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Big Rockfall On A Yosemite Climb That You’ve Never Heard Of

The tree-smashing rockfall was caught on video, here's where climbers think it came from

Yosemite has a lot of rock climbs, but only a few are well-known classics, and much like Squamish, the hard aid routes are often only known about by in-the-know locals or A5-chasing big-wallers. This week a huge piece of stone fell off El Capitan, but it was no where near the size of a rockfall event in 2017, which you can see here:

The smaller rockfall this week was on a route called Plastic Surgery Disaster VI 5.8 A5. It was first climbed in 1991 during a solo push by one of the best big wall aid climbers at the time: Eric Koh. The second ascent was in 1998 by Enormo Cast owner Chris Kalous and Kevin Thaw, who was especially entertained on the “Trust Your Mechanic” pitch, which sports a loose flake that must be hooked for progress.

From Oct. 5 to 20, 2016, Marek Raganowicz made the second solo ascent of Plastic Surgery Disaster. About the route, Ragnowicz said, “This aid climb contains are two A5 pitches, six A4/A4+ pitches, two A3/A3 + and three easier pitches. The first A5 section is a long sequence of sky hooks moves with a risk of falling onto steep slabs below the overhang. When you start the hooking section there is virtually no possibility to return. The second A5 pitch is called Suicidal Failure and this requires skill placing the hooks and cams, while dealing with the pressure of a potential fall that would make you hit a diagonal ledge. Some sections of the route that are rated A4 or A3 are extremely technical, but thankfully they are less risky than the A5 pitches.”

Yosemite photographer Tom Evans posted a photo of climbers on the route in 2014, and said, “Plastic Surgery Disaster: While one of the dumber route names on El Cap, this route is one of the more difficult and seldom sees climbers on it. Big Wall vets, Erik Erikson, and Dana Eubanks have taken up the challenge.”

After a video of the rockfall was posted, Koh said that it was likely the surfboard feature on pitch six. Watch as a huge piece of rock rips through trees below El Cap. Luckily nobody was on the route or in the area at the time.

A list of five rockfalls that forever changed climbing routes!

Plastic Surgery Disaster Rockfall