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Posted at 08:19 AM ET, 11/10/2011

Rappellers return to Washington Monument to winterize the landmark

Engineers who wowed crowds when they rappelled down the Washington Monument looking for earthquake damage in September will once again scale the D.C. landmark Thursday.

This time, instead of scanning the structure for cracks, the “difficult access team” will set up ropes and equipment to begin winterizing the monument early next week, according to the National Park Service.

The protective measures will involve filling cracks and gaps left by fallen pieces of the marble stone facade with a temporary sealant to keep rain and snow out until permanent repairs can be made.

The work is scheduled to begin Monday and will take about five days to complete, the park service said. It is expected to cost about $240,000.

The same team of climbers rappelled down the 550-foot Washington Monument earlier this fall, looking for loose, cracked or unstable stones resulting from the 5.8 magnitude quake that shook the Washington area in August.

The rappellers also inspected the National Cathedral this fall, which was also damaged in the Aug. 23 earthquake.

The monument has been closed since the earthquake and will remain closed indefinitely.

The park service has not announced a date when permanent repairs will begin.

By  |  08:19 AM ET, 11/10/2011

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