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Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 9, 2009 - 10:30pm PT
Two historic Warren Harding letters have emerged just now, sent to me in jpeg format from Joe McKeown (our Guido) an old friend of more than forty years. Roger Derryberry and Mary Lou apparently have these two missives or have photographed them. They are now in frames matted and hanging on a wall. I have retouched these rather small files and realize that they aren’t going to be readable on ST. So I have transcribed them here for our use and for the future. And of course post the images as well.

The two items were mailed/dropped from the Wall of the Early Morning Light during the first week of that controversial ascent, Thursday, October 23 through Wednesday, November 18, 1970 and we now look at them 39 years later! It is unclear if there are additional letters somewhere covering Warren’s and Dean’s next 2-1/2 weeks that followed ont that month-long effort. I have to think there are. Roper notes in his Camp Four book that after this climb, Dean retreated from the climbing community forever and his relationship with Harding was completely ruined.

The ascent, later partly erased by an outraged community notably lead by Royal Robbins and his willing partner Don Lauria, took 27 days, involved 330 holes drilled all told for the 2800 foot climb, a holes-to-feet ratio never before seen and never seen again in Yosemite. A huge rescue effort was organized eventually in earlier November as the climbing party was hit by early winter storms and had to cease their activities for days at a time thus causing panic amongst the NPS staff, especially as more and more reporters arrived in the Valley. Perhaps 20 of us were alerted as well, with myself and others even driving from the Bay Area and elsewhere to stand at alert for the NPS. Although an actual rescue never was required and was refused, a few dozen people were put on the ready, in many cases at some expense. And the news people thrilled to all this activity while they waited for a top-out or a failure of some sort or other.

In these letters we notice it was clear an organized publicity plan was not in place, but there was clearly an offhanded hope that the achievement would bring both Warren and Dean financial reward of substantial proportions; also that they made efforts towards that goal. A month long ascent would have cost thousands of dollars of course. Communications and film were sent down on an almost daily basis by dropping containers off the wall, gathered then by Dave and Penny who formed a makeshift ground crew that hiked up every day to the base.

The Valley climbing community had never considered taking such an approach to what was considered an almost sacred perilous journey into the priveleged and the unknown; it was obviously scandalized and it took subsequent action. It was the end of the Golden Age of Yosemite Climbing as Roper states.

More importantly today, more poignantly now 39 years later--- almost half a century--- is evidenced Warren’s companionship and passion he shared with legendary Beryl Knauth who had partnered with Jim Harper, Mort Hempel, Rob Wood and so on over the years.

Letter One, October 27, 1970
Oct 27, 1970
“Birdland”, Wall of the Early Morning LIght

Dearest Beryl,
(it’s 10:30 AM---- Dean is leading 6th pitch---on rivets--- Dave Hanna and Penny were just at base of Wall...)

So---- things have finally shaped up enough for me to concnetrate on some sort of letter.

After a most un-auspicious beginning, we’ve finally got it going! Penny and Dave filled you in on all the details in his telephone conversation with you last night.

Our morale had really gotten very low last week and (Friday) started out in a rather apathetic state of mind. But now, we’ve snapped out of our depression and are in fine spirits--- we’re even making progress up the wall!

We’re at work on the 6th pitch; which will end about 900 ft. up--- in that prominent right leaning crack that we’ll follow part way, before heading acrtoss the blank area to the dihedrals. “Climbing this far has been difficult in the extreme--- vertical or overhanging, and many blank areas. The 3rtd pitch, which I lead three days ago, required 23 rivets, 3 bathooks, 3 bolts and assorted piton and bashie placements.

Hey--- Dean just yelled down--- he’s about 60 ft above me--- that he can see past the “bulge” and the rim is coming into view! It’ll be much better psychologically for us to be out from under this overhang area--- to be able to see where we’re going.

I’ve got to get busy doing some things---- so, I’ll continue this tonite. love you, “Batso”


Thing got a bit frazzled last night--- I arrived at the bivy site well after dark--- getting set up was a bit of a hassle!

It’s about 6:30--- time to move out--- I’m leading today so I’ll wrap this up to throw down to Dave. He’ll be here between 11:00 & 12:00. Will write again tonite or tomorrow.

I love you,


[envelop] “Batso”, Top of 6th pitch, Wall of Early Morning Light, El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, Calif postmarked Oct 30, 1970

Warren letter #2 to Beryl Knauth Nov 1, 1970

“Top of 7th pitch” about 100 ft below top of El Cap Tower

Mi Q???ih Berylite

seems we’re trying to get organized for the days activities. I’m still in Bat Tent waiting for Dean to shoot some photos, take crap, etc---”Wall of the Early Morning Shit”???

Anyway--- we’re moving along; heading into the “black area” About a pitch and a half from the small eldge from which we’ll traverse into the Dihedrals. and of the wall is lessening somewhat. So far, it’s been vertical or overhanging.

Both Dean and I are holding up quite well---in fact, we’re in much better shape than when we left the Valley floor a week ago!

We celebrated “Halloween”

last night by indulging in a few nips from our bottle of Brandy--- “Christian Bros” of course!

{Dave sent out wire photos to C.B.--- says they sound quite interested!!)

I’ve got to get ready to belay Wizard as he continues with the rivet pitch he started late yesterday afternoon--- more later.

Later--- 10:30AM


Wizard is happily rivetting away at 8th pitch--- I’m belaying--- in slings of course---- all our bivys/belay spots have been of the hanging type since we left the lodge where we shot the Christian Bros. Photos.

Before start of climbing today,

we shot some good (I hope!) Christian Bros Brandy Photos--- maybe we can sell some of these! we’re gettin more and more ideas for advertising photos---$$$$!!

We took sort of a rest day yesterday--- gained only about 50 ft and moved camp one pitch. Dean went through the bolt gear--- our most ciritical item--- found that we still have about 20 drills; so we should be ok in this deparatment. Food & water are holding up qutie well--- could probably stretch it to 10 or more days in need be!

[envelop] “Batso”, Top of 6th pitch, Wall of Early Morning Light, El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, Calif postmarked Nov 3, 1970.
So--- it looks quite within the realm of possibility that we actually will make it. Best guess time-wise would be next weekend--- but Dave will keep in close touch with you--- if it’s

at all possible, I’d sure like you to meet us on top!

Ya’ know love--- this thing is real good for me! I don’t think I’ve ever felt so strong--- content--- happy!! --- and you have so much to do with all this!!! It seems that everything I’ve ever really wanted in life is happening or is very close at hand

Well--- Dave will be coming soon to pick up the “mail”--- I imagine this is the last letter that will reach you before the weekend--- oh Hell, maybe I’ll try one more tomorrow!



[envelop] “Batso”, Top of 6th pitch, Wall of Early Morning Light, El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, Calif postmarked Nov 3, 1970.


Trad climber
Lake Oswego, Oregon
Nov 9, 2009 - 10:40pm PT
I forwarded this over to Dean Caldwell... see if he has any comments to chime in with!

Social climber
the Wastelands
Nov 9, 2009 - 10:54pm PT
My wife and I stopped at Roger and Mary Lou's two years ago to see
Roger's really good effort at putting together Warren's request that he
build a "Shrine to Buffoonery" after Warren died.

We saw the two letters on the wall and squinted to make some of it out.

Roger said more than once that Warren was "soooo funny". I liked that!

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Nov 9, 2009 - 10:55pm PT
Darn, Peter. . .

I thought it was gonna be another of your art works. . .

hee hee hee. . .

But thanks for the letters!!!!!
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
Will know soon
Nov 9, 2009 - 11:01pm PT
I was blessed and so fortunate to meet and talk to Beryl at the Nose Reunion a year ago. What a super woman with great wit and a fine brain. It became apparent to me that it is a difficult task, maybe above all on this planet, to care deeply about a crazy climber.

So lynnie, perhaps you should escape now.....:D
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 9, 2009 - 11:06pm PT
I keep telling you Lynnie you have to score that 1967 psychedelic school bus, outfit it with beds, bongs and batik curtains. There is NO OTHER WAY to make it to the OTHER SIDE, dear heart!!


Trad climber
JackAssVille, Wyoming
Nov 9, 2009 - 11:08pm PT
Let me quote: A rescue is unwarranted, unwanted, and will not be expected… Period !


Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 9, 2009 - 11:12pm PT
I agree with Lynn's assessment of Beryl ! Not a little of the outrage directed at Warren had to do with jealousy over the fact that such an outrageous character had managed to score such a memorable woman while others went without!
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 9, 2009 - 11:13pm PT
Thanks - that's fantastic stuff. Ken would undoubtedly love to have it for the museum. I wonder if they kept the cans, too?

The first ascent of the Dawn Wall. (I put that in to help Simon search for it.) A fine bit of history.

Climbers in the Valley from 1968 on seem to have become a bit obsessed with it, as a sort of last great problem. A group climbed the right side of El Capitan Towers and started to traverse into the big corners, and Bridwel and Schmitz in 1970 were apparently so territorial about it that they scared Davis and Kroger into doing the Heart Route. It seems like the old guard were a bit fixated on the Dawn Wall, even myopic, but the younger climbers perhaps not. (Peter has mentioned he had a bit of interest in the Heart Route, too.) The thing being that the Dawn Wall was by all accounts a stout route, notwithstanding the circus and drilling, but that very soon after other routes started to appear by contrast. Still, there were other fine and feasible lines visible that don't seem to have been seriously considered, apart from Robbins' half-hearted attempt at a solo of Tangerine Trip.

Only two years later the brilliant Shield was climbed. Yes, only about half the climbing on it was new, but it was visionary, and a 'last great problem' of a kind perhaps not even considered by Harding, Robbins etc. Other routes at that time - Cosmos, Magic Mushroom - followed worthwhile lines, and then in the next year or two Tangerine Trip, Mescalito and Zodiac. Hindsight (perspective) is an interesting thing.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 9, 2009 - 11:26pm PT
Ah Anders, the ranks are thinning among those with whom these ancient tales resonate.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C. Small wall climber.
Nov 9, 2009 - 11:31pm PT
Harding reports in Downward Bound that Caldwell spent $60 on food for the two of them for the ascent. He also reports on talking with Dave Hanna (support team), Pete Thompson (ranger), 'Penny' (a waitress from the bar and friend of Caldwell's), T.M. Herbert (once), Harding's mother (!) (once), and Beryl Knauth (weekends - in school at UCSB).

It sounds like Hanna was the 'regular', coming to the base every day, picking up the notes, even borrowing a bullhorn from the NPS to communicate.

Harding refers several times to "daily notes thrown down", so maybe there are more around. Also, "All our notes, which clearly stated we were not in any trouble, were recovered".

An entertaining and idiosyncratic story that I haven't read for a long time.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
Will know soon
Nov 9, 2009 - 11:32pm PT
Does Beryl ever post on ST? Does anyone have her email ? If you do perhaps you could connect her with lynne. I need some romantic advice ....:DDD about climbers .... in general of course. Peace, hehehe

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 9, 2009 - 11:36pm PT

Run for your life - unless of course you want to have a particularly interesting one - and probably a lot of heartbreak along the way. Sensible, stable, and routine they're not!
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
Will know soon
Nov 9, 2009 - 11:45pm PT
Yah, that's what my gut is telling me. Thanks Jan. So lets go for the pain and pleasure and forget normal everyday ho hum....maybe ??? Smiles, lynne

ps, Beryl said it was a darn special time. Gotta go with special rather than endless boring....whaddaya think ?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 9, 2009 - 11:51pm PT
Lynnie, Guido (although traveling for another few days) probably has Beryl's contact. And in regard to Jan's well-pointed advice just now, you should write me directly, Lynne.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
Will know soon
Nov 10, 2009 - 12:07am PT
LOL, ok Peter.....but like FaceLift.....what happens at FL stays at FL same with Haanlift, Yah ???!!! lynnie

A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
Nov 10, 2009 - 12:26am PT
That is so cool to read!

Something that has always struck me about Warren Harding's writing is the character and enthusiasm that comes through. These letters and in his book have (to me at least) a giddy, sort of childish element to them, something I would have NEVER expected from Harding.

I think its that you always see Harding looking so grim and determined, you think of his hardship and suffering, then you read his book or these letters and realize he loved it! He absolutely loved what he did, he was in his element.

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 10, 2009 - 12:36am PT
I agree Hoipolloi. You are looking at the kind of guy he was. In heavy construction--- his real life experience--- there are sometimes these men who are phenomenally energetic and energized by being on a project--- see it as completely exciting and horizon-bound--- "yeah, that is where we guys are going!!" Among others, it also takes guys like this to build the future.

But as Dingus notes right off the bat here above, we have to also take in account, how funky he must have felt after the WEML when it was so universally condemned. Holy Christ.

I was basically raised by RR, worked for him and Liz, lived in their house off and on and mentored to him like crazy and still hold most of what that camp holds dear today--- to me their/my view is vital. But as I age.... I think of Warren (and of course many others in other aspects) and reconsider their experiences with us. And I rue the thought that we contributed to his troubles.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 10, 2009 - 12:52am PT
Outstanding historical documents from the mother of all climbing controversies! Thanks to Joe and Roger for sharing such gems! And to Peter for making them readable.

Royal's side of all this is really going to be interesting reading, I have a feeling.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Nov 10, 2009 - 01:01am PT
Yes Peter, a belated thank you for making these letters available and also for creating a place and atmosphere where Warrens's life can be reconsidered with more good will and charity this time around.
Ray Olson

Trad climber
Imperial Beach, California
Nov 10, 2009 - 03:00am PT
Jan thanks so much for your well
worded insights into this, especially
the part about (your feelings that)
some of the outrage directed towards
Harding stemmed from the fact he
had a nice grilfriend, etc. - while
others did not...

Interesting stuff.

EDIT: factor in the stylin' ride, too :-)

Nov 10, 2009 - 12:28pm PT
It is always more complicated that it seems at first glance?!

Thanks for the history.

A lesson for all of us.


Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Nov 10, 2009 - 01:10pm PT

Are there any threads that mention how Warren thought about his closest friends?

Separately, I regret that I haven not read the full Downward Bound, and wish it were still in print so that I could read it. I have a feeling that many climbers were born of the irreverant. We see it in Royals book when he talks about his early years, and in Warren's approach to climbing and life. Not so different those guys.

thx for posting these up. without the history of climbing and its irreverant aspects, we would all just be golfers in Tuolumne Meadows.

Trad climber
Los Angeles
Nov 10, 2009 - 01:32pm PT
“Christian Bros” of course!
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Nov 10, 2009 - 01:38pm PT
With the foreshortening of history from our perspective 40 years or so later it is not so easy to understand Warren and his relationship to the climbing community in the Valley, led by Royal. For those interested in the history here is one way to think about it.

This is a partial list of Warren’s wall climbs in chronological order:

1954 East Buttress, Middle Cathedral Rock (This was a 'Wall' in 1954!)
1954 North Buttress, Middle Cathedral Rock
1958 The Nose, El Cap
1959 The East Face, Washington Column
1961 Leaning Tower
1962 The North Face, The Rostrum
1964 South Face, Mount Watkins
1968 The Firefall Face, Glacier Point
1968 Direct, Lost Arrow Spire
1969 Southwest Face, Liberty Cap
1970 South Face, Half Dome
1970 Wall of the Early Morning Light, El Cap
1975 Rhombus Wall, Royal Arches

The first climbs on the list are classics. But the routes after Mount Watkins (1964) are mixed, with varying degrees of appeal. What they all have in common is they are routes up otherwise unclimbed walls. There is a very short write up in "Ascent" by Galen Rowell, Warren’s climbing partner on The Firefall Face. Galen recounts that when Warren asked him to climb the face, he replied, “But Warren, there are no cracks up there.” There is a famous picture, taken on the ledge at the top of the apron and below the Firefall Wall, of Warren sitting on a lawn chair with a hat on, both of which Warren collected from the pile of stuff people had thrown off Glacier Point.

Here is a list of big walls done by other climbers, mostly in the Valley Christian camp, to use Warren's name for Royal and Roper.

1947 Lost Arrow Chimney
1950 Steck Salathe, Sentinel
1957 NW Face, Half Dome
1959 North Face, Middle Cathedral Rock
1960 Arches Direct, Royal Arches
1960 West Face, Sentinel
1961 Salathe Wall, El Cap
1961 NW Face, Higher Cathedral Spire
1962 Direct North Buttress, Middle Cathedral Rock
1962 North Face, Sentinel, four routes
1963 Direct NW Face, Half Dome
1963 West Buttress, El Cap
1964 North American Wall, El Cap
1965 Muir Wall, El Cap
1967 West Face, El Cap
1968 North Face, Higher Cathedral Spire
1969 The Prow, Washington Column
1969 Tis-sa-ack, Half Dome
1970 Arcturus, Half Dome
1970 The Heart Route, El Cap
1970 In Cold Blood, Sentinel
1970 Vain Hope, Ribbon Falls
1971 Aquarian Wall, El Cap
1971 Heart Woute, El Cap
1972 Cosmos, El Cap
1972 Magic Mushroom, El Cap
1972 The Shield, El Cap
1972 Zodiac, El Cap

In many respects the lists are much the same. I think that what distinguishes them from one another is that Warren’s list is in the same mode whereas the other list shows a progression, if somewhat bumpy. Some writers have pointed to the siege tactics as a break point but I am not so sure that works. For sure Robbins, Chouinard, Pratt, and Frost decided to climb the Salathe in a push in 1961. But this was a decision that was easy to make only after Harding had climbed The Nose ferrying loads. Essentially he showed that any thing could be climbed using siege tactics. As far as I know, Harding climbed everything in a push after the Nose too. He just turned it into vertical camping.

The issue of how many bolts to place on a route was a real sticking point between the two camps. On the face of it, there was a heartfelt worry that if bolting got out of hand, there would be pure bolted lines all over the Captain and that this would destroy the adventure of climbing. Messner’s and Chouinard’s articles lay out these fears pretty well. Harding, as far as I know did not consider there was anything to fear. In hindsight, this was never really ever a risk in the Valley until power drilling was available, but no one knew that at the time.

To be fair, Harding didn’t over bolt his routes once he was on them any more than Robbins did. The difference is that Harding picked routes that he knew would have to have many holes, ones as unappealing as The Firefall Face or The Rhombus Wall as well as beautiful walls such as the South Face of Half Dome or the WEML. Robbins on the other hand picked routes that he thought would not need so many bolts and then bolted them as necessary rather than backing off: Tis-sa-ack is a perfect example. When TM Herbert told Royal that he would regret putting up Tis-sa-ack with so many bolts, Royal said, “it was worth it.” Thin ice.

The argument about how many bolts should be used was squishy ground since harder climbing between bolts allowed more bolts to be used. Royal believed this on Tis-sa-ack and realized it was true on WEML when he stopped chopping. Of course, the WEML still has lots of holes, beautiful wall not withstanding. I think that I have read that some newer routes that incorporate pitches from existing routes have very high hole counts versus new climbing footage, so I don’t know if the WEML still holds the record.

So why did this fight get so nasty. In my opinion, Royal set out to establish a firm ground under what it meant to be a rock climber in the Valley when the issue was siege versus push and hard aid climbing versus bolting. Royal thought seriously about the nature of climbing and how it changed with new skills and new equipment. He also accepted that climbing is all about the rules we establish for ourselves; so he worked to establish new rules. Clear cut distinctions such as siege versus push and hard aid versus bolting did not hold up over time--just look at the routes on the list above after 1970. Nevertheless, Royal’s concerns were heartfelt and no different than the arguments that occur today about how bolts to use versus, say, chiseling a pocket for a copperhead, or, say, free climbing versus aid (free climbing versus aid was not an issue for 50s and 60s climbers doing walls).

Since rock climbing is a rules based sport, these arguments will always occur. Harding attacked the whole idea of anyone trying to set rules and didn’t give any room for debate. Folks like Royal, Roper, Yvon, and TM took offense that their efforts were being ridiculed. This offense-for-offense, tit-for-tat didn’t occur overnight; it built up over a couple of years. For climbers who were putting themselves at risk for a higher standard-—climbing in a push, hard, dangerous aid, and hard, and sometimes dangerous, free--Harding’s laughter was a real affront. On the other hand, Harding felt unfairly singled out and marginalized; wasn’t he doing pretty much what he had always done, to such acclaim before? (Look back at his list of big walls first ascents.) He didn't see or particulary care that the world had changed around him--Peter makes some very insightful comments about Warren's climbing and his work experience. I think it is also fair to see Warren's point of view if you just compare Tis-sa-ack or the Prow with WEML: why was it okay for Royal to bolt long blank sections and not okay for Warren? Was there really a bright line of too many bolts? The whole commercial effort that Harding and Caldwell made on the WEML added another layer of insult. Now every worthy climber is trying to keep her sponsors happy.

In terms of thinking about it nowadays, in my opinion all the climbers should be remembered for the great routes that they put up and forgiven their clunkers. The nasty bits of personality that defined the debates were pretty much all regrettable and from a historical perspective, pretty much irrelevant: if you want to model yourself after a drunk or if you want to back yourself into an untenable corner of highhandness, you don’t need a climbing hero for a model. Picking sides now doesn’t make much sense in understanding the history, and picking sides does not shed any light on any sensible relationship with how anyone climbs today. There were great climbs and real clunkers put up by both camps and the distinction does not seem to hinge on the terms of the debate about how many bolts should be allowed or if sponsorship is evil.

All that said, as for style, Valley climbers pretty much follow Royal’s lead in adapting to changing standards and recognizing that when new limits are met, new standards are set and the rules are modified. Warren’s approach of willful disregard for the climbing community gets pushed back now as it did then.

If you had described to the Valley climbers in 1965 that El Cap climbers would spend months and months practicing moves to do the routes all free, add bolts to protect hard free, or race up the Nose in a few hours to compete for time records, most would not have recognized it as ‘real’ climbing and some would have given you their disgusted looked. But I think Warren might have shrugged his shoulders and said something along the lines of “Well, what ever floats your boat,” and Royal might have thought about it awhile and said, “I can see how it will come to that, but not in my lifetime.”

Social climber
the Wastelands
Nov 10, 2009 - 01:43pm PT
Roger, minor clerical possible error?

WOEML: 1970, not 1971?
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Nov 10, 2009 - 01:52pm PT
Thanks. Lots of routes, lots of dates.
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Nov 10, 2009 - 02:47pm PT
Fantastic post guys. Excellent history lesson.
the Fet

Nov 10, 2009 - 04:03pm PT
Harding attacked the whole idea of anyone trying to set rules

Rules in rock climbing preserve challenge. They are rules you set for yourself, not universal rules for everyone (though most climbers subscribe to similar rules). Warren instinctively knew this and bristled at the notion of anyone telling him what rules he should follow.

Warren would pick a climb based on the line. Royal would pick a climb based on the climbing. You can't say one approach is 'better' than the other. What is a better climb the Nose or the Salathe? It's a personal decision.

I have said to Warren and Royal that I'm glad the WEML controversy went down the way it did. I think both of them regretted what happened but I wanted them to see that good came of it. Royal established that it may be necessary to chop bolts or erase a climb to preserve what you feel is a line that should not be crossed, but he also showed that by changing his mind and not continuing to chop the bolts that: you have to climb a line to judge it's merit (something the Wings Of Steel Shitters were too lame to realize), you can't dictate your rules of climbing to everyone else, and the quality of the climbing can justify bolting.

Royal was incredibly brave to decide to chop the route, but it took even greater courage to admit he was wrong and stop chopping.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 10, 2009 - 04:15pm PT
Now that's history!

And again, Chicken Skinner, thanks for introducing me and getting us into the Mtn room to hang with him back in our underaged years.

Nov 10, 2009 - 05:32pm PT
Excellent stuff. More ST gold from PH. Great insightful posts here.

Makes it worth having to ignore the drivel. Thanks, all.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Nov 10, 2009 - 10:40pm PT
Yo Peter - thanks for posting the letters and as always your valuable and insightful introduction.

I was in Grad School at UCLA during the climb. Would drive to Ventura on the weekends, pick up Beryl who was living with Malinda Pennoyer(Chouinard) and we would drive to the Valley. Great lady to travel with on long car trips. Beryl was part of a small group of us in the Bay Area that raged in the early 60s and always one of my favorites.

I posted this a while back.

Mar 26, 2009 - 02:52pm PT

Lovely Beryl!

A wonderful lady and lively soul indeed. She grew up in Belvedere in Marin County, private schools in San Francisco and then a chance introduction to the darker side of life, aka climbing in the early 60s.

Partner in crime with such infamous characters as Harper, Mort, Rob Wood and of course Harding, Beryl will forever remind me of some of the finer moments of living.

She was also a superb artist. Beastly's, "Rock of Ages, Home for Old Climbers." Pratt conducting, Warren consuming, Yvone the consumate fisherman and of course, Super Royal. Plus a cast of other familiar characters from that era. Was a great pleasure to see her at the Nose reunion.

Beryl and Chris Jones at the Nose Reunion. I believe Jones was with Hennek and Pratt on the first recon of the WEML?



Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2009 - 12:48am PT
Here is the cartoon retouched a bunch. I don't have the original file, just the one here on ST:


Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Nov 11, 2009 - 08:25pm PT
Bump to Peter, Guido----and all those who posted (and hopefully will post)their thoughts or memories.

Climbing Art & Culture!

Thank you!
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