Climbing the Monolith
El Capitan was first scaled in 1958.
Since then, climbers have explored
nearly a hundred climbing routes.
If you look closely, you may see
climbers, like tiny specks, inching
up the granite wall.
El Capitan is famous for its massive bulk
of largely unbroken rock and its sheer,
vertical face soaring 3,000 feet into the air.
This monolith is composed of a particularly
durable granite, allowing it to withstand
the pressures of glaciers and erosion.
The Ahwahneechee name for the rock we now call El Capitan
is Tutokanula. Ahwahneechee legend tells how El Capitan was
created in the time of the animal people. As two bear cubs
slept on a large flat rock near the river, the rock grew until
the bears scratched their faces against the moon. The mother
bear called on all the animals to rescue her babies, but none
succeeded until the lowly inchworm (tutokanula) crawled
slowly to the top and led the cubs safely down.