Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
telemarker

Hyperspace Rockfall Incident Saturday

Recommended Posts

This past Saturday there was a significant, climber caused rockfall event near the top of Hyperspace. We were on the last pitch of Iconoclast when it happened, and witnessed a huge chunk of rock first free fall then strike the wall below, showering the lower part with hundreds of pieces of shrapnel. As busy as that side of the crag was, it's astounding that no one (including the climber who unintentionally cut it loose) was killed or injured.

 

The chunk of rock in question was the large flake just up and left of the top of the Pressure Chamber, where some climbers like to set the belay.

 

I'd be very interested to hear the first hand account of what went down, because by what I was able to piece together, it sounded like as close a call one can come to "getting the chop."

Edited by telemarker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My partner and I were at the belay after Psycho Path Crack, I had started up the next pitch when I heard "ROCK!", I saw a roughly car door sized block heading right for us. Told my belayer to get safe and hugged the wall. The block exploded no more than 2 meters from him, luckily he was unhurt, but understandably shook up.

I heard second hand from the party at the belay below the Pressure Chamber what happened, I'll hold off on telling the story via the grapevine for a couple days so that they have a chance to tell it from their perspective. Looks like we will have to add rock fall to the list of horse shoes and hand grenades for close calls!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn, glad you and your partner came through okay. Maybe you should both buy lottery tickets...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are few more blocks on that route that could come out pretty easily. Hard place to trundle given the popularity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Surprising amount of loose rock on that route despite the popularity. There's been a few flakes up above the chamber that have been poised to come down for a few years. Belay beyond psychopath is still cleaning up after being obliterated from natural rockfall a few years back. Lately I've been drawn more and more to obscuriites and in consequence rarely, if ever, do I climb below any other climbers. Definetly a thing to consider..

 

I'd be interested to hear the details of the rockfall as well. I'll be up that way later this week and could check route condition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted a tr long ago that warned of a particularly dangerous flake at the first belay opportunity after the Pressure Chamber pitch. It was used many times by unsuspecting climbers/belayers for decades. If it is that one , I am glad it went off without injuries or worse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steph Abegg dug up this trip report from Captain Panther in August 2011. Check out this excerpt:

 

 

The reason for this TR is right above the pressure chamber. About 15 feet after exiting the pressure chamber, you traverse out left, with your feet in a huge horizontal crack. There is a large flake, about 3 feet by 2 feet right here. That bitch is quite loose and ready to go at a touch. Be warned, I was terrified of that flake, I would not yard on it too hard. With a 70 m rope its totally reasonable to climb past it and pull the small roof above and left, build an anchor above that and belay your partner up. Take that high option or build a belay way lower, just a few feet above the chamber as in Jens’ and Sol’s video.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First and foremost, my deepest apologies for the scare. i've been there, and now, to a much darker place. Unfortunately I did not read the trip report above from telemarker and i was planning to belay from that hollow flake based on the mountain project beta. I didn’t give it too much thought, but I figured I could leave the #4 in the car and still have a safe anchor. So basically I was walking to my potential grave without knowing it.

 

I scrapped up the pressure chamber pitch and found the horizontal crack. I checked out the #4 crack to the left, and not having the obvious piece, moved back to the hollow flake. I did not inspect the flake as well as I should have. I didn’t have to think too hard about the two previous anchors on the climb, the slung horn above psychopath, nor the bolts above iconoclast corner and must say, I had my blinders on. I put a #2 in, a yellow metolius and a little peenut, and equalized them all behind the flake with no other cracks around. I weighted the anchor and the rock moved. I couldn’t tell exactly how much cuz I wasn’t looking at it, maybe a half inch. I yelled down for the teams below me to get safe and gave them a couple minutes. I could see my belayer and the team directly below us scurry around, and they said they were safe. I was about 99% sure that the rock would have come down when I weighted it if it was gonna come down at all. I was 99% wrong. I cleaned the two cams, and had just this tiny little nut to remove. I was off to the left side of the flake on the foot ledge and pulled the nut - with about the same force you would clean a typical nut, pretty easy. I was absolutely astonished to see this car door sized rock roll off its perch (old buick car door sized). I yelled rock a couple times and listened to the destruction below me. I made sure everyone was okay, and then built another anchor in the 4” crack to the left (took some time to get the gear to work, but I made sure this one was good). I won’t bother getting into the depths of my mental anguish caused by my ignorance, I’ll just say double check you’re anchor.

 

Just a suggestion: let’s put all the important beta in one place. How about Mountain Project?

 

Lessons relearned: 1.) rock stability changes over time 2.) make sure the ‘get safe’ message is relayed to the other teams below 3.) Triple check your anchor.

 

Again, my apologies. I am so incredibly happy everyone is okay.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was part of the second rope team through hyperspace this day and built a safe 3 piece above this foot ledge by placing 2 pieces above and one below the detached flake. This worked for me the previous time on the route but I took time to really make sure that all pro was clear of the flake before bringing anyone up. If the rockfall was caused by the third rope team, then I was giving your leader beta and I thought I commented on the dangerous flake, but perhaps I didn't stress that enough. Sorry.

 

Im really glad no one was hurt!

Sincerely,

Jon Pobst

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pobst, did you go up there again? I think the OP was referring to May 16th, the week after our climb. I remember you pointing the flake out to me though when I climbed up.

 

It sounds like if no one was hurt then a service may have been inadvertently done. Keep an eye on your anchors though folks, just because it's been used before or it "seems" solid, doesn't mean it doesn't warrant thought and inspection of the surrounding rock. Just my thoughts from on high having pleasantly not had to lead that pitch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's right Olympic, it was May 16th and we were the 1st team up.

 

Telemarker, at one point i was holding the rope away from the wall, although i honestly don't remember if i was doing that when i pulled the nut. too incredulous to the rockfall to remember that detail.

 

Pobst, wish you were there to warn me, but yeah, different day. so no need for the apology. i assume your warning was enough to your fellow climbers - mighty nice of you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were the second rope team - at the base of the Pressure Chamber when the rock cut loose. Brandon - way to keep it together to finish the pitch. I can't imagine being Florian (sp?) and having that block explode a few feet away (RandyEL - nice meeting you, we were the party that retold the story at the base of the wall).

 

From what I have been seeing Iconoclast and Hyperspace seem to be getting almost as much traffic as Outerspace recently. As everyone else has said, there are still some scary death blocks remaining both where the rockfall happened at the top of the pitch below the 11a yellow alt pitch on Iconoclast, and the somewhat boot-shaped block wedged in on the first Hyperspace pitch.

 

I expect no love for this opinion but between the loose blocks and increased traffic, bolted belay anchors (in rock that aint going nowhere) would be a nice addition to Iconoclast and Hyperspace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×