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Massive rock fall Exit 38, routes damaged!

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Aaron Erman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 259

Gun show was hit with a huge rockfall, multiple routes are missing anchors, rocks are still sliding off as of today. Looks like it blew early this morning. About the size of a small house blew out from up near Interstate Park. Will post photos.

Aaron Erman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 259
Gun Show Blowout

We hiked up from the bottom, and noticed huge chunks of rock and debris going all the way down towards I-90. There are even a few trees snapped in half laying down the slope. Several inches of rock debris, branches, dirt, etc. We ended up running across the debris zone to get up to Interstate Park, and dodged a few rocks that were still coming down. Half expected to see some rope coming out of the pile, or a body...
Dan Cooksey · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 365

JESUS! Glad no one was hurt. That is super scary though.

Aaron Erman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 259
Aaron Erman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 259
Cliff face where slide started

Very top, near Interstate Park. Start of slide area. Several routes below this are damaged/missing.
Jon Nelson · · Redmond, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,805

Wow, that is scary.

I wonder what the cause was. And then I wonder if knowing the cause might help one avoid getting caught under a rockfall.

I often suspect root expansion. Consistent with this theory, one of your photos seems to show vegetation above the point of detachment.

But there was one study (cited in another forum thread about cracks expanding during cold periods) in which some researchers measured a crack (a large granite flake) expand and contract diurnally. They found that the amplitude was greater than a simple theory predicted from temperature changes. So, a large night-day temperature change might cause some blocks to fall.

Thanks for reporting this.

Aaron Erman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 259

It's been so warm though, not sure if standard summer weather can cause this. Of course, these things can "just happen". At first we thought for sure some one was at the belay chains and popped the whole thing off. Which could have happened theoretically. I hope no one is under that one massive block!

caribouman1052 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 5

Hmm. Been dry here lately, and hot. Clear hot days generally give cold nights, could be the diurnal expansion. That patch to the left looks suspect.

Aaron Erman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 259

From what I recall, it appears to be GS-1 through Endless Bliss that's affected, with the routes in the middle having the most damage. Endless Bliss looks like it could be climbed safely, but you'll have to run under the falling rocks to get to it, and if anything else breaks loose while on route, you may get a shotgun blast of debris.

Carlos d'Avis · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

We were there on Sunday (after a day of climbing at Leavenworth then departing for somewhere fire-free).

We climbed the first pitches of both Elation and Endless Bliss. Neither seemed compromised at all, although many holds were full of dirt. We didn't experience any rockfall while we were there.

Zach Parsons · · Tacoma, WA · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 100

I was there on Saturday, it must have happened during the week.

Confirmed that both pitches of Endless Bliss are unaffected, but p1 is dirty. Kind of surprising that Elation (p1 at least) didn't see some damage.

No rockfall while we were there. But Endless Bliss was as far left as I was comfortable getting, with all the newly exposed rock. Will be interesting to see if any more comes off over the wet season.

Martin Mudry · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Saw this as early as Saturday (8/27/16) afternoon and wondered why I hadn't heard about it yet online. I was climbing here for the first time 2 weeks prior and Saturday it was almost I recognizeable as all the trees were down and there were multiple car sized boulders around. The area still smelled like wood chips from all the destroyed trees.

ezrafmorrison · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

Shit's crazy. And sobering. Really glad no one was hurt.

08/21 I took the top climbers trail from headlight down to set a line on Endless Bliss to rope solo. The area above the slide (ish) is sketchy, you kind of cross it to get to solid blocks and eventually rap to the chains. It's loose and dry, with clearly eroded vegetation and rock (was on rappel).

How long is standard to stay out of the fall area for everything to settle?

Jimmy Downhillinthesnow · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 10

Endless Bliss (although it is definitely not 2 pitches) is one of the few worthwhile routes in the entire area, as long as you don't mind the tire roar. Glad it's OK.

Shit happens. I almost got hit in the noggin by a grapefruit-sized chunk under Tattoosh at Index last year. Half the Sheriff's Badge peeled off at Squamish. A few school busses fell off Three O'Clock Rock up in Darrington in June 2014 (Jon--I think that would fit your root theory). Out here in New England, where bolts at trad crags are considered treasonous, we had a belay/rappel tree fall off the damn cliff on a windless, pleasant June day--luckily, without climbers attached. Mass wasting is inevitable--no telling when it will happen, just a matter of chance.

Climb safe!

Rad Roberts · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 183

After some discussion among climbers, we decided it would be good to warn people about the dangers of the Gun Show now. The final section of trail to the cliff is now buried under several feet of debris that includes multiple multi-ton boulders. It looks like more material could come down at any time. I would strongly suggest people avoid this entire cliff for a while. In addition to danger from rockfall, bolts and anchors on adjacent routes, including Endless Bliss, could have been damaged. It will probably be a while before any of us is comfortable going out to inspect the hardware. We suggest you climb elsewhere this fall. There are plenty of crags out there. Go explore and climb something new! I wouldn't linger on the trail above the Gun Show either. Climb on!

One of the large rocks that fell off the Gun Show. Pipe is about 6 inches in diameter for scale.

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Caution tape and warning note

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 476
James Sledd wrote:we had a belay/rappel tree fall off the damn cliff on a windless, pleasant June day--luckily, without climbers attached.
A couple weeks back I was at world wall at 32, in the middle of leading a pitch I heard a giant crack, tree just randomly fell over in the woods. Nice warm day, not a hint of wind, no recent rain.
Diana C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

I was climbing at the gun show on Wednesday August 24th. We left close to 7pm and didn't notice anything odd or different. Friends went back on Monday and found the slide. Sounds like it happened sometime between Wednesday and Saturday then. Scary to think we could have been flattened...

DamonV · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

I had missed this news last year, so headed to Gun Show today (April 16, 2017). The warnings & tape were still there (thanks, Rad Roberts!) so we moved on to Offramp.

Does anyone know if there are any plans to reassess the routes and make repairs this year? I know very little about what this would involve, but would be more than happy to lend a hand to someone who does!

SeƱor Arroz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 10
Jon Nelson wrote: Wow, that is scary. I wonder what the cause was...


Robert Cort · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 800

Geologic time includes now.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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