Note: This article was originally published for Wednesday, September 27th’s rockfall. It has been updated to reflect another rockfall—reportedly 10x larger than Wednesday’s—that occurred just one day later.
Scroll down for news of the second rockfall.
At least one individual has been killed, another injured in a massive rockfall near El Capitan’s Waterfall route. A release yesterday afternoon from the National Park Service explains:
A rockfall of undetermined size occurred in Yosemite National Park this afternoon at about 1:55 p.m. The rockfall was reported to have happened from El Capitan, a granite monolith above Yosemite Valley. The release point appears to be near the “Waterfall Route”, a popular climbing route on the East Buttress of El Capitan. This is the area where Horsetail Fall flows in winter and spring conditions … There is one confirmed fatality and one injured person.
Large rockfall off the East Buttress of El Cap in Yosemite. I heard and saw it from Glacier Point at 1:51-1:52pm pic.twitter.com/youAujh3pA
— Jon Kameen (@JonKameen) September 28, 2017
In a thread on SuperTopo, a climber on the wall at the time of the event, ‘Pass the Pitons’ Pete, recounts what happened:
I saw a hundred foot by 100 foot by 100 foot chunk of granite the size of an apartment building peel off two thousand feet above the deck, hit the wall a thousand feet up and shatter into a hundred thousand pieces that completely annihilated everything beneath.
Update: Day later, El Capitan releases second block, 10x bigger
One day after the tragic rockfall mentioned above, a second block broke from El Capitan, leaving it deeply scarred. There were no deaths in the second rockfall, with one reported injury.
Ken Yager, president of the Yosemite Climbing Association, estimated the fall to be 10 times larger than that of Wednesday.
Massive rockfall on El Cap. Video taken from Higher Cathedral Spire, with @bmdhacks. @nytimes pic.twitter.com/nDofgS2Myd
— Phillip Bay (@Phillipbay) September 29, 2017
Correction: This article was originally titled “100ft³ Block Falls from El Capitan: 1 Killed, 1 Injured.” However, the block was 100ft x 100ft x 100ft, or 1,000,000ft³. The title has been amended for accuracy and to reflect recent updates.
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