We reported on this tragedy yesterday in Yosemite, CA. Today, Yosemite National Park if releasing more details.
Yosemite Rockfall Details:
- Rockfall occurred on southeast face of El Capitan at 1:52pm yesterday
- 1,300 tons (2.6 million lbs) of rock fell in 7 successive rockfalls
- 2 climbers were at the base of El Capitan – one was killed, one was injured
- The irregular “sheet” of rock that fell is estimated to be 130 feet tall, 65 feet wide, and 3-10 feet thick
- The source point of the rockfall is about 650 feet above the base of El Capitan, or about 1,800 feet above the floor of Yosemite Valley
- The deceased and the injured were a couple from England – the male was killed and the female received serious injuries
- The couple was in Yosemite to rock climb, but wasn’t climbing at the time of the rockfall
- The last rockfall fatality in Yosemite was 18 years ago when rock climber Peter Terbush was killed by a rockfall from Glacier Point June 13th, 1999
- There have now been 16 fatalities and more than 100 injuries from rockfalls in Yosemite National Park since park records began in 1857
“Yesterday, starting at approximately 1:52 p.m. Pacific time, seven successive rockfalls occurred on the southeast face of El Capitan, dropping 1300 tons of rock. This type of rockfall is typical in volume and behavior. The area of El Capitan, near Horsetail Fall, has experienced many rockfalls since 2010, most recently in April 2014.
While the rockfall may have been typical, the results were not. Two climbers were at the base of El Capitan when the rockfall occurred, resulting in one fatality and one serious injury. All other people in the area have been accounted for and search efforts have been concluded.” – Yosemite National Park, today
YOSEMITE PRESS RELEASE:
Additional Information on Rockfall in Yosemite National Park
Date: September 28, 2017
One fatality, one injury, and all people accounted for
A preliminary estimate for the cumulative volume of all seven rockfalls is about 16,000 cubic feet (450 cubic meters), or about 1,300 tons. The irregular “sheet” of rock that fell is estimated to be 130 feet tall, 65 feet wide, and 3-10 feet thick. 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).
After the initial rockfall, Yosemite National Park Rangers and the Search and Rescue team entered the area looking for people at the base of the rockfall. Two people were found, resulting in one fatality and a serious injury. The victims, a couple visiting the park from Great Britain, were in the park to rock climb but were not climbing at the time of the initial rockfall. The male was found deceased and the female was flown out of the park with serious injuries. The National Park Service is working with the Consulate to notify family members. Until family notifications are completed, the names of the victims are not being released. All other people in the area have been accounted for and search efforts have been concluded.
Rockfalls are a common occurrence in Yosemite Valley and the park records about 80 rockfalls per year; though many more rockfalls go unreported. 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.
It has been 18 years since the last rockfall-related fatality in Yosemite National Park. In that incident, rock climber Peter Terbush was killed by a rockfall from Glacier Point June 13 1999. There have now been 16 fatalities and more than 100 injuries from rockfalls since park records began in 1857.
Yosemite National Park remains open and visitor services are not affected by the rockfalls.