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

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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 20, 2010 - 08:20pm PT
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I would like to give thanks to our very own Jello for being so bold and far-sighted and to Jim Phillips for sending this ultra classic and ground breaking December 11, 1978 copy of Sports Illustrated my way. William Oscar Johnson did a fine job of portraying the subject.

























Happy Holidays Everyone!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 20, 2010 - 08:24pm PT
Wonderful Steve! I hadn't seen this! Thanks!
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Nov 20, 2010 - 08:28pm PT
Great stuff Steve!
murcy

climber
sanfrancisco
Nov 20, 2010 - 08:34pm PT
Amazing.

Thanks for yet another big value-added post, Steve!
Stewart Johnson

climber
yo mama
Nov 20, 2010 - 08:37pm PT
jello, master of ice.
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Nov 20, 2010 - 08:44pm PT
Remember looking at and reading this back in Wisconsin during my Junior year of High School.. Jello's a hero!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Nov 20, 2010 - 09:00pm PT
Great blast from the past-thanks Steve and especially thanks to Mr Jelloman.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
Nov 20, 2010 - 09:07pm PT
Jeff, have a good Thanksgiving. Quite the bar you place in our sport...

Thanks
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Nov 20, 2010 - 09:10pm PT
That article made me imagine how cool ice climbing would be compared to going to high school. So I gathered up some camping gear and axes and stuff and hitched Friday night to Squamish in '79 because Shannon Falls had froze.

The place was lousy with wool knickers, Salewa crampons and beards brandishing MSR pointy things. I didn't climb the stern falls that time but slashed at more modest goals.

Fell off ice bouldering at the laughing feet of Don Serl, sprayed loud about a cute girl named Heidi who ice climbed without knowing her father sat across the table looking bemused at me. Was ushered, under aged into the tacky red chintz room of the Chieftain Hotel Bar for the first of many times and handed a beer by the HARD CORE.

Slept out in the cold in a sleeping bag under frost bitten stars. Admonished for sleeping at my desk Monday morning by Mr Chave the English teacher. It didn't seem to matter after that.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 21, 2010 - 12:04pm PT
Great story Jim!

I wonder how many others were given a shove by this piece to get after that frozen stuff?!?
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
Nov 21, 2010 - 01:32pm PT
What a great article! Thanks for posting..
Jeff is the man! and a super cool guy as well!
Kurt
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Nov 21, 2010 - 01:33pm PT

Bump for Jello--he's quite the fellow!!!!!!
AKTrad

Mountain climber
AK
Nov 21, 2010 - 01:57pm PT
Fantastic! Love those Hummingbirds and Chouinard rigid crampons.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
WA, & NC & Idaho
Nov 21, 2010 - 01:57pm PT
Awesome Steve, thanks.

Jello is a visionary!
RDB

Social climber
way out there
Nov 21, 2010 - 02:15pm PT
Big push by Jello here as well. I'd tip my helmet...oh, but we didn't wear helmets did we? I'll lift a glass next round to you Jeff.
Rigid SMCs btw...Chouinards were already long out of favor..as they would generally break.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Nov 21, 2010 - 05:16pm PT
Jello Rocks!!

What a bold dude that Jello.

Love the classic gear. Too "cool"!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 21, 2010 - 05:49pm PT
Nice reminder of how far ahead of everyone else Jeff was.
#310

Social climber
Telluride, CO
Nov 21, 2010 - 09:39pm PT
Yes, Jello was visionary with the Bridal Veil Falls climb in 1978. This climb was also the beginning of the love/hate affair between the Idarado Mining Company and ice climbers. By the fall of 1979 it was illegal to climb Bridal Veil. Legality and illegality and access has yo-yo-ed back and forth ever since.

Eric Jacobson leased the the Bridal Veil Power Plant from Idarado for a number of years and was fairly open to ice climbing that that did not end up on his deck or went up the "wrong" part of the falls. (Note: Eric also has a hydro power lease on some of the water/pipeline that is part of the Ouray Ice Park and has been pro ice climbing there). Idarado canceled Eric's Bridal Veil lease a few months ago. Time will tell if Idarado tries to shut down Bridal Veil Falls ice climbing now that they have total control again.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Nov 21, 2010 - 09:53pm PT
#310,

We're only here for a while and things will always change. So what is your point ?
Leggs

Sport climber
California originally, Old Pueblo presently..
Nov 21, 2010 - 10:07pm PT
Fantastic post, Steve... Thanks for sharing!
#310

Social climber
Telluride, CO
Nov 21, 2010 - 10:10pm PT
Climbers and the Access Fund watch how things change or don't change with Idarado back in 100% control. We might need to work to keep Bridal Veil open to climbing.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Nov 21, 2010 - 10:17pm PT
#310,

So has anything changed with Idarado back in control ? Bridalveil is iconic and beautiful. My knuckles and capillaries can't take much more ice climbing but for some things there are exceptions.

Jim
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Nov 21, 2010 - 10:30pm PT
It is always amazing to me to see a good climbing story in Sports Illustrated!

Thanks for posting and the great scans Steve!

Jello! Woohoo!

It must have been strange to be written up in S.I.

#310

Social climber
Telluride, CO
Nov 21, 2010 - 10:34pm PT
I don't know of any changes about access from Idarado yet... I do not trust Idarado on any issues. Idarado could wait awhile before making some access change or they could be cool with ice climbing forever.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Nov 21, 2010 - 10:35pm PT
Jello is also responsible for The Ice Experience, a book that took one from "this is a crampon strap" to "This is Mt. Hunter"!

I wish I still had my copy, I know it's somewhere close...

Thanks Jeff !
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 21, 2010 - 10:44pm PT
hey there say, steve.... wow, thanks for the neat and really wonderful jello share.... great 'dissert' for this soon to be, winter season...

god bless..
:)


cheers for jello...
:)
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Nov 21, 2010 - 10:49pm PT
1978 was an interesting year for me. Taught ice climbing all winter and capped the season with the Bridalveil solo. Definitely felt solid on that climb and in the 4 years since the first ascent I'd done so much steep waterfall ice that I was already beginning to lose interest in yet more first ascents in that idiom.

However, waterice skills added to alpine and mixed skills gained on new routes in the Canadian Rockies - big wall skills from Yosemite, Zion, the Wind Rivers, etc in the late 60's/early 70's - long free routes in the Black Canyon, Wind Rivers, Sierra and Canada and I was ready to head to the Himalaya and try some really big stuff in good style.

In early June Donini, Kennedy, George and I headed to Latok. That climb was the launching pad for a fifteen year search for the ultimate climb. During that time there were some real successes: South Face of Ama Dablam, solo first ascent; North Face of Kwangde with Breashears (an application of water ice techniques in the Himalaya); solo winter ascent of the French Spur on Pumori: the NW Ridge of Kangtega with Frost, Hargreaves and Dr Doom; one of my very best climbs, the NE Face of Tawoche, with Roskelley; a free climb of Trango Tower with Catherine Destivelle. Together with hundreds of second-tier classics in North and South America, the Alps and Asia.

But I knew we were trying hard enough objectives, too, because for every few successes, there was a failure. Latok, of course, was a success in every way except for a summit; Skyang Kangri with Kennedy was a good effort, too, with no summit; twice with Twight on Nuptse's South Pillar saw us up the most technical stuff, but still 1,000 meters below the summit; a second effort on Latok with Catherine was halted by too much snow and my torn miniscuss. And my biggest dream - alone on the West Face of Makalu, with its' gleaming white polished granite headwall looming like the NA Wall above 6,000' of burnished ice - buried in 1993 in a spindrift avalanche before I had even touched the blond headstone of the peak.

I didn't know it at the time, but that attempt on Makalu was to be my last try at something standard-setting in the great ranges. After Makalu I spent the rest of the 90's passing on the knowledge I'd gained (with the exception of a burst of interest in furthering the technical limits of mixed rock and ice). In the year 2000, at the age of 50, I planned a return to the big mountains via Meru Shark's Fin with Pete Takeda and Dave Sheldon...

I was both relieved and frustrated when shortly before departure for reasons I still don't fully understand, I was dissinvited from the trip. Relieved because I had begun to experience the symptoms of the degenerative neurological condition that has finally left me in a wheelchair, and frustrated because I felt still capable of pushing hard enough with Pete and Dave to complete one final beautiful objective.

From the perspective of 60 years and another decade, however, I'm thankful and completely satisfied for all the wonderful partners, amazing climbs and enlightenning experiences that have been mine through this life of climb. The Taco Stand and all you Taco Heads are a continuation of a path of learning from which I wouldn't remove a boulder or a pebble. Walking along with you folks in this new cyber-world you rub my nose on the mossy bark of evergreens and reveal the golden dawn as seen from a thousand bivouacs.

I love the Taco Tribe!

-Jello
wack-N-dangle

Gym climber
the ground up
Nov 21, 2010 - 10:57pm PT
Jello bump ...

Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Nov 22, 2010 - 12:00am PT
I know I have that Ama Dablam South face article some where in some obscure mag in storage. The point is what the photo says. " I'm tightening my boots and looking you in the eye"...
Pate

Trad climber
Nov 22, 2010 - 12:07am PT
Great post Steve. I pulled this issue out of my dad's collection when I was a kid, inspiring to an 8 year old with big dreams.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Nov 22, 2010 - 12:31am PT

Donini--WAS????????????

hee hee hee. . .
Bump it again for Jello.
Yay Jeff!!!!
schwortz

Social climber
"close to everything = not at anything", ca
Nov 22, 2010 - 01:30am PT
another bump for mello(w) jello
Conrad

climber
Nov 22, 2010 - 01:14pm PT
"Stay calm", the mind instructs the body. Vision becomes acute, time slows down until there is plenty..."

Classic.

Thanks Steve for posting. Thanks Jeff for the motivation.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 22, 2010 - 05:33pm PT
Original equipment on this climb along with hinged SMC crampons!







The Chouinard Zero Northwall hammer came out in 76 so this one should be close. The other tool is an early Lowe Alpine System Hummingbird hammer featuring the thinnest of tubes.
Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Nov 22, 2010 - 05:59pm PT
Supercool!!! I remember that article, cheers!:)
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 22, 2010 - 06:40pm PT
In early '77 Scott Fischer was soloing on the waterfall in Utah with a brand new Hummingbird like that, fell over 100' (I think Jeff was there), and stuck the tube pick through his leg,

He had to explain the teeth to the doctor, and they hacksawed off the pick and drove it through.

I'd say we're better off rock climbing, but I don't want to tempt fate. With my luck I'd show up with a large cam inserted in me,..
RDB

Social climber
wa
Nov 22, 2010 - 11:49pm PT
"Original equipment on this climb along with hinged SMC crampons!"

Steve you should drop the vino and step away amigo!

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.

Either way it wasn't the arrow, it was the Indian on this one :)
gf

climber
Nov 23, 2010 - 12:28am PT
Jeff,

Hell of a post. Your historical gem is one of the reasons I lurk the Taco with an occasional comment. Thanks so much for sharing with us.
gf
philo

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Nov 23, 2010 - 10:12am PT
From the perspective of 60 years and another decade, however, I'm thankful and completely satisfied for all the wonderful partners, amazing climbs and enlightenning experiences that have been mine through this life of climb. The Taco Stand and all you Taco Heads are a continuation of a path of learning from which I wouldn't remove a boulder or a pebble. Walking along with you folks in this new cyber-world you rub my nose on the mossy bark of evergreens and reveal the golden dawn as seen from a thousand bivouacs.

I love the Taco Tribe!

-Jello


Wow! That is powerful. Thank you Jeff for everything. You have always been one of the shinning inspirations in my lexicon of heros.
Pate

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
Jobee

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.





BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
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!
TwistedCrank

climber
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.
Plaidman

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:
http://www.sicovers.com/product.aspx?pid=1557&p=SPR19781211&utm_source=sivault&utm_medium=showcover&utm_campain=icrefer&xid=sivcover
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:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1094430/index.htm
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?!?
Jello

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.

-JelloVeil
10b4me

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

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!
Barcus

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

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

Marcus
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

climber
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.
Barcus

Social climber
San Luis Obispo, Ca.
May 16, 2011 - 02:28pm PT
Bump!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 17, 2012 - 10:03pm PT
Bump to go with BMcC and Ed's TRs!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 31, 2013 - 01:19pm PT
May I please have another Sir!
RyanD

climber
Squamish
Aug 31, 2013 - 02:09pm PT
Mega, mega thread!

Thx Steve!
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Aug 31, 2013 - 08:05pm PT
I remember when they climbed that and the pics came out. I was in high school and Jello was my hero.

Got me climbing, so thanks.
More Air

Trad climber
S.L.C.
Sep 1, 2013 - 04:03pm PT
In 1979 Rick Wyatt and I arrived in Telluride to attempt Bridal Veil falls.
That morning we ran into Greg Lowe, David Breashears and Henry Barber. We were told that fixed ropes were on the falls and that Jeff Lowe was being filmed there. They said we couldn't do the climb...we were just a couple of young scrappy unknowns. Breashears, sensing our disappointment, quickly recommended another climb for us to do...Ames Ice Hose. Although being thinner than on the first ascent, we managed the first 2 pitches, thanks to Rick. Satisfied, we left for home (Salt Lake City) vowing to return.

A month later, we were back. That night, we slept on the ground, at a pull out, just outside of Telluride. In fat conditions we made the climb. During our ascent I noticed the ropes of the film crew, frozen deep into the ice. Twice, I was able to clip into these ropes and use them for protection. Much better than the old screws we were using....I guess our ascent was aided a bit! Jeff was the one we looked up to.
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Sep 1, 2013 - 05:12pm PT
back when shitt wasn't played-out
real
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 15, 2014 - 06:08pm PT
Classic early Jello Bump...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - May 25, 2015 - 09:12am PT
Jello will always be my hero!
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 25, 2015 - 10:24am PT
I moved to Telluride in the late fall of '77 at the age of 23. Heard about Jeffs climb in the bar that night. I was a climber of sorts... Yosemite rock and Pac Northwest alpine ice, but had never been on waterfall ice. That winter we made a few excursions to try it out but my shitty tools (Forrest verglass axe and Molnar hammer) only succeeded in blowing out huge dinnerplates which either cut your face, smashed your knuckles or washed out your front points. Plus my dauchstein mits and single boots lead to screaming meanies. ha And I was working for minimum wage running lifts so my budget only barely covered my new skis, no funds for better ice tools. Still have the molnar and my ridgid SMCs stuffed somewhere in my closet.
Anyway never got proficient on ice in that era. Came back to it 10 years ago or so with modern tools and wow.... whole new game. Even girls can do it now. :)
johntp

Trad climber
socal
May 25, 2015 - 12:39pm PT
^ +1 Tami
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 25, 2015 - 10:50pm PT
Tami you misunderstand, I'm not talking about those burly Canadian girls... I was referring to myself...otherwise identified as a girly-boy. lol

But I know when the chicks (thats a seventies word) really get into ice climbing Black Diamond will come out with a pink colored fusion ice tool. ha
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 23, 2016 - 12:06pm PT
Midwinter bump for the ladies...and gents.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 17, 2016 - 12:11pm PT
Bump for the icy greatness of winter climbing.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 4, 2017 - 06:32pm PT
Tis the season yet again...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 23, 2018 - 08:55am PT
Jello memorial bump...
BeeTee

Social climber
Valdez Alaska
Sep 23, 2018 - 10:43am PT
Great post.....yup...no helmet....I was ice climbing back then...was parked at the trailhead to bridal veil in my 73 comet wagon...woke up in the morning to the whole ABC camera crew showing up and we'll......that's how we ended up heading over to a cool looking climb ...with Mc Guinness terrodactlys and salewa ice screws doing what probably was the second ascent of the Ames ice hose.....The Lowe clan though we weren't too keen on there movie star style they sure knew how to work it and no first accent was safe with them around......chating with Jeff decades later though I learn to appreciate his down to earth style and inspiration....his positivity was a big part of his legacy...much respect!....much respect to the boys from Utah ...they sure took it to another level!
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