September 22, 2023

The Slide Rock Bolter

You and your fellow travellers make your way through the unfamiliar mountain terrain, navigating roads that cling perilously to the sides of steep peaks. Progress is slow, and even your guides seem unsure that you’re moving in the right direction. 

As you pick your way through an especially precarious pass, you hear a low rumble overhead, from the summit above. You squint into the bright noon sun and hold up a hand to block the light, scanning for any sign of falling rocks. Instead, you see a giant, dark maw that could be a cave except for the neat rows of sharp teeth and small eyes peering down at you. 

Sorry about your luck, friend, but you’re about to find yourself in the belly of the slide-rock bolter. 

This massive beast is found in the Rockies, with sightings reported by lumberjacks, miners, and tourists in the mountains of Colorado. It’s said to look like a massive land-bound whale or fish, with a giant mouth and tail flukes that end in hooks. The slide-rock bolter digs these hooks into the rock of mountain peaks, where it waits for unsuspecting travelers to pass below. When it spots its prey, the slide-rock bolter lifts its tail and slides down the steep mountainside, hurtling along a path of its own saliva. It simply opens its mouth, scoops up any people and horses in its path, and uses its momentum to slide up the next peak, dig in its hooks, and wait for the next meal to pass by. 

Evading a giant mountain whale may sound easy, until you consider that the slide-rock bolter’s habitat is treacherous terrain on the steepest mountains. At best, you’re dealing with narrow, winding roads and paths. At worst, you’re scaling sheer rock faces with a huge mouth bearing down on you. If evading the beast is your plan, hopefully you’re a very strong climber or have some sort of magical advantage. 

If you want to take down one of these massive monsters, you may need to get creative. It’s said that a clever park ranger was able to lure a slide-rock bolter with a man-shaped dummy stuffed with dynamite. But beware the possible outcomes of such clever plans–though the ranger successfully slew the bolter, the blast leveled half the town he aimed to protect and the resulting mess of rock whale corpse is said to have kept the vultures fed for the rest of the summer. Maybe just keep in mind that taking down such a gigantic creature could have equally gigantic consequences.

For more entries in our Menagerie Monstrum, click here!