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April 8, 2014

Large rock fall reported in Yosemite

A rockfall in the Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite National Park closed a trail east of Wapama Falls, according to the National Park Service.

A rockfall in the Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite National Park closed a trail east of Wapama Falls, according to the National Park Service.

The rockfall happened about 1:30 p.m. March 31 at the cliff just east of Wapama Falls above the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. No visitors were injured. The trail was closed just east of the Wapama Creek footbridges for safety and because boulders prevented access beyond Wapama Falls, park officials said.

Roughly 16,000 tons of rock fell from about 500 feet above the base of the cliff. Rock debris hit the slope below the cliff, breaking into numerous boulders, crushing trees and creating a small dust cloud. Fresh boulders covered the slope, and many tumbled into the reservoir. Roughly 400 feet of the Rancheria Falls Trail was destroyed in the main area of impact, according to park service.

Hikers can still access Wapama Falls starting from the O’Shaughnessy Dam. The trail to Rancheria Falls just after Wapama Falls will be closed until further notice. The park is working to reopen the trail.

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