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Major rockfall shuts down portions of Stawamus Chief Park

Click to play video: 'Caught on video: huge rockfall on Stawamus Chief has experts warning public to stay away' Caught on video: huge rockfall on Stawamus Chief has experts warning public to stay away
People are being asked to stay away from the popular climbing routes on the north wall of the Stawamus Chief, after a huge rockfall that was caught on video on Monday. Emad Agahi has the latest – Sep 21, 2021

Portions of Stawamus Chief Park remain closed on Tuesday after a major rockfall early Monday morning.

The Ministry of Environment said a slab of rock dislodged from the Chief’s Zodiac Wall in the North Wall, directly below the site of the major slide in 2015, around 1:30 a.m. on Monday.

No injuries were reported, but RCMP and the local climbing community have been asked to urge others to use “extra caution” in the area.

READ MORE: Rock slide on Stawamus Chief in Squamish

This is the fifth rockfall on the giant cliff this year, and the BC Parks website says all existing closures in the park will remain throughout the winter, as changing temperatures and weather may cause more debris to fall.

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“If you’ve been there, you can see all the very large boulders underneath it, so that indicates that it’s an active slope,” said Brent Ward, co-director of the Centre for Natural Hazards Research at Simon Fraser University.

“The other issue we have is that we have warming and cooling of the slope, which opens up some of those fractures, and then we’ve had a lot of rain lately and that rain can actually push those blocks apart a little bit and cause it to fall.”

A map on the B.C. Parks website shows all of the climbing route closures in effect on the North Wall, where a rockslide took place on Sept. 20, 2021. Credit: B.C. Parks

Areas affected by closures include the Grand Wall, Grand Wall Boulders, North Wall, Dark Side Bouldering, Western Dihedrals, and Slhanay.

“BC Parks is working with geotechnical engineers to fully investigate the series of rockfalls that have occurred since June,” said a written statement to Global News from the environment ministry.

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