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Rock slide hits Grandfather Mountain road

Posted March 18, 2010

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— A rock slide has partially blocked the main road at the Grandfather Mountain nature preserve.

Large slabs of rock slid down and covered the main road on the lower half of the mountain, between Split Rock and Sphinx Rock, late Wednesday, according to a news release from the park. A security officer discovered the slide shortly before midnight.

Workers used heavy equipment to move two of the boulders Thursday morning. Dynamite will be used to get rid of the rest of the large boulders.

The road has been reopened to one-way traffic, and Grandfather Mountain remains open.

"Seeing a rockslide this time of the year is not a big surprise," Kate Scharer, geology professor at Appalachian State University in Boone, said in a statement. "Small ones can be seen along many roadsides in the High Country right now."

A rough winter is probably to blame for the rock slide, Scharer said. Ice likely formed in cracks of the rock, loosening it. When warmer temperatures and heavy rain melted the ice, the conditions were set for a slide.

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  • pyrosinthesky Mar 19, 2010

    Out come the geology and engineering experts with their brilliant commentary on how to clear the i-40 rock slide.

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc Mar 19, 2010

    Part of Grandfather Mountain was sold to the state either last year or late 2008. From what I understand, the access roads, the animal exibit, and the visitor center are still owned by the private foundation that the Mortons set up (The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation).

    The State of North Carolina owns 2,500 acres of Grandfather's undeveloped backcountry which it operates as Grandfather Mountain State Park.

    I highly recommend this park. It contains some of the most rugged terrain that I have ever hiked on the east coast. It is awesome!

  • CicnyKid Mar 19, 2010

    Before you get too carried away with the privately owned v. public property time frames, the I-40 rock slide was much larger with rubble stretching over 100 ft. long and 50 ft. high, with some boulders (read: many of them) the size of garages. See: http://www.wate.com/global/story.asp?s=11379193. Compare this to the pictures of the Grandfather Moutain Rd. one - more like 6' x 8' and removed with backhoe??) Plus, the I-40 (public road) job is being done by a private contractor.

  • LovinMyLife Mar 19, 2010

    actually big money, I believe they sold Grandfather Mt and its no longer private owned. I could be wrong but I was up there in Oct. for my honeymoon and thats what I heard others talking about.
    But reguardless of the ownership, you are right, big difference in the time frames to fix!

  • BigMoneyJ Mar 19, 2010

    They had a rock-slide and had the road opened in hours, The one between Asheville and Tennessee happened 6 months or more ago and the sucker is still closed. Difference between private ownership and the illustrious State..