Rockfall alters the face of Half Dome

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View of the Half Dome monolith from Glacier Point at the Yosemite National Park in California on June 4, 2015. At first glance the spectacular beauty of the park with its soaring cliffs and picture-postcard valley floor remains unblemished, still enchanting the millions of tourists who flock the landmark every year. But on closer inspection, the drought's effects are clearly visible. (Getty Images)

YOSEMITE VALLEY, Calif. – Rockfall was reported along the most popular route of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park Tuesday.

A massive sheet of rock had fallen from the northwest vertical face, a well-traveled route in Yosemite National Park, PlanetMountain reported Tuesday.  The classic route was “presently unclimbable.”

None of the people climbing the classic route were reportedly injured. The hikers who discovered that the granite sheet peeled off had to turn back, according to PlanetMountain.

According to reports on supertopo.com and climbing.com, the rockfall has affected pitches 11 and 12 and while it is unclear when precisely it occurred, the sizable slabs are believed to have peeled off at the start of July during some very heavy thunderstorms.

Climbers are warned to steer clear of the area as further rockfall may occur, PlanetMountain reported.

Half Dome is one of the Yosemite’s most iconic features and the hike can be an all-day experience if started from the beginning of the 17-mile trail in Yosemite Valley. Hikers ascend 4,800 feet, including a final steep climb for which steel cables and wooden planks hammered into the rockside support the ascent to the 8,800-foot-high summit.

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