Cover image for El Capitan : historic feats and radical routes
El Capitan : historic feats and radical routes
Duane, Daniel, 1967-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Chronicle Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
141 pages : illustrations, 1 color map ; 26 cm
General Note:
Map on lining paper.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV199.42.C22 E423 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



An unforgettable faceall 3,000 granite feet of it. El Capitan towers above California's Yosemite Valley, a sheer rock wall, seemingly insurmountable, and by far the most coveted rock climb on earth. El Capitan traces the mountain's unique history and recounts the vertical adventures had therefrom Warren Harding's 45-day siege in 1958 up through the recent speed climbs of under 5 hours. Critically acclaimed author Daniel Duane articulates how this massive wall can totally consume a person. Duane profiles the legends who have devoted themselves to El Capitan, including Royal Robbins, Warren Harding, and John Middendorf. Accompanied by 36 moody duotones, El Capitan captures the essence of big wall climbing.

Author Notes

Daniel Duane is a surfer, naturalist, and critically acclaimed author of Caught Inside: A Surfer's Year on the California Coast. He has written for Esquire, the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Men's Journal, Outside Magazine, and the Village Voice, among others. He lives in San Francisco.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

From a San Francisco climber and journalist comes this interesting history of one of the world's most challenging rocks: El Capitan, nestled in California's Yosemite Valley, a sheer granite wall 3,000 feet high that has captured the imaginations of mountaineers since its discovery in 1851. One man climbed El Cap 52 times in 12 years. In 1958, Warren Harding spent 45 days on the rock; nowadays really hardy mountaineers can get from bottom to top in about five hours. Duane, who has spent some time on El Cap himself (in 1991, he made three unsuccessful attempts to get to the top), tells the rock's story by introducing us to the men who dedicated their lives to conquering it. This is a dramatic book, full of derring-do, near misses, and thrills and chills, ideal for readers of real-life adventures (like The Perfect Storm or Into Thin Air) and armchair mountaineers. --David Pitt

Library Journal Review

Like a younger, funnier Peter Matthiessen, Duane brought an easily worn literary and environmental seriousness to his beautiful 1996 book on surfing, Caught Inside: A Surfer!s Year on the California Coast and followed with a surprisingly entertaining novel about rock climbers, Looking for Mo. In his new book, Duane is again a knowledgeable but scrupulously unheroic participant narrator, conveying the wonder and self-torture of his subject without lapsing into glorifying clichE. El Capitan basically draws on the research that went into Duane!s climbing novel, re-creating the stirring ascents of the great 3000' granite chunk in Yosemite Valley known as El Cap, which is pictured throughout in dizzying photos. No one conquered the Cap until the late 1950s, but Duane shows the evolution since of the rock!s fabled routes"the Salathe, Pacific Ocean Wall, the Nose"and the change in emphasis from who will be first to whose ascent will be fastest or purest. Duane skillfully contrasts the spiritual fathers of modern rock climbing, from Warren Harding (whose 1958 effort wasn!t the prettiest or shortest on record but was first) to the more aesthetic-minded climbers Royal Robbins and Yvon Chuinard, up until the recent free climb attempts of Scott Burk. Recommended for sports and outdoor collections."Nathan Ward, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.