Jeff Lowe Solos Bridalveil Fall W.O,Johnson Sports Illust 78


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Trad climber
Nov 23, 2010 - 11:38am PT
Nice shots of the tools Steve. I just glanced sideways at my Cobras hanging on the wall.............I feel shame.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 23, 2010 - 12:42pm PT
Yeah, it ain't the tools...its the carpenter!

Better quizz Jello on that "hinged crampon" statement. Photos show other wise. And looks like two bamboo tools on the climb Humingbird stuff in the swami.

Photo's from the climb look like those Chouinard/Salewa ridged crampons. Seems like there was a thinner/earlier version that busted pretty easily (might be the ones in the photo). I remember a partner braggin' about gettin' a pair cheap at a swap and then having them break when we soloed the Blue Gully (Pine Creek MT) together. A bit of an anxious moment for me 'cause I was in the lead then at the rap station, hoping he'd make it up with the rope he was trailing. I was reaonably new at climbing back then (early 80's) so the prospect of down climbing the darn thing was a bit stressful. Too funny.

In some photo's on the pack for instance, they look like SMC hinged.

Probably a Chouinard Zero axe too? Or a C-F?

Great topic, Steve and GREAT post Jeff!

-Brian in SLC

Social climber
El Portal Ca.
Nov 23, 2010 - 02:45pm PT
"it ain't the tools, it's the carpenter"

quote of the day Brian!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 24, 2010 - 09:27pm PT
I was certainly mistaken about the "hinged" comment except on the closeup photo.


Trad climber
Nov 25, 2010 - 04:25am PT
Steve - thanks for posting this. One of my brothers gave me a copy of the article shortly before my 1st ice climb - I could hardly wait to get on the ice after reading it (even though I don't remember having seen those great color pictures). And I still refer to Jeff's The Ice Experience (1979) and several of his videos.

Jeff - THANKs so very much for the inspiration, gear innovations, articles, books, movies, the Ouray Ice Festival, and all you've done for climbers and climbing over the years!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2010 - 11:42am PT
Give us this day our bump of Jello!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Dec 2, 2010 - 12:14pm PT
Wow super inspiring. I would love to just do Briedal Veil with all the new sharp pointy things some day let alone solo it. Is that weird round thing next to the ice axe some sort of pipe?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2010 - 12:25pm PT
The head on the early Hummingbird hammer is machined from solid round stock so that it has enough weight to perform properly. A cast head and selection of interchangeable picks was still a few years off!

Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom
Dec 2, 2010 - 01:02pm PT
That article was one of the reasons I started to get serious about climbing. My subscription to Sports Illustrated lost meaning to me afterwards.

I recall soloing some of the trickles in June Lake on my 21st birthday in 1981 and recalling that piece and how it gave me inspiration.

Thanks Jello for some truely fine adventures I had when I was young and eager.

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Dec 2, 2010 - 01:40pm PT
You can buy a reproduction of the cover to the SI issue at:
They don't have an option for a solid gold frame. This is a classic shot!

SI also has an archive of the article on their site at:
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2010 - 01:44pm PT
Who needs a solid gold frame when you have a solid gold heart?!?

Social climber
No Ut
Dec 3, 2010 - 12:28am PT
You guys seem to have sorted out the technical equipment issues in my absence just fine! ST (and guys like RDB and Steve G) is a veritable dictionary of knowledge of such things.

Regarding the comments from those who were inspired, I can only say I'm innocent of any ideas that the old visions of alpine sugarplums that danced in my head in those days would resonate with you simply weren't within my cognisance. I am happy though, to read your stories.


Ice climber
Happy Boulders
Dec 3, 2010 - 12:31am PT
Jello was way head of his time

Mountain climber
Bay Area
Dec 3, 2010 - 02:17am PT
those tools look prehistoric. what's it like to stick a tube pick?

speaking of tools, was the Black Prophet the state of the art circa early 1990s?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 2, 2011 - 03:52pm PT
Looks like that covershot was just too good to see only one cover!

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 15, 2011 - 06:10pm PT
Heroic Jello Bump!

Social climber
San Luis Obispo, Ca.
May 15, 2011 - 06:25pm PT

Steve, you are on a roll!
Thank you x 10
Keep bumpin!

Evil too!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 15, 2011 - 07:14pm PT
Check out some of the threads on page four...
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 16, 2011 - 11:03am PT
Maybe Jello will tell the Scott Fischer story,..
steve shea

May 16, 2011 - 12:35pm PT
I remember Hummingbirds, very innovative tool. We had been using whatever was available and news traveled fast in those days. The tube pick seemed like a no brainer. We had been using Lowe Drive Ins and a variety of other ice gear and the drive in was everyone's favorite for strenuous steep leads cause they went in so fast from the elbow hang. But no one had fallen on one so we took it for granted that they would hold. You drove them in and screwed them out. Any way we were all excited to get some tube picks. I got some early ones from Jeff or Greg, can't remember who. They performed as advertised, incredibly easy to place in plastic, wet or brittle ice. The only shortcoming was that they would load and be very difficult to clean in certain conditions but most of the time worked well. We eventually found though that the tube would dent or deform if you hit a rock and make it more difficult to place, they were not good for mixed so most of us went back to blades. Terrors. Also the only injury I ever had ice climbing was when I decked after a tube pick broke. That was doing some 3rd classing at the RR tracks in Aspen. Went about 20'. Also access to Bridalveil back in the day was easy. It was a roadside attraction cause you could drive right to the base. Gordon Smith and I did it in 76', I think. We used blades and found it very sporting.
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