You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

High-climbing engineers focus on tip of damaged Washington Monument

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

High-climbing engineers looking for earthquake damage along the Washington Monument's exterior focused Thursday on areas of interest near the tip of the 555-foot-tall obelisk, the National Park Service said.

The four-member team, harnessed to nylon climbing ropes, returned to the monument for a second day of inspections.

The first full day of climbing went "pretty quick" said park service spokeswoman Carol Johnson. "They are on track."

Tuesday's attempt was postponed, and the entire process should take five days.

Park service spokesman Bill Line said team members found what they expected, including loose mortar and pieces of broken stone caused by the Aug. 23 earthquake. He said the engineers are focusing on the angled part of the monument, known as the pyramidion.

"There are some areas of interest that need further examination," said Mr. Line, who did not give specifics.

The team will present its findings to the park service, and by mid-October, officials hope to be able to announce a timetable for repairs and perhaps a date when the monument can reopen.

The magnitude 5.8 earthquake left several large cracks in the 126-year-old structure's huge marble stones.

Despite the damage, "the structure is sound," Ms. Johnson said.

The team of two men and two women from Northbrook, Ill.-based Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. plan to use special cinch lines that allow them to maneuver horizontally along each of the monument's four sides to look for additional damage.

Five hundred feet below, the operation continues to draw the wonder of passing tourists.

"You'd have to be out of your mind to do that," said 69-year-old Bill Fairchild, of La Grange, Ill.

Ms. Johnson said 32-year-old Emma Cardini and the three other climbers are treating the job as "just another day's work," though she added that Ms. Cardini has acknowledged that scrabbling on the face of the Washington Monument is "really awesome."

"She's really enjoying it," Ms. Johnson said.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • The District of Columbia has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

    D.C. police quietly prepping for change in law on marijuana

  • D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate David Catania, at large independent, said that although he had some concerns with the city's fiscal 2015 budget, namely the 'yoga tax,' he said issues could be addressed in next year's budget discussions. (Associated Press)

    Council overrides mayor’s veto of fiscal 2015 budget

  • 3 killed, 4 wounded Sunday in three D.C. shootings

  • D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser, one of seven Democrats trying to unseat the incumbent District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray in next week's primary, campaigns on Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, Thursday, March 27, 2014. Loyalists are rallying around the mayor, and few are writing him off. But his troubles have provided an opening for one of his challengers, and D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser appears to be taking advantage. Two polls released a week before the primary showed Bowser in a statistical tie with Gray.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    Crime hits close to home for D.C. mayoral candidate

  • Gray

    D.C. Council to vote on Gray’s budget veto