Thursday, June 02, 2011

Winter 2011 Damage

There has been a lot of damage to Main Face over the last winter. The pictures don't do it justice. The access ramp has had about 2/3's of it washed out towards the bottom. It is still very passable but one more season like 2011 and it may be completely gone. This was a man made ramp to allow heavy machinery down to the Main Face Area to harvest boulders for the Flat Rock Town breakwater. It is all soft dirt and easily wash away with high wave action.

The next obvious area was when we came upon Iron Hand (Left of Candy). It climbs the corner Bob is looking at up to the large horizontal crack, traverse left and up from there. It is a good heady trad climb. The is no protection until you get to the first bolt. When it was bolted, the first move was to mantle up onto the flat ledge that come from the left side of the corner and slopes into the right side, about 15 feet above Bob's head (Bob is 6 foot). This could be reached from the ground. A balancy move would get you into the thin corner and with a back step you could reach the first bolt about 3 feet below the large horizontal ledge. That first bolt is now 25 to 30 feet off the deck with little to no chance to get gear in then so it is now a 5.9+ X trad route.
This is where 'No Freebies' used to be. The large boulders in the forefront are the rock that had the routes on them. The inverted staircase in the background is where it came off. This used to have 3 solid 5.10's on it. The anchors are still at the top.
Bob educated us on what happened. In the left of the picture, at the base of the wall you can notice a different color band of rock. That is a layer of relatively soft sandstone. Sitting on top are the massive cliff faces that make up Main Face. They are composed of a much harder conglomerate rock. When the base gets exposed like this, the sandstone erosion accelerates. Literally, the foundation of the cliffs above are being washed away. They loose support, fracture and fall away. Just hope you are not climbing when it does happen.

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