looking for climbers who knew Jon Bowlin

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Messages 1 - 18 of total 18 in this topic
elrod

Social climber
tn
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 18, 2010 - 10:11am PT
I saw where Ghoulwe knew Jon Bowlin. I grew up with him and saw him do his first base jump off of an apartment building. He later died jumping off the grand canyon. Does Ghoulwe have any memories or info regarding Jon? Please write here or at my email bobelrod.gfg@juno.com
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Apr 18, 2010 - 10:37am PT
Jon was a very close friend. His passing has never been forgotten by me or the Ghoulwe group. Jon and I were among the pioneers of bungee jumping in the USA.

Jon and I travelled together in the depths of the Copper Canyon in Mexico and did the first bungee jump in the history of Mexico.

Jon also mentored me in BASE jumping back in the '80's.

I remember him as a jokester and great friend. My life is still better to this day because I knew him.

I wish he was still here.
Jay Renneberg
Ghoulwe

Trad climber
Spokane, WA
May 9, 2013 - 01:32pm PT
20 years ago this weekend - I can still see him in my mind like it was yesterday. Jon is still missed by all of us who were his friends. RIP Jon.

Eric Barrett
Spokane WA
Ghoulwe Mountaineering Club
Rick Linkert

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills CA
May 9, 2013 - 02:03pm PT
I met Jon when he was working for a Eupopean vehicle service business in Sacramento. I had a Porsche at the time and my partner recommended him. I was pretty naive and failed to heed the warning "If your mechanic is wearing a Rolex, look out." Seriously he was a great guy and went on to marry a woman who was an attorney in my firm, Sue Hobson. I never did get out climbing with him but we made several attempts - typically a call at 11:00 the night before with an urgent plan to head up to Sugarloaf or the Leap. I can recall several times him being antsy to head down to the huge Wilton microwave tower after work. He admitted that the microwaves heated up the metal buckles on his harness so they were hot to touch. (yow!) I remember him heading out on his last trip. Sue was with him. Terrible - another jumped into his chute and collapsed it as I recall. I went by to see Sue and give my condolences. Still miss the wild gleam in his eye.

Rick
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
May 9, 2013 - 02:18pm PT
Bowlin is a cherished part of my history.

I bungee jumped off the crane on the Wells Fargo building in Sacto then he BASE jumped off it after lowering me to the ground.

It was for Sacramento Magazine. They did a good piece on it.

I have more stories of tomfoolery with that guy than with anybody I have yet to know.


I miss him dearly.

RIP Bowlin.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
May 9, 2013 - 02:37pm PT
Jon and Eric B.
Jon and Eric B.
Credit: Charlie D.
Dave J. and Jon B.
Dave J. and Jon B.
Credit: Charlie D.
Jon Bowlin
Jon Bowlin
Credit: Charlie D.
Jon B. on Eyores Enigma
Jon B. on Eyores Enigma
Credit: Charlie D.
Jon in the Palasades
Jon in the Palasades
Credit: Charlie D.
Jon B.
Jon B.
Credit: Charlie D.
Jon B. topping out on on the V-Notch Palasades
Jon B. topping out on on the V-Notch Palasades
Credit: Charlie D.

I knew Jon from my Tahquitz days when he and Loretta lived out in the desert and climbed often with him and Dave Hampton who I met in Yosemite in the late 60's. I followed Jon north to the Western Slope of El Dorado County in 1974 where I met life long friends and ultimately my wife. To say Jon had a profound effect on my life would be an understatement.

Jon was a great guy, smart, fun loving, witty and always the practical joker. As an example he convinced me that the only way down from the top of Sugarloaf was to rap the Fracture Roof on my first climb there.
We arrived on the ledge below and began to pull down only to find the ropes with so much drag would'nt move. Darkness approached and we moved out toward the very edge with all three of us hanging and they started to move down. We finished the rap with burnt ropes from the friction having been twisted over each other.

I have many more stories yet few photos of our great friend. Forget the photos of rocks, ice, mountains and rivers, there'll be here long after we've turned into old men or gone entirely. I wish with so many of my old friends I had recorded more of our days in the sun.......miss you buddy RIP Jon Bowlin.

Berg Heil,

Charlie D.
Dave Johnson

Mountain climber
Sacramento, CA
May 15, 2013 - 08:21pm PT
I performed his wedding ceremony to Susan, then, unfortunately too soon, his eulogy. His BASE accident was not in the actual GC, but a canyon in the region. Charlie D. sums it up well. He's a legend, one of a kind.

A story about Jon related to the term "ghoulwe"...The Ghoulwe Mountaineering Club was formed in 1980 on Mt. Shasta. Some friends & myself were debating the pronunciation of the word "couloir". Some offered that it was really just a steep gully. The 2 words were crossed, drinks were consumed, and the term "ghoulwe" was born. Other climbing friends; Jon, Charlie D., later on Ghoulwe J., etc., eagerly joined the tongue-in-cheek climbing club.

In 1982, I arranged a showing of the movie "El Capitan" at Sacramento State to raise cash for a club trip to Peru. Mark Hudon, a founding member, put on a slide show, too. We sold out the auditorium and I was about to address the audience when Jon pulled me aside, saying he had a speech prepared. Knowing his penchant for practical jokes I was hesitant, but he insisted. In a hushed and reverent speech, Jon spun a tale to the spellbound crowd, telling them the evening was a benefit for the family of David Ghoulwe, lost on a climbing expedition in the Himalaya. He was so convincing, I almost believed the story myself.


survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
May 15, 2013 - 11:14pm PT
Damn fine group of posts there gentlemen.

Jon really sounds like a helluva guy.
JBowlin

Social climber
Sacramento, CA
Sep 17, 2013 - 09:29pm PT
It's great reading these stories about my dad. I've talked to a couple of you over the years, and I recognize/remember a few of you by name. I have a bunch of old photos of the ghoulwes some where around here. I'll have to upload them when I track them down. I've also got quite a few photos from Peru 1971, jirasjanka, and some of the climbing magazines that the climb was featured in. I'll get em up soon.

Joe Bowlin
JBowlin

Social climber
Sacramento, CA
Sep 17, 2013 - 10:15pm PT
Sacramento Magazine shoot
Sacramento Magazine shoot
Credit: JBowlin
1982
1982
Credit: JBowlin
1983 FH Bridge
1983 FH Bridge
Credit: JBowlin
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Sep 18, 2013 - 04:55am PT
maybe i'm mistaken,
and no disrespect intended,
but didn't you jokesters
put up the jon bowlin
memorial route long
before he passed?
Dave Johnson

Mountain climber
Sacramento, CA
Sep 18, 2013 - 08:03am PT
Credit: Dave Johnson

Here's another one from that set, Joe. Love Jon's Hanson boots! Also, I know there is an AAC article or magazine article about his 1971 Jirishanca South Face first-ascent with Dean Caldwell - I remember Jon showing it to me.

Norwegian, no JB memorial climb that I know of, although that would have been in keeping with Jon's sense of humor.
There was/is some memorial climb at Sugarloaf, I believe, unrelated.
Ghoulwe

Trad climber
Spokane, WA
Sep 18, 2013 - 02:55pm PT
Norwegian:

I believe the Jon Bowlin Memorial route at Echo Lakes was put up in good humor by Jon himself, along with Charlie D. and maybe a couple others. I'm guessing there were some good laughs at the time.

Eric
FTOR

Sport climber
CA
Sep 19, 2013 - 10:03am PT
bitd when i was a 20 something mostly beginner had the opportunity to climb some with jon. usually with eric. we did the fa of candyland at the spires together. remember being impressed with this 'old' guy (30's), who could climb as well as or better than any of us. now that i'm closer to 60 wtf...
my memory of jon was that he was one of those super intense guys, driven. don't mean in a bad way, but always on. unfortunately, too few of of those I've known like this are still with us.
i've posted on another thread my adventure with jon when he pulled off jumping ypb and his timely exit from the valley before a suitably pissed ranger corps caught up with him. sadly, that was probably my last contact with jon.
though i hadn't seen his hootowl challenge before, doubt any of us could touch that.
Dave Johnson

Mountain climber
Sacramento, CA
Sep 25, 2013 - 08:58pm PT
Here's one of Jon on a ski ascent/descent of Mt. Tallac, circa '81.

Credit: Dave Johnson
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Sep 26, 2013 - 04:47am PT
^^^ ha great picture of Bowlin, I remember that day well. Dave you'll recall I pulled out 4 barbecued turkey drum sticks on the summit to the surprise of our group. We ate them like barbarians before heading down and setting off a wet spring avalanche.

Eric that day you, Victor and others were at Phantom Spires. That was the first time I met Victor. Bowlin had left a note on your windshield down at Fred's Place (Phantom's early parking area on Highway 50) that the Spires were closed to climbing and that you were trespassing. He signed it Orval Wright.

On the return from Tallac we saw you guys getting back down to the highway, we stopped, had many laughs and perhaps a beer or two. Such fond memories, we miss you buddy.

Charlie D,
Dave Johnson

Mountain climber
Sacramento, CA
Sep 26, 2013 - 06:48am PT
Check out the Hexcel's with anti-vibration devices on the tips, Ramer bindings, skins w/o glue & downhill boots. Actually, a pretty good AT setup considering it was 32 years ago!
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Sep 26, 2013 - 07:34am PT
One more Bowlin story before I get to work.

Mid seventies before moving to Nor Cal I went up to Suicide Rock with a friend of mine from Pacific Beach. My buddy Tom had never climbed before and we headed up some 5.6 route lookers far right on the crag. At the top of the first pitch I see Bowlin and Dave Hampton walking along the base and yell down to say hello.

Jon quickly jumped on the route and free soloed up to our belay. As he was coming up my beginner friend was rather anxious and asked if this kind of thing was normal. I said something to the effect, "don't worry everything will be fine."

Jon reaches the belay notices the concern on my friends face and begins gasping in an overly dramatic demonstration of oxygen deprivation. Standing on the ledge edge he suddenly starts waving his arms in a windmill fashion comically trying to maintain his balance. He pitches off the ledge backyards but grabs the backside of a flake at the last minute as poor Tom looked on in stunned horror, not believing for a second that any of this was staged.

Jon then downclimbs the route smiling to himself and Tom obviously shaken was never seen around Tahquitz or Suicide again. You can't make this s**t up, Bowlin was a classic prankster always looking for weakness and capitalizing on it. Dave perhaps you can descibe the "Cheeto Incident" in your new car?

Charlie D.
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