El Capitan rockfall 11 June 2014

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gstock

climber
Yosemite Valley
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 11, 2014 - 09:29am PT
FYI - There was a large rockfall from the southeast face of El Capitan at about 04:30 this morning. The rockfall originated from the far eastern side of the face, slightly east of the path of Horsetail Falls but west of the East Buttress. A large block free-fell for several hundred meters then impacted hard on a lower angle slope just above the base of the cliff. This impact caused the block to pulverize, creating a very large dust cloud that filled the western portion of the valley for about an hour.

Dust above El Capitan Meadow.  This photo was taken well after most of...
Dust above El Capitan Meadow. This photo was taken well after most of the dust cloud had dissipated.
Credit: gstock

Rockfall source area, impact area, and lingering dust cloud as viewed ...
Rockfall source area, impact area, and lingering dust cloud as viewed from El Cap Bridge.
Credit: gstock

This is the same general location as rockfalls occurring in 2010, but this new source is higher and appears to be distinct from and unrelated to the 2010 rockfalls.

Location of the 11 June 2014 rockfall on the southeast face of El Capi...
Location of the 11 June 2014 rockfall on the southeast face of El Capitan, shown relatively to the location of rockfalls in 2010.
Credit: gstock

Using the xRez photo of the southeast face taken in 2008 before the rockfall, it is possible to get a sense of the block that failed (this, by the way, is one of the main reasons that we took those photos). The cliff before the rockfall is shown on the left, and after on the right - note that they were not taken from the same location and so are not exact replicates. Interesting that the cliff does not show obvious signs of instability in the "before" photo.

Before &#40;left&#41; and after &#40;right&#41; photos of the 11 June ...
Before (left) and after (right) photos of the 11 June 2014 rockfall source area on the southeast face of El Capitan.
Credit: xRez and gstock

There have been no reports of injuries, but no doubt many climbers on El Cap witnessed the event. The East Buttress route and the approach to that route along the base of the cliff are temporarily closed.

Greg Stock
Park Geologist
(209) 379-1420
greg_stock@nps.gov
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jun 11, 2014 - 09:54am PT
Sick looking roof. Klaus, one FA less for you lol
gstock

climber
Yosemite Valley
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 11, 2014 - 10:42am PT
Pitches 8-9 of Get Whacked and pitches 6-7 of Chinese Water Torture are probably quite different now. The lower pitches of Pressure Cooker and the Waterfall Route were also likely affected by the impact.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jun 11, 2014 - 10:44am PT
Read about Bonatti on the Grand Jorasses with a hundred plus meter tower falling right over him!

The mountains are alive, but people easily forget this.
I wonder what time of year the most mass wasting occurs.

(this would have been Layton's 76th birthday; maybe its his restless spirit)
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 11, 2014 - 10:51am PT
Wow, huge block and no apparent weakness before.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Jun 11, 2014 - 10:59am PT

YIKES!!!
cali kat

climber
CA
Jun 11, 2014 - 11:07am PT

Some previous El Cap rock fall discussion that's worth reading: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=737694&tn=0&mr=0
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jun 11, 2014 - 11:14am PT
Yikes!

So glad no one was under that at the time!
j-tree

Big Wall climber
Typewriters and Ledges
Jun 11, 2014 - 12:05pm PT
Was awoken by this from my bivy ledge on Lost Brother. VERY loud and the dust cloud moved slowly towards the meadow like creeping fog. Tried to get pictures but my little point and shoot wasn't up for the task.

Interestingly, I counted numerous parties on the nose, zodiac, and on top last night as I went to bed; only a party low on the nose bothered to wake up and look around with headlamps. The rest of the Captain was quiet and dark. Very disconcerting at the time as I couldn't see well enough to know how close to Zodiac the rockfall was.

Definite worst moment of the week came in those split seconds when I woke up on my portaledge, recognized rockfall, but didn't know if it was coming from above me on my formation or from somewhere else in the valley. Not easy to get back to bed after waking that way.
cali kat

climber
CA
Jun 11, 2014 - 12:13pm PT
Pardon the El Cap naivete, but does this impact the East Ledges descent?
moosedrool

climber
lost, far away from Poland
Jun 11, 2014 - 12:16pm PT
Let's hope nobody got hurt.

Andrzej
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Jun 11, 2014 - 12:17pm PT
Read about Bonatti on the Grand Jorasses with a hundred plus meter tower falling right over him!

He had some EPIC stories in his book. Was a true badass. Real climber.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Jun 11, 2014 - 12:19pm PT
East Ledges Descent is way around the corner. Nowhere near.
Interesting that Greg and Co have closed East Buttress route for now.
Hopefully erring on the safe side.
Michelle

Social climber
1187 Hunterwasser
Jun 11, 2014 - 12:28pm PT
Haha V
cali kat

climber
CA
Jun 11, 2014 - 12:36pm PT
Thanks, High Traverse! Glad this won't strand climbers topping out.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jun 11, 2014 - 12:54pm PT
greg, to the question above, isn't most rock fall occurring in the heat of the afternoon in the early season?


Anyone have the link to Greg's posting about this?
saa

climber
Bleau, cham, pink granite coast
Jun 11, 2014 - 01:32pm PT
If anyone has complaints about government employees salary being a waste of dollar, let them see this!

thanks to you, master geologist of ours.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Jun 11, 2014 - 01:37pm PT
Glad nobody was hurt.


Those before and after pics are in-sane!



Yep, looks like u gotta head back up there Klaus.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jun 11, 2014 - 01:44pm PT
Pretty scary stuff, considering how many times I've been in the impact area. Thanks, Greg, for your invaluable posts here.

John
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Jun 11, 2014 - 03:02pm PT
It's ridiculous that the rocks can't just stay put. It's very disappointing.
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