Earl Wiggins-Master of the Craft


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Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 14, 2007 - 10:30am PT
Jello's recent story reminded me of the time I had the opportunity to work with Earl on a rigging job in Snow Canyon. Besides being an inspirational character in a myriad of ways, his rigging skills were incredible.


Not only was Earl in charge of all the rigging for this production, but he also did a terrifying stunt where he rode off the cliff on a bike with a hidden harness.

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Dec 14, 2007 - 11:03am PT
Wow. Nice shots. I'd never even seen a picture of Earl. Recognize Ron, of course. What movie was this?

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 14, 2007 - 11:32am PT
It was some "Rescue 911" type show, that had macho rescue dudes (and of course the token beauty female) who performed daring rescues with extrodinarily corny dialog. I don't think it actually made thorugh a full season.

Mike Hoover was in charge of production.

Sadly, don't have any good shots of Earl himself.
To watch him in action was a treat. Incredible energy.
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Dec 14, 2007 - 12:04pm PT
First met Earl in the late 70's in Colorado Springs...Really good guy and an amazing climber. Really sad about Earl and his depression.

Greg...sorry about your dad. Hope all is well.

Trad climber
Lanham MD
Dec 14, 2007 - 01:53pm PT
Funny this should pop up now. I've been looking through some old climbing back issues and there was a column in one where the author is working on a rigging job with Wiggins. He sees a locker full of brand spankin' new cams, ropes, etc. Wiggins mentions that all gear has to be new due to insurance.

Wiggins sees him staring at the booty, slams the locker shut and goes "Remember that scene in Cliffhanger where the chicks harness blows appart and she falls a million feet? I made that happen, and I can do it again."


Cool shots John, thanks!

Dec 14, 2007 - 02:03pm PT
Yeah hahaha Wanderlust that was Earl he cracks some good ones.


Trad climber
Denver, CO
Dec 14, 2007 - 03:02pm PT
Hey Deuce4
Was the guy with the beard Jim Nigro?

right here, right now
Dec 14, 2007 - 03:17pm PT
I see Doug Snively, also, maybe, Kieth Guy in those photos.

I once made a custom rigging harness for Earl; did all the fitting via the phone (sure hope it didn't explode!).

Besides being mechanically adept, he was a tuff dude. 'Never really got to know him; we met when he and Katy Cassidy were working on Canyon Country Climbs, during the late 80's out in Indian Creek.

It would be cool to see more about him on this forum.

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 14, 2007 - 03:52pm PT
I think it's Bego, Kauk, Snively, and Kieth(ned flange)Guy in the pics
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Dec 14, 2007 - 03:55pm PT
Earl...solo of Outer Limits at the age of sixteen and his solo ascent of Scenic Cruise in 3 1/2 hours are milestones in free climbing history.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Dec 14, 2007 - 04:24pm PT
Earl was a super nice guy. I can't figure out his final decision.

But he could have picked a better route for the cover of CCC (just kidding).

Berg heil Earl, catcha on the down side.
captain chaos

Dec 14, 2007 - 05:52pm PT
Good to see Earl pop up here, thanks Deuce... Earl, Ned Gillette, Peter Patterson and I went to Aconcagua in 84 to ski the north side and then climb the south side. It was quite a trip, Earl and I found our way around the Mendoza night life and had some wild times together, some of my best memories of him were on that trip. Earl was a great person and extremely talented, and I've always been saddened by his departure. Anyway, here's to you Earl, may you be having a good time out there in the perimeter.

Trad climber
The Tilted World
Dec 14, 2007 - 07:48pm PT
I hope that this question is not out of line or overly sensitive, but can anyone shed light on why Earl took his own life? I am just having a hard time making it make sense. Sometimes it just goes like that.

Thanks for this post--a master indeed!


Dec 14, 2007 - 07:53pm PT

It's long story and doesn't really need to be aired out here.

Keep the faith man ......
bob d'antonio

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Dec 14, 2007 - 08:05pm PT
Thomas...I think sometimes people can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Earl was a very kind human being. That's how I remember him.

Social climber
Dec 14, 2007 - 08:14pm PT
I remember finding one of those mountainbikes high up the first ascent of a route in Snow Canyon. One of the weirdest things is to discover a crunched mountain bike 5 pitches up on a first ascent. I believe it was a GT. I also found a rolled up rug, jammed in a crack on Babes in Tailand.

nick d

Trad climber
Dec 14, 2007 - 08:15pm PT
Thanks for posting that Duece, it was very interesting seeing the setups!

I never knew Earl, but one of my friends that climbed a lot with him told me that he was always motivated to go up. No matter what the conditions, Earl wasn't backing off. My friend said he was a great partner in any adventure.

Thanks again for the photos!
scuffy b

Stump with a backrest
Dec 14, 2007 - 08:17pm PT
Well put, Bob.
What compounds the problem is that when you can't see that light,
you don't feel you can reach out to your friends for help.

Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 14, 2007 - 10:03pm PT

Funny you found that bike. I went to look for it once, but couldn't find it. Did see tons of new route potential, though. I think I was way off to the right of where the bike was, we did a couple 5.9ish grovelling pitches to a big ledge, the next sections looked pretty hard, but it was obvious the bike wasn't anywhere near where we were. Rapped off, thinking one day I'd be establishing some cool new routes in that area, but never went back.

Has much else been done in that area now? Not much was put up at the time.

Gym climber
the ground up
Dec 14, 2007 - 11:26pm PT
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