A British climber died in Yosemite National Park after parts of the El Capitan granite monolith collapsed on a hiking trail.

The man and his wife were apparently standing at the base of the cliff on Wednesday (27 September) when the rockfall happened, a spokesman for the national park said. The man's wife was badly injured in the incident, The Independent reported.

"The victims, a couple visiting from Great Britain, were in the park to rock climb but were not climbing at the time of initial rockfall," Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said.

The couple was found by search and rescue after 1,300 tonnes of rock fell on the popular trail. The rockfall that killed the British climber was one of seven that occurred in a four-hour span, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"The male was found deceased and the female was flown out of the park with serious injuries," Gediman added.

The spokesman said two others were initially thought to be missing, but were later accounted for by search and rescue. Officials said about 30 climbers were on El Capitan just before 2pm, when the slab of rock crashed down.

The British couple has not been identified by the California park, according to The Independent. The US National Park Service said it was working with the British Consulate to notify the couple's family members.