Bev Johnson Stories


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Ice climber
The Happies
Topic Author's Original Post - May 17, 2006 - 03:38pm PT
how about some stories or pics?
scuffy b

Chalet Neva-Care
May 17, 2006 - 04:24pm PT
Doug Robinson's article on Camp Four, collected
in Vertical World of Yosemite, closes something
like this:
We wondered what would happen if a Real Gymnast
showed up, and then finally one did. Her name
was Bev Johnson.

Mountain climber
Templeton, CA
May 17, 2006 - 11:57pm PT
With apologies to anyone who knew the victim...

A quote I heard attributed to Bev as she hung on El Cap and a body went hurtling past..."You don't see that every day."

May 18, 2006 - 12:36am PT
He's the guy who popped off his jugs on the last pitch 20 feet from the lip on top of the nose.

Went by 5 parties.

Largo was over on the Salathe slabs, (Mammoth terraces? with Ed Barry?) when the guy fell as I recall.

Bev was the coolest, first met her in winter 1968 in the now defunct river campgrounds in the Valley.

I worked for her husband off and on for some 20 years.

Mountain climber
Templeton, CA
May 18, 2006 - 12:43am PT
Dang! 20' from the top?!

You mentioned Ed Barry...I heard that at the age of 45 or so in 1997 he repeated a Sharma route in Pinnacles National Monument, Ubermensch at 13d! Some guys who have made attempts told me it is probably more like 14a.

May 18, 2006 - 12:54am PT
Largo called Ed Barry once "Pound for pound he's the strongest man alive" or something to that sort.

Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
May 18, 2006 - 10:03am PT
Ed could do 15 one arm pull ups, first with one arm then the other. He was a wiry guy, much like a gymnast.

My best memory of climbing with him wasn't actually climbing. Dave Hitchcock, Ed and I were headed up to do the Book of Job (or was it the Braille Book?) when we ran into a swarm of hornets. Looking back the retreat down the talus was hilarious, but at the time I was nailed eight times (and I’m allergic to bee/hornet venom), that wasn’t so hilarious.

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
May 18, 2006 - 10:38am PT
Yeah, Ed and I were on top of the Half Dollar on the Salathe (about, what, 800 feet up El Cap) when that guy pitched off. As I remember reading later, he was jumaring the last pitch (bolt ladder) on the Nose, and was just traversing onto the last hanging stance when he fell out of his jugs (unclipped??) and feel to the end of the rope to which he was tied in. The rope was running over one of the big, old bolt hangers and when his weight came onto the rope after falling around 120 feet the rope cut and he pitched the distance. The body made the most horrendous noise--terminal velocity really disrupts the air. I didn't hear that sound again till I was bivouaced on the Sheild Headwall and two base jumpers ripped right over our (Mike Lechlinski and I) heads at about 6 in the morning. I thought it was rockfall and that we were done.

Ed Berry had the greatest strength to weight ratio of any climber I ever saw. He could pull down on anything--and always with style and class.

Ed Bannister

Mountain climber
Victorville, CA
May 18, 2006 - 11:30am PT
This thread is hijacked into an Ed Barry thread, ok.
Ed Barry and Nancy Adinolfi, nice people, both.

Largo, I think you could equal the strength to weight ratio in Mike Waugh, belayed/saw that short boy pull a single digit to his waist on father figure, trying to do the crux static, he held it there, stunning.

Bev was amazing.

In packing for antactica one time we spent all day at too fast a rate, getting gear packed, checking everything, setting up Bev's self designed one of a kind north face tent, etc. So who's flying the Gyro? Oh I will Bev says matter of factly... of course, it didn't matter that she had a huge plastic higher than ski boot brace on, from the last time.

Bev just laughed at Mike, took him in stride, and loved him too.

She never quit anything.

a great image was the last Christmas card I got from Mike and her sent from Jackson Hole, in typical Hoover-ese, the front. a pic of Bev 10 feet off the deck, with skis paralell to the ground exactly above her tucked body. on the back "come ski"

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
May 18, 2006 - 11:33am PT
I knew Bev from her early days of climbing in the East, before she became a fabled Yosemite climber. I remember being out in the Valley with her at a point early in her career, I think it might have been 1970. Whatever her abilities as a climber, Bev didn't, at the time, have much interest in attending to practical realities. When I arrived in Yosemite, she had just destroyed her last pot, leaving it, like the others before it, on the stove till all the water boiled off and the pot melted through. Her stove, which somehow survived these incidents, was flecked with attractive melted aluminum accents. Bev just laughed and went climbing.

At the time, she had just sprained her ankle and was hobbling around painfully. I can't imagine many people would climb with such an injury, but every day she got up, taped the ankle into oblivion, and went off to climb. In later years, Johnson and Johnson's stock went up on the mere rumor that Bev might have sprained something. Some even suspected Bev was one of the two Johnson's and was hurting herself just to drive up stock prices. Bev just laughed and went climbing.

The ankle, naturally, protested. It swelled to the size of her calf. It put on a prodigious display of purpling, the waves of color spreading down to her toes and creeping up towards her calf. Folks who didn't know thought they might be seeing a rare case of leprosy in Camp 4; some proposed she ought to be wearing a bell. Bev just laughed and went climbing.

I left the Valley perhaps a month later for higher, cooler locales. Bev and her terrifyingly gigantic discolored ankle were still at it on a daily basis. At some point her ankle must have realized that the usual signals---pain, swelling, discoloration, loss of function---were not getting through and it would just have to get better by itself without any consideration from its owner. This it proceeded to do, while Bev just laughed and went climbing.
Ed Bannister

Mountain climber
Victorville, CA
May 18, 2006 - 11:44am PT
Bev put up with the sickest search for humor with,
"oh shut up Mike!"

and , she could, almost, kick Mike's ass.

What a really delightful human to be around, she got it done, she was incredibly capable, whether it was logistics for a trip, or Mike dropped the IMAX camera today, she just handled it, there was never a question about her abilty to come through, she just did, and had a great time doing it. Still pissed at that helicopter,

Social climber
rhode island
May 18, 2006 - 04:05pm PT
I knew Beverly and her family when they lived in Rhode Island
in the early 60's. I hung out with she and her brother
Teddy around our neighborhood, and at the officers club
pool at the local navy base, where her father was then
She was great fun to be around, athletic even then,
very pretty.
After visiting her with my parents a few years later
in Virginia, to which they had moved, I kind of lost
touch with her, though I did follow her impressive
climbing career from afar, often hearing from my parents,
who were still friends with her parents, of her latest

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 18, 2006 - 06:07pm PT
Apparently Bev Johnson did not make that remark about the climber falling past (her partner did). You can read more about Bev and this in the chapter "You don't see *that* every day" by Gabriela Zim in "Rock and Roses (2nd edition)":

In the chapter, Zim gets the Bridwell/Johnson rating system a bit wrong, when she says if Johnson was successful it was rated 5.9. In the first edition of Rock & Roses, p.64, Sibylle Hechtel quotes Bev:

"Bridwell likes to take me along on first ascents. If I get up, it's 5.10, and if I don't it's 5.11."

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 18, 2006 - 06:27pm PT
My partner Tangen-Foster and I were trying to find our way down Regarden Wall (I think) after doing some punishing route or another one very cold, windy February day and on getting off the second to last rap we were completely lost. All of a sudden Bev pops up out of nowhere having just free-soloed up something burly to retrieve gear she bailed on the previous day working on something even burlier. She got her gear, led us to the last rap, and warmed us up in her van for what must have been a couple of hours of mutual story telling and getting to know each other. This was all the more remarkable we thought because she was only dressed in the flimsiest running shorts and equally insufficient tank top the whole time and while we were freezing our asses off she didn't seem to even notice it. It is still one of the most memorable climbing encounters I've ever had and a quarter century later I can still picture how beautiful she was in a unique completely-wild-yet-calm way...

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
May 18, 2006 - 06:31pm PT
A couple of Bev Johnson stories:

She led Stone Groove and I followed. At the top she asked to inspect my hands. Seeing a couple of minor scrapes on one of my hands she started admonishing me for poor technique when I mentioned that I had gotten them the previous day on the 2nd pitch of the Vendetta. She told me that she once was driving down to the Valley from cross country skiing up at the Meadows and recognized a car at Reeds. She went up to see what was going on and ended up top roping Stone Groove in her 3-pin binding cross country boots.

Bev and I once attempted an early repeat of Wack and Dangle. At one point she yelled down to me "you know, if I make it, they will just downrate the climb from 5.11". This was in reference to having had the 1st pitch of New Dimensions downrated from 5.11 after she had climbed it.

More stories later,

Dapper Dan

an 89' honda accord
May 18, 2006 - 10:02pm PT
awesome stories , didn't she die in a chopper crash?

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
May 18, 2006 - 10:26pm PT
Everyone in the Valley back then fell in love with Bev, about ten times a day.


Gym climber
berkeley, ca
May 19, 2006 - 12:00am PT
The "Rock and Roses" story by Gabriella Zim was an excerpt from a full length biography called "The View from the Edge" if anyone is interested.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 19, 2006 - 03:58am PT

As Melissa pointed out, a biography exists - "The View from the Edge: Life and Landscapes of Beverly Johnson"

The brief reviews given on the Amazon page suggest that it is based on her letters to her parents, and does not have many climbing stories. Perhaps Bruce and others have more stories to share, though!

From her high school hall of fame entry:

Adventurer, most celebrated female rock climber; undertook climbing, skiing expeditions all over the world; in 1978 became first woman to solo climb notorious El Capitan's vertical face, which took ten days; in 1980's filmed the Russian-Afghan war with her husband; first woman crew-boss firefighter in Yosemite; first person to solo the Straits of Magellan in open kayak; first person to pilot a gyro-craft in the Antarctic; skied across Greenland, windsurfed across Bering Straits, led all-woman team to parachute into highlands of New Guinea; attended Kent State University and University of Southern California; gymnast in college and high school; died April 3, 1994, in helicopter crash during ski trip to Ruby Mountains of Nevada.

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
May 19, 2006 - 12:20pm PT
I have the book. It's true that climbing is only roughly a third of the book, and if you've read the Rock and Roses excerpt, you've read a lot of the climbing stories. It was written with the help of her folks. One of the saddest parts of the book involves a letter to her parents that she always carried with her in case she died doing whatever it was that she was doing. Her mom was not grateful for the letter. She said that it didn't help with the pain of losing her one bit. I thought it was an interesting perspective on the ways we rationalize the impact of our choices on others. One of the other things that I thought was interesting that I gleaned from the book was the role of the media (that she was often actively involved in) in shaping her 'legend' and the degree to which she was involved in doing the same for other climbers of the day.

In general I prefered Doug Robinson's story. Although it's not as comprehensive as the bio, it's much more personal.

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
May 19, 2006 - 05:37pm PT
A couple more stories:

Bev was on the rescue team for a while. One day she gets summoned over to Manure Pile Buttress. It seems that three guys were climbing Nutcracker and the leader decked. One of the remaining two climbers went off to get help while the other stayed with the body. When Bev arrived the guy who had stayed with the body is leaning over his fallen partner flicking the flies off of him. Just as Bev walks up to the body, the guy bolts upright and exclaims, "what happened!"

We were climbing at Reeds, Bev and Ajax Greene on Reed's left and I was on Reed's Direct with another climber. Bev and Ajax topped out just as we were starting up the final pitch to join them. All of a sudden there is a whooshing sound and Bev exclaims, "oh, no, Ajax what have you done!". Somehow Ajax had dropped their rope down behind the pinnacle. Luckily, we still had a rope and when we start down, Bev makes us swear to tell noone about what has happened because she didn't want to embarass Ajax in front of his fellow climbers in Camp 4.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 20, 2006 - 12:31am PT
Yosemite Valley FA's

Absolutely Free, Left Side 5.9 1970 Jim Bridwell Bev Johnson Mark Klemens
Dromedary - The Hump 1971 Barry Bates Bev Johnson
Girl Next Door, The, Left Side 5.10 1972 John Bragg Bev Johnson
Grape Race 5.9 A5 VI Charlie Porter Bev Johnson
Lunatic Fringe 5.10c 1971 Barry Bates Bev Johnson
Siberian Swarm Screw 5.10a 1972 Jim Donini Steve Wunsch John Bragg Kevin Bein Bev Johnson
Strangers in the Night 5.10b 1972 Jim Donini Rab Carrington Bev Johnson Steve Wunsch
Supplication 5.10c 1971 Barry Bates Bev Johnson
Waverly Wafer 5.10c 1970 Jim Bridwell Barry Bates Bev Johnson

other notable ascents in YV (see Clint's website):

Triple Direct - Sibylle Hechtel, Bev Johnson 1973 Grade VI
Washington Column South Face - Bev Johnson 1973 Grade V solo
Dihedral Wall - Bev Johnson 1978 Grade VI solo

from The North Face web site:

1978 Forbidden Plateau, Antarctica. Bev Johnson, Mike Hoover, Mike Graber and Rick Ridgeway.

1980 Greenland Ski Traverse, Greenland. Bev Johnson and others.

1981 Trans-Globe Expedition - around the world. First circumnavigation of the world via the North and South Poles. Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Bev Johnson, Mike Hoover and others.

1983 Women's Trikora Expedition (elev. 15,585') Papua, New Guinea. Kayaking and trekking in Irian Jaya and New Guinea, with ascent of Mt. Trikora. Bev Johnson and others. Filmed by Bev Johnson.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 20, 2006 - 01:42am PT
Beverly Johnson

I met Bev Johnson in Yosemite. We climbed there that summer, 1972, and when the season ended, she decided to come north to Squaw Valley, near the shores of Lake Tahoe, to try alpine skiing. Through the winter I worked on ski patrol at Squaw while she, using her creative talents, made custom down jackets and backpacks. Bev's ski equipment was comprised of hand-me-downs. I gave her some 207 French skis and cut-down poles, and she got boots from the sister of a friend.

Bev would emerge from the trapdoor of her basement sewing room in a puff of feathers and head for the ski slopes. From time to time I would see her long enough to pass her some brief instructional tips, and then she'd ski off on her oversized skis.

A month passed. One stormy day, I was stationed on the steepest hill, KT-22; the Saddle run had been freshly groomed and four of us patrollers were cruising at 30 to 40 mph down the rolling terrain. Up ahead I spied a lone skier making big, smooth, fast turns. I knew almost all the fast skiers at Squaw, but this person I didn't recognize. I opened it up but only slowly gained on the skier. After 200 yards of semi-reckless abandon I could make out it was a woman smokin' down the hill. She wasn't a racer. Her turns were elegant but lacked the controlled precision. She was a cruiser, but who? When I got close enough to see her, I couldn't believe my eyes. It was Bev.

Bev was like that when it came to picking up skills. You'd turn your back and the next thing you knew she had improved twice as much as you thought possible.

Bev Johnson, of Wyoming and Los Angeles, died at 42. Most of us know her best for her climbing feats: the first woman to swing leads on El Capitan, the first all-female ascent of El Capitan, the first woman to solo El Capitan and the first woman to do a first ascent on El Capitan (Grape Race, VI, 5.9, A5). She was also the first woman on the Yosemite search and rescue team, taking part in two big rescues on El Cap.

"It seems I knew about Bev Johnson from the first time I donned a pair of Robbins shoes, borrowed six steel carabiners, and crept up a 5.4 lead," reflects Molly Higgins Bruce, another leading woman rock climber in the 1970's, who was based in Colorado. "There was a girl somewhere who could really do this, who could hammer large-angle pitons all day long up endless cracks that reached for the sky. She was leading 5.11, climbing huge granite walls, hauling robust haulbags, and living and breathing the fine granite dust and Camp 4 dirt in Yosemite when I was just leading Finger Traverse, 5.8, on North Gateway Rock. But I knew about her. In my newly developed ligaments, muscles, and bones I knew there was a woman who could swing leads with Jim Bridwell, Yvon Chouinard, Kim Schmitz, and Royal Robbins. And if she could be so strong, and so capable with ropes, carabiners, jumars and pulleys that she could be on the rescue team, plucking the stranded or ignorant off ledges way up on those walls, maybe I too could be good. To be somewhat like Bev Johnson inspired me. She was my myth."

Even so, Beverly Johnson was much more than "Big Wall Bev." She did it all -- free climbing, technical ice, and expeditions from the jungles of South America and the deserts of Africa to both polar regions. She visited Antarctica several times, climbing ice there and flying a gyrocopter. A few of her climbs in Yosemite include the Prow{ in a day (with Kurt Albert) in the early 1970's, New Dimensions (the first climb to be rated 5.11), and Fatal Mistake (5.11a, A1).

Following her marriage to Mike Hoover, an adventure film producer, director and cameraman, Bev devoted her talents to working on films. Her genuineness and quick thinking helped the two of them through many tough negotiations and tight situations, from dealing with Afghan freedom fighters to African bureaucrats.

Anyone who knew Bev, whether close friend or casual acquaintance, will remember her winning smile, clever wit, and sincere persona. She has been called the Amelia Earhart of outdoor adventure. The energy that animated her body has moved to another place, but the spirit of Beverly remains an inspiration to us all, as she has been for a long time.

--Jim Bridwell
Climbing 145
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Jun 12, 2011 - 10:35pm PT
This deserves a bump !
Bad Climber

Jun 12, 2011 - 11:06pm PT
Yeah, bump this thread. I'm getting seriously inspired and humbled. Largo, I can see how everyone would fall in love with her. Oy!

Great stories.


Trad climber
San Diego
Jun 16, 2011 - 04:44pm PT
I too fell victim to Bev's smile. Mike Brown and I were carrying loads to the base of El Cap when we ran into Bev who was carrying her stuff up to solo the Dihedral wall. Next thing I new, chivalry reared its ugly head, our gear was stashed in the boulders, and Mike and I were carrying 8 gallons of water to base of the Dihedral for her solo
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 16, 2011 - 04:48pm PT
this may still be up on my site...

gives you a person, her movement and her voice... I didn't know Bev, and that I count as a loss...

Big Wall climber
Nor Nev
Jun 16, 2011 - 05:37pm PT

This is some more good stuff on Bev Johnson.

Social climber
May 11, 2012 - 04:56am PT
hey there say, all...

i was thinking about this special gal tonight, due to something i accidently read...

i never knew of all the other things that she did in life, as, i am knew at
learning about all you folks, here...

folks who are dear friends and companions, live on, by the sharing of who they were, while they were here--the still inspire others, and they still are loved...

thank you for sharing about bev...
god bless to those that hurt from her passing, so very long ago...
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 11, 2012 - 09:00am PT
"...Lynn Hill finally free climbed the entire Nose in 1993, something that no man, no other climber at all, has been able to repeat. Then, a year later, she free climbed it in a day.
It was a bittersweet year. Also in 1994 Beverly Johnson, who had gone on to become an environmental film maker, and whose high-spirited enthusiasm and great common sense still delighted us, died in a helicopter crash in the Ruby Mountains of Nevada."
-Doug Robinson, A Night on the Ground A Day in the Open

I got a lot of mileage out of Doug's book while posting today. It was a timely thing to have read when I might have been instead up in the Valley schmoozing. I never would have seen the photo of Bev on page 223. It is just so dirtbag, so "Bring it, dude." Every word of the Zim article on her from the book Rocks and Roses, supplied courtesy of CC, rings true. I am looking forward to reading it.

" all the years I'd climbed I never saw another woman climbing other than my mother. Climbing through '69, '70, '71 without seeing another woman climbing, not even once."
-Sibyle Hechtel in Rocks and Roses

This statement mystifies me some. But it is Sibyle's observation, so I can only relate my own observations on the relative abundance of girls who climbed. They were there. Sometimes even in pairs. On one foray into the Valley in I'm sure was 1968, Jeff Mathis and I and Annie Rizzi and her pal, another San Fernando Valley girl like Annie, chatted each other up in the coffee shop. We became acquainted with one of the most accessible and witty of any women I have met in the Valley. She became a very competent climber. And that's about all, because it hurts me to think she quit the wall-climbing game. It meant a lot for me to read her article which CC posted. It is gratifying to have traded hellos with her. After something like forty years.

1968-On yet another slow Flames midnight cruise up the Merced canyon with the month of May just arrived, Jeff and Mark and I partook heavily of eight-track rock--Butterfield, Beefheart, Chambers Brothers--and two-paper jays of recently arrived Cambodian laced with opium (courtesy of The Boy Scout of Cu Chi, US Army Corps of Engineers) and the slowness of it all, the stunning silence of solid silver stone on entering Bridalveil Meadow in the oh so slow low ride, the Cream, the rock, the stoned "ness," and then we got to Camp 4, found the Bircheffs ready for a stroll in the light of the fact we were holding really good shizz, man, let's jam; and so we did it like you used to do too, watching giant shadow-shapes change in the moonlight. Except you was not blest with ope-laced Cam.

We slept innocent of the sun for hours, had coffee while watching the brothers meditate (my tacit meditation on their meditation, so smug with the mug at my lips). We two, Jef and I, decided to bring a fatty with us. Who knew who had found Mark to occupy herself with? He was flown, on his own. We set off for the Sunnyside Bench.

I was a virgin, here, climbing-wise. I can't recall ever having set foot on rock with the conscious desire to go up there for the hell of it; for whatever mystical or psychological reasons at all. Jeff claimed to have been on the route earlier with Dave Bircheff, roped up, I have no doubt. Since we had none--and Jeff considered borrowing one but didn't want to bug Dave when he was TM-ing--we just figured WTF. They are just numbers, those climbing class numbers, those grades, ratings. Just go. "Wherener" hell have I heard words of similar in-caution lately? Well it's 5.0, so I suppose "he" has a point.

Mountain out of a mole-hill just now. It is the ideal climb for someone like me who had no desire to work out. I always climbed it for the simple task of moving up on rock, for the fact it was so close to where I lived later on in 1969, and I could do it in the short interval between dinner and dark, with time enough to descend before full dark.

So on this May morning Jeff and I got to the ledge which is your n00b's first exposure, typically. What is it, about a hundred or more feet to the base of the cliff there? And there is the traverse right over that void which makes or breaks the fraidy-cats and the height-tolerant. As we arrived here, there were two women of roughly our own age and cute, dressed in shorts, equipped with ropes, biners, and runners.

To our surprise, we were invited to tie in, shown the method, amazed them with our mastery of the rabbit trick (be the f*#k prepared) on our bowlines, and brought us up to standard with respect to very loud belay signals. Make no mistake, these two ladies knew their stuff, but never really bothered to encourage anything beyond the climbing. Nice. You get sick of being chased. You know.

So that was my first exposure to exposure, how I met two climbing angels, and got really fried on that greatest of May weekends. And Sibyle says she didn't see any. Well, it was 1968, a year before she got there. It's still a good couple of stories.

I once had the job of herding my wife Dolores, her sister Shari and brother-in-law Ike, Dolores' friends Julie Mathis, Karen Anders, and Marion Joerres, all Lodge maids, up the Good Old Bench. From the bottom of my ungrateful heart, thank you Cowboy Larry for showing up with Moore foggin' rope than ever I saw. My ripe old Eddy, a new Chouinard, but you had a couple of nines, thank god, which helped in the ensuing debacle.

Nobody got hurt, not so much as a thrill. But there were three of us and five of them. Not a demure one in the bunch. We "her"ded them. We always joked about the cattle drive up Sunnyside and Cowboy's Herd. Ooh, Dogies! The cheapest thrills are the best. I cost me nothing but grief but I can share the memory for as long as I live.

Oh, and I didn't have to train for it. We just went and did it. Screw the numbers. Right?

Wherever you are, Bev, I hope you enjoyed my trivial reverie.

Neebee, I'm Mouse Bee sometimes. Glad to know you. I just got a place at the campfire recently, too. Bev was special. Hope you become so, too.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
May 11, 2012 - 02:58pm PT
Werner, Yes Ed was one of those pound-for-pound
strongest guys, I'm sure. I
bouldered with him once or twice. The guy that really fits that
description, though, was Rich Borgman, Gill's bouldering partner in
Fort Collins. Although unsung and mostly unheard of, he could climb
anything anyone put before him, the only person I've ever known who
could match Gill practically, route for route. He wasn't Gill,
but he had great talent.

Bev was a beautiful spirit. I didn't actually rope up and climb with her,
but we hung out a lot in the Valley, as she was close to Bates, my
main bouldering partner in the later '60s. Bev just had a lot of
energy and desire, and a lot of spirit, the good kind. There was a lot
of sexism back then, and Bridwell downrated the first pitch of New
Dimensions when he heard Bev had climbed it. She switched back and forth
between Bridwell and Bates, for a time.... I still see those warm,
gorgeous eyes and that smile... She would look right into you. I think
she knew, had I not a girl friend those years, I might have tried to
steal her....
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
May 11, 2012 - 03:52pm PT
Thanks for bumping this thread, some great stuff on here

Trad climber
Lander, WY
May 11, 2012 - 04:22pm PT
My honey, Kristi Stouffer, learned how to sew from Bev Johnson.

Merv and Mary were (still are) good friends with Wayne Merry and Cindy. They were staying with them in the Valley one Spring in the late 60s and Bev was helping out looking after the kids one day and taught Kristi how to sew that afternoon. Kristi was only 9 or 10 at the time but she was quite taken with Bev Johnson, says she was a really nice person to be around.

Sport climber
May 11, 2012 - 04:25pm PT

Trad climber
Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
May 11, 2012 - 06:49pm PT
By 1974, the year I had decided to stay in the Valley rather than return to college one Spring, I had already seen Bev a number of times in C4 and elsewhere around Yose. One of my climbing partners had befriended and climbed with her and had developed a serious crush, but it never went beyond that. Although I had been in their immediate company several times during brief exchanges regarding what they were considering climbing, etc. I never spoke a word. I don't believe I ever took my eyes off her during those moments either. Like most who have commented here, I to was seriously smitten with everything about her.

Later that summer, after I had run out of all funds, I had taken a job at the mountain shop. One day I found myself in the wells fargo/valley bank making a withdrawal. Bev was at the counter and noticed me waiting in line as she left. She walked over and without saying a word, cocked her head to one side, lifted one eyebrow and gave me the most heart melting smile, then turned and walked out. That is how I will always remember her, that day in the Valley bank, with her nit/crocheted cap and cut off levi shorts with the slit sides and a smile that was meant for just me.

Social climber
May 11, 2012 - 10:05pm PT
hey there say, mouse from merced...

welcome here.... thanks for sharing about bev... she's one of the
kind of folks i wish i had met in my life... yet--we can still learn from them, after they are gone--we just never enjoyed them as a friend, or traveling companion in the journey of life...

it really made me sad to read how at this point in her life, she was married and settled-in for the long haul, as to traveling the 'old age' trail and being that 'fine wine' that we should be, after we've become 'seasoned', to enjoy that 'fruit of our life' session (which can still be working, too, but it's just that we are in some SPOT where we should be at SUCH an 'older seaon' in life)

as we see here, many older climbers have found/or are finding, a 'rock in life' where they are settled and they become more of the fine wine that they are to be, from all their life-long experience... sure wish bev had HAD a longer season of that, :(

we don't know why god had different seasons that change in our lives, as said times--but--seasons do come and go...
that was her last season for folks to enjoy her... :(
(i had a few friends that left 'seasonly' earlier than i'd have expected, so i understand that feeling that her friends went through)...

as to your quote:

Neebee, I'm Mouse Bee sometimes. Glad to know you. I just got a place at the campfire recently, too. Bev was special. Hope you become so, too.

thanks so much for sharing that too...
i love the merced river, so your 'handle here' is
a fresh reminder of it, :)

god bless--i got to go, not much play/study here tonight...
i've had a project i'm near finished with, :)
got to get it done, :))

Trad climber
Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
May 11, 2012 - 10:26pm PT
Mouse Bee- "I just got a place at the campfire recently, too..."

Actually, Neebee has been posting here on ST for several years and rarely if ever has a bad word to say about anyone or anything. So some would consider that 'special' in its own right. Perhaps you new her brother back in the day, Mark Chapman, whom also occasionally posts here.

May 11, 2012 - 10:37pm PT
Amen to that, splitter.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
May 12, 2012 - 12:55am PT
Hoover and I have been a bit like two brothers always sort of competing without necessarily admitting that's what we were doing. I spent the 70s at sea, only occasionally meeting Mike or talking on the phone, and didn't know anything about Bev

Then one time we made plans to meet at Mike's cabin in the Tetons. Over the phone Mike told me, 'Just so you know, I saw her first! And we're already married!' 'Uh, saw who first, Mike?' ...Anyway we immediately became great friends.

We used to talk airplanes a lot and she was getting tired of flying in the weather. She was consulting with me over the phone about what plane she should buy that could get her up above the weather on their regular migrations between LA and Jackson. At the time I thought a Velocity might be a good choice.

My friend Jeff Braun, CEO of Maxis, listened to me tell about Bev flying to the south pole. Jeff had always wanted to go to the north pole. I mentioned this to Bev and she volunteered to fly the two of us up to the North Pole in a Cessna 180 and land on skis. Contingency plan for a forced landing was to ski home, with a shotgun for any too hungry polar bear. We were making phone calls planning the trip up until a couple of days before the helicopter crash.

In our last conversation we were commiserating about losing one of our friends on an Alaskan Peak. Her comment to me as we rang off was, 'Live every day to the fullest, as you never know when it might be your last!'

I keep thinking that if she had been the one flying the helicopter, she would have handled the situation and flown them all home safely.

Social climber
May 12, 2012 - 04:05am PT
hey there say, splitter....

yes, very true.... i been her for a bit... i just feel so new, as to knowing anything about all the 'back in the day' stuff as to all the
climbers.... i have so much to learn... :))

*i should have clarified how my newness really was, :)

say, and wow, i sure wish mark would post, be he really is busy, and with good stuff, as well... i would just love to hear the many stories that he must have... adnventures, and tales of good-buddy-ship, etc...

and the feel of finding, testing, doing, routes, and all that...
as you see--i mainly knew him as: the brother, from little kid to teen...
after that, i was married and then heading to south texas, starting a family...

man oh man, i sure missed out knowing so much:
but my kids had a chance to know the greatoutdoors, as, we really could not afford to live in calif (and it was not near a 'silicon valley' as it is now a days)...

we had the wide open spaces of south texas, fishing, beaches and all close by, near for free... (except for a bit of gas to get places)...

thanks spitter, :)
i reckon i'm part of the fabric here, after all, more than i think...
sewed into a right nice quilt here...

back to bev stories now, :)


Social climber
May 12, 2012 - 04:07am PT
hey there say, tom.... oh myyyyyyyyyyy....
seems like things were near ready to be the 'better situation'...
(as to the plane)...

thanks for sharing... sad note, though, that it was...
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 12, 2012 - 05:06am PT
Are there successful Texas vintages you have tried, Mrs. Neebee? It's Friday, Saturday morning on the Taco, and I have wine in me.

Is Texas wine worthy of more praise than Calif.ornia wine?

Was Tricky Dick worthy of more praise than LBJ?

They are both trick questions.
The trick is to ignore them.

Bev is my daughter's nickname, now you know. But she is Bevin. Loosely put into words, Bebbin, the original spwwlling (Irish, what else?), means "melodious lady."

The Irish in me says it means "The girl who sang so beautifully the wild birds stopped to listen." She is no rock climber, but she is a lawyer. It is too bad she is not a litigator. For that matter, it's too bad she's not a pro golfer. Lots more recognition and mo' money.

Beverly, though, she towered over everybody else who had breasts, even the Vulgarian Digest cover girl, Elaine Matthews. I can't see our Bev flaunting, however. The photo of Pingora in the background did not detract from Elaine's cover shot, in all fairness. I don't mean that any body should infer that Bev's rack was in any way different. Aw nuts! You know what I meant.

They tell us Bev did not consider herself a spokesperson or a leader in the cause of the womenfolk. True, but there is only a mere generation or two of women who do and will see her as such, simply because of her firsts.

I wish upon the stars who've gone--
Who knows where--
That they would tell us that they care,
That what we say, and write, and share
Means anything in thin, cold air.
-Willi U in Me

Say hi to Beverly from me;
And to the Dolt....can't hurt.

Neebee, here's a bouquet for Mothers Day. Yaller roses from me and Stevie Ray.

Social climber
May 12, 2012 - 06:11am PT
hey there say, mouse from merced...

fast thread drift:

did not know much about texas... just south texas, :)
a place unique'ly all its own...

*thank you for the early mother's day notation, and may
god bless you and your home, and thank you for sharing, as to your bev...

drift done... :)

*made a good bump, for bev stories, for this weekend :)
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 12, 2012 - 06:17am PT
Bumps are what Bevs love best. But that can change like Texas weather.
Have a heavenly weekend.

Mountain climber
May 12, 2012 - 12:16pm PT
I meet Bev in Yosemite Valley in 1978 while climbing with John Fischer. She was getting ready for her solo of the Dihedral Wall and everyone thought that it would be a cup of tea for her . I mentioned it to my friend Bill Stall of the Los Angeles Times and the next day she was on the newspaper's front page and national television ! Bill was also a climber and AAC editor .
Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
May 25, 2012 - 02:05am PT
Sometime between April of 1966, when we opened our first little 600 sq. ft. store on Pico Boulevard, and September of 1969 when we expanded into our new 25,000 sq. ft. store on Olympic Boulevard, somewhere in that brief period, something wonderful happened at West Ridge Mountaineering.

Those early days at West Ridge we opened the store at 5 PM because the owners worked in aerospace from 8 to 5. We also only hired climbers to work sales. On that particular wonderful evening, I happened to be the working owner. As I recall two young climbers were also working that evening when a stunningly attractive young woman wearing an exceptionally short mini skirt entered the store.

She announced that she was a student at USC and was interested in rock climbing. She had no experience – zilch. She was a student taking ballet and gymnastics. All the while, she is doing these incredible stretching exercises – one leg up on the waist-high sleeping bag table, her forehead pressed to her knee. These are very vivid memories.

She wanted someone to teach her rock climbing. My co-workers that evening were crawling all over each other trying to set up lessons.

As it worked out, neither of these handsome young lads was to land the job. Instead, one of our newest employees, and one of our least experienced, a lad named Alan Roberts, happened to be working the weekend she walked in and set a date for Stoney Point. Alan Roberts was, at that time, sort of the Woody Allen of West Ridge – not considered by his peers as anybody that should be teaching others to climb.

Ends up, he took her to Stoney twice and then to Tahquitz – where they failed miserably on the White Maiden.

Alan went on to become a highly respected rock climber and Tuolumne climbing guide. She went on to become Beverly Johnson.

Don Lauria

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 14, 2013 - 02:40pm PT
Time for the annual bump!

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 14, 2013 - 02:58pm PT
I would suggest that the only appropriate definition of failure on Alan Roberts'
part would have been the failure to ensure a benightment on the 'White Maiden'.

Feb 14, 2013 - 04:24pm PT
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 14, 2013 - 04:51pm PT
Great story Don!

Bev wasn't one to go unnoticed...

Trad climber
Feb 14, 2013 - 06:20pm PT

Anyone who knew Bev, whether close friend or casual acquaintance, will remember her winning smile, clever wit, and sincere persona. She has been called the Amelia Earhart of outdoor adventure. The energy that animated her body has moved to another place, but the spirit of Beverly remains an inspiration to us all, as she has been for a long time.

--Jim Bridwell
Climbing 145

I will never forget Bev Johnson. She seemed like such a free spirit, with an almost constant radiant smile. I assume many guys had a crush on her, as she was a special person.

Many speak of her climbing skill, but she was a pretty mean seamstress as well. I still have a haulbag she made for me, back in 1971. It has seen better days, but I don't have the heart to throw it out, considering the wonderful human being who made it--Bev Johnson.

Feb 14, 2013 - 07:08pm PT
I remembered running across a note about Bev Johnson in the Mt. Starr King registers. She didn't sign the book, left it to the newbie:

8/21/74 Dear old patient Beverly brought me up here for my 3rd climb. Neat experience. I can fly.
Lynn Hammond
B. Johnson

All the register entries from the begiining to 1982 are at

Sport climber
Home away from Home
Feb 14, 2013 - 07:23pm PT
this is an awesome thread.
thanks for starting it, 10b.


Sport climber
Home away from Home
Feb 14, 2013 - 07:52pm PT
I've got to B U M P this again because Politics will not over power great climbing stories/history

Social climber
So Cal
Feb 14, 2013 - 07:58pm PT
She was the subject of one of my first posts here back in 05

Only met Bev Johnson once, when a stunning woman in a meticulously pressed smoky bear outfit saw the rack in camp and told us that between 5:00 and 6:00 was a good time to go bouldering, but to try to pay at least a couple of times a week so her boss wouldn't figure out the book keeping discrepancies.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Feb 14, 2013 - 08:00pm PT
Here's a ST link to more Bev stories;

When I came upon her halfway up the Leaning Tower she caught me by surprise. I was just rounding the corner below the Ledge (Lunch Ledge?) and I see this woman with what amounted to a see-through bra! I immediately turned my gaze to a nice looking dihedral across the way - to get my eyes uncrossed! Actually, I don't remember what my eyes did after that ( I'm sure she quickly covered up ) but we finished the climb together, but still solo, and bivied on the last ledge of the climb a pitch below the top. The most memorable thing at the ledge was thowing my rope into the void to unkink it, and when it staightened out, the end of it exploded - making the sound of a .357 going off! I saved the 8" to 10' long tassle for many years in a jar but it finally dissapeared. Bev ended up with a roll of my film from the climb that I have never seen so please if you know of the pics please contact me. I have no others from the climb.

That reminds me, I recently found another photo of her from the climb - I must have had a partial roll also - the photo must be from the last pitch, but she is looking up at me through a narrow crack - like where a crack in a dihedral goes around a corner and the eyes can take a shortcut through it, and all you can see is her eyes - I'll have to find it.

Social climber
An Oil Field
Feb 14, 2013 - 10:23pm PT
I grew up almost ten years too late to meet her in her time in the Valley.

From what I read and the pictures I can tell, I would have fallen ga ga in love with her like every other guy. I mean, the best woman climber happens to be a go for it beauty? Lynn Hill was so pretty, too. Still is, I guess. I never met her. It is really who they are that turns a girl into a beauty in your eyes.

I only fell in love once in my valley time. Life moves so fast when you are young, and I was gone so quickly. Man, that hurts.

Fortunately, when you are young, you get over it.

Seriously. I'm sorry I never met her. She sounds like she was an amazing person.

My only connection with Mike Hoover is that when I worked on movie X, we had a camera that we rented from him, and the camera operator knew him.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 14, 2013 - 11:21pm PT
One of my favorite Bev memories is over on the TM Herbert Appreciation thread.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
May 19, 2013 - 11:47pm PT
hard to deal with the loses

Bev Johnson told me a few days before the helicopter crash:

In our last conversation we were commiserating about losing one of our friends on an Alaskan Peak. Her comment to me as we rang off was, 'Live every day to the fullest, as you never know when it might be your last!'

Credit: TomCochrane

Ice climber
Soon 2B Arizona
Topic Author's Reply - May 20, 2013 - 10:52am PT
I am bumping this, because of what has transpired in the climbing community over the last few days.

"Live every day to the fullest, as you never know when it might be your last!"
-Bev Johnson

Social climber
May 20, 2013 - 12:18pm PT
On the lighter side of things, here is what Warren Harding had to say about this amazing lady. From the "Glossary of Climbers According to the Zone System," near the end of Downward Bound:

BEVERLY JOHNSON............................ZONE 2.
Affectionately known as Beverly Buns, this shapely young lady combines feminine charm with brute-strength manliness.

Zone 2 was defined as ordinary super-climbers, especially excelling in high-level free-climbing.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 20, 2013 - 12:33pm PT
hamie, did you know that Warren was Betty Friedan's cousin?

Social climber
May 20, 2013 - 03:50pm PT
Beverly Johnson and her husband Mike Hoover on the summit of "Angles L...
Beverly Johnson and her husband Mike Hoover on the summit of "Angles Landing" in Zion N.P. Spring of 1978
Photo: Olaf Mitchell
Credit: o-man

Trad climber
May 20, 2013 - 09:17pm PT
Beverly and Astroman

I knew Bev from climbing with her some in the 70’s. We did a number of short crack climbs in Yosemite. She had an infectious energy, raw power and determination on the rock which I much admired. I also loved how she handled being a woman climber when there were few and when lots of men were threatened by the thought of a woman entering their prized mostly male sanctuary. She entered the holy place without knocking and blasted around with such confidence and verve it made all the chauvinism look utterly silly.

I have not told the following tale anywhere because it is hardly my proudest moment or hers (I can’t find any writing of hers on the climb either), but Beverley and I did Astroman in the early 80s, nearly coming undone in the process. I was determined to get it free within my old traditional standards of few falls, no hangs and starting over after falls from free stances or pitch starts. I was still in rebellion against style transitions of the day and prone to occasional mad proselytizing on the subject. Beverley respected my desire and knew about my stylistic warring but mostly just wanted to do the climb however we did it. Off we went.

All went well until the Enduro Corner. Beverley tried to lead it but half way up got tired and started hanging for rests. She was angry at herself the more she rested. I was quiet at first, and then in a rising pissy mood protested, “NO AID.” She told me to f*#k off. I said we should rap off if we couldn’t do it in good style. She challenged me right back saying something like, “Let’s see you do it right.” Now I was wildly fired up to give it a go, just the mood I needed looking back on it. Down she came and up I went. She was grim faced but I ignored her. We should have talked it out but didn’t. When I was about a third of the way up the corner, she told me she wouldn’t hold me if I fell and I’d just have to start over. “Fine” I yelled back. The camaraderie we had established over several climbs together was falling apart. I found there were a few edges on the right wall allowing rests here and there and managed to get near the end of the corner without a fall before the crack opens up. Suddenly a batch of swallows burst out of the crack into my face and off I went, screaming. Before I could say anything, Beverly, true to her promise and the very rules I touted for the climb, lowered me away to start again.

At the belay ledge I looked at her and said, sheepishly, “It wasn’t my fault!” She looked at me with her soft but penetrating eyes and slowly started to smile, then laugh. Our temper tantrum melted away thanks to her good heart. She, unlike me, was looking beyond the climbing to its meaning for two people who loved the walls. We sat and laughed for several moments. Then, looking over to Half Dome starting to turn golden she slapped my leg and said, “You’re a f*#ker!” I said back, “I know.” I remember that interchange like it happened yesterday. I guess it was what I needed, because I got the corner next try and Beverly followed it with only one fall and rest, and was fine with it.

Higher, the other remaining challenge for us was the Harding Slot. Beverly wanted a go at leading saying something like, “I want this sucker.” Looking up at it, I was happy to let her give it a go. I had never been on the route and was horrified by the slanting bomb bay look of it. She fired off the lower layback but had trouble getting into the slot. I told her to come down and try it again, though getting down from such an overhanging thing was not easy. She came back after some rope shenanigans, looked out at the waning light and told me to give it a go. Now we were comrades again, trying to get up the wall and get off with whatever combination of climbing worked. Perhaps it was because I was pretty skinny in those years but I found I could get into the slot as it widened without too much effort. The only problem was the minimal protection. In current parlance, I think one needs about a #6 to adequately protect the slot and we had nothing close.

A strange thing happened as Beverley followed: she turned the tables. She tried the chimney part twice without luck, but insisted on down climbing each time to start over. Down climbing the Harding Slot from almost anywhere beyond the beginning probably is harder than climbing up it. I couldn’t tell if she didn’t want to weight the rope or take a big swing. It was getting late. Now I was the one concerned about getting up before dark versus style issues. “Beverley, we’ve got to get going.” Or words to that affect. “Shut up Higgins. We’re doing it your way.” And those words are exactly hers. Even in my frustrated state I thought, What a woman. Third try she got it.

Above, there are a couple of strenuous laybacking pitches. I remember Beverley zoomed up one of them in waning light (I think it’s called Changing Corners). I got the last pitch in near dark, for me the toughest on the climb. While it’s face climbing, right up my alley, it was hard to see and protect and the rock seemed crumbly. Unlike me, Beverley didn’t whimper about the oncoming dark and try to hurry me. She followed with no problem or comment.

We had lights and got down the descent gully gingerly, feeling wasted and not talking much. The minimal dialog I remember with her, and the last we spoke to one another due to her untimely death, went something like:

“Not the best climb,” I said.

Unfazed, “It was OK.”

More skittering down the gully.

“Sorry I got pissed,” I said.

“OK, f*#ker.”

Farewell again, Beverly, good and brave soul you were.

Tom Higgins

Ice climber
Soon 2B Arizona
Topic Author's Reply - May 20, 2013 - 09:43pm PT
Thanks for that, Tom

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
May 20, 2013 - 11:28pm PT
That's a great story, Tom, thank you for sharing!

Gym climber
May 20, 2013 - 11:50pm PT

Social climber
May 21, 2013 - 02:04am PT
Reilly, I think that Betty Freidan would have been very proud of Bev Johnson.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
May 27, 2013 - 02:35am PT
one sunny day with Mike and Bev at their little house in Eagle Rock, near where we were classmates at Occidental College...

Mike and i are out on the back porch, deep in conversation about some project or other...

Bev is back there trying to repair some mechanical problem on his old VW bus, cussing and fussing...Mike is helping by making occasional sideline suggestions as a counterpoint to her frustrations...

Mike moves our conversation into the house, so we won't be distracted by her cussing...



May 27, 2013 - 11:12am PT

Me and Hoover are at the airport runway on Molokai and some guy there just came up and told us a typhoon is supposed to hit the islands in a couple of days.

Hoover instantly says; "Clear the runway, Bev is coming" ........

Trad climber
Ketchum Idaho
May 27, 2013 - 01:32pm PT
I was climbing at Suicide Rock with a friend from Seattle in about 1975 on a beautiful warm day--don't remember which route, but it became memorable because Bev and another hot young woman climber(whose name I won't mention) roped up on the route about 5 yards to our right and proceeded to climb it topless. Needless to say we were very impressed by their technical climbing ability and enjoyed watching them as we paralleled their route for a couple of pitches.

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
May 28, 2013 - 01:58am PT
Come on Hardshell. Out with the name.
Flip Flop

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
May 10, 2014 - 11:38pm PT
Bump it up.

Sport climber
May 11, 2014 - 11:43am PT

Alan Roberts was, at that time, sort of the Woody Allen of West Ridge – not considered by his peers as anybody that should be teaching others to climb.

Ends up, he took her to Stoney twice and then to Tahquitz – where they failed miserably on the White Maiden.

Alan went on to become a highly respected rock climber and Tuolumne climbing guide. She went on to become Beverly Johnson.

Don Lauria


Trad climber
Courtenay, B.C.
May 12, 2014 - 12:49am PT
Daryl Hatten once told me that he was hitch-hiking down in Yosemite and was picked up by a topless Bev Johnson...

If true, it's a shame that no one managed to get a pictorial record of this historic moment, as the photographer could have pimped the image to a major Hollywood film studio for use as a poster for their next production of Beauty and the Beast.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 12, 2014 - 03:07am PT

There's some footage of Bev in this. Ron and Werner, too!
(Was formerly on Ed's site, but at least not at the original URL anymore).

Social climber
1187 Hunterwasser
May 12, 2014 - 04:09am PT
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Jul 26, 2016 - 04:20pm PT
This photo goes with my post from February 14, 2013 in this thread. This is Bev looking up through a crack on the Leaning Tower while we were both soloing it in 1977.

Beverly Johnson Leaning Tower solo 1977
Beverly Johnson Leaning Tower solo 1977
Credit: McHale's Navy
jeff constine

Trad climber
Ao Namao
Jul 26, 2016 - 04:40pm PT
Credit: Peter Hayes. R.I.P
Met Bev at the 210 wall around 91 92 After that we became great friends, climbed with her a bunch along with Peter Hayes at Tahquitz Rock, Punch bowl, Williamson, Joshua Tree, Malibu. Hung out with her at her house in Pasadena, met Mr Hover and her Pet Crow. Bev was Super Cool lady, had many good times up until her Death, April 3rd 1994. She made plans for me to go climbing with her up the Grand, had my ticket ready to fly to Wyoming!! Bam I get a call from my Dad, sorry son but your friend Beverly Johnson passed away, this was the day before my birthday.. Had a crappy B day.. Cried for days.

I miss her still.


How I met her at the 210 wall is a funny story, ill tell it another day.
john hansen

Jul 26, 2016 - 07:58pm PT
Thanks for the video Clint.

Quite interesting.was the 'flake' traverse the Jardine traverse?

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 26, 2016 - 08:12pm PT
Credit: donini
Beverly with Mike Hoover in the background on Autana in the Orinoco Rainforest. They fell in love on that trip and later got married. Mike was the only survivor (although badly injured) of the helicopter crash that took Beverly's life.

Beverly's broad smile and effortless good humor graced the otherwise slightly grim sausage fest that was Camp 4 in the 70's.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jul 9, 2017 - 08:24am PT
Bev.  October 1978.
Bev. October 1978.
Credit: mouse from merced
Ham, not sausage.

climber a single wide......
Jul 9, 2017 - 09:55am PT
Ed Bannister wrote in 2006,

"In packing for antactica one time we spent all day at too fast a rate, getting gear packed, checking everything, setting up Bev's self designed one of a kind north face tent, etc. So who's flying the Gyro? Oh I will Bev says matter of factly... of course, it didn't matter that she had a huge plastic higher than ski boot brace on, from the last time....

That the same trip to Antartica where one of the other team members Giles Kershaw- a celebrated South Pole pilot - crashed the Gyro and died.

Only spoke with Bev once. Mike and Bev lived in Highland Park (So Cal) in the late 70's when I was running the Outdoor Center at a nearby college. I called asking her and Mike to come down and give a slide show. They were about to leave for their 1st Antarctica expedition (mushing to the South Pole?), so we never got it together...
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Mar 28, 2018 - 11:49am PT
Sibylle Hechtel presented a slide lecture at Facelift in 2013. She had lots of good stuff to show, including pix of her and Bev's historic climb of El Cap.
Bev takes a breather.  Photo by Sibylle Hechtel made during first fema...
Bev takes a breather. Photo by Sibylle Hechtel made during first female ascent of El Cap.
Credit: mouse from merced
Well, that wasn't so bad!  Photo by Sibylle Hechtel atop El Cap.
Well, that wasn't so bad! Photo by Sibylle Hechtel atop El Cap.
Credit: mouse from merced
Bev leading on El Cap.  Photo by Sibylle Hechtel.
Bev leading on El Cap. Photo by Sibylle Hechtel.
Credit: mouse from merced
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