The Wall of Early Morning Light – November 1970

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In celebration of the 46th anniversary of Warren Harding and Dean Caldwell’s ascent of the Wall of Early Morning Light on El Capitan, we share this interesting press photo from summit day. I have seen versions of this photograph cropped in several different ways but seldom have I seen the whole wide view. I like that the wider angle shows the surreal scene awaiting the climbers who had been relatively isolated on their climb for the last 27 days.

The details of this ascent have been written about from many different points of view and discussed as a travesty and a triumph. I like Harding’s version in the original Downward Bound. I’ve climbed “Mescalito” on this wall and I can guess that the climbing Harding and Caldwell encountered must have been a huge mental undertaking for the guys in 1970. It is steep and sustained and home feels a long way away.

This photo was folded, at one time, by a photographer or editor to crop it for publication. you can see the crease on the front and rear view above.

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