Thursday, November 13, 2008

Challenging Field Localities Part I

So, I'm going to start a series of posts on this site, which will be posted periodically. This post series will concentrate on challenging and technical fossil localities which I've dealt with - in the future, I might post about odd challenges others have faced in the field.

So, for the first post, I'll begin with more or less a conclusion/addition to the last post - how the hell my friend Tim got up there, why he went up there, and why I unfortunately followed.

The above photo is a mosaic of four or five pictures I took and later merged in photostitch. You can see a sort of a ramp on the left side, and a spot with some recognizable footprints. The spot with the footprints is the location of a 6-8" wide ledge, with an overhang underneath; at the time I weighed a few more pounds than Tim, even without any field gear besides my rock hammer (which I later tossed down to the beach so I didn't have to mess with it on my slow descent).

The second photo (at left) shows why we went up there in the first place - there is, in the upper right portion of the photo, a concave upward feature, which is about as long as Tim is tall (~6 feet). That is a mysticete whale mandible, and it is in a bonebed; pieces of bones from this bed had 'rained' down onto a 5' wide bench from this bonebed. To the right, the bed dips, and about 200' north intersects with the beach, and is accessible without a 20+' climb up a precarious, dusty, crumbling cliff. If I had my own rock climbing gear, it would be really awesome to rappel down to this bonebed.


Lee said...

Repelling would be cool because you could do top-down prospecting for a change. It can't be too inexpensive to do. Would you need a permit to repel?

Neil said...

Anything to build an anchor off of at the top of the cliff? Worst case you could rap off of a truck with a reliable emergency brake (I've collected soil carbonates this way). I've got the gear and am in CA....