El Capitan is a peak in Culberson County, Texas, United States, within Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Rising abruptly from the floor of the Chihuahuan Desert it is the eighth highest peak in Texas. Unlike the adjacent Guadalupe Peak, El Capitan can be seen from U.S. 62/180, where its imposing and stark outline have made it one of the iconic images of the Trans-Pecos.
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 Capitan.
Used as a signal peak for hundreds of years by travelers in the area, its sheer face is visible when approaching the Headquarters Visitor Center at Guadalupe Mountains National Park from both the south and the northeast.
By elevation El Capitan is
# 9 out of 2470 in Texas # 7 out of 53 in Culberson County # 7 out of 13 in Guadalupe Mountains National Park # 7 out of 37 in the Guadalupe Mountains
By prominence El Capitan is
# 21 out of 53 in Culberson County # 9 out of 13 in Guadalupe Mountains National Park # 12 out of 37 in the Guadalupe Mountains
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