Climber killed on El Cap ID’d

Written by Union Democrat staff May 21, 2013 11:30 am

Yosemite National Park officials Monday released a few new details about a Montana man’s fatal fall in a climbing accident on El Capitan over the weekend.

The climber was Mason Robison, 38, of Columbia Falls, just southwest of Glacier National Park. He died about 9:15 a.m. as he and a partner were climbing the 27th of 30 pitches to the top of the 3,000-foot granite monolith at Yosemite Valley’s northwest end.

They were 600 feet from the top. Robison had inserted a piece of climbing gear into a crack between El Capitan’s granite face and a flat rock “flake” attached to the wall, according to park spokeswoman Kari Cobb.

The flake gave way as Robison maneuvered over it. The rock severed Robison’s main climbing rope.

He fell about 230 feet, and was stopped by a rope he’d used to haul gear up. He died from injuries sustained in the fall, however.

Several people witnessed the accident and rockfall associated with it.

Rescue workers Sunday rappelled down El Capitan and retrieved Robison’s body and his apparently uninjured climbing partner Sunday.

Robison’s partner has not been named.

Cobb said Robison has visited the park numerous times and was an experienced climber.

The Daily Interlake newspaper in Kalispell, Mont., reported Robison’s older brother died during a climb in Glacier National Park in 1997 while climbing Rainbow Peak.

Robison’s death is the second accidental death in Yosemite this year. A 73-year-old Minnesota man died early this month when he fell over a ledge while shooting photos at Vernal Fall.