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Re: Rockfall - firsthand!

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Rockfall off of Yosemite Falls Today
October 28, 2011 03:52PM
A rockfall happened just before 2 in the valley today off of upper Yosemite Falls. It was lower down, approx 1/3 the way up the wall, on climber's left of the waterfall. Didn't appear to hit or impact the trail but threw up a nice dust cloud. Didn't hear any sirens so I assume no injuries, closures, etc. Will try to get a photo of the release pt and of the cloud this weekend.
Re: Rockfall - firsthand!
October 30, 2011 09:17PM
Well, sometimes timing is everything.

On Friday, a friend and I went up Sunnyside Bench and then up the slabs at the base of Upper Yosemite Falls to enjoy a nice lunchtime spot. We had finished lunch and were hanging out in the spray at the base when he heard that distinctive crack and looked up to see a huge block breaking off near the top of the falls. He yelled and I looked up a moment later, a second that will forever be burned in my memory, to see what looked like a 2 car garage hurtling downward toward us. It struck a ledge about 2/3 of the way down, leaving a couple distinctive white scars (maybe why one might assume it originated there), fragmenting and continuing its 1,300 foot freefall. He sought cover and I RAN LIKE HELL as rocks rained down. One about the size of a refrigerator missed me by about 20 feet. It was very, very intense. Life changing, almost. We were pleased and astounded to find each other afterwards completely unharmed. The huge dustcloud and rocks scattered over several hundred yards down to middle cascades spoke to the awesome impact.

We have a few low res cell pics of the aftermath but pictures and words cannot convey the experience. You take your chances...etc.

The rest of the weekend - fun scrambles up Illilouette Gorge, Sierra Point and the Ledge Trail were all fantastic - but a bit anticlimactic!!!

Cheers~



Quote
buster
A rockfall happened just before 2 in the valley today off of upper Yosemite Falls. It was lower down, approx 1/3 the way up the wall, on climber's left of the waterfall. Didn't appear to hit or impact the trail but threw up a nice dust cloud. Didn't hear any sirens so I assume no injuries, closures, etc. Will try to get a photo of the release pt and of the cloud this weekend.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/30/2011 09:18PM by Eddy.
Re: Rockfall - firsthand!
October 31, 2011 12:11PM
WOW!! Glad to hear that you're o.k. Way to shrug off the terror and continue on. The good news: statistically speaking, you're golden from here on out!
avatar Re: Rockfall - firsthand!
October 31, 2011 12:23PM
Glad to hear that you and your friend survived the rockfall unhurt.
Re: Rockfall - firsthand!
November 01, 2011 09:32AM
Wow, glad you made it down safe!

Here is the best photo I could find, off of a friend's cell phone. You can kind of see the dust cloud. Looks almost like mist from the falls.

Re: Rockfall - firsthand!
November 01, 2011 08:35PM
Saw you at the falls. Wondered about you guys...We went down the water course. Lots of rock shards way down canyon. You are the most blessed two in the park that Friday!
Re: Rockfall off of Yosemite Falls Today
October 31, 2011 03:02PM
Wow, you were lucky. Maybe you should buy a lotto ticket.
Re: Rockfall off of Yosemite Falls Today
October 31, 2011 03:27PM
Surviving something like that is how I've always wanted my luck to kick in, as opposed to a lotto ticket. OTOH if I do win the lotto, I've always felt the fallen tree would land on top of me instead of missing me by a few feet.
Re: Rockfall off of Yosemite Falls Today
October 31, 2011 05:07PM
Quote
Ohnivy-Drak
Surviving something like that is how I've always wanted my luck to kick in, as opposed to a lotto ticket. OTOH if I do win the lotto, I've always felt the fallen tree would land on top of me instead of missing me by a few feet.

I can understand you feeling that way. You and your friend were so very lucky not to have been hurt.
Re: Rockfall off of Yosemite Falls Today
November 01, 2011 11:58PM
Quote
parklover
Quote
Ohnivy-Drak
Surviving something like that is how I've always wanted my luck to kick in, as opposed to a lotto ticket. OTOH if I do win the lotto, I've always felt the fallen tree would land on top of me instead of missing me by a few feet.

I can understand you feeling that way. You and your friend were so very lucky not to have been hurt.

I was just sharing my general, personal philosophy/view. Although I did see a tree fall in the Mirror Lake area a few weeks ago. The tree didn't completely topple due to another tree, but the sound/crack of a tree falling was unmistakable.

Yes, thank goodness the OP and friend were not injured.
Re: Rockfall off of Yosemite Falls Today
October 31, 2011 05:11PM
Thanks, everyone. Indeed my friend and I really felt like we had been handed a new life and spent the rest of the weekend in a sort of afterglow. The whole incident gave me pause for the sort of endeavors which I enjoy. But ultimately it was such a random event, and the mountains' call wins out.

I look forward to visiting "my rock" (we could see it with the naked eye clear across the valley!) next time I visit that spot. : )
avatar Re: Rockfall off of Yosemite Falls Today
November 01, 2011 12:02PM
I cross-posted your report to this thread:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1652936/Impressive-rockfall-video-from-the-Franz-Josef-Glacier

(If you want to see an enormous rockfall, click on it)

Greg Stock, the park geologist, replied:

Here's a photo of the Yosemite Falls rockfall on October 28, taken by a visitor in Sentinel Meadow. The rockfall originated from the left corner of the big roof to the west (left) of and slightly below the top of the falls. The block was mostly in free-fall down the cliff, with the exception of one big impact on the flake left of the falls (which produced the dust cloud in the photo), and then completely shattered on impact at the base of the falls.

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