Third climbing accident in 3 days in Yosemite as park cleans up from 2 rockfalls

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (KSEE) — A climber fell while climbing the Higher Cathedral Spiral in Yosemite on Friday. This comes after the park cleans up debris from El Capitan’s rockfalls.

The Higher Cathedral Spire is right across the Merced River from El Capitan. The National Park Service dispatched a rescue helicopter and brought the injured climber to the ground.

It’s not known at this time how much the climber fell or the extent of their injuries.

Friday’s accident makes it the third accident affecting climbers in the park this week. For climbers like Chris Moore, though, it’s all a part of the sport.

“There is an essence of risk assessment,” Moore said as he looks at the section of El Capitan that fell. “That’s a very loose area right now, so I don’t think climbers are going to head over there.” 

On Thursday, more than 30,000 tons of rock fell off of El Capitan into the valley below. One man was injured and is being treated at a hospital in Modesto.

By Friday afternoon, you wouldn’t know this happened, with the roads only being filled with cars.

“We did re-route the roads in-and-out of Yosemite Valley yesterday afternoon because a little bit of rock were on the road,” Scott Gediman, assistant superintendent for public and legislative affairs, said.

Wednesday’s rockfall killed and injured a couple visiting from the UK. Californian Chris Koenig said he visits Yosemite a lot. He said this week’s events are definitely unique.

“It’s unfortunate for those involved, but it’s kind of a once in a lifetime [opportunity] to hear what that sounds like,” Koenig said.

Signs have been posted at climbing routes on El Capitan to warn climbers of the recent rockfall activity. Nothing in the park has closed.

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