Cerro Torre-FA Alpine Style Brewer & Bridwell Climbing 1980

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 7, 2009 - 12:42am PT
A classic account of the first alpine style ascent of Cerro Torre by Steve Brewer and Jim Bridwell from Climbing Jan/Feb 1980. The culmination of an amazing series of attempts on this most enigmatic of summits. A major highpoint for the Bird.





gunsmoke

Trad climber
Clackamas, Oregon
Dec 7, 2009 - 12:49am PT
This was probably the Bird's greatest climb. They were, perhaps, only the second team to actually stand on the summit.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 7, 2009 - 12:52am PT
FA means first ascent...
slabbo

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Dec 7, 2009 - 09:18am PT
I was introduced to Bridwell by Al Rubin while he was doing the slide show thing for this climb and a route in the Kichatnas with the late Dr Embick. It was totally cool meeting him , especially since the Birds hair at the time was as he decribed "disco".
Was this really 30 years ago ?????

john
Slabby D

Trad climber
B'ham WA
Dec 7, 2009 - 12:10pm PT
15 pitons, 15 nuts

It amazes me, the rack climbers use to find completely adequate. What do people need now? Probably 20 nuts and 20 cams?
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Dec 7, 2009 - 12:14pm PT
Yeah, what do you mean Gunsmoke? They stood on virgin snow. There is no doubt.

You are right though. It was at least, one of his greatest climbs, from my armchair point of view.

Arne
TwistedCrank

climber
Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom
Dec 7, 2009 - 12:53pm PT
The Bird changes the game.

How many times did that happen?
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Dec 7, 2009 - 01:03pm PT
this tale is told so simply that you have to use some imagination to fully comprehend what actually went down. they banged off what was at the time the world's most inaccesible summit in a couple of days using a skeleton rack of borrowed equipment. they'd just met. they descended in epic conditions. the whole thing is still a little mind-blowing to me, 30 years later.
WBraun

climber
Dec 7, 2009 - 01:11pm PT
As I remember Brewer gave Jim hepatitis, Jim didn't know that Brewer had it until he got it.

The whole way up there, they're sharing water bottles and food.

When we were in Africa a lot of the local natives where we were had tuberculosis. So we all kept our water bottles away from them.

One day we come back to camp and one of the sherpas is drinking out of Bridwell's water bottle and a moment later we turn and see Jim chugging out of his bottle. We yell over at him that the sherpa just contaminated his water.

He spews all the water out and hucks the bottle off into the desert and starts to go raving mad while we watch and laugh our ass off.
TwistedCrank

climber
Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom
Dec 8, 2009 - 05:50am PT
Someone once told me it was John Bacher and Mike Graham . That was many moons ago. At least for Bacher that seemed really out of character so I've always been dubious of that report.
norm larson

climber
wilson, wyoming
Dec 8, 2009 - 07:17am PT
Though an obvious momentous ascent of the Torre and not to deny there accomplishment in any way this was NOT the first ascent of Cerro Torre. It had been climbed twice before from the west face.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Dec 8, 2009 - 09:03am PT
Right you are Norm, and you were supporting the team (Bragg, Wilson, Carmen) that did the second, and first alpine style, ascent of Cerro Torre.

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 8, 2009 - 11:37am PT
Thanks for the clarification. Who did the actual FA via the West Face then and how did they go about it?
WBraun

climber
Dec 8, 2009 - 11:40am PT
Someone once told me it was John Bacher and Mike Graham


They originally went with Bridwell, and a series of events unfolded where they returned to the states and Bridwell was left to find another partner.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Dec 8, 2009 - 11:43am PT
OK, maybe i goofed. My armchair memory suffers. I'm going to have to back and re-read the history again. Alpinist had a great issue

Arne
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 8, 2009 - 12:23pm PT
The best part about these historical threads is the knowledgeable contributions by those STers that were directly involved in the events under discussion or know the particulars.

GunSmith wasn't entirely accurate either.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Dec 8, 2009 - 01:01pm PT
Yeah, but still sorry, Gunsmoke.
gunsmoke

Trad climber
Clackamas, Oregon
Dec 8, 2009 - 01:43pm PT
ionlyski, no prob. As Grossman alludes to, Supertopo has an incredible wealth of collective, first-hand knowledge which gives us all more latitude to say it how we remember it.
slabbo

Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Dec 8, 2009 - 03:16pm PT
Was not the f/a of the West face by the Lecco Spiders in '74 ?
Jingy

Social climber
Flatland, Ca
Dec 8, 2009 - 03:40pm PT
Wonder if that coupon is still redeemable....

I'd like to be able to climb inverted/overhung roof cracks like a machine!!!!

(like the guy in the pic on the coupon!!!)
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