Massive Rockfall off El Capitan

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 28 September 2017

 Massive Rockfalls off El Capitan


October 3

Yosemite scientists probe why rocks fell — and where it will happen next,
Mercury News, October 2, 2017.


September 30

APNewsBreak: No increased danger after Yosemite rocks fall,
AP, September 30, 2017.


AP Reports,
AP, September 29, 2017.


UPDATE-September 29

Massive Rockfalls off El Capitan

UPDATE-The Initial Incidents

At 1:52 pm on the afternoon of Wednesday, September 27, the first of that day's series of seven rockfalls on the Southeast face of El Capitan occurred, resulting in one fatality and one injury.

The latest information on Wednesday the 27th's rockfalls is provided by the second update below, as well as by the original reports on the bottom of this page.

Wednesday's initial rockfalls were followed by a larger rockfall the next day on Thursday the 28th at 3:21 pm, again on the SE face of El Capitan, resulting in one injury. Thursday's major rockfall is covered by the first update below.

I observe that this year's excessive snow pack, its extended runoff, and even notable recent watershed activity has already contributed to terrain instability, and is continuing to provide the "lubrication" for sustained terrain activity into Fall.


September 29 Yosemite Reports

New, Larger Rockfall on Thursday, September 28

Another Rockfall in Yosemite National Park,
Yosemite Press Release, September 28, 2017.


Update on first, fatal, Wednesday, September 27 Rockfall

Additional Information on Rockfall in Yosemite National Park,
Yosemite Press Release, September 28, 2017.


September 29 News Reports

Thursday Rockfall Closes Northside Drive

Another Injury

Another Massive Rockslide In Yosemite Closes Roadway,
Sierra News Online, September 28, 2017.



About Victiims of First Rockfall


Man killed, wife injured by Yosemite rockfall were on ‘dream holiday,’ British media says,
Sierra Star, September 29, 2017.




Initial Report

Massive Rockfall off El Capitan

September 28

Waterfall Route

Initial reports indicate that early on the afternoon of September 27, a huge 200 foot slab of El Capitan broke loose (pic), falling 1000 feet before hitting the rock apron around the base of the face. I listened to an interview with a climber who was above the rockfall when it broke loose, describing a 200 foot slab of rock breaking loose.

Reports cite climber's estimating 30 people on the route. I know that Yosemite's top-notch SAR, Rangers, and emergency folks are scouring the scene doing everything they can to not just find casulaties, but to determine how many climbers were on that route, who was walking around the base of El Cap, and account for all potentially affected climbers, observers, and tourists.


Rockfall in Yosemite National Park,
Yosemite News Release 927m, September 27, 2017. 


Image of missing slab on El Cap

image of second rockfall scar



Waterfall Route
EL Capitan Southeast Face,



UPDATE: September 28, 11:17 am
Yosemite Rockfall That Killed Climber Was One Of Seven In Four-Hour Span,
CPR, September 28, 2017.


Original Reporting

Fatality Confirmed After Rockfall In Yosemite National Park,
Sierra News Online, September 27, 2017.


One fatality confirmed following rockslide near El Capitan in Yosemite,
Sierra Star, September 27, 2017.


The Latest: Deadly rockfall at Yosemite was size of building,
AP, September 27, 2017.



Background Information 
Monitor the Yosemite Climbing Community

Massive rockfall - Waterfall route,
Supertopo Thread.


Image of missing slab on El Cap 


Reddit Thread

Massive El Cap rockfall near Waterfall Route 


Waterfall Route
EL Capitan Southeast Face,


The Definitive Map
El Capitan,
Diamond Productions.


Topo Map
Yosemite Valley Topo Map



Mountain Safety News




All September Trail News

October 2017 High Sierra Trail News


Powered by Drupal, an open source content management system

Latest News: RSS FEED

Syndicate content

Support Tahoe to Whitney

The Tahoe to Whitney Trail Guide and Magazine are walked, written, funded, and supported by my efforts, with the help of kindred spirits and my sister.

We offer valuable Trail Guide, Skills, Weather, News and Analysis.

My goal is to get you out to see your natural and social potential. Help me keep this unique resource accessible and expanding towards its potential. We've a lot of miles to cover ahead...

If you feel these efforts are valuable, I'm cordially inviting you to support them, here:



I am currently working towards publishing the completed guide between Tahoe & Yosemite as an e-book, while converting this "blog" to a fine magazine format. You will like the results! Help Tahoe to Whitney reach its potential!


Why Support Tahoe to Whitney?
Mission Statement