View Full Version : Landsliding - Part 2

02-10-2013, 10:52 AM
Nathan decided to join me on the Acid Decomposition sampling yesterday. We finished up a little before noon and headed back up the mountain to go check out the Trout Branch landslide which happened in early August after 6 inched of rain hit Mt. LeConte in under 24 hours:eek:. To reach the landslide you must first walk up Trout Branch to the 4000 elevation mark, then look for the table rock and the huge slide to the right.


While the walk isn't too hard, you do have to battle the rhodo here and there, so unless you like off-trail. Water was freezing up in the lower pools forming a beautiful collection of crystals


As we got a little closer, the signs of Anakeesta damage started to appear.

The burnt orange stuff reminds me of AMD (Acid Mine Drainage) that you see coming off abandoned mine sites on the Cumberland Plateau. Not something I like seeing in the Smokies as a trout fisherman.


And I grabbed some of the sediment that had covered the bottom


And here is a view of the new landslide drainage with its nasty water flowing into Trout Branch (hope there are still trout there).


The Professor decided we needed to do a little water testing. I will let him speak to what he found. It was a lot better than I initially thought, although it has had 5 months to settle.


After a little playing with the Chemistry gear we moved up to the giant pile up of debree from the slide. When I was here a couple months ago it was over 40 feet tall and maybe 60 feet wide. After the last 3 big rain events it was obvious things had dramatically changed.


The next series of slides has moved the pile an additional 60 feet down river and spread it out 3 times as wide. The force that it took to move this pile had to have been incredible, and goes to show how dynamic mother nature can be.


Where Nathan is standing was where the big pile was on my last visit.

And here is a view up at the landslide from the bottom.


We began working our way up, but soon had to make a detour into the Rhodo since we weren't up for climbing frozen waterfalls. Just think if this didn't happen to be off-trail, swarms of tourons would be here.


Continued in next post:biggrin:

02-10-2013, 11:02 AM
We pushed though some pretty good rhodo coming up the left. The greenbriers were also relentless. After taking my pants off when I got home, I realized I had more scratches tha I could count:eek:

As soon as you get past the first waterfall, you immediately run into a bigger one (Maybe 80-100 feet)


The second one was a little better than the first to get around but not by much. Although once you got to the top the views of the Chimneys were very nice

I will continue in another post as my computer is freezing up

02-10-2013, 11:40 AM

There was also a ton of debree that wasn't there a couple months ago. And the little bit of debree that was at top of second waterfall was now gone for sure.


And a view from top of degree field


Once we reached this point the slide gets significantly smaller. Unfortunately it also got quite ICY:eek:


We were able to make it up that section by stepping in the water as all other areas were frozen. Once I rounded the bend I knew it was decision time:frown:


I couldn't believe I had been so ignorant of conditions. While the last time I was here it was a bit snowier it was also not in the dead of Winter where the lows have been much lower, and I didn't even think of the ice. While we might have been able to get up it (pic makes it look alot less steep), I knew there was no way we could get back down if we ran into anything tougher further up, and with the way the slide took out everything there was no way to exit into the rhodo even. So we decided to play it safe and turn around:frown:

We worked our way back into the rhodo looking for our broken branches from the accent to make the goings easier. Here is Nathan between the waterfalls.


We soon made our way back to the road. Unfortunately we parked the van at Alum Cave trailhead and had to walk the mile back up the road.

A nice day none the less, and next time I'll make sure I take my microspikes:smile:

02-11-2013, 10:19 AM
Thanks for taking the time to post this. Good stuff.

David Knapp
02-11-2013, 12:50 PM
Looks like an incredible hike! Makes me miss the Smokies... Thanks for sharing!