Series of incidents in Yosemite keep park officials busy

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (KFSN) -- Geologists are now investigating a series of rockfalls this week from El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. On Friday, emergency workers rushed to rescue a rock climber who fell just two days after another climber died when the heavy granite fell to the Valley floor.

Park officials say Thursday's rockfall was at least 20 times larger than Wednesdays making it one of the biggest the park has seen in years.

Visitors say between the series of rockslides and a rock climber being rescued on Friday, it's just been one incident after another this week.

Helicopters and rescue crews were able to rescue a rock climber that fell several feet from Higher Cathedral Spire. The accident comes two days after another rock climber, Andrew Foster, was killed while visiting from Wales after a rockfall at El Capitan. A day after that, more massive boulders came tumbling down injuring another visitor.

"This section just popped right out. And then it just slid down and everybody was just like, 'Oh my God! What are we seeing?'" said Paige Patino, Park Visitor.

Some climbers described the giant sheet of rock as large as a building.

Visitor Paige Patino says she was on the Valley floor when she heard when she heard the massive granite slab break off the famed structure.

"We heard this, like, thunder. It was so loud and we kind of looked at each other like, whoa!" said Patino.

She said one of the boulders smashed through an SUV's sunroof.

Cars are being rerouted while geologists look into what caused the series of rockfalls.

"The area remains open. We've posted 'evaluated rock fall activity' signs just to let people know," said Scott Gediman with Yosemite National Park.

Gediman says rockfalls are a part of the park and happen almost daily. However, they rarely ever impact visitors.

Patino also says it's not enough to keep her from coming back.

"What's going to happen is going to happen, you just have to be careful and do what you can."

Yosemite remains open, but cars are at a standstill as visitors continue to drive into the park.

Park officials do say the visitor injured during Thursday's rock fall was flown out and receiving medical treatment. The rock climber from Friday was only sustained moderate injuries and is expected to be okay.
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