How to Split a Boulder, 1800's Style (Trail Day)

I finally got to volunteer at a MTB trail maintenance day! After literally riding 2,000' up Mt. Elden, I got to observe a USFS guy split this big rock that had fallen onto the hairpin turn. Video below.

It’s called “Feather and Wedge”. Drill holes in a planar line around the rock. Stick the feathers and wedges in. Whack them with a maul and listen to make sure all the wedges make consistent tones when you hit them. Watch the crack form, and then the whole rock seems to just give up and fall apart. Before portable generators I believe you would have drilled the rock with a brace.

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It’s really a great refresher on elementary school science lessons on mechanical advantage.

Anyway, the trail we worked on was Upper Oldham Trail, a black diamond with 993' of elevation change in 1.5 mi. I rode down it unscathed! On the way up I took Elden Lookout Road, below. Not gnarly, but still very steep. If the bus schedule had worked out I wouldn’t have been so damn tired by the end of the day.

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Illustration for article titled How to Split a Boulder, 1800s Style (Trail Day)

Lower Oldham Trail was more my style- much more flowy. It is also mild enough that I don’t have to constantly worry about death.

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Illustration for article titled How to Split a Boulder, 1800s Style (Trail Day)

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