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Why rockfalls happen in Yosemite

Why rockfalls happen in Yosemite

Two thundering rock falls in as many days at Yosemite National Park's landmark El Capitan left experienced climbers stunned as huge plumes of dust enveloped the valley below.

Park spokesman Scott Gediman says the size of this rockfall is not unusual, in fact, its size compares with other rockfalls in the area.

The National Park Service reportedly sent a helicopter to the Higher Cathedral Spire to help rescue the climber.

An vast mass of granite plunged from the side of El Capitan on Thursday and filled the valley below with a cloud of dust.

It is not clear how far the climber fell or their current condition.

A climber crushed during a rockfall at El Capitan while celebrating his one-year wedding anniversary used his body to shield his 28-year-old wife from the crumbling cliff side. A natural part of erosion occurring over millennia, rock fall is unpredictable but often occurs during or after heavy rain or snow, like the unusally snowy 2017-18 winter.

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Dozens of climbers were on El Cap during Wednesday's incident, including multiple teams who witnessed it from above. There are about 80 rockfalls a year in the park, although many go unreported. "That's a very loose area right now, so I don't think climbers are going to head over there". The name of the person injured in Thursday's rockfall is not yet know.

Yosemite National Park identified the man Thursday as Andrew Foster, 32.

"Yosemite is just a really active, wild place".

Officials say many climbers were on El Capitan when the rock fall happened. No injuries were reported from the subsequent rockfall, but debris forced the NPS to enforce a detour route for Yosemite Valley. Rachel said she thought they would die when it happened, but they survived with only her husband receiving injuries.

According to an NBC News report, Thursday's rockfall was much larger than the series of falls that came down Wednesday that killed one Welsh tourist and seriously injured his wife.

Another set of climbers watched both rockfalls go down on the "Waterfall Route", located on what is known as the East Buttress of El Capitan.

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