Salathé Wall

The Salathé Wall is one of the original technical climbing routes up El Capitan, a 3,000-foot (900 m) high granite monolith in Yosemite National Park. The Salathé Wall was named by Yvon Chouinard in honor of John Salathé, a pioneer of rock climbing in Yosemite. The route is recognized in the historic climbing text Fifty Classic Climbs of North America and considered a classic around the world.[1][2]

Salathé Wall
Southwest face of El Capitan from Yosemite Valley
LocationCalifornia, USA
Coordinates37°44′02.4″N 119°38′13.2″W
Climbing AreaYosemite Valley
Route TypeAid climbing, Free climbing
Vertical Gain2,900 ft (884 m)
Rating5.13b or 5.9 C2
First ascentRoyal Robbins, Tom Frost, and Chuck Pratt, 1961
First free ascentPaul Piana and Todd Skinner, 1988

The first ten pitches of the route are commonly known as "Free Blast" since they can be quickly climbed free at a 5.11 rating or less.

The first free ascent of a main El Capitan route was by the Salathé Wall. Todd Skinner and Paul Piana made the first free ascent over nine days in 1988, after thirty days of working the route (graded 5.13b by the Yosemite Decimal System).[3] Its first female ascent was by Steph Davis in 2005.[4]


  1. Roper, Steve; Steck, Allen (1979). Fifty Classic Climbs of North America. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. pp. 269–275. ISBN 0-87156-292-8.
  2. McNamara, Chris, and Sloan, Erik. Yosemite Big Walls. Mill Valley, CA: SuperTopo, 2005. ISBN 0-9672391-9-2
  3. Samet, Matt; Steve Bechtel (November 2006). "Loss of a Legend". Climbing Magazine. Primedia. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
  4. Noble, Chris (2013), Women Who Dare: North America's Most Inspiring Women Climbers, Falcon Guides, Globe Pequot, p. 27, ISBN 9780762783717.

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