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Moby grape rock fall

Original Post
Molly Zhu · · New york · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 25

We were on the last pitch of Moby grape on Sunday when we saw a huge, dining table sized rock fell from pitch 5. The party behind us told me that the leader on pitch 5 was building an anchor and put a cam behind a flake, and as soon as he weighted on it, the rock began to move and fell. Pretty lucky the rock missed his belayer. I think I heard him saying the rock barely missed him. Fortunately they were also the last party (I counted at least 5 parties ) so no one got hurt. 

Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 150

Maybe the one with the tat around it, right above the Finger of Fate?   That sucker is thin, and big.

SethG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 252

Wow Molly glad you & Leo and everybody else is ok!

Charlie Proctor · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 40

I was in the party of 3 that caused the rock fall and I was at the belay as it came past. My friend who was at the higher anchor when it came off deemed it "microwave-sized". I was busy cowering in a corner on the ledge below so I didn't get a look as it came past but it made quite a racket on it's way down. It also severely damaged both our ropes around the middle mark. For those who are curious, I'm going to get my friend with access to an instron machine to test the orange rope to failure at the damaged point. Any bets as to how much it'll hold?

In terms of location, I lead the finger of fate pitch and then moved 50ft right at the grassy ledge and belayed in a nice alcove. My friend continued more or less straight up from there past a short dihedral and a few ledges. He set a belay on a sloping ledge with a tree (or small shrub) with some new-ish looking rappel tat on it. The rock broke off somewhere near that tree. Apparently the rockfall came close to a party climbing on either vertigo or union jack.

P.S. - For the record, my friend said he knocked on the flake and deemed it good before placing the cam behind it...

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

sounds like if you guys went right after the Finger you were off route or in the old Conns scramble teritory..... 

fatum · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 0

I was at about one long pitch higher belaying, when I heard the yell and looked down.  I saw the rock tumbling down, which was pretty horrifying.  From what I can tell, it is much larger than a typical microwave.  I would describe it table size, and the leader of another party behind us seem to confirm this as well.

I can confirm that the party of three traversed right on the huge ledge after the finger of fate pitch, and then climbed pretty much straight up.  I think this is not the standard route, which you are supposed to traverse left, and then up and right to belay at the "cave".

I think it is pretty lucky that no one, neither the party of three in the incident nor anyone at the base, got hurt.

Dan - · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 0

Howdy Folks,

I was in the party of two climbing above the group that dislodged the block on Moby Grape. I moved left after the finger, up the slabs, and belayed at the cave. Once above the cave and on the slab, I saw the leader setting an anchor roughly 50-100ft below my location (apparently they moved right after the finger, and up the chossy gully). I heard the grinding sound of a rock slide, looked down, and saw a large block sliding down the slab. It's hard to say how large it actually was, but I estimate it was no less than 4ft x 3ft x 1ft. After yelling rock, asking if all his people were okay, etc., I looked down to assess the situation. It looked like he set a two point anchor; a shrub and a cam. The cam was still attached to a cord and resting on the slab after the block was dislodged. The cam was either nested under an entirely loose block, or very fragile and large flake. It was likely an entirely loose block, as it seems unlikely that simply weighting the anchor in this situation would cause a flake of that size to fracture. 

Three of my friends were directly below the rock fall, walking back from the duet area. Luckily they were all wearing helmets. One was struck directly in the head, and diagnosed with a concussion later that week. 

Please take care while climbing on Cannon, negligence can hurt and kill people.

Charlie Proctor · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 40


Sorry to hear about your friend. I'm very glad they were wearing a helmet and the results weren't any worse. This is a great reminder that you should wear your helmet anywhere remotely close to the base of Cannon. 

On a separate note my friend with access to an instron machine tested the damaged section of the orange rope in the picture above. It's a petzl arial 9.6mm. The sheath was totally cut through and a few of the core strands were also cut.  The rope basically held a load of 1662 lbf before strands started breaking and the rope started elongating/stretching a lot. You can see where individual strands break on the graph. 1662 lbf is about 7.4 kN which according to my brief research would be hard to generate on the rope in a normal lead fall scenario. I'm still not gonna climb on core shot ropes, but this gives a little more reassurance for those rare situations when I would be forced to do so.

Zach Swanson · · Newton, MA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 38

Wow that rope looks nearly severed in half in the photo and it still held that much force?

Addem Bursh · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 880

Hey all,

I’m in the party of one eating at blaze pizza, reading about the rockfall on MP.

I think I speak for all the others here, at blaze, when I demand to know the exact dimensions of the rock.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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