For climbers, conquering the towering granite giant that is El Capitan in Yosemite National Park is a monumental achievement. Standing at a staggering 7,573 feet, it’s considered one of the most challenging ascents globally, demanding both experience and skill.
But the allure of the mighty rock comes with inherent risks, as demonstrated by the deadly rockslide of 2017 that was captured in chilling video footage.
Andrew Foster, a British climber, tragically lost his life in one of two significant rockslides that fateful week. The initial slide measured 130 feet, and just a day later, another slide, even larger at nearly 400 feet, struck a non-climbing visitor in his car, causing severe injuries.
The climber behind the camera, having summited El Capitan 57 times prior, recorded the terrifying incident from above. The video shows clouds of dust and rock cascading down the cliff face, turning one of the mountain’s popular routes into a perilous zone.
Watch the moment the rockslide fell:
While such incidents remain rare, they do occur, often linked to temperature fluctuations that lead to the expansion and contraction of the rock. Geologists suggest that these variations played a role in the rockslides, highlighting the unpredictable nature of El Capitan and the importance of climbers and visitors exercising caution when exploring this majestic natural wonder.
Yosemite’s El Capitan remains an awe-inspiring challenge for climbers worldwide, but it serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between adventure and nature’s raw power.