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Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry
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gregory_huey


Sep 20, 2013, 2:24 PM
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Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry  (North_America: United_States: California: Riverside_County: Riverside_Rock_Quarry)
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The trail that runs up the scree slope under Tangerine Dream has apparently been named "Stairway to Heaven". A couple of weeks ago my climbing partner and I encountered a juvenile rattlesnake along Stairway to Heaven. I was walking up first, and heard a faint rattling - I thought 'that almost sounds like a rattlesnake', but did not see the source. My climbing partner, who was ascending behind me, saw the snake behind a large flake of rock on the uphill side of the trail - she said it looked 'angry and aggressive'. I know this is not the first time someone has seen a rattlesnake along that trail - I think Alex saw one before - but when I descended later it was apparently gone. So, BEWARE.

Is there anything we could reasonably do to get rid of the rattlesnake(s)? One difficultly is that it/they may not always be at a predictable location. Another difficultly is, of course, they are rattlesnakes. Is anyone here knowledgeable on how to deal with them? What time of day perhaps would they be found along the trail (for us it was around 6:15am on a warm, humid day)? Then, how best to get rid of them? trap them? Drive them off? Poison bait?

I'm looking for advice/suggestions from other people who climb at Riverside Quarry.

PS: What happened to our nice bench that was at the base of Tangerine Dream? Vandalism? By locals perhaps?


(This post was edited by gregory_huey on Sep 20, 2013, 9:55 PM)


jt512


Sep 20, 2013, 6:03 PM
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Re: [gregory_huey] Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry [In reply to]
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gregory_huey wrote:
The trail that runs up the scree slope under Tangerine Dream has apparently been named "Stairway to Heaven". A couple of weeks ago my climbing partner and I encountered a juvenile rattlesnake along Stairway to Heaven. I was walking up first, and heard a faint rattling - I thought 'that almost sounds like a rattlesnake', but did not see the source. My climbing partner, who was ascending behind me, saw the snake behind a large flake of rock on the uphill side of the trail - she said it looked 'angry and aggressive. I know this is not the first time someone has seen a rattlesnake along that trail - I think Alex saw one before - but when I descended later it was apparently gone. So, BEWARE.

Is there anything we could reasonably do to get rid of the rattlesnake(s)? One difficultly is that it/they may not always be at a predictable location. Another difficultly is, of course, they are rattlesnakes. Is anyone here knowledgeable on how to deal with them? What time of day perhaps would they be found along the trail (for us it was around 6:15am on a warm, humid day)? Then, how best to get rid of them? trap them? Drive them off? Poison bait?

Rattlesnakes do not get angry, and they are not aggressive. They will bite if they are threatened, so don't threaten them. Leave them alone, and they'll leave you alone. If you are brave, you can try to relocate a snake using your stick clip (of course, if you were brave you wouldn't have a stick clip in the first place), but there is no reason to kill a rattlesnake.


gregory_huey


Sep 20, 2013, 6:56 PM
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Re: [jt512] Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry [In reply to]
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Well, if the rattlesnake is along the trail, it might not be aware that person walking along the trail means them no harm. They might be feel threatened even though they are not, and bite the climber walking along the trail. Of course I would never harm an animal without a good reason, but protecting other climbers or myself from future rattlesnake bites is a fairly good reason. I suppose being a very young rattlesnake is why its rattle was very faint - I inadvertently got very close to it not being sure what I was hearing.

I'm willing to assist relocation efforts if that will protect climbers. However, indeed, I do not have a stick clip. Furthermore, I'd guess that to be a permanent solution, one would need to relocate the snake a considerable distance away - more than a flick with a stick.

So, is there a way to be rid of the snake(s) without killing them? If you can propose a plan that works as a long-term solution, I'd be happy to help implement it.


billl7


Sep 20, 2013, 7:11 PM
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Re: [gregory_huey] Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry [In reply to]
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Who was there first? Yes - keep your eyes open but leave 'em in peace.

Since I started climbing in the SW (USA), I can count back to eight encounters with rattlesnakes in as many years. They're like black bears in remote areas - usually just wanting to get away.

Here's a beauty that my friend recently took [left here in high resolution for maximum enjoyment] ...



Yeah - it'd suck to get bit by one.
Bill L


gregory_huey


Sep 20, 2013, 7:33 PM
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Re: [billl7] Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry [In reply to]
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> Who was there first?

Well, given that its a very young rattlesnake, and I've been climbing at the quarry since 2006/2007, I'll tentatively say me.

> They're like black bears in remote areas...

Riverside Quarry is not what I'd call a remote area. I can appreciate that things would work differently in a remote part of New Mexico. Why don't you read a bit about the Riverside Quarry and tell me what you think.

I respect the rattlesnake's right to exist - but not to be hanging around the trail up the scree and biting climbers.


(This post was edited by gregory_huey on Sep 20, 2013, 7:51 PM)


billl7


Sep 20, 2013, 7:42 PM
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Re: [gregory_huey] Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry [In reply to]
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Not rattlesnakes in remote areas - the bears.

You could call up the land managers. Tell them you want to get rid of all the rattlesnakes on the land they manage so you can climb care free.


gregory_huey


Sep 20, 2013, 7:49 PM
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Re: [billl7] Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry [In reply to]
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The closest thing we have to land managers for the quarry are other climbers (Louie, Bret, and others). I was posting here in an attempt to contact them and get their opinions on what should be done to ensure climbers are not bitten by this rattlesnake (and its friends, if there is more than one). However, I appreciate your thoughts from New Mexico.


billl7


Sep 20, 2013, 7:57 PM
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Re: [gregory_huey] Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry [In reply to]
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Like in New Mexico, land in CA is owned/managed by some entity. I don't mean folks who have developed a crag.

The MountainProject page for Riverside Quarry indicates that the land is privately owned.


(This post was edited by billl7 on Sep 20, 2013, 8:02 PM)


milesenoell


Sep 20, 2013, 9:32 PM
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Re: [gregory_huey] Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry [In reply to]
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Especially if it is not a remote area, the danger from rattlesnakes really isn't that great. I live in Oregon and the rattlesnakes have been out in force in several of the most popular hiking areas right around the city I live in (Eugene). Despite many sightings I've only heard of one bite, and when people get bit it usually makes the local news because people love to talk about such things. The kid who got bit got hit on the hand was fine. He went to the local ER, got some antivenin and suffered little more than if he'd been stung by a wasp. They really aren't that big a deal.

Edit: Oh, by the way, the kid was four years old and didn't even receive the antivenin on the same day as the bite.


(This post was edited by milesenoell on Sep 20, 2013, 9:42 PM)


jt512


Sep 20, 2013, 10:45 PM
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Re: [gregory_huey] Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry [In reply to]
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gregory_huey wrote:
Well, if the rattlesnake is along the trail, it might not be aware that person walking along the trail means them no harm. They might be feel threatened even though they are not, and bite the climber walking along the trail. Of course I would never harm an animal without a good reason, but protecting other climbers or myself from future rattlesnake bites is a fairly good reason. I suppose being a very young rattlesnake is why its rattle was very faint - I inadvertently got very close to it not being sure what I was hearing.

I'm willing to assist relocation efforts if that will protect climbers. However, indeed, I do not have a stick clip. Furthermore, I'd guess that to be a permanent solution, one would need to relocate the snake a considerable distance away - more than a flick with a stick.

So, is there a way to be rid of the snake(s) without killing them? If you can propose a plan that works as a long-term solution, I'd be happy to help implement it.

Greg, if you see a rattlesnake on the trail, the chances are that you'll never see him again. I've lived in SoCal for nearly 30 years. I've run across dozens of rattlesnakes in that time while hiking or climbing. But I have never seen an individual rattlesnake more than once. If you see a rattlesnake on a trail, and you leave him alone, you will probably never see that rattlesnake again anywhere, much less on your precious trail. When you encounter a rattlesnake, just work around him. It is extremely unlikely that you'll ever see that snake again.

On a positive note, these snakes eat rats and other small rodents, and, at the Riverside Quarry, I'd be a hell of a lot more worried about diseases carried by rodents than by the remote possibility of getting bit by a rattlesnake. It is estimated that 5 to 15% of small rodents in the area are carriers of rabies, a disease that is essentially 100% fatal to humans. Rattlesnakes help control the rodent population, and rattlesnake bites are rarely fatal. It is not in our interest to kill rattlesnakes; indeed, it is the opposite.


fredbob


Oct 3, 2013, 12:01 PM
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Re: [gregory_huey] Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry [In reply to]
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Rattlesnakes are indigenous to all of Southern California. As mentioned, they serve an extremely valuable role in controlling rodents. They are part and parcel of climbing out of doors (even in a heavily developed, somewhat urban, sport climbing area like the Quarry).

Rattlesnakes will generally do everything possible to avoid a confrontation with humans. People who get bit in most cases are trying to pick one up (capture) or are otherwise harassing them.

Rattlesnakes will generally avoid well traveled trails and will leave if given a chance. If the snake rattles, it is a warning -- "Hey, I'm here and don't get too close because I'm scared."

Take that advice and have a nice day climbing. Don't bother the snakes and they won't bother you.


gregory_huey


Jun 3, 2014, 1:15 AM
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Re: [jt512] Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry [In reply to]
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Thanks for your point about controlling the rodent population - it is a good point. I will not do anything to the rattlesnake(s) at the quarry unless one is directly threatening me or a fellow climber, and for some reason increasing the distance between those involved is not a viable alternative.


dynosore


Jun 5, 2014, 12:45 PM
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Re: [billl7] Rattlesnake on the "Stairway to Heaven" at the Quarry [In reply to]
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billl7 wrote:
Who was there first? Yes - keep your eyes open but leave 'em in peace.

Since I started climbing in the SW (USA), I can count back to eight encounters with rattlesnakes in as many years. They're like black bears in remote areas - usually just wanting to get away.

Bill L

Actually black bears that rarely or never encounter humans are more dangerous than bears that are habituated to avoiding us. They are very curious and have little fear of man. I've encountered this firsthand in northern Canada and Alaska. Of course the most dangerous ones are the bears who are too habituated and equate human environment with food. But I digress.


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