SAN FRANCISCO — A second massive rock fall has hit Yosemite National Park on Thursday,from El Capitan, killing a British climber and injuring a second.
Ken Yager, president and founder of the Yosemite Climbing Association, said he witnessed the most recent rock fall that appeared to be “substantially bigger” than the earlier one.
Driving past the base of the iconic El Capitan rock formation, Yager said he saw the dust cloud and emergency workers rushing to the scene. Images posted on social media showed a large dust cloud spreading across Yosemite Valley.
A reporter from the CBS Fresno affiliate KGPE captured Thursday’s rock fall and described it as “thunderous.”
A climber told the AP that Thursday’s rock slide was easily “three times the size” than Wednesday’s incident. Ryan Sheridan just reached the top of El Capitan when the slide let loose below him.
He said that “there was so much smoke and debris” and clouds of dust filled the entire valley below.
Late Thursday, officials said they closed one of the exit routes from the park.
The massive granite slab that fell Wednesday from the iconic El Capitan rock formation in Yosemite National Park and killed a British climber was a rare event — but only because the rock fall turned deadly, longtime climbers said Thursday.
Rocks at the world-renowned park’s climbing routes break loose and crash down about 80 times a year. The elite climbers who flock to the park using ropes and their fingertips to defy death as they scale sheer cliff faces know the risk but also know it’s rare to get hit and killed by the rocks.
“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. “Sometimes…