John Bragg

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Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 15, 2011 - 08:30pm PT


This is John Bragg. Taken July 5, 1975 (with a Nikon F, Kodachrome II) on the first ascent of Call of the Wild at the top of the last pitch. Its on the back of Half Dome. We had a strange experience on the route in that at times we were baking in the uninterrupted alpine sun and nearly suffocating summer heat but then nearly hypothermic immersed in ice-melt from a snowbank up top, as we worked through chimneys and cracks in the upper section of the new route.

In a few months John would be in Patagonia on his first trip down there, accompanied by our very own Jim Donini. J-Do, to some. John being an East Coaster, had his challenges arriving in the Valley in the very early seventies but by 75 had really developed. Transformed into a Valley hardman he had done many awesome FAs and notable ascents with his interest mainly in free climbing. He was bright, private and the bastard was an awesome and limber 6ft 5inches, about; he could stem like no other. I sensed he felt large differences between himself and all others around him in slithery Camp Four but still socialized as best he could as time went by. He knew how to strike a social balance of sorts but I saw that Donini was helpful in bringing him to the fire too; Jim is so skilled with people. John and I both lived solo lives in VW buses. John was or became a devout vegetarian, today lives in New Hampshire I think and still climbs some.

A mid-Summer Camp Four and Fourth of July Weekend was arriving as if it were a dangerous storm. Everyone knew how unpleasant and disgustingly hot the approaching days would be too. I had this plan to escape, running off to do one of my many prospects I had scoped out on the remote back of Half Dome some years earlier and though John and I had never climbed together, he liked the idea as well.

We would be completely untroubled by the 50,000-car per day madness of our national holiday thousands of feet lower and around the corner. In our own Range of Light we put up this interesting free climb with references to Jack London and his actually very dark tale meditating on human nature with its many follies in contrast to the rightness of Nature. While up there, we also tested a few other things and scoped quite a bit of the immense central wall, knowing that someday, there would be routes in many of its regions if parties could organize sufficiently all the natural details that were up there and paths through them.



Fooling around at the bottom of what became Laid to Rest thirtysome years later:


Camp Four Parking Lot early seventies: an early Jardine, Donini and Bragg:



later on in Eldorado, photo by others here:



Wunsch, Bragg, Perch a few years back on the east coast, by other STer:


marv

Mountain climber
Bay Area
Mar 15, 2011 - 08:38pm PT
I have always dug the first ascent of the Egger, and especially the 'Merican ascent of Cerro Torre's west face, a route that I fantasize about climbing yet.

Seriously, the West Face is the route that I most want to do. I would happily retire after climbing it -- anything subsequent would be anticlimactic.

But 2011 isn't 1977. Major respect to Bragg/Wilson/Carman.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Mar 15, 2011 - 08:44pm PT

Peter
Is Rich Perch still a ranger out at Canyonlands or Grand Canyon NP?

I was lucky to climb with Rich in my early days at Seneca. . .
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2011 - 08:46pm PT
Stevie I don't know but I bet people like Piton and others like Crusher know. Ask them in case they don't chime in here eventually.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Mar 15, 2011 - 09:52pm PT
Rich Perch is retired and lives near Estes Park. Bragg is still climbing.

Credit: rgold

(Yours truly belaying)

John Bragg on Day Tripper
John Bragg on Day Tripper
Credit: rgold

Credit: rgold
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Mar 15, 2011 - 09:59pm PT
John and I climbed Northwest Corner one day with Stannard, and the
two easterners were in good form, no trouble on a steep 5.11. The
Gunks are steep too. I remember a great day and good spirits...
Seems like we did some other routes too, but I'm having trouble
remembering...
Pate

Trad climber
Mar 15, 2011 - 11:19pm PT
my Gunks heroes complete with an rgold post. great post Peter.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Mar 15, 2011 - 11:46pm PT
Wasn't Perch a ranger @ RMNP?
Ropeboy

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 16, 2011 - 07:46am PT
In 1971 on the N. W. Face of Half Dome, John Bragg and Dick DuMais reached the bivy on pitch eight at ten O'clock on a moonless night, climbing without a headlamp. My partner Tom Hurley and I were a few hours ahead of them and were comfortably settled into our sleeping bags. Dick was stemming 5.7 in the dark twenty feet below our ledge, and had just run out of rope. "Oh God, throw me a rope! I'm forty feet above my last pin and I'm about to peel!" So we dropped him a rope. After much grunting and effort they got their haul bag up to the ledge and got some food out. They had not eaten since breakfast. One of the last things I heard John say to Dick before I fell asleep was "Guess what, the boiled eggs aren't done."
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 16, 2011 - 08:25am PT
Wasn't Perch a ranger @ RMNP?


Tetons, at least.

I've done the route, "No Perches Necessary"...fun!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Carson city Nev.
Mar 16, 2011 - 09:11am PT
APPLUASE for the history!!!
DanaB

climber
Philadelphia
Mar 16, 2011 - 09:24am PT
Perch is retired? Doesn't retiring imply that someone had previously worked?

Joking . . .
richross

Trad climber
Mar 16, 2011 - 10:59am PT
Gunks circa 1979.



Gunks 2010.

the idle rich

climber
Estes Park, CO
Mar 17, 2011 - 10:46am PT
Hey Steve...its been a few years (decades) since climbing at Seneca. The rumors are true. I was told that I was old and made to retire a few years ago. I settled in Estes Park...give a call if you're out this way.

Dana...this is thread about John Bragg so you shouldn't be abusing me here...start your own post if you want.

Bragg on Scary Area in the Gunks
Bragg on Scary Area in the Gunks
Credit: the idle rich

the idle rich

climber
Estes Park, CO
Mar 17, 2011 - 10:49am PT
Dana...thought you might like this photo of you on Fillipina. I always liked it because it looks as if you're smoking a fatty while on lead.

Credit: the idle rich
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Nov 12, 2011 - 03:16pm PT
Fun thread, great photos!
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Nov 12, 2011 - 03:23pm PT
"The idle Rich" is the best handle ever on ST
Good Job!!
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Nov 12, 2011 - 04:57pm PT
the idle rich

Must of been getting insider data from Steve all these years...
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Nov 12, 2011 - 05:13pm PT
Bragg's in town now, no? Think so.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 12, 2011 - 05:34pm PT
Crimpie, J-Do told me John moved to Colorado to work for the AAC.
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