History - Harding and.....?

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 20 of total 53 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Fossil climber

Trad climber
Atlin, B. C.
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 14, 2012 - 08:31pm PT
Seems like a huge appetite for ancient history here, especially regarding Harding. Okay.

Most accounts have him pegged pretty well. First climbed with - well as I can remember - Mickey’s Beach on a Sierra Club scheduled rock climb. Maybe ‘56 or so. We went to work on a vertical face. Hung in slings for hours, dangle and whack. Bolts. Painful. Spectators couldn’t believe his doggedness. Forecast of things to come.

We did some piddly things together in Yosemite and some decent ones. He sent me up the chimney on Worst Error - didn’t much care for chimneys or bats. I loved it. No pro with pins, but you could get back in the tight part and take a deep breath and stick like a panicked chuckwalla. Then he did the hard part. Thrashed for a long time at the crux. He had a great vocabulary. I kept waiting for the shock, with the standing hip belay of the time and my eyes like targets. Nice climb.

When I joined NPS Cindy and I had a 28’ trailer in the employee’s camp. Great housing. You couldn’t turn around in the bathroom. Harding and his then girlfriend came and stayed with us for a while in the “back bedroom”. Whatever you hear about his amorous appetites is probably true. We often wished the trailer was on a solid foundation.

He wasn’t as invulnerable to criticism as is thought. When he had a bit too much he sometimes got a bit maudlin, and bitch about how “everybody was out to get Harding”.

Also got pretty aggressive in that condition. One time my younger bro went to a party in El Portal, and Harding decked him. Having Harding for a friend wasn’t always easy, especially if you were a ranger.

He was generous, too - not just with the wine. When Cindy and I were married he gave us a Kelty pack as a wedding present. Major investment for the times.

Could go on, but there are others who can contribute.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 14, 2012 - 08:34pm PT
Now we're talkin'! Don't let us stop you!

"take a deep breath and stick like a panicked chuckwalla" - that I like!
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Sep 14, 2012 - 08:41pm PT
Thanks Wayne,
Love the part about having "A great vocabulary" and "Wished it was on a foundation" well said!
Glad you joined the campfire and look forward to more stories from the golden age!
Tad
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Sep 14, 2012 - 09:11pm PT
So GREAT to hear you come to the campfire, Wayne. I know that folks here would be especially interested in the stories about the people and events and any controversies that arose during:

1) The first ascent of the Nose and

2) The founding of the Yosemite Mountaineering School

Beyond those are certainly many more tales that you could tell, and many here eagerly and respectfully await your further contributions here.

Again, welcome to the Taco Stand!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Sep 14, 2012 - 09:58pm PT
Absolutely wonderful! Bring it on Wayne, but dose it out and keep us on the edge.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Sep 14, 2012 - 10:21pm PT

Great stuff, Wayne! the crowd shouted "MORE, MORE!!!"
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 14, 2012 - 10:42pm PT
Yes Wayne. Please give us chunks of what you got! It will not be always to put together in written form but we are all together in that challenge. It is critical we share our history and the sooner the better. There are not many years left and all this stuff will vanish unless brought to life once again.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Sep 14, 2012 - 10:42pm PT
Hi Wayne,
I first met him in '76 but didn't get to know him until he moved to Moab.

I suspect from what you say that he may have failed to appreciate some who weren't out to "get him".
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Sep 14, 2012 - 11:14pm PT
Wayne-Some reflections on the Worst Error. I think Big Joe Fitchen made the 2nd ascent with ?
I was fortunate to climb it with Reed and Kamps in I think 1960 and the memories are still alive of that fun adventure with two classic climbers.

First Ascent:
First ascent of the Worst Error 1957
First ascent of the Worst Error 1957
Credit: guido

Credit: guido
l
And we use to tyrolean across the Merced to get to the climb. Now the smart lads have discovered that it is much easier to rap down from the top. Such is youth.
Galen crossing the Merced on the way to "the" Elephant:
Rowell crossing the Merced en route to Elephant Rock.
Rowell crossing the Merced en route to Elephant Rock.
Credit: guido

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 15, 2012 - 01:11pm PT
"metabolic uproar"!

Uproarious!

That's medical exemption right there if they re-instate the draft.

PMUD.

Q: How difficult is the river crossing at Elephant Rock? Where is the crossing? I and lots of others have never checked it out.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Moundhouse Nev. and land o da SLEDS!
Sep 15, 2012 - 01:13pm PT
this is gonna be GUD!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Sep 15, 2012 - 05:20pm PT

It looks like Galen's trying not to drown in the Merced there!!!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 15, 2012 - 07:50pm PT
Guido- First rate Tyrolean Death shot!

The low point on that triangle is way too close for comfort!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Sep 15, 2012 - 08:03pm PT
He would also be a hell of a lot better off "if" he ended up in the water without a belay. As we sadly learned from the death of Don Wilson and the problem of being attached with a fixed line in a swift current.

Galen was not really a water guy except when he would lather up in his tanning concoction of Coco Butter and Iodine and hang out at the UC Berkeley pool in Strawberry Canyon and troll for the ladies.

Quite successful I must admit.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Sep 15, 2012 - 08:03pm PT
Big G's being dragged down by the weight of his Big Nuts!!!

Or the shat in his tidy whities, one.
Fossil climber

Trad climber
Atlin, B. C.
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 15, 2012 - 09:51pm PT
Damn, that's one saggy Tyrolean! Must have been an awful pull up the other end. Today, of course, someone would slack line it. And Guido is so right - I know of two others besides Wilson that got hauled under by a "safety rope". One of 'em above Bridalveil.

Hey, no more reminiscences of Harding?

I'll add one more. When I was leading the Pancake Flake with pitons (no chocks then) each new pin loosened the loaded one, and the grating and pivoting of the one I was standing in was mildly upsetting. But Harding said, "Hey, no worries. If you zipper you won't bounce off anything. Except maybe me."
rrider

climber
Mckinleyville, Ca
Sep 15, 2012 - 10:02pm PT
today "they"'d probably zip-line a tyrolean, heh.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Sep 15, 2012 - 10:12pm PT
Cool stuff. I can't add anything, but I can sit here and hope for more!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Sep 15, 2012 - 10:16pm PT
It was an old piece of sh#t Goldline that had been there for years, who placed it?

Park Rat

Social climber
CA, UT,CT,FL
Sep 16, 2012 - 01:09pm PT
Hi Wayne,

I am surprised your post has not received more response, it may be because it's the weekend.

I expect you will be inundated by requests for more stories of your time with Warren Harding.

Your first-hand knowledge of those first ascents of the big walls are priceless.

You may think of yourself as a fossil, in fact you are more of the Sage, in my opinion.

I have often wondered if you had any pictures from that period of time that we have not seen.

The other question that has plagued me is why Harding was not more of a solo climber.

Somewhere, I got the impression that he had a bad experience which led him to always having a climbing partner with him. I don't know if you told me this or I learned it somewhere else.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

All the best from sunny Florida.

Susie
Messages 1 - 20 of total 53 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Route Beta