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An incident occured today that made me question my actions for a second. Only a second.

I thought this would be a good place to share and get some other peoples opinions on the matter.

 

Before I start I just want to say that neither me or my friends go around tossing rocks off the top of cliffs all willy nilly, I did this because I dindnt want to hear about some poor sod getting pulverized in the future

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 I was climbing at lower tear drop gully on the pipes with my mates today. Two teams of two and we climbed Farewll to Arms and Into the fire. Both are great trad routes and one gets three stars in the guide so I'm guessing its a fairly popular spot (probably not though). I lead farwell to arms and noticed an incredably precarious boulder at the belay. It just bigger than a carton of beer. I knocked it and it wobbled and I could tell it was just perching on the edge. If anyone was to pull on it the thing was coming down onto them or the belayer but most likely both. I put a huge x on it with chalk and when my second came up I screamed not to touch it. Two friends were climbing Into the Fire at the same time. This route shares the same belay point and if someone topping out on this route touched the boulder it would be good night belayer and climber too. I also screamed at this friend not to touch it. Lots of screaming. We switched routes and the second time at the belay I brushed the rock and it almost went geronimo. Then and there we decided the thing had to go. It seemed super likley that sooner or later someone would pull this thing down. It didnt take much, only a slight tap and gravity did the rest

 

Now i knew it was a big  rock but boy did it go. On its way down it free fell the 30m of the route and landed on a vegetated terrace. Here it knocked down two massive eucalypts fully uprooting them and ripped through a huge amount of scrub. It then bounced and landed 20m further down the gully. Here it made a huge cavity 1m or so in diameter and almost 1m deep in what i think was a tussok at some stage. The surrounding soil was blown apart and it kind of looked like a land mine had gone off. We had a look at the damage after and it was pretty massive. Hectic some might say.

 

I'm glad I did it because it was a death trap and I felt it my obligation. That said it opens up some interesting questions. As climbers we have responsibilities to tread lightly and reduce our impact especially  in parks like Mt Wellington. Does this kind of action fall short of those responsibilities? is the safety of our fellow climbers paramount? Is there a level of risk with rocks that affords them to be hurled and others not? Is there a better way to go about it? How long does a sub alpine eucalypt take to grow?

 

What do you think?, begin discourse.

Stay safe out there.

 

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7 Comments

  1. Hectic. Here's a question without judgment - could you have possibly moved it back from the edge?

  2. It was clearly going to go soon under gravity alone, from your description, better down low now than bouncing off a climber. As for permanent damage to the environment, the vegetation has grown back significantly since the fires of 67 - photos of that area immediately after the fires show a devastated flora, few surviving trees and nothing on the crags, a complete contrast to the present situation - but it will all burn again, just a matter of time. And all the rock is heading down to the sea eventually, in geological time...

  3. There's the answer to how old your tree was - no older than Feb 7, 1967 - 50 years next week!

  4. Good to hear you're all okay. Fully support your decision to trundle. I would have just waited until a weekday. But who knows, someone could have climbed it in the meantime. Glad to hear you've taken care of it, Max (smile)

  5. The Pipes can be a loose place, it is a frost and fire shattered mountain. Main thing is not to trundle rocks down on any one below, from some places a large one can easily bounce all the way to the Organ Pipes track. One time I went up at sunrise, when no one was below, knocking down a massive one threatening a new climb at the top of Circus Wall.

  6. If it is loose and it can be safely dropped then do it. There is no environmental question on climbs because it will come off at some point: with no better environmental outcomes. Don't bother telling anyone next time. 

  7. occupational trundling good. recreational trundling fun but not good.