Climbers Complete Roped Survey of Washington Monument

Wednesday, Oct 5, 2011  |  Updated 1:00 PM EDT
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National Park Service

Dan Gach, member of WJE's Difficult Access Team, looks down from the hatch.

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There are new safety guidelines in place for those climbers inspecting the Washington Monument. The announcement comes after new video surfaced showing one of the climbers being blown around by the wind.

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The rope team that has been suspended from the top of the Washington Monument for the past week completed its work Wednesday morning.

“We are really pleased that WJE was able to accomplish all our planned goals for this phase of the operation, despite weather that didn’t always cooperate,” said Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks in a press release. “This brings us one step closer to making this wonderful Monument open to the public once again.”

WJE, the architectural firm that has been in charge of looking for cracks or damage in the monument's marble after the August 23 earthquake, said the survey portion of their work has been completed.

On Wednesday morning, climbers with the Difficult Access Team started inspections on the south and east faces before moving over to the north and west faces.  They announced an end to the evaluation at 10:43 a.m.

Immediately following the end of the survey, the DAT set to work disassembling the slings and rope equipment used for the survey.

WJE will use data gathered from the climbers together with data gathered from inside the monument to compile their final evaluation and recommendations.

Once the report is delivered, the National Park Service will make a decision about what repair measures to take.  At that point, bids for contractors to execute the repairs will be accepted.  The Park Service did not release a timetable for receipt of the evaluation or any other phase of this process.

WJE said in interim, it will dispatch teams to perform temporary weatherization repairs to protect the Monument until permanent measures are taken.

In a release, the Park Service said it remains committed to reopening the monument as quickly as possible.

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