Daryl Hatten


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Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 18, 2006 - 11:34am PT
Daryl was one of the truely unique characters in climbing, Politically incorrect but brutally honest. He could not fit in with regular society but found a positive outlet for his energies in climbing. I knew him only in passing and only climbed with him once but heard many outrageous stories.
Perhaps some of the 70's/early 80's Yosemite and Squish crowd can share some stories.

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Mar 18, 2006 - 11:41am PT
Base of El Cap late 70's. Daryl has been thrown out of the Valley because of an incident at the store. We see this guy rapping from Sickle Ledge. As he hits the ground we come over and it goes like this:

Us: "Daryl is that you? I thought they kicked you out of the Valley."

Daryl (putting on a pair of dark sunglasses): "It Doug. Doug Fir."


Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Mar 18, 2006 - 11:59am PT
One night we were all standing around outside the Foul Seasons restaurant at the Lodge. I was sitting on my little red BMX bike and Hatten came up and asked if he could borrow it for a few minutes - I said sure and he disappeared. Minutes later he showed up with a trenchcoat on and then rode the bike through the restaurant NAKED! He gave me my bike back and disappeared again.

A bit later we noticed that our group was surrounded in the recesses by a growing circle of security guards...hmmm. I quickly realized that they thought I was the guy who "flashed" the restaurant on the "red" bike. I hit the pedals and bolted out of there. A security guard was waiting in the bushes for me around the corner so I faked right and turned left - he fell flat on his face trying to tackle me! I sped back to Camp4 and ditched the bike and went to sleep.

Way to go Daryl! You sure knew how to get people's attention!

RIP bro!

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Mar 18, 2006 - 12:24pm PT
Hung out with Daryl both in Yosemite and Squamish a bit. Always entertaining...and the man could drink!

Mar 18, 2006 - 01:11pm PT
The Hattini and I hung out and got drunk alot together so i dont remember alot. so ill write down some i remember at this hour & then go skateboarding. one time we were all packed and ready to do the east buttress of el cap but we had gotten way too drunk the night before. but we were determined to go. Late in the morning we got a ride to the meadow and with our heads pounding we hiked up and just started climbing up together the lower stuff. we had the tunes with us and with early Police playing we just keep going. at some point we decided it was now 5th class and maybe we should rope up. with Daryl leading (he had done the route before and knew where to go) we just keep climbing without belays with the rope on just in case. At one point i remember asking for a belay. I get up to where Daryl is standing and he's just standing there on some small ledge, smoking, no anchors, pulling the rope up with one hand. Walking on the Moon was playing. We made back to the MR before closing. gotta go, ill rememder more later.

Mar 21, 2006 - 01:29am PT
Daryl one time told me how he got into climbing. He use to be a purse snacher in Vancouver. not really for the money, theres no real money in it, but for the rush. He was a young canadian and got in alot of trouble for it. So they sent him to outdoor rehab and they taught him rock climbing. He said it was a way more rush than purse snatching. Well yeah Mr. wet demin daydream.

right here, right now
Mar 21, 2006 - 10:09am PT
Hatten and Burton were lounging about C4 one morning, say 10:30 AM, drinking beer. Australian Beer, Tooeys to be exact, if mis-spelled. Darryl is drinking, ya, but on this occasion, it's for scientific reasons. Actually it was a "materials study". Tooeys cans are pretty burly, like a Fosters Can, steel, not aluminum. Darryl had need of rivet hangars for a new route he'd planned for El Cap. He wanted his rivets to be handily adorned with actual hangars. He had only enough money for either beer, or hangars. What do you think he chose?

So he's drinking Tooey's and cutting off the top rim of the can, making his cut about 3/4 inch down from the lid, leaving only the round disk of the top of the can with it's pre-punched carabiner hole (the drinking spout) along with the reinforced rolled edge around the perimeter and a little bit of the vertical aspect of the can. Then, he takes a Yosemite Hammer, a 10 Penny Nail and whacks the steel Tooeys beer can lid into a tree at about shoulder height.

It was an elegant plan. "Ya see Eh? I coot off thah can, sos ya can still see the Tooeys logo at the top. So whin ya get to my rivet ladders, you'll look up and see Tooeys, Tooey's, Tooey's, EH?!" Darryl then clipped a set of aiders to the handy pre-punched 'biner hole, delicately mounted the stirrups and promptly ripped the 'biner through the "Hangar".

"Right, more studies required, Hugh, Hand me another, EH?!"

Trad climber
Jul 25, 2008 - 08:18pm PT
One of the better climbing stories ive read.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Jul 25, 2008 - 08:30pm PT
Work over ..... having a beer....great rivet story...thinking we need to be more Daryl-like in life. Looking in the closet for trenchcoat.....(kidding, maybe ?)....Denny's, watch your door. hehe

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Jul 25, 2008 - 09:51pm PT
Daryl was the first person I met in Yosemite.

He got on the bus I was on, up from Fresno.
He saw me and sat next to me, the bus going...
he broke out beers and gave me one - I was a
complete dork and Hatten was as good natured
as they come, he faked a cough to open the can,
I think it was Coors, or Oly.

Did the same, he and I'd just met and
were instantly busy consuming alcohol.

Recall Daryl Hatten had a really infectious
and very positive energy/attitude/vibe :)


Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Jul 26, 2008 - 02:14am PT
Daryl's memorial was held atop the Chief on a windy, cold September day a few years ago. Daryl died when he fell from a large arbutus tree; he had been offered some cash to rescue a cat. Daryl was 49 when he died.
Daryl's life was hard. Very hard. It was not a life anybody would willingly desire.
He did indeed learn how to climb in jail - at Haney Correctional just east of Vancouver. A "hoods-in-the-woods" type program. Daryl was heroin addicted at age 15. That might have been why he was "snatching purses". But I never heard that story. It was junk that got him landed in jail at such a young age. HE said he hated jail & did not ever want to go back.
He took to climbing like a fish to water and did some very hard walls early on. He, along with three others, did the 2nd ascent of the P.O. Wall. He was "asked to leave America" around 1979 and not return for seven years. He did indeed pass as "Doug Fir" or "Jack Pine" ..the funniest was "Man Zanita"...but , eventually the Yanx caught up with him and he was sent north of 49. It was very very hard on him to be not allowed back to Yosemite.
He did some major hard walls in Squamish. He was also an excellent free climber. Unfortunately his addictions devastated his life & he was largely out of climbing by the mid-80's.
Daryl was THE inspiration for my generation of Squamish climbers. ( we followed Sutton&Burton & Gordie Smaill & crew ). Daryl's sayings : "beer-loads, pipe-loads, any kinda loads at all" among others.....and his memorable trip to Yosemite that ended at Stoney Ck ( 2 km S of where we were all camped ) with gear & campin' equipment scattered across Hwy99 epitomised the wild and hard life that .......none of us wanted to or could have emulated.....but that he really had not much of a choice with.
As we scattered his ashes into the winds that blunt and bitter day, we remembered that most of us had barely expected Daryl to reach 30 nevermind 49. We passed the "talking stick" ( a battered Chouinard hammer that had belonged to Daryl with notches on the shaft for the grade VI's he'd done ) and we told stories to each other ( there were about 35 of us ). Took some pix and wept for the lost life of a gifted athlete who really wasnt given much of a chance to achieve the greatness that , in a different set of life circumstances, would have been his to enjoy.


Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 26, 2008 - 02:30am PT
Wow, I don;t know what to sAY...he must've kicked ass!!!!

seems like a great guy!!!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 26, 2008 - 02:32am PT
Many stories and photos in the thread started by his daughter also:


Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Aug 3, 2008 - 04:27am PT
I have about 200 (?) slides and photos of Daryl from his early days - many before his ascent of NA Wall. Most of them were taken in Squamish or on Vancouver Island. Also, I have a few odds and sods of memorabilia from the years that we hung out together.

A couple of warnings, though - quite a few are the usual head or ass shots and not very interesting, not to mention that some are out of focus. Also, I'm a bit of a Luddite and have somewhat limited computer skills, not to mention that my eyesight is fading fast. This means that any interest in this archive is going to require a very patient and persuasive response to the above news.

For what it's worth, most of the stories that I'm familiar with are true, although some of the less flattering comments posted by people who claim to have known him well are insinuating a degree of closeness with him that did not exist in reality.


Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Aug 3, 2008 - 12:53pm PT
Woznoid - you old sack of dung. You ARE still alive & have relative control over yer faculties. Drop me a line ( click on my name to get my email ) Still attending parties where the sheep burst into flames ?

Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Aug 7, 2008 - 09:46pm PT
Hey Tami

Alas, it's been quite some time since the scent of roasting mutton has assailed my nostrils. People just don't know how to throw a decent party these days, it seems.

I'll try to get back to you at your e-mail address, but at the moment I can barely read these words... don't be too amazed if typos abound.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 10, 2008 - 07:34pm PT
Daryl Hatten, Fig and I were hanging out by the side of the road a short distance into El Cap Meadow. A large blustering touron lumbered toward us, turned to face the wall, and asked with a strong drawl, "Is that Halfadome?"

Daryl grinned ear to ear, cocked his head back and declared in a loud and comically husky voice, "Halfadome? Kinda looks like half a dome..., don't it?" We chuckled later and let him continue to believe it was HD.


Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
Aug 13, 2008 - 01:04am PT
Daryl used to live at my place in Victoria for a while during the late 80's.

One morning I was hurrying off to work and noticed that he was intently watching TV as he ate his cereal. When I figured out what he was watching, he told me that it was his favourite show - the Smurfs.

Still trying to get some of my photos posted here, but I seem to have computer problems these days.
Double D

Aug 13, 2008 - 01:15am PT
Stewart..."he ate his cereal..."

He must have gone through rehab.

This is more like what I remember his breakfasts to be...

Daryl Hatten, Breakfast of Champions.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 13, 2008 - 01:22am PT
A complete and imbalanced diet!
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