Massive rockfall in Yosemite (Sep. 2017)


On Sep. 27 and 28, 2017, massive rockfall hit the eastern face of El Cap, Yosemite, on “Waterfall Route.”  The size of the initial rock that broke off the wall was estimated to be as large as 40M*20M*3M, followed by even larger-scaled rockfall events the next day in the same place.  It has caused at least one death and two injuries.

Rockfall is one of the major hazards for rock climbers.  However, this case was not unprecedented.  Back in 2010 & 2014, the same exact region had a big rockfall.  A closer look shows, many detached flakes – large sections of rock hanging on by a thread.


↑Scars of historical rockfalls in the same place. The orange circle being the scar in 2010.



↑ The affected wall on Sep. 27 (left) and 28 (right).

Yosemite National Park has an informational page on rockfall and geology.  Annual reports, statistics, and analyses can be found.

“Remember that Yosemite is a wild place. Rockfall is the most powerful geologic agent acting today in Yosemite. The dramatic cliffs of Yosemite are constantly being shaped by this potent natural force.”

This is also what we as climbers need to remember wherever we go.  Climb safe!


Photos and news are taken from Super Topo discussion thread.



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