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The Chopping Blocks.  The portions of stone that are circled in red (near the second bolt and then near the anchors) came off on 08/25/2013.  The section near the anchors was as big as a suitcase and came very close to the belayer.  The section by the second bolt was as big as a dinner platter and struck the young lady who was climbing it on the head/face causing some nasty bruises.  CLIMBERS BEWARE and please be safe!  Thanks for the photo Jason Halladay.

Id# 108307912,  Dimensions: 996 x 1500 - View full size 

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By Scott Beguin
From: Los Alamos, NM
Aug 26, 2013

FYI: The original chopping block was dislodged from the Guillotine above many years ago(hence the name). The original anchors are at the top and in the center of the buttress. The original start was a cleaned line to the right of the now existing line of the left at the bottom. The original started up the face directly in the center. This route deserves to be restored to the original line up the middle. It was cleaned well with that. But the last bolt through some choss at the top was never installed. The bolt hole still remains intact, and needs a 1/2" bolt installed. I wish folks would communicate with the FA party before deciding to alter it to their own specifications. It is Diablo however...There is always plenty of loose rock to go around, and I have always encouraged the use of a helmet and accurate awareness.

By George Perkins
From: Los Alamos, NM
Aug 27, 2013

I had considered whether to chime in, but will anyway, as the situation has me finding some introspection for these reasons:
-I recommended to Jason Y. just that day that Chopping Block was "not clasic, but worth doing if that's the grade you're looking for, nothing wrong with it". I don't feel responsibility, but I'm glad the injury was thankfully not more serious and the big block went with only a near miss. I could just have easily said "climb a different one instead, there are better routes here". I don't believe the route's quality will be much better with further re-routing or re-routing it to its original line.
-The teenage girl who was hit with the block was climbing with her father, who was one of the most prolific climbers in NM over the last 40 years, has been the FA on some of the most challenging and classic ground-up trad climbs in NM. If there's anyone who understands objective hazards...
-Try not to finger-point. The climb was left unfinished, then changed and cleaned more by someone else finishing it. But still, clearly, could have been cleaned more.
-I'm the chump in the photo above from 2010, not wearing a helmet. I wear one more often now, though still not as often as I maybe should.
-I pulled off 2 big blocks on 2 other sport climbs at Diablo that morning (both were fairly popular 5.12s). After the first one, I put my helmet on for a while.
-I guess my only take-home point is to climb carefully at Diablo especially, and be suspicious as far as the big blocks. If you find loose blocks or flakes that you can safely clean, please do so, it will make it better for the next person.

By Aaron Miller
Aug 28, 2013

Some of these routes just plain-ole need maintenance. Since the FA party wont be around to do this into perpetuity then they need to respect that others will.

George is right, if there is a loose block on any route in Diablo, it needs to be pulled. It needs to be done intentionally because its day of unintentional extraction will endanger someones body. That may change the nature of the route, and it may cause need for moving a bolt here and there. We have to trust that the generations to come after us will only alter routes that truly need it and try to retain some of the original character of the climb. If the original character changes too much, the route probably sucked to begin with. I don't think anyone out there is trying to spitefully change any routes.

And yes, its never a bad idea to wear a bucket, regardless of the example I sometimes make!

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The Chopping Blocks. The portions of stone that are circled in red (near the second bolt and then near the anchors) came off on 08/25/2013. The section near the anchors was as big as a suitcase and came very close to the belayer. The section by the second bolt was as big as a dinner platter and struck the young lady who was climbing it on the head/face causing some nasty bruises. CLIMBERS BEWARE and please be safe! Thanks for the photo Jason Halladay.

Submitted By: Jason Young on Aug 26, 2013
On this route:
Chopping Block (5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c )