Yosemite climber killed by falling rock

A 28-year-old British man died in a rock climbing accident in California’s Yosemite National Park, officials said on Monday, the second fatality in two days in the world-famous natural wonder.

Londoner Felix Joseph Kiernan and a climbing partner were scaling El Capitan, a huge granite monolith which dominates Yosemite Valley in the heart of the spectacular park, when he was struck by falling rock on Sunday.

The pair “were approximately 600 feet up the climbing route when a loose block was dislodged”, the park said in a statement.

“The block fell approximately 150 feet before striking Kiernan and causing fatal injuries,” it said. The accident happened at around 2pm. Park rangers reached him about two hours later and pronounced him dead.

A helicopter hoisted his body back down to the valley floor, while rangers rappelled back down the rock face with his climbing partner and a second climbing party, which had sounded the alarm.

On Saturday, 19-year-old Aleh Kalman from nearby Sacramento was reportedly swept over the Nevada Fall, a waterfall on the park’s popular Mist Trail hiking route.

Witnesses reported seeing him swimming above Nevada Fall, about 60m from the precipice, trying to swim from a rock in the middle of the river “when he was swept away by the current”. His body has not yet been recovered.

Yosemite, a spectacular park which draws millions of visitors from the US and around the world every year, has between 12 and 15 deaths annually, according to the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

Last year, park authorities issued a warning to over 200 000 people who had visited the park after three people died from the rodent-borne hantavirus disease.

Source:  iol.co.za

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One Response to Yosemite climber killed by falling rock

  1. DeanVdm Jun 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    Hectic and scary stuff from the Supertopo thread:

    Chappy: … I had jumared about half way up the first pitch…then I heard the explosion. I looked up and saw the impact in the gray bands. A large dust cloud. Holy Shit! I knew this was bad–potentially really bad. We were in the impact zone and helpless. I started yelling–everyone started yelling Rock! Rock! There was that moment in time staring up and waiting for the impact. We were helpless–fish in a barrel. As the rock started raining down I was looking up hoping to dodge the worst of it. I briefly thought of how I was the one without a helmet. I realized there was too much coming down and I had to seek shelter. There was none. I covered my head as best I could with my arms and hugged the rock waiting for the impact that would split my head open. Miraculously this never happened. The worst passed just to the east of us. Max (one of the Germans)was worried my jumar rope would be cut. When it cleared we called around–Was anyone hurt!? No. Thank God. I decided immediately to rap and informed Jim and George. I had no idea what caused the rock fall and didn’t know if more was on the way. I didn’t want to find out. Max and his girl friend joined me and we were soon at the base of Pine Line. I thought I heard yelling from above as I was rapping. Sure enough. Jim and George had heard it too. People were calling for help. As I was on the ground I raced for the road to raise the alarm …

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