(TheConservativeTimes.org) – Yosemite National Park’s popular rock climbing areas were closed down late last month due to a crack that developed in the granite cliff, CBS News reported.
According to Yosemite’s website, climbers reported a crack on the western face of the Royal Arches formation near the Super Slide rock climbing route.
The Park announced that a subsequent investigation found that a “large pillar of rock” from the crack was partially detached and the cracking is “actively occurring.”
As a precaution against the risks to climbers from a rockfall, several climbing routes were closed on August 30, according to the website. Included in the closure were the Super Slide and Serenity Crack/Sons of Yesterday routes.
The park also closed a short section of the Yosemite Valley Loop Trail and established a detour.
Yosemite Supervisory Park Ranger Jesse McGahey said that the new crack was discovered by a Yosemite Mountain School guide on August 20, Outside Online reported.
The guide had scaled the cliff on August 6 and no crack was visible. But during a subsequent climb on August 20, the guide discovered a 200-foot-long crack measuring about one inch wide.
As of Monday, September 18, the crack had lengthened by about 12 feet. According to Jesse McGahey, the crack has also widened in many places.
The National Parks Service said rockfalls in Yosemite are a common annual occurrence due to the natural process that has given the park many of its unique features.
According to the Yosemite National Park’s records, there have been over one thousand significant rockfalls over the last 150 years.
In addition to the natural process, rockfalls can be caused by such factors as changes in moisture levels and temperatures, as well as shifts in vegetation.
While injuries and deaths due to rockfalls are rare in Yosemite, they have occurred.
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