Rock climber falls from Higher Cathedral Spire in Yosemite

Rock climber falls from Higher Cathedral Spire in Yosemite

Needless to say Holly and I have stayed off the walls the last couple days and are grateful to be safe. I couldn't imagine how they inexplicably clung to the wall.

"Rockfalls are a common occurrence in Yosemite Valley and the park records about 80 rockfalls per year", says Gediman, "though many more go unreported". After descending Friday, though, he said there are dozens of routes on the mountain that are unaffected by the slide. The park geologist has measured the rockfall to have been 10,250 cubic meters in volume, or about 30,500 tons of granite. Officials say a helicopter is on its way to rescue the climber. "Through the process of it warming up this week - it's an exfoliation rock - and anytime that happens that process of cool to warm, it makes the rock really brittle".

These climbers snapped photos from above during the incident. The night before, say their friends "slept in that same spot" that fell.

Climber Peter Zabrok, who was on the monolith at the time of the rockfall Thursday, told NBC that Thursday's event was "an order of magnitude" bigger than the one that occurred the day prior. "Right now you can see them up there". The victims were not identified because officials were notifying their relatives.

"It's a lot like a lightning strike", said Alex Honnold, who made history June 3 for being the first to climb El Capitan alone and without ropes. Then a second massive rock fall hit the park on Thursday.

Park ranger Scott Gediman said it was a tragic situation of "wrong place, wrong time".

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Rockfalls aren't unusual in Yosemite Valley. The athlete received fatal injuries.

Andrew Foster, 32, of Wales died and his wife was hospitalized on Wednesday. His wife is being treated at an area hospital.

No climbers were caught up in the rockfall Thursday. This week was the first time since 1999 that a rockfall in the park resulted in a death.

On Thursday, a man was injured in another El Capitan rockfall, this one larger than Wednesday's.

"The area is not closed; it's still attractive weather, so people are climbing", he said. "The East Buttress is certainly closed for the season".

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