Throughout history, there exist a number of people who have been known to accomplish extraordinary feats, some that simply defy logic and the abilities of the human body. For others, though, it was a matter of meticulous planning and even bending the rules to help them achieve their goals.
These are the people who have helped move human society forward in one way or another.
These are the people who showed society that with a little bit of brainpower, with a little bit of application, it is possible to achieve anything you set your mind to. And in this group of pioneers is this name, Warren Harding.
Going against the grain.
In this day and age, the mention of the name Yosemite immediately conjures images of a trigger-happy cartoon that has a mustache that gently sweeps the ground, but no. That’s not the Yosemite that’s the subject of our interest.
In this case, the Yosemite is the national park through which the Sierra Nevada mountains passes through. Perhaps its most famous features are the Tunnel View, which is a great pass in between the two peaks of El Capitan and Half Dome.
From the early 1900s all the way into the ’80s, there came a crop of people who were hell-bent on conquering every mountain peak known to man. This group of daredevils was the mountain climbers who put everything on the line to show that man is not limited. Warren Harding was one of them.
A number of mountaineers before him had set eyes on the two peaks and decided that the two would be some of the peaks that man would not set foot on. But Warren Harding had other ideas. And he set out to first conquer Half Dome, then conquer the granite cliff that is El Capitan.
It was physically not going to be easy to do it, then on top of it, he had rivals who wanted the honor of being the first to reach the tops of those beautiful peaks. In 1957, he was handed the defeat that perhaps spurred him into putting more effort into winning.
Royal Robbins, his greatest rival, took to the Half Dome and ascended to its peak even before Warren Harding could get a chance to do so. This was a bitter pill to swallow and what Harding did next is nothing less than legendary.
On the adjacent peak that is El Capitan, Harding devised a plan that would get him to the top.
Many criticized his plan as unsporting but Harding didn’t care. He wanted to win more than anything else. Through a series of fixed ropes, Harding connected his climb to a ground-level supply camp to keep things rolling.
Whether it was his extreme self-confidence or even his pride Harding took to the cliff. For over 18 months, he attempted to scale it, even to the point that a rope snapped and he almost plunged to his death, but he never stopped.
On getting to the top, he was greeted by a throng of reporters and furious park rangers who were hell-bent on arresting him for what they considered to be stupidity, and they had even attempted to rescue him several times before.
This is the portrait of a pioneer who looked at death in the eye and told it; not any time soon.