bridwell stories


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bruce ostler

Trad climber
new york city, ny
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 8, 2005 - 09:23am PT

jim bridwell is activly putting together his autobiography, which i'm helping to faciliate.

to that end, i'm looking for jim bridwell stories that we might use in his book and/or article.

if anyone out there in climbing land has a bridwell story - and i don't know many climbers who don't - would you please post it on this forum? i'm looking for first or second hand accounts of his climbs, true stories, but also a "tall tale" or indeed big whoopers would also be appreciated. controversial issues are also welcome, legal or otherwise, and anything that is just plain funny would be especially appreciated. please take a moment to compose them them with care (we may want to use them in the publication) - paying attention to any and all details that you can reccolect - names, dates, places, ratings, type of rock, conditions etc. ANY FIRST HAND ACCOUNT OF HISTORIC CLIMBS ARE OF IMPORTANCE. i would also ask that you don't self censure yourself - in other words: just tell it like it is.

please leave your return e-mail so we can contact you if we intend to use your story in the publication. all stories used will be accredited, unless you request annonymity to protect the innocent and the sheep. bridwell will have approval over any story used.

many thanks in advance, if nothing else it could be an e entertaining forum.

bruce ostler


Apr 8, 2005 - 11:05am PT
Not many know that Bridwell was a bad ass skier too.

I have hundreds of fond stories of my good mentor Jim. But I’ll give one about skiing. We all go up to ski Phelipps chute in mammoth once. All the best guys show up. Bridwell decides he’s going to drop in at the very top. Nobody makes that entrance back then. Now it’s a vertical drop and very narrow there. Bridwell down mantels like the climber he is and hangs on just like a overhanging boulder problem then lets go. Drops in that baby and sends it in grand style. Everyone else turns around and goes the easy way.

Apr 8, 2005 - 12:27pm PT
That's one hell of a great story Dingus and funnier than sh-it. Now how come you ain't the writer for the book man.
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
Apr 8, 2005 - 12:52pm PT
My friend told me the poodle/GP story. I don't remember the details, but I remember laughing my ass off.

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Apr 8, 2005 - 01:54pm PT
Jim Madsen, not the Bird, was the guy rumored to have booted Fifi off the Glacier Point Overlook. Then he (Madsen) threatened the cur's owner that she'd get the same ride lest she zipped her cakehole and backed the hell off.

Never happened . . .

Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 8, 2005 - 02:11pm PT
Jim is well known for inventing new techniques and inventing new equipment. So sometime around 1971 or so, Jim decides that we should make our own shoes to fit into thin cracks. I don't think that we had EBs at the time, probably still just RDs and PAs. Anyway, Jim knew someone who managed or owned a boot and shoe repair place in the Bay Area, so he called up and off we drove out of the Valley to design and prototype new crack climbing shoes.

The idea was simplicity itself--the JB crack shoes. Make a thin mountain boot insole several sizes smaller than your foot. Stretch inner tube tire rubber over the last and glue it to the insole. Slit the front, poke holes in the inner tube rubber for laces and glue on a hard rubber smooth sole like an RD or PA. Oh, and make the toe come to an extreme point about 1 1/2 inches off the end of your feet--to stick into thin cracks.

After a few hours in the shoe repair place the guy working there took the rest of the day off to go fishing. We had the place to ourselves. We made three pairs--two for Jim and one for me.

It took about 20 minutes to get these suckers onto your feet and somehow located in the right spot and laced up. Then if you weighted the edges, they rolled and the twisted onto your feet, smoothly and effectively transferring 100% of your weight to your hands.

But the main idea was to make thin crack shoes, not edging shoes. And this this regard, the JB pointy toes slipped into the smallest of cracks, especially when inserted sideways. However, as the rubber deformed to the exact shape of the crack, it slowly slipped out, and smoothly and effectively transferred 100% of your weight to your hands.

Did I also mention that they hurt like hell?

Jim, an eternal optimist and never one to admit any touch of failure until he was damn good and ready, touting the benefits of these new shoes and how a few tweaks here and there would fix the problems. I agreed in part: work really hard on finger and and arm strength and leave the shoes on the ground.

Jim was often right about many things--a skill I am sure he learned by knowing first hand how some good ideas are just down right doomed to failure.

I think that I weaseled out of my fair share of the cost of this adventure by claiming that since I got one pair and he got two, I should only pay 1/3 of the expenses.

I am glad that Jim is getting around to getting his story down in writing before his friends make it up for him.

All the best, Roger

Apr 8, 2005 - 02:16pm PT

You got any pictures of those? They were so funny looking.

NOT Fresno
Apr 8, 2005 - 02:28pm PT
Great story, Roger.

And I believe the poodle story goes: Madsen boots the yapper, he and the Bird shake hands and walk down, leaving their gear, never to climb again. I think.

About the Bird, I was up at the OR show in SLC some years back lurking around with all the other suck-ups, sort of checking out gear but mostly checking out studs like Bachar and Croft and pre-Shishipangma Alex Lowe and what's-his-face the Marmot bitch who was supposed to have gotten up all the 8000ers like five years ago. The dude with the hot wife. I felt pretty special just being in the same building.

Anyway, I hooked up with the Bridwell groupies. I was like number thirty or forty, barely in earshot. This was around the time of his Bear's Tooth or Moose's Tooth route. Some Tooth. So he looked healthy and alive even though he was on the tail end of like fifty years of climbing. (This was also the OR show where Takeda decked during the Esprit rope demonstration and got wheeled out in a chair, giving everybody high-fives, if that rings a bell. Another story, though.)

Bridwell was holding forth on a number of topics in bipolar Bird style, super-psyched about something for a while, then getting all nasty about something else. Talked about his mega-secret belay/rappel device, which he had in his pocket to show vendors but refused to produce. Talked about some death route he'd scoped on Nuptse or somewhere. Bitched about the desecration of (insert name of Bridwell FA) and how climbing (said wall route) now didn't mean sh#t. And so on.

This led--as Bridwell hit his stride--to some incriminations on which climbers, having once been cool and hard, had sold out and were pimping for Company X. Yes, the Bird named names.

"I'm the only man left. I just got back from an FA in Alaska and I got such-and-such planned next week. I don't even have gas money to get home. The only real man left."


Mountain climber
Antelope Valley
Apr 8, 2005 - 02:39pm PT
I worked in the old main lodge building at Mammoth in the mid-seventies, and there were a few impossible looking interior wall routes that he was reputed to have done first ascents on in the high-ceilinged cafeteria dining hall. Never witnessed one of the climbs myself though.
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 8, 2005 - 02:47pm PT
Hey Warner,

I took no pictures and I had very nearly blocked it from my mind. I see that some women's shoes that have those same extemely long, pointy toes, which is what made me think of the JBs when I was visiting my very stylish daughter over the weekend.

I never told her that I had a pair just like when I was her age--might take too long to explain and, ourside of this thread, it might be impossible.

Did you ever try them--the shoes, not the hanging on your fingers?


Apr 8, 2005 - 03:09pm PT
No Roger I never tried them.

Festus if anything those were by Dale Bard. The gondola myster used to come in the mornings and wonder what all that white stuff was on the walls and railings, ha ha.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Apr 8, 2005 - 03:20pm PT
I lived one street over from Jim, Kim Schmitz and Krazy Karl (not the Josh one) in Squaw Valley in the late 70s. Man what a crew that was, Karl had successfully been 86ed out of every bar in Tahoe, while Schmitz was trying to keep his car on the road and failing at it, about once a year...and Jim, well he was their ring master...those days ain't ever coming back

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Apr 8, 2005 - 06:17pm PT
Bridwell already has a biography:

Climbing Adventures, Jim Bridwell with Keith Peall, 1992, ICS Books Inc.

Of course nothing in there about the antics in Italy while filming Cliffhanger or the 100% off sale at the Yosemite Mountain Shop when it burned down in the mid 70's.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 8, 2005 - 06:51pm PT
I don't suppose there is any chance in making sure a very large number of his photos, and photos of him by others, would appear....

that was a real dissapoinmnet with "Climbing Adventures", which did get through a number of stories... the book is out of print but is still available with a little work, and no picture save the cover
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 9, 2005 - 12:33am PT
The Birdman did about 90 firsts in the Valley. There is a story of every one. Come on guys, cough em up.
bruce ostler

Trad climber
new york city, ny
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 10, 2005 - 09:32am PT
yes, please, everyone, cough em up. roger is right...

if we don't keep the stories alive, they will die with us... and we're talkin' history here.
bruce ostler

Trad climber
new york city, ny
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 10, 2005 - 09:38am PT
ed makes a good point about photos. we are looking for any photos of bridwell that have any kind of historic significance. if any one has or knows people who have any photos that can be dated, and linked to a historic or known climb, have other known and identifiable climbers in the pictures, famous, funny ones, if there is an existing photo of bridwell before he got wrinkles, etc.

please contact me by e

many thanks.

bruce ostler

Social climber
The Deli
Apr 10, 2005 - 01:17pm PT
Hey Klaus, how 'bout your "Captain Grandma" story???

And how about the story of the "GEEK"? Anyone?

Bridwell slept in my sister's bed one night.................................. (but she wasn't home...).


Apr 10, 2005 - 01:42pm PT
Loco ono and the Geeky nerfs. You want to hear that one?
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 10, 2005 - 02:30pm PT
Bruce, I have a good picture of Jim, ca 1973, lined but not wrinkled. I will e-mail it to you. Also, I will see if there is anything else worth sharing in my dusty vault.

I encourage everyone to lie and make up outlandish stories. We have to add some color to Jim's dull experiences and repetitive firsts in just about every category just to help the guy out, don't you think?


Social climber
The West
Apr 10, 2005 - 04:24pm PT
Klaus, hmm, guess the cat's out of the bag on that one.
If you did Freestone, how did you like the lieback on pitch 5?

Social climber
The West
Apr 10, 2005 - 05:21pm PT
Bruce, if that, (Ms Blinny's) isn't part of what you're looking for, don't bother.

Cheers, and thanks!

Apr 10, 2005 - 10:14pm PT
Geek towers got its name from those three derelicts that were hanging around camp4 back in the day. The leader always wore this weird top hat with his long curly hair hanging out and his two side kicks were his tag along.

One day Jim Pettigrew gave them the name "Loco Ono and the Geeky Nerfs" which kinda stuck for those guys. So when they got to the top of the left side of FreeStone Bridwell called it Geek Towers after that crew. The next ledge down was named nerf towers.

Hence in regards to Klaus photo ………

Once, Bridwell and Pettigrew were cooking dinner over at the Annex housing area across from camp 4. They had one of those two burner propane stoves. Pettigrew tells Jim that he can smell gas leaking from the connection at the tank. Propane has reverse threads, he he. Bridwell thinks he’s tightening the connection instead he’s loosening it by turning clockwise.

Kapow the tank explodes of the line and takes off like a flaming rocket, fish-tailing around the lot, then over the roofs igniting the pine needles up there and then into the employee housing area. Flames everywhere! Bridwell singed his hair, eyebrows, and that handlebar moustache. Yosemite Fire had to come and hose down the place. Bridwell couldn’t get his dog out from under his van for a long time, it was so scared.


Trad climber
On that V2 problem at the Happies
Apr 10, 2005 - 11:19pm PT
Dingus, and Misses Blinny,
those stories are classic
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 11, 2005 - 12:31am PT
from the Yosemite Valley Climbs data base:

10.96 1972 Jim Bridwell John Long Mark Klemens
Absolutely Free, Left Side 1970 Jim Bridwell Bev Johnson Mark Klemens
Abstract Corner 1971 Jim Bridwell
Aquarian Wall 1971 Jim Bridwell Kim Schmitz
Big Chill, The 1987 Jim Bridwell Peter Mayfield Sean Plunkett Steve Bosque
Bob Locke Memorial Buttress 1978 Jim Bridwell Ron Kauk John Long Kim Schmitz
Bongs Away, Left 1970 Jim Bridwell
Braille Book, The 1966 Jim Bridwell Chris Fredericks Brian Berry
Bushido 1977 Jim Bridwell Dale Bard
Butterfingers 1971 Jim Bridwell Charley Jones
Catchy Corner 1974 Jim Bridwell Dale Bard
Central Pillar of Frenzy 1973 Jim Bridwell Roger Breedlove Ed Barry John Long Billy Westbay Ron Fawcett
Cheek 1972 Jim Bridwell
Chosen Few, The 1971 Jim Bridwell Mark Klemens
Church Bowl Terrace 1965 Jim Bridwell Hamish Mutch
Commitment 1966 Jim Bridwell Dave Bircheff Phil Bircheff
Crucifix, The 1973 Jim Bridwell Kevin Worall 1985 Peter Croft
Easy Street 1972 Jim Bridwell
Elevator Shaft 1965 Jim Bridwell Phil Bircheff
Free Blast 1975 Jim Bridwell John Long Kevin Worrall Mike Graham John Bachar Ron Kauk
Freestone (Geek Towers, Left Side) 1974 Jim Bridwell Ron Kauk Dale Bard
Geek Towers, Center Route 1974 Jim Bridwell John Syrett
Geek Towers, Left Side (Freestone) 1974 Jim Bridwell Ron Kauk Dale Bard
Goldrush 1972 Jim Bridwell Steve Wunsch Jim Donini
Gripper 1970 Jim Bridwell Bruce Kumph Mark Klemens
Hairline 1974 Jim Bridwell Kevin Worrall Dale Bard George Meyers
Hanging Teeth, The 1968 Jim Bridwell Vic Tishous
Heavy Metal and Tinker Toys 1998 Jim Bridwell Tyson Hausdoerffer Boulos Ayad
High Pressure 1972 Jim Bridwell John Bragg
Higher Cathedral Rock, East Face Route 1967 Jim Bridwell Chris Fredericks
Hotline 1973 Jim Bridwell Mark Chapman 1975 Ron Kauk John Bachar
Independent Route 1970 Jim Bridwell Mark Klemens
Mirage 1976 Jim Bridwell Kim Schmitz Jim Pettigrew
Outer Limits 1971 Jim Bridwell Jim Orey
Pacific Ocean Wall 1975 Jim Bridwell Billy Westbay Jay Fiske Fred East
Ramp of Deception 1971 Jim Bridwell
Sea of Dreams 1978 Jim Bridwell Dale Bard Dave Diegelman
Shadows 1989 Jim Bridwell Cito Kirkpatrick Charlie Row Billy Westbay
Shortcake 1971 Jim Bridwell Dale Bard
Sidetrack 1974 Jim Bridwell Dale Bard
Smoky Pillar 1973 Jim Bridwell George Meyers Vern Clevenger Larry Bruce
South Central 1967 Jim Bridwell Joe Faint
Stone Groove 1971 Jim Bridwell Galen Rowell
Tinkerbell, Right 1971 Jim Bridwell Kim Schmitz
Triple Direct 1969 Jim Bridwell Kim Schmitz
Tube, The 1974 Jim Bridwell Kevin Worrall Dale Bard George Meyers
Waverly Wafer 1970 Jim Bridwell Barry Bates Bev Johnson
Zenith 1978 Jim Bridwell Kim Schmitz
Zenyatta Mondatta 1981 Jim Bridwell Peter Mayfield Charlie Row
Absolutely Free, Right Side 1970 Mark Klemens Jim Bridwell
Cartwheel 1971 Mark Klemens Jim Bridwell
Catchy 1971 Jim Pettigrew Jim Bridwell Mark Klemens
Doggie Deviations 1968 Kim Schmitz Jim Bridwell
Eagle Feather 1974 John Long Jim Bridwell Kevin Worrall
Final Exam 1971 Mark Klemens Jim Bridwell
Flake Off 1975 Bruce Pollock Jim Bridwell Jim Pettigrew Mark Klemens
Folly, The, Left Side 1964 Layton Kor Jim Bridwell
Geek Towers, Right Side 1971 Mark Klemens Jim Bridwell
Jam Session 1971 Mark Klemens Jim Bridwell
Juliette's Flake, Left Side 1965 Chuck Pratt Jim Bridwell
Klemens' Escape 1970 Mark Klemens Jim Bridwell
Mental Block 1973 Dale Bard Jim Bridwell
Moby Dick, Ahab 1964 Frank Sacherer Jim Bridwell
Narrow Escape 1971 Peter Haan Jim Bridwell Mark Klemens
New Dimensions 1970 Mark Klemens Jim Bridwell 1972 Barry Bates Steve Wunsch
On the Loose 1970 Kim Schmitz Jim Bridwell Rick Christiani
Pinky Paralysis 1975 John Bachar Jim Bridwell
Plumb Line 1974 Dale Bard Jim Bridwell Kevin Worrall
Snake Dike 1965 Eric Beck Jim Bridwell Chris Fredericks
Steppin' Out 1971 Mark Klemens Jim Bridwell
Straight Error 1973 Mark Chapman Jim Bridwell
This and That 1972 Jim Donini Jim Bridwell
Verde 1975 Bruce Pollock Jim Bridwell Jim Pettigrew
Wheat Thin 1971 Peter Haan Jim Bridwell
Edge of Night 1967 Chris Fredericks Rich Doleman Jim Bridwell
Vain Hope 1970 Royal Robbins Kim Schmitz Jim Bridwell
Entrance Exam 1965 Chuck Pratt Chris Fredericks Larry Marshaik Jim Bridwell
Basket Case 1972 Jim Donini TM Herbert 1972 Mark Klemens Jim Bridwell
Good Book, The (Right Side of the Folly) 1968 Warren Harding Tom Fender 1973 Dale Bard Jim Bridwell Kevin Worrall Ron Kauk
Middle Cathedral Rock, North Buttress 1954 Warren Harding Frank Tarver Craig Holden John Whitmer 1964 Frank Sacherer Jim Bridwell
Phantom Pinnacle, Left Side (Regular Route) 1950 Bill Dunmire Joe Faint 1976 Mike Graham Roger Breedlove Jim Bridwell

Apr 11, 2005 - 11:23am PT

Sh-it I missed the whole thing. I left just when they were starting. I went over to the lodge to get something and when I came back Bridwell had that funny look on his face when I asked him WTF happened to you.
bruce ostler

Trad climber
new york city, ny
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 11, 2005 - 03:25pm PT
kathy, lovely story. right now we're looking for any and all stories, picutres etc of and about bridwell and his cronies.

if more people could tale a few minutes to think before they type, we'll have an abundance of great stories. i'd love to use them all if we can.

ed, thank you for the info from the data base, is that info considered accurate by concensus???

please keep the stories coming.

many thanks.

bruce ostler


Trad climber
the inside
Apr 11, 2005 - 06:49pm PT
hey LARGO,

What about the story of the lunatic helicopter ride to angel falls, and the pilots girlfriend in some sort of lycra zebra suit and.....

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 11, 2005 - 07:04pm PT
Wow, Kath, thanks for sharing that story from the golden age! And for the hints about the other stories that you chose not to publish.

> ed, thank you for the info from the data base,
> is that info considered accurate by concensus???
Ed didn't actually say what the info was, but it is mostly First Ascents, with the last 4 routes being First Free Ascents (Free Blast is also a FFA). The list looks pretty accurate; one possibly notable omission is the FFA of the Stoveleg cracks on the Nose in 1968 with Jim Stanton. Too bad it's not a story, though :-) . Jim Bridwell also climbed in other areas, of course. Some of his early climbs included 15 FAs and FFAs at Pinnacles National Monument in the 1961-65 time period (mostly in 1965). There is a nice chronological list of his climbs in the original biography. I suspect that he has done so many climbs over so many years, that almost anyone would have trouble remembering individual climbs and stories at this point!

I don't have any real stories to share, but he did give the funniest slideshow that I ever saw. It was after one of his first trips to Patagonia, where the plan was to do a new route with Mike Graham [edit - thanks, Werner] and Bachar, but he ended up doing the 2nd or 3rd ascent of Cerro Torre with Steve Brewer. Of course the main events were (1) burying all his gear in a snow cave, and then not being able to retrieve the gear after it snowed 10 feet and so his partners left, and then (2) summiting on Cerro Torre with a partner who was just treking through the area, on borrowed gear and taking a 50 meter fall on the descent when a borrowed hammer sling parted. But the funniest part was when he showed a slide of an Italian climber at base camp, waiting out the bad weather with a sad look on his face. "When we looked at Marcelo [sic], we understood why he was a climber - he was so ugly that he decided to die!!"

Apr 11, 2005 - 08:01pm PT
Not Kauk but Mike Graham and Bachar. They left for reasons I will not say here. Ask Mike for that, or John.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 11, 2005 - 09:06pm PT
I provided a part of the database, it is based on a set of literature on climbs in Yosemite Valley noted as First Ascents and First Free Ascents. There are other climbs which may rise to noteriety but are not FAs or FFAs, such as the Stovelegs on the Nose, which has a very interesting history and a set of stories all on its own but does not appear in the climbing literature I used for compiling the list.

I posted the list here to make sure that the community had a chance to respond if anything was missing... I can provide the documentary information easily if it is desirable.

I also believe that Jim Bridwell's contribution to climbing is considerably larger than a list of first ascents in Yosemite Valley.. even as notable as some of those climbs are.. however, he would still be a giant were those climbs the only legacy he left, in my opinion.

Roger called for a story for each climb, and Roger has to produce for the few he FA'd or FFA'd with Jim... how about it Roger?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 11, 2005 - 11:04pm PT
Hey Clint, it's an interesting question that you raise about Freeblast... right now it is the start of the Salathe Wall, but was it the original start? just a thought as I don't know the story of the FFA.

Apr 11, 2005 - 11:10pm PT
Ed that was

Free Blast (free to Mammoth) freed by Jim Bridwell, John Long, Kevin Worrall, Mike Graham, John Bachar, and Ron Kauk, 5/75

They doctored the original.

Social climber
The West
Apr 12, 2005 - 01:37am PT
Once at a Bridwell slide show he said, "I think my best contributions to climbing were the chalkbag, and quickdraw."
always wondered about that.
To me, personally, the helpful advice he gave me (an anonymous noob, then hopeless kid, (now hopeless old guy)) in passing, at various locals, (mostly yosemite) about bottle taping, head bashing, ascender rigging, route beta, rotodrill tips, general encouragement and more, is only surpassed by the routes of his I had availible to cut my climbing teeth on; Aquarius, 1096, Nabisco Wall, Freestone, Mental Block, the catchy's, the good book, Plumbline, steppin' out, Snake Dike, New Dimensions, Hotline? and many others. Now there is a climbing curicullum.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 12, 2005 - 01:38pm PT
Yes, the Free Blast pitches are essentially the same as the original Salathe' Wall pitches (to Mammoth Ledge). There might be some slight deviation in pitches 5 and 6. If you look at the photos in The Vertical World of Yosemite and in Royal Robbins: Spirit of the Age, they match the free pitches. I don't know the full story, sorry. I remember seeing something in Mountain magazine at the time about bolts added, then chopped and replaced. But I don't remember much and I don't have the magazines to look it up.

Trad climber
Apr 12, 2005 - 01:49pm PT
There is a great picture of Bridwell climbing on Mt. Everest with a butt hanging out of his mouth in Snow in the Kingdom by Ed Webster. You might want to contact Ed about the rights.

Social climber
The West
Apr 14, 2005 - 04:40pm PT
Okay, I 'get' the Danny Trejo comparison now.

Big Wall climber
Lake Arrowhead
Apr 14, 2005 - 05:32pm PT

I’ve always liked Jim’s abrasive personality. Of course, I only read about this legend of a man before I actually met him.

We were fresh off the boat and everything about us had a green hue to it. I had climbed El Cap one other time and hopefully this would be my brother, Gabe’s first trip up the Big Stone.

We were racking-up and getting prepared for the wall next to El Cap Meadow. Gabe gets my attention and quietly nods in the direction across the street, “Check it out bro, that’s Jim Bridwell”.

Jim was talking in the shade of a tree with some friends, Werner and Mary – whom I had not met yet. Jim had an old beater pick-up truck with a bumper sticker that read: “Your WORST nightmare is my BEST vacation.”

We were busy making a bosuns chair out of a thick piece of wood we bootied from Oakhurst. We rigged a back rest and even a leg rest. Jim meandered across the street and with a menacing point of his finger he commands, “Let me take a look at that”.

We hand over the chair without saying a word. The Bird examined it for a few seconds and then announces, “It ain’t LIGHT…. is IT?”

It was more of a comment than a question. He handed it back to us as we chuckled and gave a brief, “No, I guess not”

We were fools to think we would get away from Jim’s wrath so easily. His next comment has been of great amusement and humor for years following.

“You know boys… Those chairs are for PUSSIES, real MEN hang in their harness and don’t need to be comfortable.”

Jim wanders off, Gabe and I look at each other with wide eyes, trying not to burst out with hysterical laughter.

We finished making the chair and started looking around for options to test it out on. The tree that Jim was under would have been perfect but we wanted to avoid another hazing. So, we looped it over the top of the forty-five degree corner on a sign next to the bridge. The thin sheet metal threatened to bend over and send you to the ground.

A few minutes of testing went by when Werner shows up and gives us a nod. He doesn’t say a word but motions to the chair. Uh oh, here we go again, I thought.

Werner sat in the chair, he even tried out the foot rest. I watched suspiciously at the corner of the sign, praying that it would hold. Werner then got out of the chair and shook his head up and down with a semi-approval look. He walked away without saying a word the entire time. We had no idea at the time, why.

On our approach to the wall we had a good laugh about the whole scene. We immediately named the chair, “Pussy’s Chair” and made sure we referred to it by the correct name to get a good laugh out of each other.

A few years later I had gotten to know Jim better. I learned that he “says it like it is” and you just can’t take it personal. He would say some classic “one liners” that had me rolling, like:

“What… are you NEW?”

Jim asked me once while we were walking up the trail to El Cap and didn’t veer off on the short-cut.
I’ll never forget watching the First Ascent of Heavy Metal being put up. Jim would sit in the shade of a tree, drinking beer. Tyson and Bulos were pushing the first couple of pitches. If Jim saw something he didn’t like he would come running out from under the tree and yell:

“Hey, NO drilling!!, you can hook there”….. or,

“See that nubbin? Sling it, Sling the nubbin.”

“It keeps coming off”, Bulos replied.

“WELL then, put your THUMB on it”, Bridwell said with a tone of normality to it.

The vision of that comment left me both gripped and amused. If it actually worked, I guess that would leave him with one arm for the next placement.


Big Wall climber
Lake Arrowhead
Apr 15, 2005 - 03:43am PT

Bridwell and Ivo in Red Rocks. He's either looking at me like "Get that DAMN camera outta my face."
Or, "Whatiya NEW?" Maybe, BOTH....

Bridwell and The Twins


Apr 15, 2005 - 11:52am PT
One day Bridwell and I were walking along when Jim spots this aluminum dowel stock on the ground. He picks it up and says “this will make good rivet ladder material.”

Some time later [months?] Dale and Mark Chapman want to try the first ascent of what is now the Horse Chute on El cap. They ask Jim if he has any stock to make rivet ladders. Jim hands them that ¼ inch dowel that he found a while back. They cut it up into the right lengths and off they go.

We monitor their progress one morning and notice they are bailing! Jim says lets go to the base and see what’s up. We arrive at the base and meet up with Dale and Mark. Jim asks what happened. They tell us how the aluminum dowel stock that Jim gave them slowly bends 45% and the tie-off starts to slip off while standing on it.

Jim drills and tests one at the base …….yes your right …. Aluminum too soft, WTF!!!!

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Apr 15, 2005 - 02:07pm PT
it's not much of a story, but it's all I have:

Bridwell spent an evening with us in camp 4 this summer. He was hanging out with a couple guys from Arizona camped next to us that had just bailed off the Prow they said due to clusterf*#k and lack of sufficient water. They had met them when they did Central Pillar of Frenzy as a warmup climb for it. He was giving them bits of wisdom intermixed with little stories to help them with their climbing technique. I remember the AZ guys said he told them to ditch a large part of their rack for CPF and they felt the climb was poorly protected as a result of that. He laughed and said "when in doubt, run it out."

That's the only time I've ever met him in person. He was crashing out in the woods and didn't have a spot -still dodging the rangers. I think they had busted him once and he was a bit miffed. He refused beer we offered him (does he no longer drink?) He also asked us "Where are the chicks, guys?" and recounted how he used to juggle several girlfriends. So we said, "we thought you were bringing them" He told climbing related stories and jokes, some of which I'd heard before but mostly I was just in awe that he was spending time with us. We talked about some of the routes of his that we had done and how we'd enjoyed them. After midnight he grabbed his pack and went back into the woods to crash somewhere.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Apr 15, 2005 - 02:35pm PT
I don't know if there's anything signifcant with this story, since everything went as according to normal Bridwell SOP (my interpretation of it that is), that being having a rousing good time with good friends in the mountains.

It was at Jim and Peggy's wedding reception (78 or 79) at the old Hofbrau (razed for ski area expansion) in Squaw Valley, where he had been a pro-patroler. It was a big party with a host of whos' who of climbing, skiing and family. The center piece being a big plastic trashcan full of an everclear mixed punch that wrecked havoc on the guests. But everyone seemed to have a good time none the less. The cast included many old Yosemite partners of the Bird and I got whiplash just looking at all the faces.

I was pretty hungover the next day, but man was it a good party.


Big Wall climber
oakland, ca
Apr 15, 2005 - 09:51pm PT
I don't know if lore from people who don't really know the guy is useful, but since my story is of good not evil, I'll post up...

From all of the stories that I'd heard about Bridwell, when I met him I expected him to start chasing sticks and biting the tires of passing cars or somesuch. I've only been around him twice, and did not get to witness any hazing, debauchery, or extraordinarily bold climbing. I only saw only 'nice' things really...although he did have scabs on his face suggesting that there was something to those climbing tales...

One day my friend and I had spent the day feigning to climb a wall (i.e. getting stuck in a conga line that wasn't moving) and then driving to the lower canyon in her truck only to realize that we'd left all of our ropes fixed. We went back to the Lodge to get the remaining 8.1 mm out of my truck and see if we could get one pitch in at Swan Slab before dark. Anyway, he came through the parking lot with about ten 20-year-old boys orbitting him as he advanced, several of whom knew my partner. They stopped and chatted for a while. We told them the tale of our day's gumby misadventures and our plans to conquer the Swan Slab Gulley on my twin rope. He looked at it and said, "You can't go climb on that skinny thing!" Then he reached in the back of his rig and graciously produced a brand new 10ish mm rope for us to use on our proud summit bid. He didn't know us at all and might have been hard pressed to track us down had we opted to disappear with his stuff. He just said to look for him in C4 or the bar later.

That he seemed to just realize that we knew who he was, and also my decision to post this bland little story did make me think about something that he's probably dealt with for 30 years...I wonder how it feels when nearly every stranger that you meet when climbing knows who you are and will likely pass on some commentary on your interaction with them?

Trad climber
Otto, NC
Apr 20, 2005 - 01:07pm PT
I recall an interview with some movie star person; she said being famous is a pain in the ass. She could only go into clean bathrooms b/c if she left a dirty one someone would spread the story of how so&so was a total slob, left a mess etc. Probably not a problem for the Birdman but still, who needs to carry around the weight of other people's preconceptions?

Big Wall climber
Apr 27, 2005 - 07:19pm PT

Im a humble climber/producer with an idea Id like to run by you?
How can we communicate directly?
My email is


Big Wall climber
Seattle, Wa
May 4, 2005 - 12:24am PT
Well, most of us young folk can only listen to the stories of old. I do like to tell occasionally about how Jim hung around my van over multiple days, suddenly even knew my name, because he wanted to borrow MY CHEATER STICK!! Now, since it did not belong to me, I had to say no every time (he kept asking). But we had a good time hanging in the meadow anyway and this year I'll bring an extra one just for him.


Trad climber
On that V2 problem at the Happies
May 5, 2005 - 01:19pm PT
Jim hung around my van over multiple days, suddenly even knew my name, because he wanted to borrow MY CHEATER STICK!!

Jim, using a cheater stick? what's the world coming to?

May 5, 2005 - 05:06pm PT
Second hand story. Jim was at an O.R. party and Wills Young( Mr. Rands) was talking sh#t to his son Layton. So Jim goes up to him and busts a beer bottle across his face.Ouch.


Social climber
the little ditch
May 5, 2005 - 07:14pm PT
Heard of that one before...any more details? Sounds like a classic story for sure.

Trad climber
Nelson B.C. Canada
Oct 12, 2006 - 02:09pm PT
are you still collecting stories about bridwell? i knew him in the mid 60s just before he became a legend. also some early pix. if interested please reply to my email address. cheers hamie

Oct 12, 2006 - 09:26pm PT

A few years ago The Bird was doing a slideshow at Nomad Ventures in Jtree. we happened to be at the monument so we drove in for the show.
It was awesome with great tales and photo's of Jim doing stuff on walls that would terrify most.
At the end of the show he was fielding a few questions when a kid up front asked him what was the scariest thing he had ever done on a wall.
His reply went something like this,
"I once had to rap a f*#king fixed 8mm cord in the Goddamn rain 17 pitches up to escape an oncoming huge f*#king storm and the motherf*#king sheath on this cord was ripped to sh#t from dagling out there for months. I was scared shitless all the way down.
I think that sacred me more than any f*#king thing I'd done before or since."

The kids in the front row were in awe.

Oct 12, 2006 - 09:37pm PT
Now that's funny pud. Yes Bridwell's ropes were some of the worst pieces of sh#t I've ever been on.

But, we got so used to seeing core shots on ropes it became normal. He would just put some tape over them at times. Hehehe

So it became a normal thing to wear my ropes to the core also and still use them. Cosgrove and I went to do our first ever climb together and I brought the lead line and he just about sh#t when he saw all the core shots and tape, hahahaha.

It was cool! He didn't want to lead I got the lead.

Trad climber
Oct 12, 2006 - 09:37pm PT
My Bridwell stories would only get a lot of prople in trouble. I'm pleading the 5th.

Trad climber
Durango, CO
Oct 12, 2006 - 11:38pm PT
whattimeisit wrote: "Second hand story. Jim was at an O.R. party and Wills Young( Mr. Rands) was talking sh#t to his son Layton. So Jim goes up to him and busts a beer bottle across his face.Ouch."

Actually it was at the Phoenix Bouldering Contest. I can't remember which year, but I'll guess '98. A bunch of us were hanging around a campfire when Peggy came up screaming at Jim about some British jerk at the Boreal party who had nastily insulted Layton. I can't remember the quote, but it was pretty bad. Anyways, Peggy was livid and insisted that Jim go and do something about it.

So Jim went to talk to the guy, who wasted no time in insulting Jim too. The guy apparently wanted a fight, but Jim "headed" him off at the pass with his beer bottle, and the situation quickly ended. If my fuzzy memory is right, the bottom, not side, of the bottle landed on the dude's forehead/nose junction.

The next morning I saw the bumper sticker on Jim's pickup: Age and tretchery will always beat youth and talent." (Or something like that.) Quite a fine example of that, I believe.

San Clemente, CA
Jan 30, 2007 - 03:20am PT
Hey Jim.

Trad climber
White Van
Jan 30, 2007 - 11:04am PT
I have a second-hand Bridwell story.

My friend Chris related it to me thusly:

He was going to climb Hall of Mirrors, racking up at the base, when a tall ratty-looking guy popped out of the woods (he did not recognize him), and asked Chris if he was going to do that climb. Chris responded to the affirmative, and the stranger asked him for his shoes. Chris was more than a little concerned that his shoes were going to be stolen! But the guy was insistent, so finally Chris relented. The guy then ran off with his shoes without an explanation. Chris followed, alarmed, and saw, to his horror, this guy rubbing his shoes on a patch of pitch on a pine tree! He was like "Hey, WTF?" The guy turned back to him, now rubbing the soles of the shoes together briskly.
He saw Chris's dumbfounded expression and finally offered forth an explanation:
"The pine pitch will help you stick to the glacial polish, and the heat from the friction of the rubbing allows the pitch to absorb into the soles. Then he introduced himself as Jim Bridwell.

Chris said he stuck like a gecko on that climb.

Jan 30, 2007 - 11:42am PT
" Once at a Bridwell slide show he said, "I think my best contributions to climbing were the chalkbag, and quickdraw."
always wondered about that. "

" There is a great picture of Bridwell climbing on Mt. Everest with a butt hanging out of his mouth in Snow in the Kingdom by Ed Webster. You might want to contact Ed about the rights. "

I think it was Bridwell who also invented the bic lighter duc taped to the quickdraw so you could clip it in @ the belay and always have it at the ready.

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 30, 2007 - 12:14pm PT
"Jim Madsen, not the Bird, was the guy rumored to have booted Fifi off the Glacier Point Overlook. Then he (Madsen) threatened the cur's owner that she'd get the same ride lest she zipped her cakehole and backed the hell off.

Never happened . . ."

those were the days.....

"What about the story of the lunatic helicopter ride to angel falls.."

yeah, wasn't that "fool's goal" or something like that, first published in R&I and later reprinted in gorilla monsoon? classic gripper...bridwell bitch-slaps some dude who's losing it, snaps him back into shape, ducks his head into his parka to spark a camel straight, smirks over to largo and say hooo maaannnn....all this while they're pretty much convinced they're about to die...classic bridwell yarn as told by largo. you just don't read sh#t like that anymore.

fav bridwell pic: the shot of him gleefully holding up two ice tools after doing a very early ascent of cerro torre in 36 hours with some random pick-up partner, having shaved, like, three weeks off the previous fastest time.

Isolated in El Portal and loving it
Jan 30, 2007 - 01:03pm PT
bvb- Alpinist-18, has a feature article on the bird. If you don't have it, go to your local shop and PICK IT UP! Good vintage pics that I hadn't already seen

Gym climber
Jan 30, 2007 - 01:28pm PT
A crazy high-school buddy of mine was living in Tahoe in the '70s...

"Hey Kelly, ever heard of this guy named Jim Bridwell?"

"Hell yeah, that dude is a rad Yosemite climber!"

"Dang, I've been washing dishes with him. The guy's a nut. We do lines on top of the sink and then rage through the dishes. He taught me how to use Draino to clean the pots that the cooks burned."

Truckee, CA
Jan 30, 2007 - 04:17pm PT
I am trying to think of some funny or classic stories but coming up short right now. One moment though has always stayed with me as classic Bridwell. Always looking ahead, envisioning future routes and possibilities, made him appreciate innovation and evolution in the sport by others. As such he was a very early adapter to the sport climbing idea. He attended a film festival in Europe in 1987 and went cragging afterward with Michael Kennedy, as he told it, a couple of French teenybopper girls floated a 7b+ (12c) right next to them, and he was totally impressed. Coming back to the Valley, he was completely out of step with the "Valley Syndrome" attitude, a rather low point in Yosemite hospitality, when some of our best had rudely heckled Patrick Edlinger while he was climbing a Love Supreme, and gave all visiting sportsters a ration of abuse. One morning in the caf we were all hanging out, the usual slag fest decrying the "hangdoggers" "the magazine climbers" and the "lycra clad homo's", Jim walked up to Kauk and said something like, "this is the future, and you are letting it pass you by, you are like an ostrich with your head up your a*#!"
Sometime soon after that Jim visited me in the bay and we went bouldering, he had on lycra and duel chalkbags! Soon after that, Kauk went to Smith, kicked ass and came back a convert.


Trad climber
White Van
Jan 30, 2007 - 06:26pm PT
"Always looking ahead, envisioning future routes and possibilities, made him appreciate innovation and evolution in the sport by others."

That reminds me of another story...

I was working for Entreprise back in the mid-90's, and one of the walls was sold to "Gym Bridwell" in Palm Springs. I flew down and went through the wall installation with Jim, and he told me about his latest project.
He had found a small canyon with little or no holds on the walls near Palm Springs,and had gone to work in classic Bridwell style:
His objective was to create climbs where every move on the climb was representative of the grade, ie, if the climb was 10c, then every move on the climb was 10c, etc...He had put up quite a few routes, he said.
I realized what a process and art that would be with a chisel and drill to make EVERY MOVE the same grade.

Always looking for the next thing...
Rick L

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Jan 30, 2007 - 11:24pm PT
Most of the following is true.

I guess I was about 15 or 16 (1966-67) when I got a ride to the Valley with some older friends. We climbed that weekend and the plan was to pick me up in 2 weeks- my first solo in Camp 4. Even then, Jim Bridwell was a climbing god and the unrivaled "mayor" who presided over his boulder-strewn kingdom. As my friends were about to leave Sunday evening, Jim asked if he could hitch a ride with them back to the Bay Area. Before they left, one of Jim's buddies pulled my friends aside and solumnly advised "Whatever you do, don't let him drive" and then walked away without explanation. My friends, fortunately for them, followed the advice and innocently avoided what I later learned would have been a guaranteed "white knuckle" drive. Jim returned to Camp 4 a few days later.

Jim, who has always been generous with his time with everyone- including those without much talent or promise- stopped by my tent and offered to give me a tour of the boulder problems. Shocked and knees knocking, I followed him about the boulders watching in awe and too timid to embarrass myself in front of him.

As it happened, I pitched my tent immediatley adjacent to a group of acid-gobbling hippies. The old road that went pretty close to the talus leading up to the Nose was open then and my hippie neighbors loved to take prodigous quantities of drugs and drive the roller-coaster road at top speed in their beat up VW bus. I went along a few times- without the acid- and it was great fun- an E-ticket ride. Much to my great surprise, Jim was keeping an eye on me during my stay. He paid me a visit one morning after one of the rides and sternly advised that I was hanging out with a bad group of people. As I later learned, I don't think he was concerned about the drugs; rather, he thought they we lazy, aimless and worthless scum.

Toward the end of my two week stay, a group of bikers showed up and moved into the camp site next door. Jim's tent was situated fairly close by and certainly close enough to be distrubed by all of the carrying-on that continued after midnight. The bikers had a big fire blazing and they were yelling, playing loud music and generally being a pain in the ass. I had been trying to get to sleep for hours. I didn't have a tent and had a clear view of the campfire. Here is what I witnessed: Out of the pitch-black comes Bridwell, wearing a pirate's bandana. And absolutely nothing else. He strides past several of the revelers and walks directly over to the biggest, meanest looking guy and stops directly in front of him. He stands there for a long moment,then bends over, gets his face a few inches away and exclaims "I think it's time we all went to sleep. Don't you?" He then turns around and walks back into the dark. The leader Jim chose to address certainly got the message. Those behind Jim around the campfire circle probably got a different but equally disturbing message when he bent over. Everything went dead silent. A bunch of guys with wide eyes and open mouths. Eventually, the noise level went up from dead silence to a normal speaking tone, at which point I could barely hear an urgent, loud whisper: "Shut up, goddammit shut up or that guy is gonna come back." Then more slilence and I finally drifted off to sleep. It was a classic and hysterically funny lesson in intimidation worthy of Clint Eastwood.

Good luck with the book.

john hansen

Jan 30, 2007 - 11:42pm PT
We met him one day while we were gumbying around on 90 foot wall. Had a top rope set up on a 5.7 when him and a couple bro's walked up and started free soloing the 5.8s and 9s. My brother was just messing around trying to get off the ground on the 5.11 between 'Strontium' and "Retinue" if my memory is correct. He was wearing tennis shoes. Bridwell came up and said "That aint tenny shoe territory" and procedded to pantomime the moves for us, explaning ' right foot,, crimp' ect.

Next day one of my other buddy,s that was there called me and said,"That was Jim Bridwell". Must of been the early 80's.
old toad

Trad climber
yosemite, Ca.
Nov 8, 2009 - 04:31pm PT
bump for the bird

Social climber
Apr 14, 2010 - 12:27am PT
Bump. Bump. Bump.
Here's a great old thread. Required reading for anyone going to the Fest, and for pretty much everyone else too. Even if you've seen it before, it's worth a second read. And a 3rd. And a 4th......
mountain dog

Trad climber
over the hills and far away
Apr 14, 2010 - 01:08am PT

Oh yeah, a story about the Bird. He is shorter than I thought.

Gym climber
Boise, I dee Hoe
Apr 14, 2010 - 01:24am PT
The Wills story is not true. I was there. Layton (Jims son) was tossing beer bottles at a trash can and breaking them. Lots of them in the campground. Wills told him to stop. Layton told his nutcase Mom who told Jim who asked no questions and dropped Wills with a beer bottle and inflicted some major dental damage. Jim being the standup guy he is never paid a cent nor apologized. You guys think that is something to applaud? Pathetic.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 14, 2010 - 01:28am PT
"Hamie" being he who did the FA of Church Bowl Terrace with the Bird, in December 1964 (edit: guidebook is apparently incorrect), and so one of Jim's earlier partners. He may have some nice photos of Jim, and I wonder if he might show them here?

Trad climber
san Jose, CA
Apr 14, 2010 - 03:10am PT
BITD, perhaps the mid 1970's, Bridwell was working on an FA of a new route on El Cap. It was to the west of the Alcove, I think. Perhaps the Pacific Ocean Wall. It was a STEEP route in any case. He was up about 3 pitches with Werner. Werner was belaying from under a fairly big roof, while Bridwell was doing some sort of heinous nailing above it. Things were apparently pretty tense for a while, and Werner was trying to keep a pretty tight belay. Eventually, after several hours, Bridwell finished the pitch, slammed in an anchor and hollared to Werner "Off Belay!!". Werner, who was pretty hard of hearing in those days yelled back "I've got you Jim!!". Bridwell started yanking on the rope, and Werner responded by choking up on it, sure that Bridwell was about to pitch off to his doom. Jim kept yelling for slack, and that he was off belay, and Werner kept pulling the rope tighter and yelling encouragement. This went on for quite a while, and finally Bridwell had had enough. He untied from the lead rope and rappelled down the haul line, over the ceiling and came to a stop dangling 6 feet out from Werner's astonished face. "OFF BELAY, WERNER!!!!" he yelled at the top of his lungs, while the 20 or so of us watching from the ground dissolved in tears.
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 14, 2010 - 07:14am PT
Great story Michael. I can hear them both.

beneath the valley of ultravegans
Apr 14, 2010 - 10:09am PT
I want to hear baout SAR guys on acid throwing ropes over the Pratt and his partner's head during a rescue.

Apr 14, 2010 - 10:42am PT
Spring 1992, we're woken up in the middle of the night in our Cortina hotel rooms by a fire alarm.
When the dust settles it turns out Jim's girlfriend was pissed off at him and lit a bunch of his clothes and stuff on fire on the balcony of their room.

It wasn't much later that Jim showed up for work looking like he'd fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
Turns out his loving wife tracked him down at The Orange Bar and worked him over with the heel of her shoe.

Weis had to do a lot of explaining to the bosses.

Social climber
Apr 15, 2010 - 12:11pm PT
Another bump!
I heard that she used a golf club!! [ha ha] or was it a pin hammer?

Trad climber
Lander, WY
Apr 15, 2010 - 12:30pm PT
I remember in the late 70s, walking back to El Cap meadow after baling off The Stone, feeling like I was never going to do this thing and pretty bummed out.
Bridwell and a partner were heading up and he stopped and asked me how it was going. I said, I just know if I'll ever get up this thing. It's really got me down. And he looked up there and back at me and said, well, when you're ready for it, it'll happen. Don't worry about it.
It was a really kind thing to say. I really needed to hear it at the time.
Great, great man, and kind as well. He always knew the current gear beta on any wall in the Valley. He never messed people around.
I have the greatest of respect for Jim Bridwell.

Apr 15, 2010 - 12:56pm PT
It was definitely Peggy's high heeled shoe, I saw them myself, Jeezuz what a spectacle.
Just more stories in the legend of The Bird.
Wish I could make the fest on the 24th but it's a bit of a drive from Squamish right now.
Best to Big Jim wherever he is today.

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Apr 15, 2010 - 05:23pm PT

That story had me ROLLIN!!


Trad climber
san diego
Apr 15, 2010 - 07:25pm PT
WB- "Not many know that Bridwell was a bad ass skier too!"

No s#!&t!!

One day i was at the top of Dave's Run getting ready to drop in and
link a few. And here come Jim and world champion speed skier Steve
McKinney(RIP)skating and tucking along the ridge to get as much speed
as possible and obviously racing each other. Both of them fly off
the cornice of Dave's and drop into a tuck and hold it until they
disappear somewhere down below the face of Chair V!!

They were running T2B's all day long in a tuck('75/76)!

Yea, Jim's was one bad ass skier.

EDIT: "Never turn down free food"...absolutely golden!!

Oh yea, i forgot to mention that they were on 223cm downhill boards!

Social climber
Apr 15, 2010 - 10:29pm PT
I wish that i could tell the story of how Jim acquired his first pair of ski pants, but my lips are sealed. Tease, tease. Ask Jim at the Fest, or one of the Bircheff brothers, they were there too. Hint, no money changed hands.

Trad climber
san diego
Apr 16, 2010 - 12:33am PT
Ski pants...the Bird??

Never saw him in anything but an old pair of Levi Strauss!

Thought he started the fad?

Trad climber
not very much, recently.
Jun 21, 2010 - 03:30am PT
If you've not seen this one before, they are some durn good yarns told here. The Werner/Bridwell tale of belay miscommunication is classic....

mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 3, 2012 - 05:18pm PT
Wer Bridwell's ropes some of the "werst" you've ever been up on, Braun? Really?

I remember giving him a Ed L. Redd once. He strung it on the POW. HE ACTUALLY THANKED ME LATER. Arnie never thanked anyone later.

Thanks for the idea, Werner. I was gonna chuck that old nine. I'll just find me some duct tape and get to work.

Bridwell one-liners to me:

"Shuffle." (How to do the Twilight Zone crack).

"Left Side of Reed's." (He told that to all the girls, I found out later).

"We're seriously low on beer, dude." (The night of the kegger in Camp 4 to celebrate my wedding the previous week in Merced. Three kegs, one case later, my wife showed up after her shift at the lodge desk--no beer left, just...drunks. It was CAPITAL!)
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 24, 2013 - 02:07pm PT
Bump for the Brave New World...
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Mar 24, 2013 - 02:18pm PT
Bodybuilding, Hummers, the Cuban cigars, the triple Scotches, the wild nights and womanizing are no longer the accoutrement of A-list masculinity.

Just big flabby boobs.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 24, 2013 - 02:34pm PT

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 24, 2013 - 02:42pm PT
Attila could read and write? Wow!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 24, 2013 - 03:45pm PT
He used ghost writers (he had plenty to spare).
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 24, 2013 - 03:48pm PT
Even Attila looks rosey through those shades! LOL
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Mar 24, 2013 - 03:57pm PT
ron gomez

Trad climber
Mar 24, 2013 - 07:19pm PT
got a GREAT story from Jim yesterday, East Face if Mooses Tooth with Mugs Stump. It was Classic, Mark Bowling provided many questions to keep the conversation going. Got it on tape(I think). 4 days on route, many pitches of no fall or you die, hollow verglas and tools bottoming out, bivies with no bags, a failing stove and not knowing if they could get down the descent, dropping ropes and then passing by them on the descent and not realizing that the "discolored snow" they just passed was their ropes. It was classic stuff. Thanks Jim and Mark!

Johnny K.

Apr 10, 2013 - 10:20pm PT
Hey Ron =D

Bump for more Bridwell stories

Ice climber
Happy Boulders
Apr 11, 2013 - 12:43am PT
The "Revival " story is one of the top five post on ST ( IMO)
Marsupial Rat

Trad climber
Apr 11, 2013 - 03:00am PT

Let me know if there are gaps in the draft regarding Jim’s work on the Cliffhanger movie; I have a mate who was the key link between the film company and the Dolomite locals. I’ll follow up with Pompei if it suits – the greasy dago now owns the best pizza restaurant in Sydney.

And if you need a first draft edit, put me in coach. $0 and you’d get back Color not Colour. Great news that pen’s going to paper ….. TD

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Apr 11, 2013 - 04:55am PT
i saw Bridwell walking down the mt woodson trail in 110 degree heat wearing a down jacket and smoking a Marlboro,

Nov 15, 2013 - 12:37pm PT
Bump for the good stuff
ron gomez

Trad climber
Nov 15, 2013 - 12:53pm PT


Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 15, 2013 - 02:32pm PT
I finally got to meet Jim at the Oakdale fest and hang out with him after hours at the Best Western. I related my only encounter with him bitd when I was climbing Tangerine Trip. I didn't know any beta and only had the Meyers guide and I was hanging on the bolt and trying to do the "Nut Throw". Jim and his crew after fixing on Z-M came along below us. After watching this noob trying to toss a chock into a crack for ten minutes, Jim yells up that it is a hook move on a sloping ledge. Viola.

Jim said it was 1981, as I couldn't remember the year. He shook his head at Robbins' antics and just said, "Really?". We kinda wondered how many people actually tried and made the Nut Throw.

I thought it was really cool that he actually remembered that.

Ice climber
Nov 21, 2013 - 10:39am PT
Dingus, as I've said before, your tale is one of the funniest things I've ever read, on Supertopo.

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Nov 21, 2013 - 06:09pm PT
Bumpity bump......

Gross Vegas
Dec 25, 2013 - 11:08am PT

Sport climber
Jan 21, 2014 - 12:50pm PT

A Yosemite article by Bridwell in Mountain 31 - 1974: Brave New World


Trad climber
el portal
Jan 22, 2014 - 12:30am PT
Any more stories Mister Werner?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 24, 2014 - 04:28pm PT
Bird Bump...
SC seagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, or In What Time Zone Am I?
May 24, 2014 - 07:44pm PT
Thanks for bumping, Steve. Hope it gets enough traction to stay on page 1 for awhile. Lists, meh.
Here is a pair of Bridwell's jumars that Mike and I had in our possession. We have passed them on to a worthy climber that is a legend in his own right. Not exactly a Bridwell "story" but those jumars are visible in one of the books showing him on El Cap. They are back in use creating more memories.



Gross Vegas
May 24, 2014 - 09:32pm PT


Ice climber
Brujo de la Playa
May 24, 2014 - 09:58pm PT
This thread gets you to wondering what became of Bruce Ostler, no? Could this be him?

*Twid Turner, Bill Brody, Bruce Ostler & Freddie Wilkinson (unknown date)

Does make guest appearances on ST occasionally.

May 25, 2014 - 01:50am PT
Thanks for that article above Marlow.

Classic thread, wow!!
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

Out Of Bed
Apr 2, 2016 - 04:36pm PT
Bump, Marlow, thnx 1/21/14 post!
S. C, Mystery or trivia? I'm going to keep a look out for old-school yellow rope yankers,
zB ? Mysterious or not, in depth, cool find . . .
Craig Fry

Trad climber
So Cal.
Apr 2, 2016 - 07:35pm PT
I hung out with the Bird one typical night in the Lodge Parking lot, late 70s

we had some mean PLs after many beers, and his advice to me was...
and I will never forget these words

"Pee on the side of tires, it's a silencer"

as we took a pee on someone's car's tires

now, it's always on the side of tires if I'm in a parking lot and need to be extra inconspicuous.
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