Welsh climber Andrew Foster, 32, was human killed on El Capitan, say authorities, and significantly bigger autumn has since taken place
A massive new boulder autumn hit Yosemite national park on Thursday, cracking with a thundering roar off the iconic El Capitan rock formation and sending huge plumes of white dust surging through the valley flooring below. It came a day after another slab fell from El Capitan, killing one British climber and injuring two seconds.
The climber killed by Wednesday’s rock fall has been named as Andrew Foster, 32, from Wales. National park authorities said on Thursday evening that his wife was undergoing therapy at a nearby hospital.
Authorities said the latest rock fall injured one person, who was airlifted to hospital. Ken Yager, president and founder of the Yosemite Climbing Association, said he witnessed the latest autumn and it appeared to be” substantially bigger” than the first.
Driving past the base of El Capitan, Yager said he saw the dust cloud and emergency workers rushing to the scene. Images positioned on social media proved a massive cloud of thick dust spreading across Yosemite valley.
Climber Ryan Sheridan had just reached the top of El Capitan, a 7,569 ft( 2,307 meter) formation, when the boulder slip let loose below him Thursday.
” There was so much smoking and dust ,” he said by cellphone from the top of El Capitan.” It filled the entire valley with smoke .” An image Sheridan posted to Instagram shows a thick plume of dust and debris ploughing through the hollow below, appearing to cross a road and river.
Sheridan had also clambered up El Capitan a day earlier, when the first stone slip passed and said this one was huge for purposes of comparison.” It was in the same location of the previous stone fall. A larger boulder autumn let loose, easily three times the sizing ,” Sheridan said.
Yosemite said on its Twitter page that the park was closing a street on the northern side of the park because of the rock autumn. Officials advised visitors to use the southern access road.The New York Times, citing park officials, said there had been at least one trauma and search and rescue helicopters were hovering above the mountainside go looking for more victims.
The massive granite slab that fell Wednesday was seen as a rare event but merely because the rock autumn became deadly, longtime climbers said Thursday. Boulders at the world-renowned park’s climbing itineraries break loose and crash down about 80 times a year. The elite climbers who flock to the park use ropes and their fingertips to elude 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 constructed history on 3 June for being the first to clamber El Capitan alone and without ropes.” Sometimes geology simply happens .”
The last period a climber was assassinated by a rock falling at Yosemite was in 2013, when a Montana climber fell after a stone dislodged and sliced his climbing rope. It was preceded by a 1999 boulder fall that crushed a climber from Colorado. Park officers say boulder falls overall have killed 16 people since 1857 and injured more than 100.
The slab that fell Wednesday was about 130 ft( 40 meters) tall and 65 ft( 19 meters) wide-ranging and fell from the popular “waterfall route” on the eastern buttress of El Capitan, according to Yosemite park ranger and spokesman Scott Gediman. There were at least 30 climbers on the wall of the formation when the boulder fell.
Foster, who was killed on Wednesday, and his wife, who was seriously injured, were hiking at the lower end of El Capitan, far away from roads used by most Yosemite guests, in preparation for an ascending when the glob of granite about 12 narratives tall broke free and plunged, said park ranger and spokesman Scott Gediman.
Yager, the president of the Yosemite Climbing Association, said the rock that broke away” cratered and mailed material mushrooming out in all directions “.
Canadian climber Peter Zabrok described Wednesday’s falling stone as” white granite the size of an apartment building “. Images posted on social media immediately after it fell presented billowing white stone dust surging high into the air.
Yosemite geologist Greg Stock said the rock fall was not caused by climbers, who wedge climbing gear into rock crackings so they can loop ropes to substantiate its weight and the cliff-side tents they use for El Capitan climb that generally take several days.
While the cause of the rock fall will never be known, Stock said the infringe was probably caused by the expansion and contraction of the monolith’s granite as it heats up during the summer and gets cold and more brittle in the winter.
” The boulder fall itself is nothing unusual ,” he said.” We have had larger rock falls occur in the valley this year .”
Gediman, the park spokesman, said Wednesday’s rock fall was among seven that happened in the same general region during a four-hour interval. Rescuers acquired no other victims. Officials had no immediate estimation for how much the big stone weighed. But Gediman said all of the stone falls mixed on Wednesday weighed 1,300 tons.
Associated Press contributed to this report . em>