A Few Notes on the Life of Warren Harding.

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Park Rat

Social climber
CA, UT,CT,FL
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 5, 2011 - 06:32pm PT
P Ron,

You met him in the Batso period. I am so glad I missed this.

The earlier Warren was so much fun.

He was drinking then, but it was not such a problem.
crunch

Social climber
CO
Jan 5, 2011 - 07:19pm PT
Thanks Susie. That's a very nicely written story, with a fine perspective.

Only met Warren once, during a long-ago trip to Moab. My friend Strappo, who had met Warren in the Valley years earlier, brought us round to meet the man. It was not clear why Warren was living in Moab; he had no interest in desert climbing, but he and Alice both seemed pretty contented holed up in what was then a poor, small, unfashionable town. Perhaps the mid- to late-1980s Moab climbing community, mostly consisting of Kyle Copeland and Eric Bjornstad, was irreverent and fun-loving enough--non-judgemental--that he felt some kinship?

Warren was far out of shape, retired from climbing. Warren and Alice both seemed delighted to get a visit, and even more happy because Strappo and I had little interest in talking about famous climbs--the afternoon disappeared in a wine-fueled glow of increasingly outlandish and hilarious drinking stories. I recall they had a dog, the most rotund dog I've ever seen. Like its owners, it made up for its physical condition by a fantastic in-the-moment playfulness.
Park Rat

Social climber
CA, UT,CT,FL
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 5, 2011 - 07:50pm PT
Crunch,

Your story fits perfectly with what I have heard of him in this period.

I think he was trying to start a new life. A number of climbers did find and visit him there.

Thanks Much,

Park Rat
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 5, 2011 - 08:21pm PT
The Moab place puzzled me when I visited.
I last saw him in Telluride.


Since reading this thread I have been inspired to open up a 9 year old Mont Ste. Michel cab (and use some of it to whip up a coq au vin, like I did for Warren and Alice. DEELISH!)
Park Rat

Social climber
CA, UT,CT,FL
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 5, 2011 - 08:27pm PT
Ron,

Was he living in Telluride? If so it is a new address for him.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 5, 2011 - 08:30pm PT
No. He presented in Mountainfilm.
Park Rat

Social climber
CA, UT,CT,FL
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 5, 2011 - 08:39pm PT
Ron,

That is what I would have expected.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 5, 2011 - 08:57pm PT
Workin' on the chicken here, boss.




Edit;
I remember showing him how the chicken takes on some of the color of the red wine when it is ready to fall off the bone.

But by then I was the only one working on the remnant, as Warren and Alice had moved on to their Manhattans.
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Jan 5, 2011 - 09:39pm PT
Susie:
Excellent read. The best thing about this site is the history it captures.
Look forward to reading your book.
Phil
F10

Trad climber
e350 / Bishop
Jan 5, 2011 - 09:50pm PT
GREAT STUFF

Remember running into Warren in the early 70's at the Lodge drunk on the red stuff myself, he had that satan look but looked more like a god to me....

Keep on posting !!!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jan 5, 2011 - 10:09pm PT
Speaking of Manhattans

Warren Harding, Lord of Light
WBraun

climber
Jan 5, 2011 - 10:13pm PT
Just see here

http://www.supertopo.com/photos/6/33/184782_29283_L.jpg

He has the "LOOK"
dogtown

Trad climber
JackAssVille, Wyoming
Jan 5, 2011 - 10:21pm PT
Warren went BIGGER and BADDER than anyone and he did it first.

Nice Post.

DT.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Jan 5, 2011 - 10:29pm PT
Thank you for taking the time to do the research and write this story. Unfortunately, I never met Warren.

I would have liked him though!
Park Rat

Social climber
CA, UT,CT,FL
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 5, 2011 - 10:43pm PT
Peter,

Nice work, I think the real Batso would have loved it!
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jan 5, 2011 - 11:59pm PT
always found him to be an intelligent and humble and sad gentleman

all the wildness seemed light-hearted over-reacting posturing to me

i was hanging out with Royal, but friendly with Warren; wishing to be a better diplomat

told me how sad he became when Royal rejected his congratulations on Half Dome

in a wiser world they might have teamed on Half Dome and then El Cap

very glad the two became friends

also

there's a missing piece to the story; the part played by Mark Powell
Park Rat

Social climber
CA, UT,CT,FL
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2011 - 03:11am PT
Tom,

You hit the nail on the head.

I have read a number of accounts of their relationship over the years.
I am sure there is a lot we will never know about both Royal and Warrens motivations.

With Harding what you saw was what you got, that's for sure.

Royal was 11 years younger than Harding that is a big difference.

A young Royal may have resented Harding's even being at the top to greet them.
I will have to think a lot more about that.
I do know Harding wanted them to return and celebrate at the bar that night.
Royal and party chose to return to the base of Half Dome where they spent the night. That is the way I heard the story.

Royal seemed not to want others to know what he had just done.

I have spent most of my time trying to get into Harding's head.
Now I will have to rethink a lot to fill in this gap.

Thanks for your comment it is just the kind of clue I like to get, it make me want to dig deeper.

Now back to bed, I will sleep on it.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Jan 6, 2011 - 03:29am PT
Great write up Park Rat.

I have a few treasured memories of Warren of my own. Thanks for bringing it all back to light for me...
Bruce

Edit #1: Regarding FAs. You refer to 22 FAs in this period and 13 FAs in that period. FAs are not the only measure of the man.
I have only a few FAs to my credit, but have been climbing at a high standard, sometimes with men at the upper end of the game, for most of my life. Sure FAs make the books, but am I less of a climber in my own personal universe because I have less FAs? I think not. I have accomplished more as a climber, than many folks that have twice as many FAs as I do... Let's not discount this other side of Warren's life.

Edit #2: ie: hanging out in Yosemite/Camp 4 well after his "peak time". Drinker or no, there is no shame in returning to the scene of your greatest triumphs. Military men have done it since the beginning of time.

His exploits in Yosemite were amazing, heroic even, to people like Chuck Pratt, which put you a cut above the norm.

Let me put it this way: If I had my way with Sophia Loren, in her prime, on a park bench in Central Park and made her yell at the top of her lungs, I would love to see that park bench all my life.


Warren had El Cap on a park bench....and made her yell......
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 6, 2011 - 03:46am PT
Great recollections of one the truly great ones. Thanks a whole bunch for that, Park Rat.
Park Rat

Social climber
CA, UT,CT,FL
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 6, 2011 - 08:05am PT
survival,


"#1: Regarding FAs. You refer to 22 FAs in this period and 13 FAs in that period. FAs are not the only measure of the man."

Well said survival, I needed somewhere to start to describe what he did. I used his FAs to show the progression of what happened in his life.

Remember no one even knew I was his friend, yet our casual relationship may turn out to be important in terms of reveling so much of his personality.

It is often odd how things work out.

"Let me put it this way: If I had my way with Sophia Loren, in her prime, on a park bench in Central Park and made her yell at the top of her lungs, I would love to see that park bench all my life."


I could nor agree more, well said.
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