Author Topic: Earthquake triggers rockfall in Acadia  (Read 248 times)

Offline islander511

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Earthquake triggers rockfall in Acadia
« on: October 05, 2006, 03:56:57 PM »
On Monday, October 2nd at 8:07PM, Mount Desert Island experienced its third earthquake/aftershock in eleven days -- this one apparently registering around 3.9 in magnitude. The entire east side of Mt. Champlain was affected by several rockfalls -- the Precipice Trail is now closed due to damage and the climbing area of the same name (aka the South Wall) took some big hits.

In the middle of the cliff, several large blocks that released above and right of the route Story of O impacted on the talus section of the approach trail and carried on to the trees (had it been earlier in the evening, this could have been real nasty for anyone in that area). On the right side of the cliff, above the stairs on the approach to the route Wafer Step, a couch-sized block fell and crossed over the trail cleaving a large tree in half. The left side also was affected --  several large blocks released from the large gulley that runs the height of the cliff (not far from the 2002 rockfall) and destroyed several trees at the cliff's base.

I do not currently have any information on how this event affected specific climbing routes (at first glance, it appears all exisiting climbs were spared damage), but more time will be needed for a thorough assessment. In the meantime, given the frequency of the seismic activity, the proximity of the epicenters of all three quakes/aftershocks to the South Wall climbing area, and the potential for dangerous loose rock on the cliff, it might be wise to avoid the South Wall for a while. If you are coming up, feel free to call me for updates (207.288.2521).

As a sidebar: I was guiding on Story of O when the second quake/aftershock hit (a 3.4 and a surprise to all of us on the island - - we assumed the previous week's earthquake was a onetime event). Thankfully, not a single pebble moved that day.

Jeff Butterfield

Offline T_Moon

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Re: Earthquake triggers rockfall in Acadia
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2006, 10:25:16 PM »
Thanks for the update, Jeff.  Was there any effect on Great Head or Otter Cliffs?
If you want to get to the peak, you ought to climb without giving it too much thought.

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Offline islander511

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Re: Earthquake triggers rockfall in Acadia
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2006, 05:47:31 PM »
Great Head and Otter appear to be fine -- I wouldn't hesitate to climb on either crag.

I can confirm that the release area for the main rockfall at the South Wall (the middle one, near Story of O) was a large block just above the finish of Vacation Cracks. The interesting thing is that there are several blocks in that area you would expect to tumble given enough shaking, but they didn't budge -- instead, an area that didn't appear to be loose was the culprit.

We still don't have a complete picture of how all of the popular routes on the South Wall faired -- until they are climbed that remains an open question. The limiting factor is that until we are a few weeks out without more seismic activity, the prudent choice seems to be to steer clear of the South Wall. And for that reason I can tell you it feels like something precious has been taken away.


DLottmann

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Re: Earthquake triggers rockfall in Acadia
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2006, 09:28:21 AM »
We climbed Morviana and Gargoyle at the South Bubble Friday, and they appeared unaffected.  The rap anchor at the top of Gargoyle is not there, but there is a nice thread at the top of Morvania.  Over the weekend we climbed Trotsky, Chicken of the Sea, Old Town, P1 of Drifters, London Bridges, and Conn. Cracks, all unaffected.  Watched a climber take a 30 footer on Gunklandia, flip upside down and get a pretty bloody head injury.  I'll be posting the details soon.

Offline DWarriner

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Re: Earthquake triggers rockfall in Acadia
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2006, 10:25:01 AM »
Wow
There are no stupid questions - only stupid answers.

climbhardclimbsafe

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Re: Earthquake triggers rockfall in Acadia
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2006, 03:08:56 PM »
DMan,

   that climber you saw take a 30 footer i know her.  she is doing fine she is bacck climbing in fact she was climbing at the gunks with me sunday 11/5.  she got a nice gash on her head but other than a bit of scarring there is no permanent damage.

DLottmann

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Re: Earthquake triggers rockfall in Acadia
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2006, 03:53:00 PM »
Great to hear she is doing fine and back on the rock...

Offline imploded

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Re: Earthquake triggers rockfall in Acadia
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2006, 12:34:47 PM »
Was up in Otter Creek this weekend... lots of fresh pink granite on Dorr and up near the Beehive, but didn't make it over to Precipice to check out over there.   The thunderclaps Sunday morning shook us out of bed, we all thought another quake had started, until we saw the lightning...

Did some silly bouldering on the rocks at the end of Otter Cliffs road, I'm not sure 4-5 moves up the face counts, but it was fun.  Even got a few people honking, too.  The rock over there is pretty marginal, with holds decrepit and distintigrating.  But getting my hands on some rock was nice for such a late weekend in the season.

Saturday was beautiful and Sunday sucked.  Walked our new house site and can't wait to get started... before too long it will be goodbye Boston, hello Bar Harbor!

Cheers,

-Andrew
Remember kids, last one dead is a sissy

Offline Admin Al

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Re: Earthquake triggers rockfall in Acadia
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2006, 03:34:34 PM »
Walked our new house site and can't wait to get started... before too long it will be goodbye Boston, hello Bar Harbor!

that's great man. I knew how good it felt when we decided to move up to North Conway from Boston. truly liberating. don't know what you are doing for work, but it's always a little harder to make a go of things up North that it is down in Mass. at least it has been since the "bubble burst".

good luck.

--al
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Offline imploded

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Re: Earthquake triggers rockfall in Acadia
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2006, 01:51:50 PM »
that's great man. I knew how good it felt when we decided to move up to North Conway from Boston. truly liberating. don't know what you are doing for work, but it's always a little harder to make a go of things up North that it is down in Mass. at least it has been since the "bubble burst".

Yeah...  I work in "development / consulting", and wear a bunch of different work hats.  I travel for work so I can basically live wherever.

Now, that said, I'm not really interested in travelling any longer.  Time away from my wife and friends gets old, especially when you see the same airports, hotels, and people for months on end.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do next, probably a transitional gig.  I'm looking at places like Jax Lab, as they are pretty big in Bar Harbor, but I've thought of leaving the industry and starting our own business.  A B&B, food shop, restaurant, who knows...  I lobstered when I was a kid so there is always that, too.  I'm more worried about where we live than what I do, especially when you have such a great (although mildly claustrophic) community like Bar Harbor to live in.

Thanks for the positive wishes, all the good vibes we can get will help!

Cheers,

-Andrew
Remember kids, last one dead is a sissy

Offline honus

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Re: Earthquake triggers rockfall in Acadia
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2006, 08:13:23 PM »
now that this thread is off topic...

lots of buisnesses are always for sale in bar harbor. i've lived there on and off for the last few years, and if you're flexible, there are plenty of possibilities. the first one that comes to mind is "bark harbor", the gourmet dog treat shop. also plenty of b&b's for sale and things like that. i love it up there, but i had to get out during the winter. one too many winters up there has broken my spirit, so now i'm looking for a warmer locale. you said you're moving to the O.C.? that's a nice little town, close to bar harbor, but it still feels a little like the quiet side. have fun up there.



on the rockfall issue...i've been to the south wall a couple of times since the earthquake, climbing old town and return to forever, as well as all the climbs past stairs alcove, and i didn't encounter any loose rock. seems like everything that was loose jiggled down in the quakes. i don't think there's any reason to stay away from there anymore, if anyone tells you otherwise, they just want the place to themselves.