In October 2017, fires in Napa and Sonoma counties spread rapidly, impacting Mount St. Helena and the surrounding Robert Louis Stevenson State Park. Local groups are actively working to assess damage to the crags – initial assessments appeared to show that the rock was damaged far worse than the bolts, with The Bear being the crag most affected.
Bear, The – Use extreme caution
The Bear Cliff was most deeply affected by the fires.
Rock: The heat caused a lot of surface spalling and loosened many features that were already hollow. However, the underlying hard quartz rock, is generally solid and will be safe to continue to climb on. Local groups have been working to remove any lose rock that might come off and hurt somebody. Small flakes and chips will continue to come off.
Bolts: In general, it does not appear that the fire weakened or damaged the bolts themselves, though on occasion the rock around the bolts was found to be compromised. However, many of the 3/8″ Rawl 5-piece bolts were due for replacement before the fires.
Clean up work: The priorities have been to replace the 3/8″ Rawl 5-piece bolts that need replacing and to clean up as much loose rock as possible.
Bolts replaced or inspected – Open:
- Silverado Squatters
- Beast of Burden
- Marks Moderate (First pitch + anchor)
- Black Hole Sun
- Treasure Island (Now finishes on upper ledge)
Routes cleaned (no bolt replacements) – Open:
Routes that need work – Closed
- Swallow My Pride
- Uncle Tom
- Old and In the Way
- Bear’s Choice
- Stone Free
- Jason & the Argonauts (first bolt is still funky).
Bubble, The – Open
Reports are that the Bubble was relatively unaffected – you won’t need cleaning tools and the bolts appear unharmed.
Far Side, The – Open
Reports are that the Far Side was relatively unaffected – you won’t need cleaning tools and the bolts appear unharmed.
Kimball Canyon – Open
Reports are that Kimball Canyon was relatively unaffected.
Macondo Cliff – Unknown
The status of Macondo Cliff is unknown.
Overlook Boulders aka The Birds Eye Boulders, The – Unknown
The status of Overlook Boulders is unknown.
Satellite Rocks – Open
Reports are that Satellite rocks was relatively unaffected.
Silverado Mine – Unknown
The status of Silverado Mine is unknown.
Table Rock & Table Scraps – Unaffected
Robert Louis Stevenson State Park is fully open as of January 16.
Due to the heat of the fires, many surface features have been loosened. Belayers are strongly advised to wear helmets and stand to the side, out of the fall line.
Trails are reported to be in good shape and stable, but caution is still advised following periods of rain.
To view Mount St. Helena areas affected by the fires: open left-hand legend, choose “October 2017” and zoom in towards Robert Louis Stevenson State Park.