A fatal accident occurred on the Muir Wall, El Capitan in Yosemite, California, on May 19.
Yosemite park officials have now confirmed that Mason Robison of Columbia Falls, Montana, died in a fall while trying to climb El Cap. He was 38 years old.
Yosemite Search and Rescue immediately responded to the accident and rappelled from the top of El Cap to extract the deceased climber. The surviving member of the team was also evacuated from El Capitan by YOSAR. An investigation of the accident is underway.
Robison was reportedly climbing on pitch 27 when he pulled off a block that cut his lead line, causing him to fall around 230 feet onto his haul line. Big-wall climbers routinely clip the haul line to a structural loop on their harnesses as a precaution against just such event. The dislodged-block reportedly caused more rock-fall, which continued down the wall and narrowly missed climbers who were on the start of the Nose.
The Muir Wall was first climbed by Yvon Chouinard and TM Herbert in 1965. In 1994, Scott Cosgrove and Kurt Smith freed 99 percent of the line just left of the Nose. The first free ascent went to Tommy Caldwell and Nick Sagar in 2001.
Rock and Ice will report on more details as they become available.