Rockfall Kills 1 Person At Yosemite National Park

1 dead, 1 hurt in rockfall at Yosemite National Park's El Capitan

The rock fell from one of the world's most famously scaled granite monoliths around 1:55 p.m. Wednesday.

He estimates 30 or more climbers were on the wall at the time, but he could not confirm injuries or the size of the rock fall.

DeGrazio says he's seen avalanches and rock falls on El Capitan in the past but that Wednesday's rock fall was "more significant than anything I've seen before".

Search and rescue teams had responded to the scene and were assessing the situation, along with a park helicopter, Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said in a statement. The rockfall at El Capitan was similar in size and extent in comparison with other rockfalls throughout the park, according to park officials.

The irregular "sheet" of rock that fell was estimated to be 130 feet tall, 65 feet wide and 3 to 10 feet thick.

"At first, we thought it could have been a fire", he said. "We were on the summit of Half Dome when we saw this".

Among the hiking group, he said there was "definite surprise and obvious remorse" for the victims and their families.

"They're thinking, 'we're on big rocks, too, '" he said.

The last rockfall-related death in Yosemite National Park happened in June 1999 when rock climber Peter Terbush was killed by a rockfall from Glacier Point.

Sometimes, rockfalls have obvious causes, including storms or earthquakes, while others occur on clear, sunny days.

The 57-year-old Zaybrock tells KFSN-TV ( that he doesn't know how anyone who was below the rockfall could have survived. Smaller chunks of rock fell after the larger piece fell. Usually, the trigger is something recognizable, but the heat of the day can also be enough to cause a slab to break away, he said.

The pair was in the park to rock climb but were not climbing at the time of the rockfall.



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