Warren Harding’s Outrageous First Ascents of The Nose and The Dawn Wall

Warren Harding a singular man who marked his time. Harding was the relentless visionary who first climbed El Capitan, the thousand-meter granite monster in Yosemite, at the head of a team of climbers who were among the best at the time: it was in 1957, and the trio led by Harding took a total of 47 days (!) to climb what would become the iconic route of El Cap, the Nose. In 1970, Warren Harding continued to whistle red wine and to be one of the loudmouths at the mythical Camp 4 campsite, but that didn’t stop him from embarking on his last project on El Cap: he spent 28 days opening The Wall of the Early Morning Light, which would become Tommy Caldwell’s obsession in free climbing four decades later, a route renamed The Dawn Wall.

Warren Harding was criticized by his peers like Royal Robbins for planting too many expansion pitons, and probably screwed up the ethics of his openings – like the Wall of the Early Morning Light. He remains, however, the one who successfully challenged El Capitan with rudimentary techniques and boldness.

The video is taken from Valley Uprising, THE Reel Rock film about the golden age of Yosemite