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Major rockfall in the Gunks today
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By gblauer
From Wayne, PA
May 5, 2014

doligo wrote:
blaming it on novices is silly.


In this case there was a flake (shaped like Texas)sitting on a very small ledge. (there is actually a photo on gunks.com) The rock fall was not caused by freeze/thaw cycle. Allegedly a newb following the climb pulled it off.


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By JSH
Administrator
May 5, 2014
JSH @ home <br /> <br />photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker

At this point we don't know for sure which flake or rock it was, and we may never know the exact circumstances of how it was dislodged (whether it was just the straw that broke the camel's back, or whether it was outward yarding by the clueless).

So maybe let's back off of the usual other-bashing, and just be glad we're all alive?

And ... wear the lids.


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By phildenigris
From Poughkeepsie, NY
May 5, 2014

This a post from a reddit forum concerning the rockfall. Includes a picture of where the flake initially impacted the GT ledge, apparently.

www.reddit.com/r/climbing/comments/24sjuj/another_reminder_t>>>


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By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
May 6, 2014
Rumney

JSH wrote:
So maybe let's back off of the usual other-bashing...


It's useful discussion regardless of whether fingers are being pointed. No one will want to be "that guy/gal" if there's consequences. Certainly wouldn't want to be the guy/gal to pat someone on the back for doing this.

And yes, accidents happen. But often accidents are simply a matter of being sloppy/not paying attention. People need to pay attention. This can't be overstated, nor should that message be squelched for sake of a few people's delicate 'feelings'.

As for trundling, I believe there's local climbers that occasionally remove hazards in an organized manner. Like Gunkiemike explained, having the preserve take any part in this would only drag them into a messy area of liability.


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By John Ryan
From Poncha Springs, CO
May 6, 2014
No Name Crack, 5.10, Supercrack Buttress, Indian Creek, Utah

Glad no one was seriously injured. I think it is unfortunate that no one took it upon themselves to trundle this block - from the thread from 2006 it is clear that many knew of the danger of this block, and chose to just leave it, follow the rules, and hope for the best. I know I would feel responsible if I just followed the rules and ignored the hazard, and later found out that someone had been seriously injured or killed. Trundling is not rocket science - clear the damn area and get the job done.


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By Gunkiemike
May 7, 2014

John, thousands of climbers have climbed that pitch without pulling the big block down. And there are many more posing a similar (non) threat on the various Gunks cliffs. The solution IMO is not to toss every loose piece down the face, but rather to climb smart and be ever cautious about what one pulls on. Loose rock awareness is an integral part of being a good climber, a skill that may be lacking in new climbers esp. those coming from the gym.

Disclaimer - I have trundled big chunks in the past and will continue to do so under select circumstances (mostly on new routes). I have never pulled anything big off any established Gunks routes.


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By rogerbenton
May 7, 2014
Whoever this guy is, he's just plain irresponsible.

Telling John Q to trundle at their discretion is WAY more dangerous than letting sleeping dogs lie...


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
May 7, 2014
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

Rock cleaning days at popular crags would be as nice a maintenance event as replacing rusted out bolts, pins, and rappel stations. I'm sure most of you that are observant know that at the top of every single inch of cliff is generally a stack of stones moved there by rainfall and gravity. These stones require nothing more than a squirrel or gust of wind to send onto your head. This is common to pretty much all rock areas, but some are worse than others.

Take this as a warning sign to do some spring cleaning. Get the area roped off and spend a day removing these rocks and whatever other bombs you discover.


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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
May 7, 2014
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard

Gunkiemike wrote:
John, thousands of climbers have climbed that pitch without pulling the big block down. And there are many more posing a similar (non) threat on the various Gunks cliffs. The solution IMO is not to toss every loose piece down the face, but rather to climb smart and be ever cautious about what one pulls on. Loose rock awareness is an integral part of being a good climber...


Yup. For sixty years climbers have passed that way and have known enough not to pull on that block. There was nothing subtle about it; it was obviously detached all around, and it was off (but just off) the normal path.

Given the difficulty in that spot, which is right at the top of the cliff, of seeing who is below, trundling that block would be a civil engineering operation, requiring clearing a bunch climbs, the GT ledge and the base---much of which is not visible from above. You'd need something on the order of the Preserve peregrine falcon access ban to do it safely, in my opinion, and you'd want to verify that no one was accidentally or deliberately violating the access restriction, as happens with the falcon restriction, before the trundling event.

As the general outdoor competence level of the climbing population declines (sorry, this is beyond question), perhaps such sanitizing operations will become increasingly desirable, but some of them, like No Glow, will require careful planning and yellow-taping of access routes, not only on the ground but up on the cliff on the GT ledge. The idea that somebody should have just chucked that flake off on purpose is close to criminally negligent.

The amount of rock that has come down over the years from strictly natural causes ought to make it evident that the cliff can never be made completely safe, and that climbers venturing onto it will always need to develop appropriate skills in evaluating the solidity of features and avoiding dangerous ones.

Given that those skills are in decline, the only practical measure one can take is to be increasingly wary of climbing underneath other parties. In addition to pulling stuff off, I've seen a few bad and totally preventable incidences in which parties allowed badly-managed ropes to send debris over the edge and onto climbers below. A hard hat won't save you from fifty-pound chunks...

Heaven help us if Millbrook ever becomes popular. They'll need to set up an on-site graveyard for everyone who yarded on something loose.


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By Happiegrrrl
From Gunks
May 8, 2014

For all those suggesting "someone ought to do something," how about let's you go do that?(see below)



Seek information from Land Stewardship - I do NOT mean to take it upon oneself to trundle.


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By jdrago
From Rosendale, NY
May 8, 2014

God help us if anyone starts "trundling" on their own thinking its a good idea. These routes have been here and climbed for longer than I have been alive. Leave it be, CLIMB SMART! Which I know is a lot to ask for nowadays.


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By gtluke
May 8, 2014

cleaning up the fist size rocks around all the bolted anchors I think would be more of an accepted safety "clean up day"
Belaying up, and rapping down, it just takes a coil of rope to pick up one of those rocks and pop it off the ledge. Or sloppy feet while we belay or rap. maybe one day i'll bring my climbing pack up and while rapping down just toss a few dozen stones in it off the ledges. But I'll probably get yelled at by MP posters.


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By rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
May 8, 2014
The traverse out to the Yellow Ridge on the Dogstick Ridge link-up.  Photo by Myriam Bouchard

You might. Someone yelled at us (Rob Mecus and me) when we cleaned up the top of Easy O a couple years ago.

Before:



After:



Some (by no means all) of the rocks moved:



An interesting thing about the cleanup is that in discussions preceding it, some people said it was so bad up there that it would be impossible for anyone, no matter how skilled, to walk around up there without knocking stuff off. Rob and I spent maybe two hours walking all over the place carrying packs full of rocks, and lowered over the edge to scoop up some of the stuff on ledges right underneath the lip, and of course never rolled so much as a pebble. The fact that we could do this---and it wasn't at all hard to do---in the face of pronouncements about inevitable doom indicate how skewed perceptions have become about the ability of climbers to deal with loose rock.

Honestly, there is no great or mystical skill involved. You just have to effin' pay attention, and that is what seems to be happening less and less.


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
May 11, 2014
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

Nice work there, Rich. And yes, if you are only focused on moving rocks as opposed to doing it as an after thought while climbing, you can keep them from falling off pretty reliably.


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