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The Yosemite Valley (1910) by Galen Clark

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El Capitan.

AT the entrance to the Valley on the north side is El Capitan, a type of enduring massiveness, being an enormous block of solid granite thirty-three hundred feet in height, with a smooth vertical face of over one hundred and sixty acres in superficial area. In one place the top edge overhangs the base nearly one hundred feet. In a slight depression, about one thousand feet above the base, there is growing a lone pine tree which is by actual measurement eighty feet in height.

On another part of the face of El Capitan is plainly to be seen, in certain conditions of light, the figure of a man facing west, and apparently traveling in that direction, clothed in a flowing robe and a low crowned hat. The old Indians of Yosemite called this figure To-tau-kon-nu-la, and held it in supreme reverence as a great chieftain of their remote ancestors.

On the crowning ridge of El Capitan, thirty-six hundred feet above the Valley, there is a juniper tree growing which is, thirty-four feet in circumference, breast high.

Three Brothers.

The Three Brothers, thirty-eight hundred and thirty feet high, are a triple group of rocks which rise in steps, one back of the other, with a smooth, slanting

PAGE. (Drawing by Chris. Jorgensen).—1. Ribbon
Fall. 2. El Capitan. 3. Three Brothers. 4. Yosemite Falls.
5. Lost Arrow. 6. Yosemite Point. 7.
Royal Arches. 8. Washington Column. 9. North Dome.
10. Basket Dome. 11. Mt. Watkins. 12.
Cloud’s Rest. 13. Mirror Lake. 14. Half Dome.
15. Mt. Broderick. 16. Liberty Cap. 17. Little Yosemite
18. Nevada Fall. 19. Panorama Rock. 20.
Vernal Fall. 21. Grizzly Peak. 22. Glacier Point.
23. Union Point. 24. Sentinel Dome. 25. Sentinel Rock.
26. Cathedral Spires. 27. Cathedral Rocks.
28. Bridal Veil Fall. 29. Leaning Tower.
Bird's-eye View of Yosemite Valley
For key see opposite page
western surface. The extreme top of the highest one cannot be seen from the point where photographs are usually taken, but farther up the Valley it is plainly seen, and known as Eagle Peak, thirty-nine hundred feet high.

Three Graces. Cathedral Rocks.

On the other side of the Valley, opposite El Capitan, is another great group of rocks which, as seen from the west, is called the Three Graces. In general appearance these rocks resemble the Three Brothers. Farther up the Valley this same group presents a different appearance, and is known as the Cathedral Rocks.

Cathedral Spires.

Closely adjoining the Three Graces, but set a little farther back, are the two unique and graceful pinnacles called the Cathedral Spires. One of these is said to be twenty-five hundred and seventy-four four feet high, the other twenty-six hundred and seventy-eight feet.

These spires are isolated columns of rock standing out from, but connected at the base with, the main walls of the Valley. Two such symmetrical columns, so near alike and so near together, like two towers of a Gothic cathedral, form a very rare and interesting feature in mountain scenery.

Sentinel Rock.

Further up the Valley, on the same side, is an elevated point known as Sentinel Rock. Its height is thirty-one hundred feet. The walls of the Valley on each side of it slope back, leaving it standing squarely out with a perpendicular face of nearly two thousand feet, below which it descends at a steep angle. to the floor of the Valley.

Glacier Point.

Near the upper end of the Valley is,
Sentinel Rock, by George Fiske
SENTINEL ROCK 3,100 feet
[Photo by George Fiske]
the locality known as Glacier Point, thirty-two hundred and fifty feet high. From this elevated standpoint we get a fine view of all the upper part of the Valley and surrounding walls, also Vernal and Nevada Falls, and a grand and extensive panorama of the Sierra Nevada range.

Eagle Peak.

This peak, the tallest one of the Three Brothers, is thirty-nine hundred feet above the Valley floor. From this point we get the finest and most extensive view of the Valley, and also a part of the High Sierras in the distance.

Yosemite Point.

Yosemite Point, just east of Yosemite Falls, is thirty-two hundred and twenty feet above the Valley. Here also can be obtained a magnificent view of the Valley far below.

North Dome. Royal Arches. Washington Column.

The North Dome, thirty-seven hundred and twenty-five feet high, is a great rounded mass of granite made up of huge concentric plates of rock overlapping each other.

Lower down on the face of the wall, where the edges have been broken off and carried away, these concentric plates form the great Royal Arches. These Arches show very plainly the concentric structure of the dome, the top of which is only accessible from the rear side.

Adjoining the Royal Arches is a fine shaft of granite known as the Washington Column.

The Half Dome.

The Half Dome, on the opposite side, facing Teneiya Canyon, is five thousand feet in height above the Valley, and is the loftiest mass of rock of those considered as a part of the Yosemite.

Royal Arches, North Dome and Washinton Column, by George Fiske
[Photo by George Fiske]

On the side fronting Teneiya Canyon it is absolutely vertical for nearly two thousand feet from the summit and then falls off in a steep incline to the bottom of the canyon.

On the opposite side the Half Dome has a rounded form at the top, and grows more and more steep to the bottom.

The whole appearance of this great mass of rock is that of an originally dome-shaped elevation with a very steep curve, of which a great part of the western half has been split off. This evidently took place while Teneiya Canyon was still occupied by the remains of the great glacier which at an earlier period filled it. This debris, falling upon the glacier, was carried a little further down and dropped when the glacier melted.

In the fall of the year 1876, George Anderson, then a resident of Yosemite, worked his way up to the top of the Half Dome with drills, iron eyebolts and ropes, and was the first man to stand upon its lofty summit.

There is an area of many acres which can be safely traveled over on the top, and in many places, where soil has accumulated from the disintegrated granite, there are flowering plants and some small trees.

From the top of the vertical side fronting Teneiya Canyon there is a great open crack extending back into the Dome nearly one hundred feet. In dropping a small pebble into this crack it can be heard rattling down a long distance. This great fracture in the rock was undoubtedly made at the time the western part of the dome was split off. This great cataclysm I think must have been caused by some tremendous subterranean force upheaving this part of the earth’s surface.

The Half Dome, by George Fiske
5,000 feet
[Photo by George Fiske]

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