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A Big Yosemite Rockfall Caught on Video

Large rocks came off El Capitan earlier this year damaging a rarely climbed aid route. This was the first major rockfall recorded this year

Photo by: Jim Hornibrook of 2023 Yosemite rockfall

Yosemite s one of the world’s most popular areas for rock climbers, so it’s always worth noting when there’s a big rockfall. Over the past decade, rockfall has killed people and has affected several classic climbs.

Earlier this year, a large rockfall occurred midday as visitors watched on, luckily nobody was hiking in the area. Park officials estimated the rockfall was “five to 10 times smaller than the 2017 rockfall,” a series of two rockfalls that happened over two days that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old British tourist.

The rockfall earlier this year didn’t damage any trade routes, but according to some climbers did wipe out some of the climbing on a route called Pressure Cooker, a 19-pitch 5.7 A4. Park officials said that it “released from right near the top of Horsetail Falls.” The waterfall flows over the edge of El Cap and is best known for its orange and red glow as the sun sets.

The 2017 rockfall saw a piece of stone “the size of an apartment building,” according to park officials, fall off El Cap. At least 30 climbers were on the wall at the time. In 2015, the Northwest Face of Half Dome was forever changed by rockfall. Fifty-eight years after the first ascent, a sheet of rock 70 metres tall and 40 metres wide fell to the ground.

2023 Rockfall

2017 Rockfall off El Capitan

Half Dome 2011 Rockfall

Lead photo: Jim Hornibrook of 2023 Yosemite rockfall