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Rockslide on Chief rumbles Squamish

Extent of damage, possible injuries unknown at this point



For the second time in three days, emergency sirens rang out in Squamish after a rockslide was reported Sunday, April 19, on The Chief.

The rock fall took place at 11:50 a.m. on the north face of the mountain in an area between Angel's Crest and Sheriff's Badge.

The rumble could be heard throughout Downtown Squamish.

A preliminary geotechnical engineering assessment deemed the area too unstable to conduct a thorough ground search.

An update from the District late Sunday said, with no missing persons reported, SAR crews are not anticipating a further search and rescue effort will be required.

At this time, police have "no specific information" indicating anyone was injured in the incident, and are requesting anyone with information about individuals who may have been climbing in the area to contact Squamish RCMP at 604-892-6900.

Four climbers who were on the Chief at the time of the slide have been accounted for and are unhurt, said RCMP Inspector Davis Wendell.

The rockslide occurred in an area not commonly used by most climbers, explained Squamish Mayor Patricia Heintzman at a press conference Sunday afternoon.

"This is an experienced, expert climber–only area and it’s not one of the higher used areas," she said.

Squamish resident Ronnie Francisco, who lives in a Valley Drive complex facing the Chief, was outside when he first heard the slide.

“At first there was a small rock slide,” he said. “We heard that and didn’t really see it. But then about a couple minutes later, the big one came. I looked up and saw this large rock fall from the Chief right onto the side of (the mountain).”

The chunk of granite that fell was about 1000 cubic metres in size, according to the RCMP.

The Mamquam Forest Service Road was closed at Highway 99 and at Cherry Drive for most of the day, but re-opened Sunday evening. Highway 99 was not affected.

The Stawamus Chief Provincial Park has been closed to hikers.

The slide comes just days after a Squamish Terminals dock caught fire on Howe Sound, blanketing much of the community in smoke, something that was referenced by Heintzman at the press conference.

"Of course (the slide) came on the heels of another event here in Squamish so it’s been a little exciting," she said. "We’ve been going full tilt at our Emergency Operations Centre, but fortunately it was up and running and we could deploy very quickly."

Fire suppression efforts continue Sunday and involve the further dismantling of the dock, which first went up Thursday evening. The wood dock is made from pilings saturated with the preservative, creosote.

More to come.

This article has been updated as more information became available.

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