The rockfall could be heard throughout Downtown. “The damage is monumental,” said local Paul McSorley who was new-routing on the North Walls last week. “There was rockfall while we were up there and we thought someone was throwing rocks.”
The rock appears to be from one of Matt Maddaloni’s routes called Chilkoot Pass, a variation finish to The Calling, a popular six-pitch 5.12. As of 2:45 p.m. PST, there were no reports of injuries and most of the ambulances had left the scene.
UPDATE: Sunday at 7:00 p.m., there have been no reports of missing climbers or hikers. The area where the rockfall landed is still too unstable for a thorough search.
UPDATE: Sunday at 8:30 p.m., “All safe. I just spoke to the last party off while we debriefed with SAR,” said Jack Fieldhouse to Gripped. “They got past by the party who was the lowest on Angel’s and that party of three actually were hit by bits of debris. All parties climbed out. All visibly shaken. The area remains closed. Looks like some major scaling may be required. More assessment required.”
The Dark Side Boulders were reportedly not hit and the base of Angel’s Crest appears to have only been dusted with debris. But, the trees that were once part of a mature coastal rain forest are gone. Any climbing routes in the path of the rockfall are surely damaged, including The Calling.
A geotechnical engineering assessment of the area is underway. There’s no debris on any road, but there’s a number of parked cars. There were climbers on Angel’s Crest when the rockfall occurred and they’ve continued to climb.
Anyone who’s climbed the North Walls might not be surprised by this event as there’s a lot of expanding rock up there.
“The upper pitches of most routes in the area are reputed to be very loose and flakey,” said local Marc-Andre Leclerc. “Having spent much time climbing on the North Walls I find it unsurprising that a rockfall event like this would occur.”
This is the second time Squamish has been in the news for disastrous events in the last few days. On Thursday night, a fire raged at the water terminal, forcing residents to stay indoors.
Photos of the Squamish Rockfall