NEWSFLASH: One dead in massive El Capitan rockfall

A rockfall "the size of an apartment building" fell from El Capitan's East Buttress yesterday afternoon, killing a person and injuring one other. September is the middle of the climbing season and the rockfall was witnessed by many people, including at least 30 people that were on the wall at the time.

The Guardian reports that Ken Yager, the president and fouder of the Yosemite Climbing Assocation, estimated that whilst the piece that broke off was relatively thin, it was big enough for five houses to fit inside.

UPDATE: The climber that was killed by Wednesday's rockfall has been named as Andrew Foster, 32. His wife is currently being treated in hospital. The pair are from Wales.

There was a second rockfall on Thursday, where a larger rock fell and debris reached the road.

Broke loose again, we just topped out. Ground shaking, rockfall crossed road

A post shared by Ryan Sheridan (@ryansheridan) on

Rockfalls in Yosemite are infrequent, but do occur. In 1996, a huge block of granite, with an estimated mass of 80,000 tonnes fell near glacier point. This registered on seismographs up to 200km away.

Thanks to Claire Clifton Coles for the use of her El Capitan image.

Forums (27 comments)

Totally agree - the sadness is for the ending, not the beginning. I didn't know them either but I was struck forcibly by the randomness of it. There's a nice comment on SuperTopo about the courage of the YOSAR folks...
I don't agree. Check the photos (I am sure you have) . These were lives replete with joy, spirit, adventure, absolute connectedness and driven by being in wild places. The photos show that. Massively sad, heartbreaking....
Andy, an inspirational guy and I think the only one of my mates to own a portaledge. And like you say, always willing to help out - I type this sat right next to a pair of skis he helped me set up. With his various jobs...
I wouldn't say I knew Andy particularly well, but the times I did meet him at the local shop and at the crag made a great impression on me. He was a really nice friendly guy and very passionate about his climbing. He...
A very unfortunate incident. The BBC link had a surprising statistic: first death from rockfall in 18 years. I think that is a testament to the quality of the rock in Yosemite when you consider the number of climbers.
< Can't find any reference anywhere else other than on here.> I think the earliest such reference was the one on SuperTopo yesterday at 12:11 am Pacific Time, from "hendo". Sounded credible.

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