The National Park Service says, on average there are 100 climbing accidents and 25 rescues a year in Yosemite. Then on Thursday, a much larger rock fall injured a man and made the Yosemite Valley look like a war zone engulfed in a huge dust cloud.
Dozens of climbers were on El Cap during Wednesday's incident, including multiple teams who witnessed it from above. "That weakening of the rock mass means that whoever is the weakest of the gang might fall out".
"It was like an inch of dust on everything".
Indeed, rockslides are a natural occurrence, and climbers need to be aware of the risks when they make an ascent. "I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of me".
All areas in California's Yosemite Valley are open a day after a major rock fall from the famed El Capitan rock formation killed one person and injured another.
"Some of them were just walking through not knowing what was going on". "I heard there were potentially a couple people on the trail near the rockfall". I couldn't imagine how they inexplicably clung to the wall.
A day later, another rockfall occurred, again on the Southeast face of El Capitan, at 3:21PM, but this one was sizably larger than the one on Wednesday. After descending Friday, though, he said there are dozens of routes on the mountain that are unaffected by the slide. Park geologists are still assessing the size and weight of the rockfall. The night before, say their friends "slept in that same spot" that fell.
Geologists are now assessing the size and weight of the second rockfall, but initial estimates suggest it was 10 times bigger. "Right now you can see them up there".
Gediman says they are not being identified until their relatives are notified.
Park ranger Scott Gediman said it was a tragic situation of "wrong place, wrong time". The athlete received fatal injuries.
The last rockfall-fatality in Yosemite happened 18 years ago when a rock climber, Peter Terbush, was killed by a rockfall from Glacier Point.
A giant chunk of white granite broke loose from the face of a mountain-climbing mecca in Yosemite National Park, killing one person and injuring another. His wife is being treated at an area hospital.
In all, seven separate rockfalls occured on Thursday over a period of four hours. It's a risk all climbers take, rockfall is always a major concern, the odds are usually against such a terrible case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Wednesday's death marks the 16th fatalty since park records began in 1857. "The East Buttress is certainly closed for the season".
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