“There was so much smoke and debris,” climber Ryan Sheridan who had just reached the top of El Capitan, a 7,569-foot formation, said Thursday. Rocks at the world-renowned park’s climbing routes break loose and crash down about 80 times a year. It was rare for such a collapse to kill anyone but sometimes bad things occur. The rock falls came during the peak of the climbing season for El Capitan, with climbers from around the world trying their skill against the sheer cliff faces.
Rocks fell in the park
At least 30 climbers were on the formation when a section gave way Wednesday. The last time a climber was previously killed by a rock falling at Yosemite was in 2013, when a Montana climber fell after a rock dislodged and sliced his climbing rope. Wednesday accident was caused by the chunk of granite about 12 stories which tall broke free and plunged. The slab was about 130 feet tall and 65 feet wide and fell from the popular “Waterfall Route.” Yosemite National Park covers an area of 747,956 acres (3,026.87 km2). On average, about 4 million people visit Yosemite each year.