3 August 2016

Collapse of the Lord’s Rake boulder in the English Lake District

Posted by dr-dave

Collapse of the Chockstone boulder at the Lord’s Rake in the English Lake District

The Lord’s Rake in the Lake District is a famous steep gully that leads up to the Scafell Pike plateau, popular with climbers in this the most beautiful part of England.  Part of the challenge is the presence of scree through the gully, generated by thousands of rockfalls.  For well over a decade the route has been characterised by a very large boulder, known as the Chockstone, which detached from one of the rock walls near to the summit in 2001, and became wedged across the gully:

Lord's Rake

The Chockstone on the Lord’s Rake prior to the collapse, via All the Gear But No Idea

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On Monday the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team reported that the Chockstone has collapsed and disintegrated:

The perched block at the top of Lords Rake has fragmented and is now in bits close to where it was stuck. There are some loose boulders where it was standing. The largest bit looks to be fairly well bedded into the scree. The rake itself is just as loose as ever.

They have posted an image of the Lord’s Rake without the boulder.  It’s reasonably easy to compare the location with the above image:

Lord's Rake

The Lord’s Rake site without the Chockstone, via the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team

 

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And an image of the a slightly forlorn remains of the boulder, which now looks like any other piece of rockfall debris:

Lord's Rake

The remains of the Chockstone on the Lord’s Rake in the Lake District, via the Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team.

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The cause and exact timing of the collapse are not clear, and it was perhaps fortunate that no-one was in the way when the rockfall happened.  England has been going through a short warm spell of weather, so it is possible that the event was related to high day time temperatures. But that is mere speculation.