A massive sheet of rock has fallen from the vertical face of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, making one of the most popular routes attempted by climbers in North America even more challenging. The granite sheet that peeled off measured roughly 100 by 200 feet. It was discovered by climbers who were attempting the route and had to turn back. "What used to be relatively easy climbing has gotten much more difficult," says park geologist and climber Greg Stock.
Half Dome—an icon of the park that is visible throughout Yosemite Valley—is scaled by hundreds of experienced climbers each year. The rock fell from halfway up the sheer face of Half Dome, which rises more than 1,000 feet. A path for hikers using cable handrails was not changed. There are several routes for climbers to scale Half Dome, but the one impacted when the rock fell ranks as one of the top 50 climbing destinations in North America. (Read more Yosemite National Park stories.)