El Capitan

Featured photo of El Capitan

El Capitan, used as a signal peak for hundereds of years by travellers in the area, is a stunning peak rising quite abruptly out of the Chihuahuan Desert floor in West Texas. Its sheer face greets visitors approaching the Headquarters Visitor Center at Guadalupe Mountains National Park from both the south and the northeast.

El Capitan is the southern terminus of the Guadalupe escarpment, an ancient limestone reef that forms the present-day Guadalupe Mountains. El Capitan is guarded by cliffs on three sides, and those faces are rarely climbed due to the unstable condition of the rock and the sheer nature of the peak. Hikers can scramble up to the summit by first climbing to near the summit of Guadalupe Peak and scrambling down to the south to the Guadalupe Peak-El Capitan saddle, then up the backside of El Cap. There is no trail.

This El Capitan is not to be confused with its El Capitan cousin in Yosemite - El Capitan of Guadalupe Mountains National Park is comparable in stature and sheerness, but its desert environment and limestone make-up makes it a unique, challenging, and rewarding summit. On top, you command an impressive view of the desert.

Elevation (feet): 8,085
Elevation (meters): 2,464
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: Southwest Basins and Ranges
State: Texas
Latitude: 31.8333
Longitude: -104.667
Difficulty: Walk up
Best months for climbing: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
First successful climber(s): probably Mescalero Apache
Nearest major airport: El Paso, Texas
Convenient Center: White's City, New Mexico

Thanks to Scott Kelley for adding this peak.

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 2 trip reports for El Capitan.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #18029 - by leticia on May 16, 2004
    I went there to visit my family's home that sits under the Capitan. My family walked the hike to his tree and saw the remains of the dugout"the Segura" also we took pictures and sat around...
  • Log #18030 - by Scott Kelley on Jan 27, 2003
    The scramble up El Capitan from Guadalupe Peak is a beautiful and rewarding endeavor - unfortuneately, I didn't have a whole lot of daylight and had to go faster than I would've liked to. The brush...