History - Harding and.....?

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the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Sep 16, 2012 - 01:26pm PT
Thanks for starting this thread and the stories in the original post.

Folks have been sharing their stories here for over a decade so the usual suspects may be somewhat tapped out for new material.

As others have mentioned we'd love to hear more from you! Whether the story includes Batso or not.
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Sep 16, 2012 - 01:52pm PT
Park Rat / Susie wrote, "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 recall reading that Harding (free?) soloed the vast NE face of Lone Pine Peak around '54 (?) and it was dicey.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 16, 2012 - 01:55pm PT
Ron, your B theory is probably right. Besides, who wants to read about my
failed attempt to drink the legend under the table? That would merely put me in
a long line of pretenders.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Sep 16, 2012 - 02:03pm PT
That's a great OP Wayne!

Please keep it coming.....

Tussle thee forth with the keyboard.
Fossil climber

Trad climber
Atlin, B. C.
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 16, 2012 - 03:13pm PT
Park Rat - I suspect he did little soloing because many of us at the time got started with Sierra Club Rock Climbing section practice sessions, which were notably conservative. This wasn't a hell of a lot past the age when the dictum was "The Leader Shall Not Fall!" And climbers were encouraged to be conservative. Soloing was an ultimate no-no.

When we are experiencing something for the first time, those early directives get pretty well embedded - especially if they are delivered by the reigning authorities.

Free climbing techniques were pretty primitive at the time, too. And the shoes were ridiculous.

Of course, some of his routes later were anything but conservative, but they were usually protected.

That's just a guess. We never discussed it that I can recall. But then some of those discussions couldn't be recalled next morning. Maybe one of his other partners has an answer. Anybody?
Swifter

Social climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 28, 2012 - 06:18pm PT
Snake &#40;L&#41; and WJH enroute to Promulgated.
Snake (L) and WJH enroute to Promulgated.
Credit: Swifter
Swifter

Social climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 28, 2012 - 06:21pm PT
WJH on Promulgated Pinnacle. Note that though the horizon tilts one wa...
WJH on Promulgated Pinnacle. Note that though the horizon tilts one way and rocks the other, WJH is still vertical!
Credit: Swifter
Swifter

Social climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Nov 28, 2012 - 06:26pm PT
Ron-

Is it possible that you meant John (not Jim) Ohrenschall? WJH really admired O's tenacity in climbing the NW ridge of Mt. Williamson.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Nov 28, 2012 - 08:28pm PT
Swifter, are you Bob Swift ?
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Nov 28, 2012 - 10:12pm PT
Warren Harding gave a slide presentation in Vancouver in the early - mid 80's. Some of my friends managed to get BAT T-shirts out of him at the bar after the show.

I was a little late for the boozing and Warren was settled in. so I asked him anyways, if there were any more shirts available?

He looked up and said, "F*#k off"...

HAHAHAHA ! ! !

LilaBiene

Trad climber
Nov 28, 2012 - 10:27pm PT
Hi Wayne!

How about some tidbits from the post-attempt round-table discussions over coffee with Warren, et al.? Oh, to have been a fly on the wall for those... What were the dynamics like between the...er...personalities? :D Were there any particular discussions that stick out in your memory?

Really wonderful having the honor of meeting you at Oakdale!

Audrey
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 28, 2012 - 10:35pm PT
Swifter, are you Bob Swift ?
Yes, he is.

What I want to know - who killed the snake?
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Nov 29, 2012 - 12:28am PT
What's the Merry Old Ledge on the Three Brothers? I've always been curious about routes up the westish side of those.

Harding routes often end up as classics.
Fossil climber

Trad climber
Atlin, B. C.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 29, 2012 - 02:38pm PT
Audrey -

There were surprisingly few post-attempt planning sessions. We'd drive frantically up to the Valley on Friday night, thrash ineffectually around on the wall for a couple of days, and drive frantically back to work and college when we got down, somehow managing to survive the drive. My classes still suffered, and I imagine Dick's did too. There were a few planning letters that went back and forth. I might just possibly have some stuck away in some box in the attic. Will post if I find any. I know I've got some B&W negatives too but can't find 'em.

Personalities got along very well. I remember you asked about some possible friction, but I don't remember any. Maybe I missed it

The most spirited discussion I can recall was in the summer of '57, having coffee at the "Greasy Spoon" in old Curry Village, which was near the chapel. Harding, Dolt, Powell, me. (I couldn't climb much that summer, being a seasonal naturalist.) We were discussing the route. Harding was set on the Nose. I thought the Salathe was far more beautiful. We got out a few times and glassed the routes, felt either could possibly go, though the idea of being up there was mildly terrifying. Anyway, WH being the spiritual (or should I say spirituous) leader, had his way.

Audrey, I'm the one honored to meet you. You brought unprecedented warmth and humanity to the Taco and touched everybody. Thanks.
Branscomb

Trad climber
Lander, WY
Nov 29, 2012 - 02:47pm PT
Wayne: Good to see you on here. I remember watching Harding nail up Taurus on Sugarloaf Rock back when I was starting to climb in the early 70s. He was having a great time of it and was certainly most efficient at it.

Kristi and Juniper are well. Juniper is a senior this year. Can you believe that?

Say hello to Cindy for us all and stay well......Bob Branscomb
Jebus H Bomz

climber
Reno, Nuh VAAAA duh
Nov 29, 2012 - 02:57pm PT
Wayne: Good to see you on here. I remember watching Harding nail up Taurus on Sugarloaf Rock back when I was starting to climb in the early 70s. He was having a great time of it and was certainly most efficient at it.


Nailed up Taurus? I guess I don't spot pin scars very well. That is a wonderful climb. I've led Taurus but not Harding's Chimney at Sugarloaf (only followed that first pitch - scary!). So, I'm scared of his chimneys, and freeing his nail ups! It's like we evolved in one area only to find we woke up with a tail.

I love the rivalry between he and Robbins that resulted in Fat Merchant Crack at Sugarloaf. It really sums up heated rivalry that leads to better climbing, and was a debate done in a tasteful, clever manner to boot.

I'm looking at ticking off Peter Croft's "Big Four" Sierra climbs, I've already done two. Only thing is, the two left on the list are both Harding routes and notorious for having the wide. With a little practice and prudent use of adult diapers, I just may be able to do it though. Of course, I bet depends were considered aid back in his day ;).
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Nov 29, 2012 - 03:49pm PT
1969 Firefall Face, Glacier Point, Yosemite Valley, CA, with Galen Rowell.
[edit]1970s

Ron, the FA was over Labor Day weekend in 1969. I was in the Valley then and watched them from Stoneman Meadow.

Also regarding the Worst Error. When I was President of the UC Hiking Club in 1972-73, I came across some archives including quite a bit from or about Chuck Pratt. One item, unattributed, was a graph in the shape of the positive side of a parabola. The X-axis was labeled "Height," and the y-axis labeled "Difficulty." The graph was titled "The Worst Error."

Since I know Pratt and Fitschen made the first free ascent, I wonder if this was Chuck's handiwork.

John
BBA

climber
OF
Nov 29, 2012 - 06:38pm PT
Hi Wayne - Just thought I'd check in and let you know how much I appreciated your help getting my climbing partner down from Sunnyside Bench after the rattler bite. Bill Amborn
Fossil climber

Trad climber
Atlin, B. C.
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 29, 2012 - 09:05pm PT
Hey Bill -

That was a LONG time ago! How did he make out in the long run? I heard he just lost some tissue from that finger.

At the time, the first aid was ligature and spray with ethyl chloride to cool it. Between that and your dull knife, we may have done more harm than good!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Nov 29, 2012 - 09:39pm PT
On the first ascent of the Firefall Wall I had promised the boys I would rap off Glacier Point and get some photos. I kind of lost track of their progress and had to jam down a quick meal at the good old Hanging Judge Ottonello's house, drive like a maniac, aka Rowell, to the rim and rap off for some cool photos. Dam near got a classic case of indigestion with all the rush.
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