Rock Falls Close Curry Village Lodgings in Yosemite National Park

Two rock falls from the face of Glacier Point -- one described as perhaps the largest ever seen -- have closed the lodgings in Curry Village on the floor of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park. While there were some minor injuries reported, fortunately no one was killed.

The first rock fall occurred around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Roughly 300-500 cubic yards of rock fell about 1,000 feet onto the valley floor. On its way down the rock hit the Old Ledge Trail and split in two directions. In Curry Village, which contains more than 500 tent cabins, one cabin was smashed. The rock fall prompted park officials to evacuate about half of Curry Camp.

Following that rock fall on Tuesday, park officials sent a helicopter into the air with observers to try to judge the stability of Glacier Point's face.

This morning right about 7 a.m. another face of rock broke away from the same general area of Glacier Point and rained down onto the camp. One park employee estimated the second rock fall as six to seven times larger than the first and likely the largest seen in the valley. This rockfall crashed onto some more tent cabins and snapped some pine trees in half.

The second rock fall prompted park officials to completely evacuate Curry Camp. With most of the rest of the valley's lodgings full, the evacuations forced many visitors to find lodgings outside the park.

You can find pictures from the park and more details at this site.

Comments

Thank goodness this did not happen in July or August when Camp Curry is packed!

Mother Nature is devastatingly gorgeous.
Would have been something to see!

Time to move the "camp". (Aren't camps supposed to be temporary?)

We have reservations in Yosemite starting this Sunday. Have they reopened Camp Curry yet?

Stephanie,

They've reopened portions of Camp Curry. You can find some news at this site. I'd suggest you call the concessionaire at (801) 559-4884 to get more information.

I WAS THERE!!!!! i am a student who was there in line for breakfast when the huge rockfall happened i ran for my life it was so scary

I was very fortunate to be in the valley for both falls! They were awesome; both cracking and ripping free of the their rock wall cage, then crashing down to pulverize into a giant dust cloud. I was very close by for the first one and was able to experience first hand the amazing effects of the dust cloud. The second one I heard while in my tent at 6:57 a.m. I nearly stumbled out without clothes I was so excited to rush out and see it! I was not one of the lucky ones that got to see the boulders fall, but I did hear it (everyone in the valley heard both, they were LOUD), and I watched the dust cloud rise and spread. Amazing display of geology is action!!!!

DNC sent this email to me and another family member this week:

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In October 2008, Yosemite Valley rock falls occurred in the vicinity of Curry Village that prompted National Park Service (NPS) and independent geologists to conduct studies in the area. The results of those studies recommended the permanent closure of 234 visitor accommodations, and the NPS has formally closed those units from guest use.

Subsequent to the closure, we have been working with the NPS to replace approximately one-half of the units lost in another area adjacent to Curry Village; that plan is not final. As of today, there simply are not enough units to accommodate all of the guests that made reservations within Curry Village.

At this point, we regret to notify you this loss in overnight accommodations will probably affect your upcoming visit to Yosemite. It is imperative that you contact us and be prepared to discuss the following options:
Downgrade your accommodation to a different Curry Village room type.
Select new dates for your reservation at Curry Village (based on availability).
Select new dates for your reservation at an alternate Yosemite property (based on availability).
Cancel this year's reservation and rebook for summer 2010.
Cancel this year's reservation and fully refund your advance deposit.
Relocate your reservation to an alternate property outside the Park (based on availability).
Please contact us immediately at (801) 559-4963 or by email .

We greatly appreciate your assistance in helping us resolve this unfortunate situation and thank you for your understanding.

At Your Service,
Yosemite Reservations

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When we each called the number, they reservation agent canceled ALL of our respective Curry reservations. We had reserved multiple units, both tent cabins and cabins with a bath for a large family group. No negotiation. No alternative park reservations offered.
Their email says 234 units are being closed, which is 50% of total units in Curry (tents + cabins). So why did they cancel 100% of our reservation? Reservation agent said she is canceling everyone who calls. If a person does not call, the reservation will be canceled anyway and they will learn about it when they try to check in.
Are they protecting the tour groups at the expense of individuals?
Our reservations were for the week of June 14.

For what it's worth, an anonymous employee stating that it was the largest rockfall ever seen in the Valley doesn't mean very much, unless they had extensive rockfall knowledge (like the park geologist, for example). A statement like that has the tendency to imply that it was the largest rockfall to ever happen in the Valley, which this one wasn't (I hope that much is plainly obvious). One of the unique things about YV is that relatively minor rockfalls (and this one WAS minor, as were the ones behind the Ahwahnee in August and September of 2009) have the tendency to get exaggerated due to their proximity to developed areas. Just to illustrate a point, the rockfall from Ahwiyah Point in March 2009 was somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 times the size of the one behind Curry.