A 38-year old big wall climber from Montana died Monday on El Capitan at Yosemite. Mason Robinson was leading a 2-person climb up the Muir route, just 600 feet from the top when he set a cam on a large granite flake. The flake ruptured and sliced through his main rope and sent him 200 ft down. His haul line stopped him suddenly which killed him. YOSAR sent the helicopter and lowered 2 rescuers who found him dead. His partner did not suffer from the incident.
El Capitan stands at about 3,000 feet above the Yosemite Valley and it is composed almost entirely of “El Capitan Granite,” a pale, coarse-grained granite almost 100 million years old. In addition to El Capitan, this granite forms most of the rock features of the western portions of Yosemite Valley. Because of granite’s strong texture, it is the favored rock that big wall climbers seek. Flakes of granite often stand out from the main rock and are handled gingerly by climbers. It’s rare for a flake to come off, but it does happen. Robinson’s partner was secured in classic belay fashion and was not hurt. he did witness one of the most gruesome deaths.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere.” – John Muir
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com