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Falling Rock, Severed Rope, Stranded, California, Yosemite Valley


California, Yosemite Valley

On October 13, 1988, about 1100, Kail Giger (44) and Alex Clapasson were on the sixth or seventh pitch (below Dolt Hole) on The Nose route of El Capitan when a rock fall occurred. Clapasson was the lead climber and Giger was belaying. Clapasson was about one rope length above Giger when he put in a Friend for protection. After putting in the protection, he climbed up about two meters. When he looked down and saw that the block where he put the protection was falling out, he yelled below to Giger to watch out for the falling rock. Giger was struck on the right arm and shoulder and left side of the head by the falling rock. Giger received a broken right humerus and a cut on the left side of the head. The falling rocks broke both of their climbing ropes in several places. They collected the pieces which were about three meters in length and tied them together. They then began to rappel down with Clapasson assisting Giger, whose right arm was useless. They were assisted by another climbing group, and rappelled and were lowered off the route. (Source: Grady Bryant, Ranger, Yosemite National Park)

(Editor’s Note: This was the second major rockfall incident on El Cap this year.)