Videos Show Massive Rockfall at Yosemite’s El Capitan: ‘It was Mad’

El Capitan

This week, Yosemite’s El Capitan, one of its most iconic destinations for hikers and photographers alike, experienced its most notable rockfall since 2017 that originated near the point where the iconic “firefall” happens every year.

Seen by multiple visitors and captured on camera, the event created a loud crashing sound that was described as the “loudest thunder ever” according to sculptor Alex Wood. Wood, who had already been pointing his camera at the 3,000-foot-tall stone face, captured the final portion of the rock fall on video.

“I couldn’t believe what I saw,” Wood tells the LA Times. “It looked like a giant oversized grand piano falling in slow motion… It was mad.”

A park spokesperson says that the initial rock that caused the event was estimated to be between 1,000 and 2,000 cubic yards in size, which is much smaller than the one that fell in 2017 which was a slab of granite estimated to be about the size of a 13-story building and was followed the next day by one 10 times larger. That rockfall left one climber dead, another injured, and displaced about 1,300 tons of rock, the Huffington Post explains.

Given the danger of these rockfalls, Wood says he was far enough away from the event to be clear of any danger, but expressed concern for a few climbers he had seen in the area. Luckily, park officials tell the LA Times that nobody was hurt and there was no damage to any manmade structures. A few more boulders did trickle down over the next day or so and the park’s one-way road was closed for a couple of days, but re-opened on Thursday.

This rockfall appears to have started from the top of Horsetail Fall, the famous photography location that once per year in late February turns into the “firefall” when backlit by the setting sun.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via 123RF.