Free Traveling Guides » States » California » High Sierras
Situated at an elevation of 7,569 ft (2,307 m) above sea level, El Capitan is a vertical granite rock formation located on the northern side of Yosemite Valley. Claimed as the largest exposed block of granite on the surface of Earth, El Capitan is the most favored rock climbing challenge around the world.
According to historians, El Capitan is a result of Sherwin Glaciations that occurred in the Sierra Nevada Range around 1.3 million years ago. This monumental rock formation is basically comprised of three types of granite, including El Capitan granite, diroite, and Taft granite on the uppermost portion of the cliff.
There are around 70 routes in which one can climb El Capitan. One of the most famous climbing routes is The Nose, which is a distinct projection between the southeast and southwest faces. Warren J. Harding, Wayne Merry and George Whitmore climbed the rock through The Nose route in 1958 using siege tactics. Since then several climbers have successfully conquered the majestic giant. Some of the other prominent routes on El Capitan include the Salathe Wall on the southwest face, North America wall on the southeast face, Dihedral Wall, West Buttress, Muir Wall, Zodiac, and the Pacific Ocean Wall. Each route has its own individual thrills and spills.
Spring is a perfect time to climb the rock. During summer, El Capitan gets extremely hot, making it impossible to climb. One of the biggest dangers that climbers can face during the months of winter is the extremely low temperatures.
El Capitan was once a popular destination for base jumping. However, the National Park Service has banned this sport due to several fatal accidents.