11 Facts About El Capitan


El Capitan is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, on the north side of Yosemite Valley, near its western end.

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El Capitan was taken to be a loose Spanish translation of the local Native American name for the cliff, variously transcribed as "To-to-kon oo-lah" or "To-tock-ah-noo-lah" (Miwok language).

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Top of El Capitan can be reached by hiking out of Yosemite Valley on the trail next to Yosemite Falls, then proceeding west.

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El Capitan is composed almost entirely of a pale, coarse-grained granite approximately 100 MYA.

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The El Capitan Granite is relatively free of joints, and as a result the glacial ice did not erode the rock face as much as other, more jointed, rocks nearby.

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Nonetheless, as with most of the rock forming Yosemite's features, El Capitan's granite is under enormous internal tension brought on by the compression experienced prior to the erosion that brought it to the surface.

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Hazel Findlay has made three free ascents of El Capitan, including the first female ascent of Golden Gate in 2011, the first female ascent of Pre-Muir Wall in 2012, and a three-day ascent of Freerider in 2013 and 'Salathe' in 2017.

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The oldest woman to scale El Capitan is Dierdre Wolownick, mother to Alex Honnold, who was 66 at the time of her climb.

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El Capitan ascended the Freerider line in 3 hours and 56 minutes, beginning at 5:32 am and reaching the peak at 9:28 am.

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El Capitan has a controversial history regarding BASE jumping, and the National Park Service has enacted criminal regulations which prohibit the practice.

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El Capitan is featured on a United States quarter dollar coin minted in 2010 as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters series.

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