Monument monitors cracks

Leslie Silverman
The Mount Rushmore National Memorial rope access could be seen on the faces Sept. 15-17.
The  Mount Rushmore National Memorial Rope Access Team is a one-of-a kind-team and the only trained industrial ropes access team in the National Park Service (NPS). 
According to a NPS press release, “the team is composed of a wide variety of specialists from across park divisions. The rope access technicians are trained to use a dual rope system where each technician is attached to a working line and a safety, backup line at all times while performing work directly on the surface of the sculpture.”
The rope access team accesses the sculpture from the top.
According to Blaine  Kortemeyer, acting chief of interpretation and education at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, “strain gauge monitors are positioned on four of the 22 rock blocks found within the sculpture. These monitors watch the cracks. The contract requires monitor checking/recalibration every year.” 
Mount Rushmore National Monument remained open during the work. 
Evening lighting ceremonies will cease at the monument for the season on Sept. 30. The monument will remain illuminated at night until May 26 of next year, when evening lighting ceremonies will resume again.

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