Yosemite Suffers 2 Deaths in 2 Days
Felix Joseph Kiernan struck by falling rock
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2013 6:43 AM CDT
In this 2006 image released by the National Geographic Channel, the granite monolith El Capitan, is shown in Yosemite National Park in California.   (AP Photo/National Geographic Channel, Rebecca Harrison)

(Newser) – Just one day after a teen was swept over a Yosemite waterfall, likely to his death, another person died in the national park. Felix Joseph Kiernan was climbing El Capitan on Sunday when his climbing partner dislodged a rock, officials say. The sizable rock (it measured 1 foot across and 2 feet wide and tall) fell 150 feet and struck Kiernan, 28, around 2pm. Other climbers called for help, but by the time rescue crews reached Kiernan around 4pm, he was dead, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The climbers were both from London; they were about 600 feet up El Capitan's East Buttress route when the accident occurred. There have been four accidental deaths at Yosemite so far this year; a typical year sees 12 to 15 deaths, the Fresno Bee reports. Less than two weeks before Kiernan's death, another El Capitan climber was killed. Mason Robison, 38, fell 230 feet when a rock came loose and severed his line. But a park rep tells the Los Angeles Times that deaths and injuries from falling rocks are actually quite rare; gear-related issues are typically to blame, she says.

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
tran_tor
Jun 4, 2013 12:29 PM CDT
The number of deaths at Yosemite annually are fairly high. This year doesn't look too different from 2011. By Sept. 6, 2011 there were 18 deaths. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/us/06yosemite.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
JoeQ
Jun 4, 2013 12:01 PM CDT
I believe there was once a case of an entire slab of rock falling off a face, climber and all. It is something those guys think about as they hammer in those pitons and such. I'm scared to death of heights so you'll never catch me doing it.
Freida
Jun 4, 2013 10:47 AM CDT
It is hard to learn your limitations when it's too late.