All this for 800 bucks!


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Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 13, 2006 - 06:39pm PT
Dave looking a little nervous.

Still nervous. Can't say that I blame him.

Suiting up and wigging out.

Straighten that wig up.



Still alive.

john hansen

Aug 13, 2006 - 06:44pm PT
Was that for Cliffhanger?
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 13, 2006 - 06:51pm PT
No. Cliffhanger would have paid a lot better.


Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
Aug 13, 2006 - 07:05pm PT

Social climber
Aug 14, 2006 - 02:44am PT
That was Ian Stobie's movie, wasn't it?
Stobie also made "On The Rocks".

Ice climber
Aug 14, 2006 - 09:09am PT
"Now, the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker!"

"Ahhhhh....Water's for Whimp's"!

"...but in that sleep of Death, what dreams may come!"

"Looks likes it's gonna rain today...Not a cloud in the sky."

"AHHHHHHHHHHH....Am I still alive...I could of crater'd there!"

"You whimp'n out on me...looks that way, at least I tried!"

"Hey, way to goooo, Sammy....Piece of Cake!"

"Pheeew...crazy guy!"

"Porter! Will you help me with my luggage please?"

"Over the Edge!"
Starring Randy and Jack!
The Best Climb'n flick ever made!

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 14, 2006 - 10:47am PT
I remeber when Ian came to the Valley, 1985 or so, looking for someone to take the whipper for his film. Walt, Scotty Burke, Schultz and I went into a bidding war for the job. I thought Schultz took the job for a few hundred bucks, was it really $800? That's good money!

It also got us started in bridge jumping to train for the big whippers. First Schultz and Burke went out to the Perris Ferry bridge, then I went back the next day with Burke.

That's when Burke jumped and got caught by one of his aiders on a bolt on the bridge. We almost got busted by the cops.

john hansen

Aug 14, 2006 - 10:54pm PT
Deuce, Didn't you jump with Osman a few times?
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 15, 2006 - 01:42am PT

I think it was $800 could of been $600. Either way it was not enough for that stunt. They wanted me to do it because I had dark hair. I told them I was only hired to set up the fall as technical advisor and I might do it for $10,000. I got out of that one, I am glad too. I did end up doing the filming as well for no extra pay because they did not like going over the dge and getting to the right spot for the shot. I was almost as terrified as Dave because if it didn't work (because I set the fall up and I had only just had a crash lesson on how to work the 16mm camera). It would have ruined my life if Dave had gotten hurt(hitting the wall) or worse. I did not get paid enough either. It amazes me what we would do back then for a little bit of cash. Part of my pay was supposed to be ten copies of the movie which I never received and to this day I have never seen it. If anyone has a copy I would love to see it.


Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 15, 2006 - 09:35am PT
The valley boy "invention" of rope jumping, circa 1984 or 1985.

Well, of course we had all heard of Charlie Fowler jumping the Diving Board in Eldorado, a 80 footer by all accounts, somethime in the late 70's, and a few other stories here and there of people intentionally jumping on climbing ropes.

But in Yosemite, we hadn't yet figured out the art of rope jumping. After Ian came and enticed us all with cash for falling for his movie, Schultz and Burke went out to the Perris Ferry bridge to experiment.

The next day, Burke, jazzed about rope jumping, brought me, the Swiss Miss, and her friend back there to try advancing the art of rope jumping.

First we set up pure 150 foot rope swings, with the rope anchored on some beams near the middle of the bridge. We then walked out, and with the rope held tight between us and the anchor, jumped. Even though it is mostly a swing, you still fall the first 30 or 40 feet, it seems.

All of us, including the Swiss Miss and her friend, did a bunch of swing-jumps. After each jump, we used jumars and aiders to unweight our tie-in, then dropped into the water 10 or so feet below, and swam to shore.

Then Burke told me about the "loop jumps" he and Schultz had been experimenting with the day before: by walking toward the anchor, you began with a loop between you and the anchor for additional freefall. After a few tentative loop jumps, Burke told me that Schultz had done a loop jump starting only 50 feet from the anchor. In competitive mode, I walked 20 feet closer to the anchor, so the starting loop was even bigger, essentially a pure freefall with a bit of a swing at the end.

At this time we were generally using two ropes (bad idea) and no chest harness (really bad idea). I jumped. When the rope came tight for the final swing, my back hyperextended, I could hear it pop and crack, and when I stopped swinging, I had thought I broke my back. It was numb and I was terrified, so I jumared back up the rope slowly to the bridge, hobbled to the car, and waited for Burke to finish so we could go home.

(I later figured that using two ropes doubles the impact force)

So Burke then decides to do just one more swing jump. He sets up, leaps out, then all I hear agonizing screaming from right below the edge. "DEUCEY DEUCEY!!!" he screamed. I hobbled over with my back in severe pain, from the end of the bridge to find Burke five feet below the surface of the bridge, hanging from his harness's rear clip in loop by his aiders, one of which had been caught by a protruding bolt on the bridge.

"Cut me Loose, Cut me Loose!!!, Bruke was crying. When I got there, the Swiss Miss and her friend were trying to do just that, but they couldn't lift him on their own. Burke couldn't move because of the way he was suspended upsdie down from the back of his harness. The rope he was tied to dropped 150 feet away to the mid-bridge anchor.

Part 2 of story coming soon.... Gotta go for my morning walk.


Gym climber
Otto, NC
Aug 15, 2006 - 09:46am PT
John, the suspension is killing me! Cut that deuce loose like a runner with a knife and finish the story!

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 15, 2006 - 11:56am PT
Ok, back...

When I finished hobbling over to Burke, I saw him hanging there, in an awkward upside down position, screaming at the top of his lungs, "DOOOOOO_CEY, CUT ME LOOSE!" like he was about to die or something. I got the Swiss Miss and her friend to all "pull together on 3", in order to pull the aider loop off the bolt, and send Burke for the big whipper swing.

As we were one-two-threeing, a man and his family were driving by on the bridge, heard the commotion, and jumped out of his car to see what waht going on. Just then, as he came to the edge to see what was going on, we let Burke go, who screamed as he fell.

As Burke's screams trailed off and the quiet of the moment returned, I looked at the man who had pulled up. With big eyes and an ashen face, he asked me, tentatively,

"Is he, he dead?"

"Nah", I told him, "we're just out here having fun, swinging on ropes and stuff." I tried to sound as nonchalant as possible, as if this kind of stuff happened every day.

The man suddenly got extremely angry, and started screaming at us, calling us hoodlum names, and got back into his car, yelling, "I'm calling the police on you guys!" and sped off in the same direction from whence he came.

I ran to the rope's anchor, and with Burke directly below, yelled, "Hey, Scotty, are you all right?"

Silence and then only moans from below.

"Hey Scotty, the police are going to be here in about 12 minutes. Do you need us to haul you up?"

Burke, weakly: "I think I broke my back." Exactly how I felt. It turned out later he had bruised a rib, but had no other problems, whereas my back injury was one that was to remain with me to this day.

I directed the Swiss Miss and her friend to help set up a haul system so we could get Burke up before the cops came, but then Burke told us he could jumar, and began coming up.

We brought the car over to the bridge, got everything poised. As soon as Burke got up to the edge, we helped him over and quickly into the car. Frantically, we untied the remaining part of the anchor, threw it all in the car, and began driving off.

The car hadn't even left the bridge when we saw the State Patrol car ripping from around the corner, lights flashing. We looked ahead and nonchalant as we drove by the cop, and soon were celebrating our clean getaway!

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 15, 2006 - 10:08pm PT
That was all in the mid-80's. Then, in 1998, I jumped a bunch with Osman, who had taken rope jumping to new levels. We set up a crane in San Francisco, jumped (many times) the bridge on 280 between San Fran and Palo Alto, the bridge dividing Hurricane with La Verkin in Utah, and finally a 400 footer on the Navajo Bridge on the Grand Canyon. We also set up the Auburn bridge a couple times, but kept getting busted by cops.

After the 400 footer over the Colorado River, I swore off rope jumping for good.
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 16, 2006 - 01:24am PT
Rad Deuce,

I was plenty frightened after taking 60 footers, all on rock and never joined you guys during those days of bridge jumping. I remember when Burke had hurt his ribs but didn't realize you were hurt too.

I have invested a lifetime of doing my best not to fall that I don't think I could do it intentionally. I guess that may be why I haven't tried parachuting yet, I might try it when I am older, you never know. I might need a new thrill then.

I only got to really know Dano toward the end of his life though we had many friends in common. He knew all about the fall that Schultz took and surprisingly knew that I had set it up. He wanted to know how it was set up and kept insistng(generously) that Schultz and I were the pioneers and the ones that had inspired him to do what he was doing. Very flattering but, I doubt it was the true reason.

If you are interested in how it was set up let me know and I will keep on rambling. I did use two ropes and it worked well.



Trad climber
CA, now Flagstaff
Aug 19, 2006 - 03:22am PT
Keep rambaling! this stuff is totally interesting, at least to me.
Richard Large

sneaking up behind you...
Aug 19, 2006 - 02:00pm PT
" I might need a new thrill then."...

try alligator wrestling.
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 19, 2006 - 07:29pm PT
Emmett the alligator wrestler? Or was it Rustler that wrestled plastic alligators found in his sleeping bag?


Trad climber
tucson, az
Oct 6, 2006 - 12:30pm PT
Great story, thanks. Keep 'em coming, please.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Oct 6, 2006 - 12:43pm PT
A friend took a big fall for a television commercial in 1980. Dave Harris, later co-editor of Ascent. It was a government commercial for national unity, so predictably using climbing as a metaphor for team building and unity and such. Dave took a 20 metre or more rigged fall on a small cliff near Squamish. My brother helped with the rigging. I believe Dave got paid C$1,000.

They didn't use the footage of the fall - instead, they used a "we're on the summit and we're all friends and we're waving and smiling" shot.


Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Oct 6, 2006 - 01:42pm PT
In the late '70s, Adam Grosowsky, Alan Carrier, and a few others were doing full rope length "king swings" and walking the wing and top wires of this gas pipeling bridge over the Mississippi at Grand Tower, Il. They had to time it between barges as the river is pretty damn busy through there. And my memory is a bit hazy but I believe they also did a couple of straight ankle dives as well trying to touch the water.

[ P.S. Adam and Scott Balcom will apparently be slacking on NBC's Today Show tomorrow morning early. ]
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