When you stop to walk to the base of the Bridaveil falls, take a look to El Capitan. It is very famous for climbers (It was one of the reasons we wanted to go there, as Stacy wanted to see it in real!)
El Capitan is, together with Half Dome, one of the most important monoliths in the park, maybe even in the world.
You can find El Capitan halfway Yosemite Valley. But it is so big, you can't miss it.
We were wandering through the park trying to return to Yosemite Village when we came upon the stunning site which you can see in the picture. I realized that we were looking at "El Capitan" and I have to say that there is no better name for it. The granite wall measures around 1350m (4000ft) from base to summit and is impressively vertical with a surface that looks like it was polished. I saw two rock-climbers making their way to the top (and really admired them).
El Capitan stands 3,593 feet from base to summit, making it the largest single monolith of granite in the world. Standing as guardian for Yosemite Valley, it overshadows most of the many other sites within Yosemite National Park. This location within the park is noted as a rock climbers dream come true. Climbers can be seen with the aid of binoculars, weaving their way up to the top. Experienced only, would be the guideline for this ascent.
From almost anywhere in the valley you will be able to see the shear granite rock face of El Capitan. From the base of the valley it protrudes 3,593 feet (1,095 m) and is claimed to be the single largest monolith of granite in the world. It is a climbers paradise for those of you who have the propper equipment.
El Capitan (El Cap to close friends) ascends three thousand feet straight up from Yosemite Valley. It is the second highest unbroken cliff in the world (the highest is Mt. Thor on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic and it is highly unlikely that any of us will find ourselves face to face with Mt. Thor). If you were standing atop El Capitan and had the misfortune to fall off, you would have fifteen seconds to think about your misfortune before reaching impact.
Taft Point probably provides the best vantage point to view El Capitan from above. I had seen several photos of this massive block of granite before visiting Yosemite and I mostly yawned. But I must say that El Capitan is most impressive when viewed in person. It is especially impressive when viwed from the valley floor, but we will get to that later.
Check out the photo and see how small and insignificant the Merced River looks next to mighty El Capitan.
At the base of the valley, at one of the turn-outs, tourists stand observing the wonderful granite rock known as El Capitan. Those who come equiped with binoculars however can also find and observe the climbers. During one day, I observed four different pairs of climbers on different routes up the rock face. I've done this several times, and believe me it's not easy. The view finder on your zoom camera won't be good enough. One needs a good pair of binoculars just to spot the beetle sized figures on the face of the rock. I have 42x binoculars that are better than the average pair tourists bring, and I have to be very steady and patient. But, I also look along the veins and crevices looking for the places where mountaineers are typically spotted. After I spot climbers with my binoculars, I take my 12x zoom and point and shoot. I also shoot using my 36x digital zoom as any picture is better than none. These images have been cropped and enhanced for the best that I can do with my point and shoot super zoom digital camera. The first image shows the general view, and the second or third shows a crop of the figures that's likely a little grainy.
This is the most famous piece of rock in the Yosemite National Park. Well visible from the road entering the park from the west, it is an incredible structure raising from the bottom of the Yosemite valley.
It is about 1000 metres tall, and appears as a single granite monolith.
Really a stunning view.
While returning from the river, or what that was, I saw some people discussing and watching the mountain with a binocular.
I used my zoom to find what they were looking at, and finally saw some free climbers attached (I hope for them) at El Capitan's wall.
I finally had an idea on how big that mountain was, the freeclimbers appeared as flies on a wall.
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