Rockslides force evacuations in Yosemite

August 26, 2009 4:30:38 PM PDT
Geologists are monitoring the cliffs behind Yosemite's Ahwahnee Hotel after tumbling boulders from the Royal Arches formation forced the evacuation of all 300 guests beginning at about noon Wednesday.

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Park spokesman Scott Gediman said a series of falling rocks, some as large as microwave ovens, tumbled at least 100 feet from the base of the cliff and into the valet parking lot, where several cars were damaged. No injuries were reported.

Dust from the avalanche obscured views of Half Dome.

Guests of the historic 125-room hotel were directed to the south lawn behind the hotel while geologists checked the stability and assessed the likelihood that more rocks would fall.

In October park officials permanently closed one-third of Curry Village because of rockfall danger.

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