El Capitan



El Capitan is a 3,000 foot vertical rock formation in Yosemite Valley and Yosemite National Park. It is one of the most popular monoliths with rock climbers in the world.

The name "El Capitan" was a translation from the Native American name "To-to-kon oo-lah", which was named after "To-to-kon", a Paiute chief of the natives of the area.

The top of El Capitan can be reached by hiking out of Yosemite Valley on the trail next to Yosemite Falls, then proceeding west. For climbers, the challenge is to climb up the sheer granite face; there are dozens of named climbing routes, all of them long and difficult.

The most prominent part of El Capitan, the "Nose", was first climbed in 1958 by Warren J Harding, Wayne Merry and George Whitmore after 47 days of actual climbing spread over seventeen months. The team used rope, pitons and expansion bolts to make it to the top, using aid climbing much of the way. The route was repeated in 1960 by Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, Chuck Pratt and Tom Frost, who took seven days. The first ascent of the Nose in one day was accomplished in 1975 by John Long, Jim Bridwell and Billy Westbay.

Efforts during the 1960s explored the other faces of "El Cap", including the North America Wall on the southeast side. As it became clear that any face could be conquered with sufficient perseverance and bolt hole drilling, some climbers began to eschew the use of bolts and attempted to find El Cap routes that could be climbed either free or with a minimal use of aid. Even so, the West Face was not free climbed until 1979 (Ray Jardine and Bill Price), the Nose was first free climbed by Lynn Hill in 1993. It did not see a repeat until 1998, when Scott Burke free climbed it after 261 days of effort.

El Capitan has had a controversial history regarding BASE jumping, and the park service has effectively banned the practice. Michael Pelkey made the first BASE jump from El Cap on July 24, 1966, along with friend Brian Schubert. Both men sustained broken bones from the jump. During the 1970's and with better equipment and training, many BASE jumpers made successful and safe jumps from El Cap. In 1980 the National Park Service experimented with issuing BASE jumping permits. These legal jumps resulted in no major injuries or fatalities. However, some jumpers exhibited significant disregard for the park's rules and the environment. After only a few month's trial, the National Park Service ceased issuing permits and effectively shut down all BASE jumping on El Cap. On October 23, 1999, BASE jumper and stunt woman Jan Davis died while making an illegal protest jump in support of lifting the park's ban. BASE jumpers continue to fight the National Park Service in court for equal access as a matter of fairness. One such group dedicated to fair access and responsible use for parachutists who like to jump in the backcountry is The Alliance of Backcountry Parachutists.

The mountain is the subject of the song 'El Capitan' by the Scottish indie band Idlewild

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier opens with a shot of Captain Kirk scaling El Capitan.

El Capitan is also a circuit in the Playstation 2 games Gran Turismo 4 and Tourist Trophy.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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