Indian Rock in the Berkeley Hills is a huge part of climbing history for the Bay Area, California, and even climbing in general. It is also a very popular climbing spot almost every day of the week for local climbers….the guidebooks don’t even start to cover the number of eliminate problems that exist.
The Bay Area Climbers Coalition has hosted a number of clean-up events at Indian Rock over the last 18 months and unfortunately the first one we hosted solved one problem but created two other problems. The short version is that the City of Berkeley Parks Department wanted us to remove the old wood chips that had accumulated in the lower level over the last 20+ years before they would allow us to put in any new wood chips. Seemed totally fair and a reasonable request.
The challenge arose when we realized that the old wood chips went about 12 inches down before we hit real dirt. Even with new wood chips installed, that was not going to bring the ground back to the original level. It also exposed a couple of rocks that had been hiding under decades of wood chips. It was a problem and it needed to be corrected.
With the support of a number of local pillars of the climbing community and wisdom from landscaping professionals, we developed a plan to correct these issues.
The Bay Area Climbers Coalition authored a 12 page proposal that was submitted to the City of Berkeley Parks Department. The plan involved the installation of a layer of crushed rock that would raise the ground level, cover the exposed rocks, and create an effective drainage layer. We would then put new wood chips on top of the crushed rock layer.
Six months later we had the green light from the City and we assembled a team of 20 volunteers that worked with a number of employees from the City to get the following work done:
- removed current layer of wood chips
- installed 9 cubic yards of crushed rock – using a plate compactor every two inches of lift
- installed 6 cubic yards of wood chips on top of the crushed rock base
Check out the photos of the work being done and we hope that you enjoy the new “floor” in the lower level of Indian Rock!
Project Overview and Safety Talk
First, we had to remove the old wood chips and get the ground down to the hard pack dirt – we filled 4 dump trucks full of old wood chips.
The City of Berkeley provided us with 9 cubic yards of 3/4inch crushed granite to use as a base layer.
We used a chute to move the crushed granite to the lower level.
Volunteers moved wheel barrow load after load into the pit.
We then installed the crushed rock in 2 inch levels and used a pneumatic plate compactor to “lock” the crushed rock together.
After we installed all of the crushed granite, we then brought down new wood chips to soften the landing, cut down on dust, and make it smell awesome.
As soon as we were done people were climbing again – everyone was pretty darn psyched to have the park looking so nice!
Huge “THANK YOU” to this amazing group of volunteers!