat to subside, Richard Leversee and I lay in the parking area with haulbag and pack packed. We arrived to do an FA on North Dome at Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon NP. Then this guy comes up to us, asking if we were going to climb. In the following conversation we discovered that 'Mike' had minimal experience, but was 'volunteering' to sign-up. Lever and I looked to each other with the, "are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Sure, someone to help with the load (haul slave). Mike was an employee in the park and we drove back to his place to pick-up his gear. Soon after that we were humping to the base in the summer heat.

The route followed this crack system to the left of TM's route (a huge corner), diagonaling out left towards the center of the face. Mike, being the last off of the belay had to do a big lower-out on this one pitch, "Hey, there's this huge loose block out here, what should I do?" We looked down at Mike and his new friend, a one-foot thick, fifteen-foot high and four-foot wide block literally teetering on its end. We had Mike get just above the obelisk and gather up any spare rope that may be dangling around it. Then we screamed, "ROCK!" for about five minutes to the tourists below and warnings for them to clear out.

Then with a gentle kick, Mike sent this thing down! First, it fell outward, hinging at its base falling down the face like a huge surf board. The sound of it pushing air was unnerving. The block hit the slab below and exploded into gazillions of pieces, sending many large chunks rifling through the forest. Lucky, no touroids were injured in the making of this FA.

Uh, and I'll never do any of those slab routes down there now, either!

Dingus Milktoast

Jun 16, 2008 - 12:25pm PT
SammyLee a similar thing happened to Burl and I in the Cathedral Chimney. We were standing at the bolt marking the first optional rappel on the descent. Out of the Higher Cathedral Rock blue a football sized rock exploded BETWEEN US. We were like 4 feet apart. Damn that was scary. This spot also marks the place where a tourist scrambler died some years back. Burl and I had done the E Butt route a week or so after SAR had extracted the poor guy's body. There was still a lot of blood about.

That spot has some weird juju vibe - we dispensed with the rap that day the rock sploded and down climbed as quickly as possible.

Looking up? The rock had clearly fallen from the visor-like overhangs and landed BOOM! Right between us.

Biggest trundle?

Stu and I were cragging up Sonora Pass way. We found this large boulder standing on end, on a sloping ledge, near the top of this 30' cliff. It was a free standing pillar, about the size of a full sized van. REALY BIG. Ole Stu hopped on to it across a 2-foot gap and the bloody thing teetered. Just as quickly he hopped off again.

"That thing could kill someone." He commented. "It would be a community service if we knocked if off, you know?"

I agreed. So we spent some minutes trying to just nudge it off. It wasn't going to fall that easily though. We could get it rocking but we were worried it would slip, slide and tip backward, pinning our legs under a few tons of rock.

In the end it took us both pushing with our legs - got it rocking and finally it achieved the tipping point and went over.

The crash was legendary - shook the ground it did. Broke into a million pieces.

Was on the Column one day and heard a ruckas - big rock fall off the south shoulder of Half Dome. Went all the way to the valley floor, whatever it was.

The weirdest one I ever saw was in Zion. Again with Stu, we were in the process of either getting a permit or getting some food. I was standing near his truck in a parking lot when I heard the cracking sound of very large rock. Its different somehow, primal and earth moving, than smaller blocks.

I looked up in the direction of the sound, at the rim, in time to see this entire sandstone pillar formation fall outward and down.

BOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM! It was like a nuclear explosion! Sh#t people were running every which way after that and I saw the whole thing.

Within a couple of minutes a dist cloud worthy of the depression enveloped us like a plague of locusts - it blotted out the sun! Now this rock fall wasn't as big as the Glacier Point fall that killed that belayer dude. But it was pretty big. No one was hurt so far as I know.

Sorta unnerved me about climbing in Zion frankly.

Dr. Rock

Ice climber
Castle Rock
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 16, 2008 - 03:21pm PT
For all you enviro types out there, just a reminder, us Trundlers, we are simply speeding up a process that is going to occur naturally, long after we are gone, am I not correct?
My gravestone is probably going to fall over in the middle of the night and wake me up, semi instant Kharma.
Great stories!
Glad to know I am not the only boulder trundling freak out there.
On the contrary, it seems to be popular all over.

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Jun 16, 2008 - 05:56pm PT
Ah the trundle, unfortunately I've never had the opportunity to pull any big mama's off, just the occasional microwave sized block. I was out soloing today at lunch at came across a good trunk sized block that would have made for a dandy trundle. Unfortunately the busiest road in the state is at the base of the rock, and it's summer tourist season. I'm sure some folks would give me a pat on the back if I could drop such a rock through an rv, but I'm content to just leave such blocks lie, maybe I'll come back in winter.

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