Half a century ago a rag-tag group of innovators was building a foundation for modern American rock climbing from a makeshift home base in Yosemite. Photographer Glen Denny was a key figure in this golden age of climbing, capturing pioneering feats on camera while tackling challenging ascents himself.

In entertaining short pieces enlivened by his iconic black-and-white images of Yosemite's big wall legends, Denny reveals a young man's coming of age and provides a vivid look at Yosemite’s early climbing culture. He relates such precarious achievements as hauling water in glass gallon jugs up the east face of Washington Column, nailing the 750-foot Rostrum in a punishing heat wave, and dangling overnight on El Capitan’s Dihedral Wall in a lightning storm. Each true tale captures the spirit of historic Camp 4, where Denny and others plan the next big climb while living on the cheap and dodging park rangers.