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Indefinitely Wild

Massive Rockfall on El Capitan Kills One

A piece of granite "the size of an apartment building" sheared off while 30 climbers were on the wall

El Capitan is a 3,000 foot tall granite rock formation located on the north side of Yosemite Valley. (Photo: Mr. Nixter)
El Capitan is a 3,000 foot tall granite rock formation located on the north side of Yosemite Valley.

An enormous rock fall on Yosemite National Park's famed El Capitan granite wall has killed one person and injured another. Reports from the scene suggest the rock was as large as 100 feet across.

Here's the latest information and photos from the scene. 

The incident occurred at 1:55 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, and was seen and heard throughout the park. 

"I saw a piece of rock, white granite the size of an apartment building, at least 100 feet by 100 feet, suddenly just come peeling off the wall with no warning," Canadian climber Peter Zabrok told the Associated Press. He was one of 30 people reported to be on the wall at the time of the fall, but was safely above the rock, on the Waterfall Route, at the time. 

"It cratered and sent stuff mushrooming out in all directions," describes Ken Yager, president and founder of the Yosemite Climbing Association. He says the rock was the size of five houses. 

Zabrok describes an immediate response by rescuers, who arrived by helicopter moments after the fall, and apparently rescued one person. "It was done at tremendous peril to the rescuers because there were three subsequent rockfalls that were all nearly as big and would have killed anybody at the base," he told the AP. 

A discussion thread on SuperTopo includes photos taken from climbers on the wall at the time of the fall

Yosemite National Park remains open. We'll update you with more information as it becomes available, and we have a reporter on the way to the scene now. 

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Filed To: Indefinitely WildYosemite National ParkClimbing
Lead Photo: Mr. Nixter