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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Two climbers killed after they fell from El Capitan in Yosemite

This  2015 file photo shows El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, Calif. Officials say two people have been killed after they fell while climbing El Capitan. (Ben Margot / Associated Press)
By Cindy Chang Los Angeles Times

Two rock climbers were killed Saturday morning when they fell from El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, officials said.

The two fell about 8:15 a.m. while climbing the Freeblast route on the sheer granite rock, according to a statement from the National Park Service.

Park rangers and rescue workers were immediately dispatched to the scene.

The two climbers were not identified, and no other details were immediately available.

Freeblast is a climbing route on the first stretch of near-vertical rock above the treeline on El Capitan, which rises 3,000 feet above the Yosemite Valley.

Yosemite’s majestic rock faces have proven both alluring and deadly for climbers.

On May 21, a man died on Half Dome after he slipped and fell during a thunderstorm in the last 400 feet of the climb, where hikers grasp cables to scale the summit.

Since the cables were installed nearly a century ago, eight people have died on that stretch, which is often congested with hikers in the warm months, according to The San Jose Mercury News.

In September 2017, a climber was killed on El Capitan and another injured when a rock crashed down on a popular climbing route along the East Buttress of the monolith.

Some of the best rock climbers in the world have risked their lives at Yosemite to achieve record-breaking feats. On May 30, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell broke the speed record for an ascent of El Capitan’s Nose route, scaling the rock’s forbidding prow in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 15 seconds.

Hans Florine, Honnold’s partner in a previous record-setting climb in 2012, watched from a wheelchair after being injured in a May 4 fall from the Nose.

In June 2017, Honnold became the first person to climb El Capitan without ropes.