Warren Harding's Hammer

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Warren Harding's Hammer

This hammer fashioned from a modified center punch was used by Warren Harding during the first ascent of the Nose on El Capitan , 1957 and 1958. The handle broke during the climb and it was brought to the base. John Whitmer fashioned a new handle for it out of a local oak sappling and sent it back up to Harding. When the Nose team topped out they threw the hammer off the summit, rather than carrying it down, re-breaking the handle. A gouge can be seen on the head of the hammer caused by the 3,000 foot drop. A new handle was installed and Harding went on to use it on many other climbs.