***UPDATED at 8:22pm PST today:
One person was hurt in today’s large rockfall, according to Yosemite National Park.
“Another, larger rockfall occurred on El Capitan today at 3:21 pm. One person was injured. Debris from today’s rockfall reached the road. Northside Drive is closed from Camp 4 to El Capitan Crossover, with a detour available on Southside Drive, which is now set up for two-way traffic. Please drive with caution.
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.” – Yosemite National Park, today
***ORIGINAL ARTICLE from 7:14pm PASt today:
El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, CA experienced its 2nd large rockfall in 24-hours today. Yesterday’s rockfall killed an English tourist and injured another.
“Northside Drive exiting Yosemite Valley is closed due to a new rockfall off of El Capitan. Use Southside Drive to exit Yosemite Valley.” – Yosemite National Park, today
Today’s rockfall on El Capitan appears to have been larger than yesterday’s rockfall on El Capitan and yesterday’s wasn’t small. It’s currently unknown if there are any injuries from today’s rockfall.
Not much is known about today’s rockfall but it was big, it went across Northside Drive, and it was enough to close Northside Drive.
It is clear that El Capitan is unstable right now and that climbing it or being near it is a significant risk at the current time.
“#BREAKING: Another rock fall near #ElCapitan in Yosemite National Park. Our crew on scene witnessed it all. Reporter Connie Tran says it sounded like a thunder storm. Unknown at this point if there are any injuries. This follows yesterday’s rock fall where one person died, and a second person was seriously injured.” – CBS 47 Fresno
Yosemite National Park reports that yesterday’s rockfall was 1,300 tons (2.6 million lbs) of rock that fell in 7 successive rockfalls that started at 1:52pm.
Yesterday’s 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
- 2.6 Million Pounds of Rockfall Kills 1 Climber on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, CA Yesterday
El Capitan Info:
El Capitan (Spanish for The Captain, The Chief) is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, located on the north side of Yosemite Valley, near its western end. The granite monolith extends about 3,000 feet (900 m) from base to summit along its tallest face and is one of the world’s favorite challenges for rock climbers and BASE jumpers.
The formation was named “El Capitan” by the Mariposa Battalion when they explored the valley in 1851. El Capitan (“the captain”, “the chief”) was taken to be a loose Spanish translation of the local Native American name for the cliff, variously transcribed as “To-to-kon oo-lah” or “To-tock-ah-noo-lah” (Miwok language). It is unclear if the Native American name referred to a specific tribal chief or simply meant “the chief” or “rock chief”. In modern times, the formation’s name is often contracted to “El Cap”, especially among rock climbers and BASE jumpers.
The top of El Capitan can be reached by hiking out of Yosemite Valley on the trail next to Yosemite Falls, then proceeding west. For climbers, the challenge is to climb up the sheer granite face. There are many named climbing routes, all of them arduous, including Iron Hawk and Sea of Dreams, for example. – wikipedia