Massive Yosemite rock falls don't deter climbers

The El Capitan monolith in the Yosemite National Park in California

Ranger Scott Gediman said Wednesday that witnesses made multiple calls reporting the rock fall around 2 p.m. PDT. This time of year is peak climbing season in Yosemite. At this point, the rock was a few climbers. One man was injured and is being treated at a hospital in Modesto.

Later images from the National Park Service show the scar left behind on the face of El Capitan.

A huge hunk of granite came off El Capitan on Thursday, even bigger than the major piece of rock that fell off on Wednesday.

They flew out for the Yosemite trip from Heathrow Airport on 11 September and had spent two weeks at the national park. Let's go! And at the same time my husband reached up and he was like 'My head!

As the tours continue around Yosemite National Park, visitor Becky Salzmann can't help to think of the Florida couple she helped comfort just a day ago. The source point is about 650 feet above the base of El Capitan, or about 1,800 feet above the floor of Yosemite Valley (which is at 4,000 feet in elevation).

Andrea Lankford right author of
Climber crushed by Yosemite rockfall was on 'dream' trip with wife

Gediman says the two were hiking at the bottom of El Capitan's vertical face in preparation on their way to scale it when the rock fell. The tallest part of El Capitan is about 1220m above Yosemite Valley below.

Officials had no immediate estimate for how much the big rock weighed but Gediman said all of the rock falls Wednesday weighed 1,300 tons (1,100 metric tons) combined.

Preceding this week's events, the last recorded rockfall-related death in Yosemite happened in June of 1999 when a climber was killed below Glacier Point. They posted pictures on social media showing billowing white dust moments after the crash. Massive plumes of dust could be seen trailing the falling rocks. The precise cause of the latest Yosemite Rock Falls will require a geologic investigation, but as Fresno State Geology Professor Jerry DeGraff explains, they are just what happens when you have granite cliffs. "The rockfall from El Capitan was similar in size and extent compared with other rockfalls throughout the park, though it is not typical that that there were victims".

"Yosemite has broken Andy", the caption read.

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