Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 13, 2009 - 05:44am PT
Dear friends, it is my deepest regret, with tears in my eyes, to tell you all that Bruce Bindner (aka 'Brutus Of Wyde') has passed from this life and onto the next. Bruce was on his way tonight to meet me to climb Castle Rock Spire in Sequoia National Park when his car went off the road and was killed instantly. As I sit here emotionally exhausted, I find it hard to put into words the order they need to be. Having a good friend taken from you so quickly feels outright unfair and unexplainable. Bruce was the kind of guy who would quite literally give the shirt off his back and give it to you if you needed.....then offer his trousers! Bruce's heart was always filled with compassion, a giving attitude and the wit that went beyond human comprehension. If you were down and out, he would cast miles of smiles and humorous 'one-liners' to pull you out of a downward spiral. In the time that I got to know him, he never once asked for anything back in return, always defining this as "the way we do it at the Old Climbers Home". He has touched so many lives along the way and left his mark within this community, leaving a deep imprint with those he shared his life. My heart goes out to some specific folks tonight......Em (aka 'Nurse Ratchet') and Craig (aka 'Dingus'), knowing the pain they must feel from such a loss. I certainly miss him too! But I also celebrate his life and honor a man of men, a steward of this community and the heart and soul of obscurities. Brutus......rest peacefully, my brother.
aawww mooch, guys, everybody. i'm really sorry to learn of this. it hits very close to home and is a real stunner. my heart goes out to friends and family, which is us. our lives are short, even at best. it's just that much more clear that we should cherish our gifts and be clear in the moment. hold together and treat each other with the proper love, in the time we are given. very sorry
edit: just stopping back in from an initial tour of the man's posts. it's heartbreaking to lose one who nurtured the loving connections that make life so sweet. em, the depth of your loss will unfold for me as i tenderly sift through what he left for us here. i feel myself missing having met him with each turn of the page. the record of the trail he blazed is one i'll be grateful to follow
I have never met any of you but have read your posts and enjoyed your TR's immensely ! I do know grief and loss and pain. So it is with all my heart I send my condolances, my love and prayers and thoughts to family and friends. If you ever want to email, please do. I am a good listener. When Dan died I thought the world had also.
God, that's going to hit close to home as the left coast wakes up this morning.
His excellent TRs and beta here and elsewhere clearly showed him to be a climber of all seasons, and a solid partner - the best accolade I can think of.
My condolences to his family, and to those of you who climbed with him. Very sorry for you, Dingus.
Oh shit! I'm so sorry to hear this. Brutus was one of a kind. I didn't really know Brutus well, but had the chance to climb with him here in Josh back in the late 90's, and had a few beers with him in El Cap Meadow. Super nice guy. I'm really sorry to hear this.
Super sad news...I hadn't communicated with Bruce in years, but just reciently sold him some large cams...I met Bruce maybe 30 years ago when he was climbing with Pat Brennan....he was a rock climber , mountaineer, and a friend.........make the most of what you yet may spend, before you into dust descend......Rest in peace, Bruce.
I never met Brutus, but I have read his postings - both comic and serious for years. He was one of the cast of characters on rec.climbing when I first got online back in the mid 90's along with Dingus and others. It has been odd but enjoyable to piece together an image of of a man from random bits of his life.
He was that crusty old hardman that so many of us aspire to be when we "grow up".
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends as they puzzle through this sudden tragedy.
Holy crap, I was hoping this was a joke too and was prepared to rant. But this totally sucks ass. I never met him but liked what he had to say here. Any SPH lover is in my heart and I feel this like have lost a brother, however distant.
My prayers are with you Em and all those close to you and Bruce.
Edit: go call someone you love and tell them you love them. Surprise an old friend or acquaintence by saying "hi." You never know when the opportunity gets taken from you.
Really really sad and shocking news. Never would I refer to him as a "gym climber" but he was often seen at CityRock in the early days, and he totally owned the offwidth crack up the main wall. Werner bagged the first ascent, but Bruce did the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. and most other ascents of that thing. Always enjoyed encountering him in the meadows lot or the mobil, you could count on him heading out for or returning back from some kind of proud off-the-beaten-path "real climbing" adventure. So sorry for Em and all his great buddies.
Mooch - after our chat yesterday I was anxiously awaiting a wild exciting tr in a few days. I am so sorry it came out like this.
I have heard of "Brutus'" exploits and climbs for years, and finally got to crag with him last year there in the Hills, you were there too. I didn't try to get too much out of him then, rather just preferring to hang and let the stories roll as they would. He had a great presence.
My heart goes out to those who were his close friends and family.
I never met Bruce. But, as an El Cap climber I have been very inspired over the years by Bruce's stories. One of my favorites, which I have saved on my computer under the caption "the true meaning of wall climbing" was about when he and Amanda Tarr and Eric Coomer climbed the Magic Mushroom. I have read this story so many times, and when I do climb Magic Mushroom it will be in honor of him. I had always wished to interact with Bruce and I am sad that I did not get the chance.
A quote from the story as he recaps the climb, which he called truly magical...
The expressions of joy in the faces of my good friends
as we woke to a new day, knowing the wall at last was
behind us, and knowing that we had just done something
terribly important, no matter how meaningless it would
appear to the rest of the world. Time now to dance, to
drink. Time now to live.
Oh no. This is terrible news. My deepest condolences to those who knew and loved him. I only "knew" Brutus through his online posts, here and elsewhere, but always found him utterly humane, likable, and admirable.
I met Brutus and Em at Snow Canyon SushiFest. Their help with the sushi was instrumental in making the event a success. To Em, and all their family and friends, I extend my deepest sympathies for this tragic loss.
I first met Brutus of Wyde, Bruce Binder, online like so many here, over at rec.climbing. His byline "Old Climber's Home, Oakland, California" was a favorite thought as we all seemed to be headed that way. It is comforting to think that time will just go on and on, and somehow we will sit around in our rocking chairs on the porch, talking to each other, quietly, letting eternity wash over us.
The avatar Brutus of Wyde was known to me for many more years than the man Bruce Binder. It wasn't until the 2007 Yosemite Face Lift that I actually got to meet Bruce and Em for the first time. I drove into the Yellow Pines Campground, Doug was there Ricky D and Bruce and Em were helping with the sushi prep for the anticipated droves of people.
There was a complete naturalness to that meeting, as if we had been around each other for a very long time. Bruce was very open, with a quick wit which was disarming. I don't believe that they stayed long at the Facelift, at least I didn't get a chance to spend much time with them there.
As with many things in life, I had decided that I would have time to sit around the parking lot after doing some climb with them, have a beer and a chat.
The idea of the wide crack training was something that caught Bruce's and Em's attention. The "Bay Area Wide Crew" BAWC, coined by Russ, started with a group of us deciding that we could get better by actually practicing the art. Bruce got into the email loop and we started a long process of synchronizing schedules. And one day Bruce and Em show up at Gary's for a Wide Wednesday session. Everyone signs Gary's machine... the natural tendency is to sign it once having gotten to the top in whatever chosen style you adopt... and so it was that Bruce did satisfy his own style and declared it "Owsome!"
Looking back on it I regret my often hasty departure from the Wide Wednesday sessions, rushing back home, and thinking about that now I have such mixed emotions; how do you spend your time, with whom, how can you possibly decide?
Getting older really is a race to get everything done, to do everything that needs to be done, with less and less time. There seemed to be so much time when we were young, and now there seems to be so little time.
The next encounter with Bruce for me was the 2008 Vedauwoo Boogaloo, which promised, finally, to be a week of climbing and enjoying each other's company, with Jay and Mike and Em, and any other demented soul that thought scraping up offwidth problems at 10,000 feet on a flat mountain plateau somewhere in Wyoming would be fun.
We all talk about sitting around the "virtual campfire," a nice image, but we have a need to sit around the real campfire. A metaphor, though, as the events there are fleeting and unrecorded except in our very being, our conscience. There is no thread to refer back to, no search engine to jostle the memory. What was said there? I can't recall, but the ease of companionship, the tribal ties of climbers, the ancient act of building a fire and watching it at night, probably hundreds of thousands of years of human experience. Nothing has to be written, it is written in our very fiber.
The next day we go our ways, of course, Jay and Mike and I out to Blair rocks, Bruce and Em to a closer destination, their first time. We show up later and solo Edward's Crack and then catch a ride down Bruce and Em's rap lines... we will climb tomorrow, together, our plan.
But tomorrow arrives and there is rain and cold. We get together for a Vedauwoo "brunch" and have fun none the less
Jay, Mike and I go into Laramie to hang at the coffee shop and visit with the old climbing crew, we get back and find Bruce and Em have departed, the next morning I recover a soggy note
on to another climbing area, new adventures and a spot in the sun.
"Glad to at least RAP with you!"
and if I didn't say it at the time, or later,
I am glad, too, at least to have rapped with you, Brutus.
My heartfelt wishes for the best to Em, this has got to be unimaginably hard times for her. And for the rest of the climbing brothers who knew Brutus so much better than I did.
It was my honor to have known Bruce. And a great sorrow that there won't be another time, another place for us to sit around the campfire.
I can't believe this. I really feel weight in my stomach right now. he was such a great guy AND an amazing sierra climber who shared so much great beta, climbing stories and love. There are few people who explored to many cool places in the sierra and shared with the rest of us so graciously. I'll never forgot how he and Em saved me some custom beer bottles from one of the first Sushi Fests. They then took ME out to sushi in my hometown and gave them to me. That was so cool. So thoughtful. I should have been buying THEM sushi. I still have those bottles. Ill be filling one up and drinking one for you, Brutus. And definitely thinking of you ever time i come across the many great topos and trip reports you made. Thank you for living such an amazing life and sharing it with us.
Ahhhhh......NO!!! Barely got to share a few words with Bruce at the first SushiFest. Knew we were friends before we even met; didn't feel the need to hold back the flow of folks clamouring for more sushi, so figured I'd talk with him sometime in the future, share some impressions of repeating a climb or two of his. Hairline on Whitney - now that's gotta be full-value in anyone's book. His climbs were solid, but his personna was exemplary, in print and when I met him in the flesh. Absolutely a person of warmth, humor, generousity and strength. A wave of love wells up from deep within, spilling over for Em, and Dingus, and the rest of us, too.
Through almost twenty years of chats around the virtual campfire, starting back on rec.climbing, eventually meeting Bruce at a real campfire somewhere was always something I looked forward to. Now it will never happen.
To all of his family and friends, and to Craig especially, my deepest sympathy.
Ed, the words you conveyed openly really dug deep and hit it the best about Brutus and the man he was. Thanks for posting that B&W photo of him.....it speaks volumes of his character. I talked to Em earlier this morning and she deeply appreciates the love, support and warm vibes everyone is putting out there.
I'm still in utter shock over this. Been an emotional train wreck since the moment I got word from Em. I couldn't even stay in the park last night...just didn't feel connected to them unless I had my good friend there. All that potential energy and the excitement of sharing the experience to come.......ripped away; stolen....robbed. I don't know what else to say....I can't see the screen now.
Bruce wrote this to me in an email two days ago as we prepared for CRS:
This is such sad news. I've skied a couple weekends with Bruce and Em, never climbed with them. Bruce is an extremely hilarious guy with a huge heart. And tougher than nails! My love goes out to Em and everyone who else who is dealing with the shock of this, this morning. Bruce had quite a life and I'm grateful that he shared so much with us all. Rest in peace, dear Brutus.
I only knew Brutus through swapping spit on rec.climbing, but the passion he often wrote with and significant contributions he made both there and here made it clear he was a kindred soul in the never ending search for adventure. It is a sad day :(
RIP Brutus of Wyde. Such uplifting wisdom and humor in his trip reports and posts over at rec.climbing and then here. He has touched my life. He will be remembered and missed.
I can't believe that in the happy madness of Facelift 2007 I didn't meet him and Nurse Ratchet. To you, Em, and Dingus, and those of you who knew him, all my condolences.
Bruce was a true climber;....reciently when I sold him 3 giant cams @ $25 a piece ......he sent me $125;......and sent a note saying thanks for the cams and that $75 was too underpriced......of course, he didn't need to do that;...but that was just who he was.......you will be greatly missed by all...................
Em, Dave, Craig, so sorry that Bruce is gone so suddenly. You lived life with him, but expected many more good years.
I think many of us compare the risks of injury/death in cars to downplay the similar risks of climbing. "You have a higher chance of dying on the way to the crag than while climbing." But actual car accidents for climbers seem unusual (they do happen - for example: Wolfgang Gullich, Barry Bishop, Steve Karafa, Roberta Nunez, and now Bruce). I have had some close calls; maybe it is time to up the alert level on the driving. 2008 Climbers Memorial2007 Climbers Memorial2006 Climbers Memorial
(although these lists may miss auto accidents unless the climbers were well known)
Just four days ago, I posted Bruce's cool photo of the summit register of Castle Rock Spire.
I only knew Bruce through his writings on the Internet, and I appreciated his attitude - it was clear he had a lot of experience, but he wore it lightly. It's always better to have lived life fully and adventurously as he did, but that doesn't make it any easier on his family and friends, and I offer my condolences to them.
I hope this isn't inappropriate, a note that we are all used to climbing-is-dangerous disclaimers, but cars are dangerous too. Sometimes I think they should have warning labels to scare the public. Be careful out there.
I am so so very sorry to all those who loved this man. Having lost Woody not long ago I completely understand the immensity of loss of a great friend. It hurts beyond belief, and no words can make up for the tragedy.
I send my thoughts your way and hope you can find some solace in knowing you got to spend years with this man, having his friendship and bond.
One thing that helped me with the loss of Woody was when one of his close friends told me I had brought many years of joy into his life. I bet you did the same for your friend, I am guessing you guys had great shared adventures, and that you can hold onto those as concrete and dear.
Once again, I am very sorry for your loss and the loss of this man's life cut far too short.
the end of the world as we know it, & I feel fine.
Jun 13, 2009 - 05:01pm PT
I am sorry sorry, Dingus, Em, Mooch, Ed and for the many, many others Bruce touched, inspired chopped down to size and had fun with.
He's one of my earliest memories of the climbing world, back when I was mostly a lurker on rec.climbing. He always stood out and in a good way. He was emblematic of the wacky kind of personalities that you find at the crag and in the hills. I really didn't know what to make of that at first. In the end, I came to realize that I'm one of those wacky people too. He helped me realize this odd little climbing world we all inhabit together is an important corner in my own home too.
He wasn't a prolific poster here, but what he did post was quality, clear headed and to the point. I'm going to miss having him around.
This one really is a shock... hard to believe. This has been a rough month.
Oh my god. A black day indeed. Countless hours I've spent reading his entertaining posts. A voice of reason, insight, and sharp wit. Although I never met him in person, I feel I knew him well. Too few of him, too many of me. My deepest sympathies to all who could count him as friend. G
I'm shocked and saddened by this news! It was a string of events that led me to read this here in the Park. I had missed Dave when he applied for the backcountry permit here yesterday and tried to call him last nite with the number he left for me. I have never met Bruce, but have followed many of his TR's and his legacy here in Sequoia. I had hoped on this trip they were taking, to finally get to meet Bruce and also to again see my old friend Dave. I'm sorry for all that came about and thoughts and prayers to all involved.
Wow... Hard to believe. RIP amigo. I met Mr. Wyde back in the early 90's out in Jtree, I was just a kid. I appreciated his write-up's back in the days of rec.climbing. Too sad. I always have a weird thought that every time I open up the supertopo forum, I find a post like this. You will be missed.
though our paths crossed only briefly, i later came to much admire Brutus via the .wreck. i always looked forward to his posts. great info seen through a great eye, and always something that had me laughing out loud.
the Hasidim say: "No one is truly dead so long as they are remembered by someone who loved them."
i believe this to be true, and take some solace in it. for Bruce is surely both memorable and much loved. i trust those close to him might find some solace in this too.
Wow. Unbelievable. I met Brutus and Em about a year ago at the Boogaloo and got to hang with them at the Wide festival this spring. He was the kind of guy that you just naturally connected with right away. I feel like I've known him longer. Brutus had so much good energy. Whether it was finding an unclimbed chimney in a slab area, flailing around on the Gristle or fixing some incredible feast at the compound, Brutus was the energy that we all fed off of. He was really generous. I remember hiking back to the cars from the Gristle and he had beers for everyone already out - non-alcohol for the drivers!
So sad what a shocking loss… my heart goes out to you Em and Dingus and Dave and all those he touched online and on the rocks.
A quote from Bruce on why we love climbing.
"They seek those moments when time stands still.
The catalysts are as varied as the individuals who pursue this path: a meteor shower; a
night sky so star-filled that it snatches your breath; another rise of the sun over distant
mountains vast and untouchable; dodging a rock careening crazily down a gully; a
desperate icy struggle through whiteout and ground blizzard down to the safety of camp
after an unsuccessful summit attempt; standing atop a mountain with a friend, the whole
world at your feet, a blinding sun blazing out of a flawless sky, taking the time to watch
that sun dip below the horizon even though camp is still many miles and many thousands
of feet distant; stumbling over boulders and through brush in the darkness; watching the
starlight and the storm wrest for possession of the night sky, seated on a narrow ledge
beside your rope-mate with only the clothes on your back for shelter, shivering the night
away, knowing that, sometime in a distant place you cannot now touch, the world will
once again grow bright, the sun will rise, and you will look out on the infant day with
I crossed paths with Brutus only once at the top of Bear Creek Spire. We had dropped out water bottle and Brutus was insistent on sharing his remaining water. It wasn't much but it helped. Hiking out with Brutus was and enjoyable end to a long day.
i knew Brutus from selling him the wide sh#t at Marmot and he always had a kind word for us goombahs there- i recently met em too and she was so kind to me about all the beta for Lone Pine-my heart goes out to her, and i hope for her eventual peace.
Back when my friend Joe Ivy died in a climbing accident in 2000, within a month several others died in the caving community. A lady named Pat Copeland was driving back her truck from a caving trip and for some reason crossed the center line on the highway and collided head on with traffic in the opposite lane, dying instantly.
I like the idea of actually contacting some friends that I think I am now drifting away from or have already drifted from. That's about the nicest way I can think of "doing something" about a situation where I have no control about the rest of it.
This is still so hard to believe. Sharing the sushibar with him and Em a couple times brings back fond memories. As we said our goodbyes at the first sushifest Em offered some words to me that I hold so very close to my heart. The kind of words that make you look at yourself and your life in a different way. I want to reach out to her but I don't know how to do this. Maybe soon I'll see the way...
I can only imagine her pain.
Watercress and smoked trout == The Sierra Roll (A Brutus recipe)
When I think of guys like BB, I think of them as adventure machines, perennially set on "climb." They seem to just live on outdoor adventure; virtually immortal. When one of these core practitioners is taken from us as Bruce was, it defies belief. It's so damn wrong.
Best regards from Moria and I to all who knew Brutus. (We didn't have the pleasure make his acquaintance.) Peace and strength to Bruce's family and friends. May Sir Wyde's climbing spirit live--in at least a small way--through us all. Salute to the man.
While ice climbing in Lee Vining several years ago I watched an experienced team climbing a a few routes over from us, and I thought I recognized one of the climbers. They topped out, and later as they trudged through the snow below us I heard his partner call him Bruce. I didn't know anyone named Bruce, so I let it go. They left, and later that day it dawned on me that, hey, that was Brutus from the internet! I've always enjoyed his posts and photos and truly regretted not getting the chance to say hello to him that day. I feel like I've lost a great friend I never met. Love and peace to all his family in this difficult time.
I was on only one trip with he and Em, more recently we'd say hello to them at PG San Francisco. Bruce was one of those people that acted like you were an old pal even if you weren't, he was always glad to see you...good traveling to you Bruce.
Em you are in our hearts and prayers.
There are in life certain people who have the ability to 'shine through'. Having only read his musings at SP, and not having had the pleasure to meet the man in person, I can honestly say that Brutus of Wyde had a gift. How else can I explain the sense of loss I feel right now? I never even met him, and yet I feel like an integral part of the tribe has been taken away, well before his time. I can only imagine... no I CAN'T imagine how those of you who knew him and knew him well must be feeling right now. Numb, I would expect... My heart goes out to you. A terrible, terrible loss. My deepest sympathy and condolences to family and friends.
I am also very saddened to hear of what happened. I had planned (hoped) to meet Bruce one of these days. He is the alpinist I wish I had been (or might still be). I have always enjoyed reading his accounts of ascents, whether on big walls or in the outback. Such a downer to hear that he missed a turn on the drive to another adventure... this one seems to hurt more than most. My very deepest condolences to those who knew him best and loved him.
Karin and I are heartbroken. It's hard to wrap our heads around this.
Em, all of our love.
Seems like only yesterday that we were in Red Rocks, crawling through bushes, dropping dirt and branches on each other while we pushed packs stuffed with giant cams under and over boulders, cleaning dirt out of our eyes and dodging loose rocks. Bruce just exuded the love of the moment, that the worse the approach became, the better the day was going to be. Just a unwavering attitude of "this - this is what it's all about!"
So sorry to hear this news! I just got back from Yosemite since we bailed due to all the rain and feeling bad juju after seeing the rescue helicopter head off on a longline rescue (recovery?) mission and now this news. I met Bruce and Em at a Yosemite clean up event (before the Facelift). I was sitting at the campfire next to them watching Yosemite Falls when I muttered - "Gee it would be great if that thing ever froze over." They both slowly turned to me and Bruce asked if I was from California. I had recently moved from WA so I answered no and he and Em then asked if I ice climbed which I fervently answered yes. Bruce then proceeded to give me a bunch of beta for more obscure alpine ice routes in Sequoia which I quickly added to the memory bank. He then gave me beta for an approach to an obscure alpine route he liked. Em quickly told him to stop sandbagging me with an approach requiring wading through a field of 6 ft high poison oak. In the spirit of the conversation, I then gave Bruce info on how to do the Queets Basin approach to Mt Olympus. He had an inkling that I was equally sandbagging him back and just smiled. I ran have run into he and Em intermittently over the years and it was always great to compare notes on climbs they had done in the Canadian Rockies or ice climbs. And it was so wonderful to hear about their El Cap route together (though Em and I agree that higher ratio hauling is okay!) So terribly saddened to hear this news and know that a fellow ice climber and fan of the alpine is gone. My heartfelt condolences to Em and all of Bruce's friends and family.
F#@k! This sucks! I didn't read everything. Couldn't. Too many good people dying lately. I just hope that his family and friends can somehow deal with this OK. Sending my best thoughts and condolences.
Just popped in again to tell Em that her & Bruce's climbs together have been a great inspiration to my wife & I. We will always fondly remember coming down from our first Zion wall together to run into Brutus & Nurse, who never having met us kindly left us a celebratory beer back at our car after following our progress and knowing that we would be back that day.
Condolences to Dingus, Karl and all the friends of Brutus of Wyde. True hardman. Rest in peace.
I only had the pleasure of meeting Bruce a couple of times, but he was one of a kind. This is a very sad loss. My condolences to those who were close to him. Life is wasted on so many people, it's sad to lose someone who knew how to do it properly.
Brutus hears of this guy that sells smoked meats in Oakland. The meats are smoked in a tall smoker at Donner Summit. Apparently the high elevation makes it better. I don't disagree.
In what appears to be a boarded up old business building near the Old Climber's home. Brutus doesn't see anyone out front. Can't see in the windows. Doesn't even look like a business.
So Brutus wanders around back looking for a business marquee of some kind.
He sees a door and knocks. No response at first. Then the guy all of a sudden responds by yelling:
That part of the story makes me smile.
Brutus shows himself to where the guy can see him thru a peephole or something and Brutus explains that he's the guy that called about the smoked meats and they proceed inside the building to make "the deal." Super cheap for some of the best cured cuts of meat I've had.
Miwok, Scuffy and I spent all day today on 108 thinking about Bruce, Em, Dingus and all the amigos and the good times we've had climbing and hanging out. This ain't easy.
I met Brutus in Joshua Tree with my friend Larry just this spring. We were on a quest for wide climbs when we stumbled upon Brutus and a number of other climbers on their own wide fest. In the next few days I ran across him and Em a couple more times. He was gearing up for Drawstring just as we got done. This after I was commenting to Larry that Drawstring would probably not receive another ascent that spring. I also ran across him and Em after they climbed Monkey Buisness in the Little Humk area. We chatted about him possibly needing help replacing bolts on the Steck-Salathe and could I tell Larry to get in touch with him. He seemed friendly and easy to talk to. We talked about this and that and I walked away with the feeling that he was really the genuine article. I have the feeling that he got full-value for his short time here. Godspeed Brutus. Don
"Munge -- Ratchet and I always hang out at the Richland Market at the back of the lot. Good sushi & stuff. We occasionally grab & go at the Del Taco, but we are (and always have been) rather clueless about what is COOL [TM].
Thanks for the great climbing this year, and here's looking forward to more of the same in 08.
I met Bruce only once. I knew him mostly from reading his trip reports and his commentaries, and still I sit here fighting back the tears. He was one of those guys who got it. He understood the joy that comes with sunrises and sunsets, shared ledges and lunches, and finding that warm sleeping bag after a day in the cold and wind.
My condolences to those he leaves behind, especially Em.
eKat is so right. Today is the day to hug those you love and let them know how you feel. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.
Too many have left our campfire this year, and now another is gone.
Only knew Brutus from his witty writing on STopo and elsewhere, and from several phone conversations we had when I called about conditions and his availability to get out climbing. Our calendars never meshed: he was always already committed to so many, many other projects and excellent adventures. Inspirational man.
My sincere condolences to Em and Brutus' other loved ones and friends.
I just drove up the General's Highway tonight and pulled over to a great overlook of the Castle Rocks to take a picture in honor of Bruce. The spire and the top of the fin were shrouded in a dusky alpine mist. I could imagine Bruce up there playing in the thick of it...grinning and enjoying the good times.
I then continued driving up the hill and hiked up to the top of Moro rock with my 75 year old Dad as the fiery ruby orb of the sun touched the horizon (my 70 year old Mom was too car sick to hike up with us!), then we hustled down the stairs into darkness, startling the foraging deer.
Farewell Bruce and thank you so much for your contributions!
I'll post the photo when I can figure old how to download it off of my Dad's digital camera.
oh man....just terrible....I was stoked you guys were gonna go get on Castle Rock Spire and was looking forward to a trip report. What sad news. I'm terribly sorry for your loss and all those who knew him.
I never met Bruce but during my contact with him during the whole MSMR controversy he was polite and logical. He seemed to be the only that didn't get sucked into the emotional side of the argument and functioned as the voice of reason. I felt that this positively reflects on his character.
When the last rose of summer pricks my finger,
And the hot sun chills me to the bone,
When I cant hear the song for the singer,
And I cant tell my pillow from a stone,
I will walk alone by the black muddy river,
And sing me a song of my own,
When the last bolt of sunshine hits the mountain,
And the stars start to splatter in the sky,
When the moon hits the southwest horizon,
With the scream of an eagle on the fly,
I will walk alone by the black muddy river,
And listen to the ripples as they moan,
Black muddy river, roll on forever,
I don't care how deep or wide, if you've got another side,
Roll muddy river, roll muddy river, black muddy river, roll.
When it seems like the night will last forever,
And theres nothing left to do but count the years,
When the strings of my heart begin to sever,
And stones fall from my eyes instead of tears,
I will walk alone, by the black muddy river,
And dream me a dream of my own,
I will walk alone, by the black muddy river,
And sing me a song of my own, sing me a song of my own.
Bruce was the inspiration for the 'Elders of Wide' moniker and a whole lot of adventure. I'd followed his trip reports for ten years before meeting him and each time I ran into him he was full of humor, enthusiasm, and drive...even on the 5.7s at the gym.
Em, if you're reading, know that there's love and support at the ready from many corners of the inter-tent.
Does anyone know how to get in touch with Alex Schmauss? If he hasn't heard already, someone should let him know of Bruce's passing.
I feel so very sad to read this - a man I never met yet to whom I owe so much! My condolences to Brutus' friends and family.
I have only read the first posting, but wanted to tell you what Bruce did for me. Some years ago, he made an early ascent of Tempest, a very hard route up the SE Face of El Cap starting out of the Alcove in the South Seas area. He told me that he had used Russian Aiders on this wall, that he found that they performed exceptionally well for him, and that I really ought to try them.
When I told him I had no source for them, as Trango no longer made them, Brutus packed up his only set of Russkies [a rare and unreplaceable gem of gear in the climbing world] and mailed them to me up in Canada. What a trusting soul was Brutus - to mail his only set of gear up to me so I could give them a try.
I was sold on them immediately, and later returned them to Bruce - but knott before I found myself a pair!
And that was Brutus - a rare and unreplaceable gem of a man in the climbing world.
With profound sadness,
I am so sorry for his family and friends.
I was comming back from the local crag 2 weeks a go
and some punk TOTALED my car, I walked away.
When I finally get on the wide, I will think of your friend, Brutus of Wyde.
I've been in shock since I heard about this yesterday. It's just so very sad; I'm at a loss for words to describe how badly I feel.
I met Bruce when we both lived in Santa Barbara in the early eighties. We climbed locally in S.B. and a number of other spots, including Joshua Tree, Red Rocks, and the Eastern Sierras. Most memorable of all was doing The Prow in Yosemite, where he taught me a lot about aid climbing and did more than his share of the work needed to get us to the top.
I remember following him on many off-widths and squeeze chimneys before I learned from others how hideous they could be!
We had been in touch very little in the recent past, but I still hoped that I would have the chance to climb with him again sometime.
What I'll remember most about Bruce was his boundless energy. I don't ever remember him getting tired, indeed there were many times I wished he would slow down some so I might have a chance to keep up with him!
He was singled-minded in his approach to climbing - totally committed to the sport in all its facets - truly a climber's climber. His loss is a great blow to the family of climbers.
For me, and I'm sure for many others, this is going to take some time to get over.
This thread just keeps making me want to reply to each and every one of you on a personal level regarding your associations with Bruce. . . I keep holding my tongue (or fingers, as it were) because we should be focusing on BrutusOfWyde. . . a man I've been reading since my very first days on Al Gore's IntraWeb. . . back in the mid 90s. . . a man I finally met face-to-face (that I know of, could have been earlier, who knows?) at SnowCanyonSushiFest.
We had many common friends. . . Some quick; some dead.
Through TheGreatGoddessOfTheTacoStand, it appears as though that list of common friends grows by the minute.
Thanks to CMac's homepage, we have a venue (and I HATE that word) for demonstrating our love, exchanging our stories and lengthening that list of friendships.
I started to type that my thoughts were with all of you. . . but after wearing out the delete key on the LApple, I have to say. . .
Our thoughts are with each other.
Here's to WalkinTheTalk.
Here's to SharinTheLove.
Here's to all of us. . . we've all got stories to tell. . . we're all fighting our daily battles. . . we're all looking for the GoldenKey. . . and. . . ya know what?
IT'S RIGHT HERE - on the hooks - WAY OUT IN THE FUTURE - where we hang our ideas and share our lives.
The BrassRings, so to speak.
BrutusOfWyde reached out and grabbed MANY of those BrassRings. . . now he's holding them out there for us.
Em, if you're reading this, please know that I would love to see you.
There is plenty of space here on TheHolyMont.
Room, silence and peace . . . just right for walking through recovery time. . . just right for gazing at the stars. . . just right for. . . a loving exchange.
I never met Brutus, but felt that I knew him from his posts, an awesome trip report from the Muir, etc...I don't know what to say...other than he seemed like a great guy, I knew he had recently been married...devastating for those who knew him.
Around 1980, Pat Brennan, myself, and Bruce left the trailhead at about 7:00 in the evening on Christmas Day to go to the top of San Gorgonio Peak in So. California......we hiked with headlamps for hours and it got colder and windy, and about 2:00 AM we reached the top in windy, probably sub zero temps;...I had a full down suit on.......it was cold and windy, but not too cold to get out the wild turkey for a few nips on the summit.....the lights from the freeway down on I-10 were fabulous, and the evening was magic.
Another adventure with a very adventurous lad, Bruce Binder....the climbing world misses Bruce greatly....
I never met Brutus, but back on rec.climbing his online presence segued into my early climbing. His energy was that of a classic kind hearted hardman. Something about his moniker ‘Brutus of Wyde’ plucked an archaic and mythic cord that reverberated throughout his insightful commentary of life on the rock and left me with the impression that I was in dialogue with a modern incarnation of the quintessential old school climber and outdoorsman. His was a delightful contribution that pierces to the heart ... and forms the backbone ... of American climbing.
Oh. Coming home from the weekend, the first post I saw over on Gunks.com contained the awful news of Brutus' fatal accident. My heart jumped, wishing it weren't so, knowing the loss being felt, especially by the love of his life, his heart and soul, Em. I am so sorry.
I only met him in real life the once at the St. George SushiFest, but of course read many of his stories, and read of many of his exploits here and on other places online.
What a kind, thoughtful and generous person he was at that sushi party, assisting in every possible way while simultaneously entertaining those around him and letting the joy of the party wash over him. He was fully immersed in life, that was so clear.
I have a few photos from that party to share. Here he is, helping with the cleanup, even though he had been working non-stop with Nature to serve us beautiful sushi creations.
And here he is, showing his stuff during an impromptu "Feats of Strength" moment which - somehow - had morphed from Pensylenvy doing some breakdancing(if I recall properly):
I am stunned, heartbroken.
I’ve only met Brutus a handful of times, climbing at Golden Gate Wall, my shop and the gym. It was clear he had an incredible joy in life, with his quirky, quietly hilarious sense of humor, all told with a twinkle in his eye, matched by his great but very individual climbing talent. I felt so fortunate to spend time with him. For those who really knew him well I cannot imagine what you are feeling. Em, my best wishes are with you. I hope for you all the strength and courage possible.
The Cinco De Mayo topo reminded me of the Gatoritas!
He was a master mixologist. Best part of one day was me pulling out a Mammoth Brewing Co ale can in the backcountry... as he made the Gatoritas, I declared "here's your beer chaser!" His eyes lit up. You know how he does with his eyebrows going way up. :) I just felt like I was learning to contribute like he did so many times.
AND had is own climbing gear company! What was the name of that again? I bet there is a thread with a reference to it around here somewhere.
I was fortunate enough to climb with Bruce. I had heard of him because of all the rad places and FAs he'd climbed in the Sierra. Finally we were focused on the same objective and got to climb together. The first and only time we got to climb together was our route on Castle Rock Spire. A week prior to our second(and successful) attempt on the route, Em and Bruce had driven all the way from the Bay Area, hiked to the basecamp(dealing with poison oak, snakes, bears, mt. lions, ticks, probably pot farmers too) and stashed gear, food, and tequila. On their way down, at about the halfway point, they had left a bottle of sunscreen. They noticed that it had teeth marks in it, from a bear. They continued back down to the car and called to say that we'd needed to bring in more food because the bears likely would eat it all during the week. So, when Bruce and I hiked up for our attempt, we brought a full supply of food and another bottle of tequila. To our suprise, the original cache of food was untouched and we now had too much food. We had to force ourselves to over eat and over drink each night, not typical for a backcountry trip.
But the situation I remember most from that trip is when we topped out on the Spire. We were trying to outrun a thunderstorm. We could hear thunder booming from the East.
Bruce was about a pitch below the summit when we peered into the backcountry and saw the lightening bolts and rain approaching. We sped to the top, took a few summit photos and started to bail.
Bruce had a committing, but fast way off the spire, rap his route "Spike Hairdoo". However, it needed one of its anchor bolts replaced. I waited on top of the Spire, while he's drilling the bolt and noticed how there were spots on the the spire that were devoid of lichen from lightning strikes. I sat there and watched the rain and lightning approach, knowing there wasn't anywhere to run to. A rainbow appeared over the Fin and then I heard Bruce's voice call up that he was done. We got out of there fast and finished the tequila back at camp.
I had always planned to do another project with him. At least I got to do one of the best climbs ever with him.
Bruce and I exchanged quite a few emails over the past seven years. It was always a pleasure to hear from him. He was one of the very first people to believe in the Valley Giant, and his collection is more vast than Greg's photo would suggest.
Here is the Brutus of Wyde topo of Tempest, a route that's a very severe test of a mountaineer. His topo offers up a hint of his sense of humor, and a good deal more of his sense of being accurate for those traveling after him:
EDIT: Brandon's photos show the Mighty Wyde One with Russian Aiders strapped to his legs. Sometime about 2003, Bruce loaned his Russian Aiders to PTPP, sight unseen, and with no collateral (or even a promise to return them!). PTPP used them (on Bermuda Dunes?) and was convinced the RA system was better. After that, PTPP got his own pair (and returned Bruce's) and would tell anyone who listened: Russian Aiders are a great improvement over clumsy, old aid ladders.
I used Bruce's Russian Aiders on that wall, too. And liked the system.
Even today, right now, PTPP is posting here on ST about how much he liked Theron's efforts to get the Russian Aider system available again.
And none of that would have taken place, if it weren't for Bruce.
Oh, if only I could produce a big, golden Wyde crack cam to send off with Bruce.
Just found out the horrible news from my wife. Em, we are so sorry!!! Brutus of Wyde was truly a great, larger than life person. I first met Bruce at City Rock, intrigued by his upside down climbing (which I desperately tried to imitate) of the flaring chimney/OW. Talked to him a few times on the fringe, but not much.
Many years later I would run into him at various places, mostly the Wilderness Exchange, and talk to him a bit more. One of his many admirable traits was that of 'walking encyclopedia.' He knew more about popular and obscure routes in the Sierra and elsewhere than anyone else. Big on the list at the time was his secretive 'Dirty Dozen.'
A few years later my wife and I joined Bruce and Em on a rebolting mission of 'Hairline,' a Brutus of Wyde original on the overhanging East Face of Mt. Whitney. We spent a week ferrying loads, fixing, rebolting, jugging, and living on the wall. It's in situations like these that you really get to know a person. Someone mentioned 'tough as nails' - yes, Bruce was that. Many mentioned his kindness and they are correct. Not the fake kindness that we experience everyday when random people smile at us, but the empathy that truly understands when someone is in need. The type of kindness that gives to those more in need even at the cost of self sacrifice.
Bruce was a teacher by example, an inspiration, a guiding light - certainly for me. Watching his drive and will to constantly get out and explore, to climb, to face and overcome hardship, to make the best of things with what was given to him at the moment. Never a complaint, humble and self-depreciating, and always the perfect sarcastic, but not mean, wit. I remember threatening him with a tape recorder as he breathlessly rattled off one liners on the approach to Tahquitz. The man was funny and continuously made me laugh. Bruce, we will miss you, but we will not forget you!
ALL INDIVIDUALS USING, REFERRING TO,
TALKING ABOUT, OR THINKING ABOUT THIS
TOPO MUST READ THIS!!!
This inaccurate topo is based on dim
recollections, half-baked guesses, and
outright lies. In NO WAY does it tell
the full story. You would probably be
better off just trying to find your own
way up the mounatin, than you would be
if you used this topo. But that
statement in no way implies that I am
in any way responsible if you don't
use the topo, and something bad happens anyway.
Nature is unpredictable and unsafe.
Mountains are dangerous. Many books
have been written about these dangers,
and there’s no way I can list them all
here. Read the books.
The area depicted by this topo is covered
in steep terrain with loose, slippery and
unstable footing. The weather can make
matters worse. Sheer drops are everywhere.
You may fall, be injured or die. There
are hidden holes. You could break your
leg. There are wild animals, which may be
vicious, poisonous, hungry or carriers of
dread diseases. These may include poisonous
amphibians, reptiles, and insects; insects
to which you have allergies, or whose
multiple stings can cause anaphylactic
shock; mammals which may include skunks,
badgers, marmots, lions, tigers, and bears;
predatory birds, and all other manner of
beasts. Plants can be poisonous as well,
and even when not poisonous, can inflict
serious injury like a sharp stick in the
eye. This topo, and the author of this
topo, will not do anything to protect you
from any of this. I do not inspect, supervise
or maintain the ground, rocks, cliffs,
wildlife, vegetation or other features,
natural or otherwise.
Real dangers are present even on approach
trails. Trails are not sidewalks, and folks
have died and been seriously injured even
on sidewalks when they have tripped on cracked
concrete, plunged into meter boxes with
missing covers, been mugged, hit by cars,
had pianos fall on them... Trails can be,
and are, steep, slippery and dangerous.
Trail features made or enhanced by humans,
such as bridges, steps, walls and railings
(if any) can break, collapse, or otherwise
fail catastrophically at any time. I don’t
promise to inspect, supervise or maintain
them in any way. They may be negligently
constructed or repaired. Some trails in
the area are only maintained by Nelson Bighorn
Sheep, who have little regard for human life
or human safety, or any humans whatsoever.
In summary, trails are unsafe, period. Live
with it or stay away.
Stay on the trails whenever possible. The
terrain, in addition to being dangerous,
is surprisingly complex. You may get lost.
You probably WILL get lost. The chances of
getting lost multiply geometrically after
the sun goes down, due to poor visibility.
The sun goes down at least once a day in
this area. Not to say that you won't get
lost during daylight hours. In either event,
carry a flashlight, extra bulb and batteries,
compass, GPS, altimeter, cellular phone,
food, water, matches and first aid supplies
at all times. My advising you of this does
not mean there are not other things you
should be carrying. Carry them all as well,
and know how to use them. I am not responsible
for the consequences if you fail to heed this
advice. In fact, I am not responsible for
the consequences even if you DO heed this
advice and, for example, end up in an unplanned
bivy because you were carrying too much g*dd@mn
stuff, stumble into the bivy fire at 2 am when
you get up to take a p!ss, and severely burn the
flesh on your hands. You have only yourself to
blame, so leave me out of it.
Rocks and other objects can, and probably will,
fall from the cliffs. They can tumble down
slopes. This can happen naturally, or be
caused by people above you, such as climbers.
Rocks of all sizes, including huge boulders,
can shift, move or fall with no warning. If you
don't believe me check out the talus slopes at
the base of some of the rock walls. They
didn't just grow there. Use of helmets is advised
for anyone approaching the rock formations. As a
matter of fact, approaching the rock formations
is not advised. That is pretty stupid too. But if
you DO choose to risk your worthless scrawny neck
by going near rocks, shoulder pads, knee pads,
elbow pads, athletic cups and supporters and
other body armor may be handy as well. These
items can be purchased or rented from
mountaineering shops and athletic supply stores.
They won’t save you if you get hit by or
scrape against something big or on another
part of your body. A whole rock formation
might collapse on you leave nothing but a
grease spot. Don’t think it can’t happen.
It does, and it probably will.
Weather can be dangerous, regardless of
the forecast. Be prepared with extra
clothing, including rain gear. Hypothermia,
heat stroke, dehydration, frostbite,
lightning, ice and snow, runoff from rainstorms,
flashfloods, etc. can kill you. Rain can turn
easy terrain into a deathtrap, can drown you
if you're looking up into the sky with your
mouth open, and vastly decreases traction on
pavement. Snow is even worse, the hazards
ranging from snowball fight injuries to avalanches.
If you scramble in high places (scrambling
is moving over terrain steep enough to use
your hands) without proper experience, training
and equipment, or allow children to do so, you
are making a terrible mistake. Even if you know
what you’re doing and are the most experienced
and safest climber the world has ever known,
you are still making a terrible mistake: lots of
things can and do go wrong and you may be injured
or die. It happens all the time.
Furthermore, scrambling amongst the huge boulders
in this canyon, even without exposure of high
places, can result in serious physical and/or
emotional injury, or death.
This area, and this route, are not provided with
any rangers or security personnel on any regular
basis. The other people in the area, including
other visitors, USFS employees, foreign agents,
biologists and nature freaks, and anyone else
who might sneak in, may be stupid, reckless, a
religious fanatic, or otherwise dangerous. They
may be mentally ill, criminally insane, drunk, using
illegal drugs and/or armed with deadly weapons and
ready to use them. I'm not going to do anything about
that. I refuse to take responsibility.
Excessive consumption of alcohol, use of
prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications,
and/or legal or illegal controlled substances while
frequenting this area can and probably will affect
your mental state, alertness, and decision-making
abilities, and could make an already dangerous
situation even worse. Even abstinence won't
protect you from the actions of others under
the influence of such substances. Tough luck.
Not my fault.
The driveways, freeways, highways, streets,
alleys, back roads and unimproved 4WD tracks
leading to this area kill hundreds of folks
each year. Many of these fatalities are folks
who aren't even on their way to this canyon,
who in fact have never heard of this canyon,
but are simply innocent victims. Not so you.
You have been warned. You could get killed
driving to the trailhead. Wearing your seatbelt
tightly fastened with the lap belt low across
your waist improves your chances of survival,
in most cases (except that one steep section
of road) but does not and cannot guarantee your
safety. You might die before ever stepping out
of your vehicle at the trailhead, or on the way
home. It can happen any time. If you think you
are immune from this kind of thing, you're
This is not a sterile environment. Bacteria,
viruses, protozoa, protoviruses, fungi and other
forms of life and protolife which may or may not
be currently included in either the plant or animal
kingdom are capable of causing you serious bodily
harm, illness, or death. These kinds of biological
agents are both endemic in the area or present in
the plant and animal populations; and are also
capable of being carried or transmitted by your
climbing partners and travelling companions. I'm
not going to take responsibility for this, either.
My advice for you to treat drinking water, wash
your hands before and after going to the bathroom
and before eating, and to not indulge in unprotected
sex in this area, in no way obligates me to be
responsible for the consequences if you fail to
do so, nor does it mean that even if you DO take
these precautions and something happens anyway,
that I am to blame. Not so. Forget it. Nada. Negativo.
If you climb, you may die or be seriously
injured. And the longer you climb the greater
your risk of bad luck, which may or may not
be compounded by hubris, catching up to you.
This is true whether you are experienced or
not, trained or not, and equipped or not,
though training, experience and equipment may
help. It’s a fact, climbing is extremely dangerous.
If you don’t like it, stay at home. You really
shouldn’t be doing it anyway. I do not provide
supervision or instruction. I am not responsible
for, and do not inspect or maintain, climbing
anchors (including bolts, pitons, slings, trees,
etc.) As far as I know, any of them can and
probably will suddenly fail without warning and
send you plunging to your death with a bloodcurdling
scream, likely pulling your partner to his or her
doom as well. There are countless tons of loose
rock ready to be dislodged and fall on you or someone
else. There are any number of inobvious,
extremely and unusually dangerous conditions existing
on and around the rocks, and elsewhere in the
canyon. I probably don't know about any specific
hazard, but even if I do, don’t expect this
topo or its author to try to warn you. You’re
on your own.
Furthermore, the fact that I'm not trying
to stop you from being in this area in no
way implies, nor should it be inferred, that
I approve, recommend, advocate, or otherwise
in any way affirm that such action on your
part is anything but incredibly stupid.
Rescue services are not provided by anyone
near this climb, and may not be available
quickly or at all. In fact, if anything
really serious happens to you in this area,
you'll probably be dead before word ever
reaches civilization. Local rescue squads
may not be equipped for or trained in mountain
rescue. They probably won't be. If you are
lucky enough to have somebody try to rescue
you or treat your injuries, they will probably
be incompetent or worse. This includes doctors
and hospitals. I assume no responsibility. Also,
if you decide to participate in a rescue of
some other unfortunate, that’s your choice.
Don’t do it unless you are willing to assume
all risks, and don't blame me when it goes
bad and you end up getting yourself sued in
By using, or even just looking at this topo,
you are agreeing that I owe you no duty of
care or any other duty, you agree to release
me, my relatives, heirs, dependents, and anyone
else I care to name, now and forevermore,
from any and all claims of liability, even
though my actions may be grossly negligent
and/or be construed as reckless endangerment,
manslaughter, or other misconduct up to and
including premeditated murder. By consulting
this topo, you agree to waive forever any
rights that you, your partners, dependents,
heirs, inlaws, and others known or unknown to
you may have, to legal compensation resulting
from anything that has anything to do with this
topo, including but in no way limited to paper
cuts from the edge of the topo itself. If
you try to sue me in spite of all this, you
agree to pay my lawyers fees regardless of the
outcome of the suit, and you expressely agree
to re-imburse me for any loss or injury, be
it financial, physical, emotional, or imagined,
which I may experience as a result of such lawsuit.
I promise you nothing. I do not and will
not even try to keep the area safe for any
purpose. The area is NOT safe for any purpose.
This is no joke. I won’t even try to warn
about any dangerous or hazardous condition,
whether I know about it or not. If I do decide
to warn you about something, that doesn’t
mean I will try to warn you about anything else.
If I do make an effort to fix an unsafe condition,
I may not try to correct any others, and I may
actually make matters worse! I may have done
things in the area that are unwise and
dangerous. I probably did, but I don't remember.
Sorry, I'm neither competent nor responsible.
The topo gives you bad advice. Don’t listen.
Or do listen. It's your choice, but you face
the consequences either way, whatever they may be.
In short, CLIMB AT YOUR OWN RISK. If you,
or your heirs, relatives, dependents or others
known or unknown to you; your partner or your
partners heirs, relatives, dependents, or
others known or unknown to your partner, are
the slimy kind of lawyer-touting parasites who
would try to sue the author of a topo, If you
can't take responsibility for your own decisions,
knowledge, routefinding and plain dumb luck,
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stay far far away from this
route and this canyon, give up climbing, and die
of some completely natural, painful, and slowly
Thank you, climb safe, and have fun!
END of Disclaimer
Credit is due to Russ Walling for the original
inspiration, and to a rumored sign at Seneca Rocks
from which I unabashedly stole some of the text.
Firstly my sympathies to Em and Bruce's family. I'm greatly saddened by his sudden departure. I first met Bruce and Em at my local climbing wall Class 5 in Marin County. When I showed an interest in mastering the art of climbing wide cracks Bruce give me excellent advise along with a tick list and the stories of old. I know that the climbing community have benefitted greatly from his work by helping revise topos, rebolting and 1st ascents, I well remember the 50 year anniversary re-ascent Bruce made with Allen Steck of the classic line Steck/Salathe on Sentinel Rock. Repecting the adventurous nature of of those that came before us and their ability to pass their great wisdom on.
Ditto here. Bruce sounded like a great guy and sounds like he had a very full life of adventure, friendship and companionship. Very unfortunate to lose someone of that caliber. Condolensces to those who were close to him.
This internet thing can be so…cold. Terrible way to find out of a friend’s passing…
Em, I’m so sorry. Someone, if there’s a memorial, please let me know.
Been too long since I’d seen you guys. Ugh.
From one of our many sessions at Ironworks, Rocknasium, Class 5, etc. Jupiter’s in Berkeley:
So many memories of the Brewtus. We climbed together initially in the gym. He was a fixture on several websites I frequented, and, a worthy read is to go into rec.climbing and surf up some of his wisdom. His “put” was refreshing, given the meanness on that site, which, I knew from asking upset him and finally drove him away.
We first met when a mutual friend of ours and I suggested a gym night in Davis at Rocknasium. Bruce drove all the way up from Oakland to meet up with us. I’d heard he was a fairly good climber, but, not from him. He was modest to the point of ridiculousness. Which, of course went out the window when you watched him climb. Strong. Gymnast strong. And, a lifer.
We hooked up climbing indoors and out for a few years. Ice climbing in Utah (his picture is in the Utah ice climbing guidebook in a couple of locations, including a funny picture of him posing on avalanche debris in the road). I remember after climbing in Santaquin Canyon, Bruce wanted to check out American Fork, just to see it. We drove there, and, got out of the car to scope “License to Thrill”, which I explained was a popular and fun climb. There was a bail ‘biner quite a ways up the route, maybe 20 feet or more off the deck. Before I could warn him off, Bruce had soloed up the thing in his plastic ice climbing boots, snagged the biner, and downclimbed. No sweat. I remember thinking, “wow”, as I knew how hard those moves were and why that bail ‘biner was there.
If you look at the Utah ice guide, you’ll see a picture of Em leading the GWI, and, Bruce is off to the left, soloing. But what the caption doesn’t say, is that Bruce is headin’ up to check out a fixed pin, which he bootied of course.
Em, Bruce and I climbed the Lost Arrow tip together. What gracious hosts! Bruce was dubious of the single 300 foot static line I brought, ‘cause it looked a tad thin, but, he humored me and it made the rappel and the tyrolean pretty easy to rig. When I jugged across, Bruce handed me a Sapporo. Our bivy the night before, with Bruce’s excellent cooking “chicken tits” on the open fire, was superb. What a great trip, short as it was, off my usual, at the time, business trip to the area.
I imported Bruce to the City of Rocks to lead an offwidth route. Amazing watching his technique. On that trip, I found out he pretty much knew the entire dialog of the Wizard of Oz, which of course we qued up once at my place, synched with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.
When our mutual friend from that first meeting at Rocknasium went missing on Shasta, Bruce was there for us. I spent a long night in Oakland at the Old Climber’s Home, in a borrowed -30F sleeping bag that I sweated my ass off in. Misery loved company. Sure enough, Bruce and Em joined some other friends in late May on Shasta, where they found Zippo. Met up with them a few weeks later, at another gym (San Jose this time I seem to recall) and they shared some of that, including photo’s. Profoundly moving and sensitve. I can still remember that night with clarity. Bruce’s write up in the 2001 ANAM summarized that accident.
We attended Zippo’s funeral in Sacramento about this time, nine years ago, already. Crazy how time flies. Bruce read a poem he wrote, and, those in earshot bawled their head’s off. Posted below. Bruce not only penned great route topo’s, but, also was a great writer.
Tip a Sierra Nevada for you my friend.
-"Brain" in SLC
Poem Bruce read at John Miksits' funeral in June 2000:
Hard to think. Shivering.
Craig. Where's Craig? Oh. That's right.
Gone on ahead of me, somewhere.
Later. No shivering.
Later. Warm. Where?
Wind howling over the top of the col. I'm on Shasta. Have to get
Up. Body stiff. Dark. Out of the bivy sack. get headlamp. hard to make
Walking now. Feeling better. I can see now. See clearly. night.
downhill. Don't need the headlamp. I can see the whole world in the
glowing like the living thing it is. How come I could never see it
Drop the headlamp. How could I ever need it again, when everything is so
Through the mountain, through the world, through the whiteout and wind,
through hands held up, see stars. "Whiteout": what is that and why did it
have me so confused? I can see everything so clearly now. See through
my closed eyelids. I see with my soul -- see all the other souls bright
Have to go somewhere.
Not a voice calling, not lights signalling . Something? Someone?
A calling, a place remembered, somewhere before my life began,
before I knew I was me, or first heard the beating of my heart.
calling me back. back to warmth, warm darkness where night is unknown,
surrounded by brightness, basking in joy but knowing nothing else except
as a memory, the past, present, and future coalescing into what IS...
Expanding... No longer feel ice pellets blasting my face.
Wind no longer a vicious beast, hardly a whisper now as it roars over
the col... expanding awareness, the mountain so small inside me,
I search for something... for the bright stars in the web of lights I
touched... and have become... Family, each of us part of each
other's lives since before we opened our eyes for the first time to
look at the outside world...
and Doreen. and Sarah. and Joey.
Others so close... Troop 259... Friends... climbing partners met face to
or simply through the threads of communication stretching out like a
web in the darkness between people. Everyone, everywhere I've touched,
still touching, still there.
Still expanding... the living earth within my borders now, and everyone
I have known bright stars I have touched a part of me now and I a part of
them... with them, of them.
Brighter... Still -- called? pulled? no, drawn. Drawn to what is
if this place beyond time and space can have aheadness...
What have I learned?
smile in the darkness. Yes, it is good. Thank you all. We all learn
each other. We are all gifts.
Brightness. Joy. Love.
Coming home, to where it all started, before I was, full circle, seeing
place, again, not seen since before I was born, seeing again,
for the first time...
f*#k, this saddens me more than I can say, and I never even met the man. But I will never forget that he, without my even asking, offered to send me one of his topos when I inquired via e-mail about Mt. Slesse's Northeast Buttress. He asked me for my address, and within days, I received a laminated copy in the mail. Unbelievable. That one small kindness told me all I needed to know about the man, and I am utterly floored by the news of his passing. What a profound loss this is to the climbing community, and really, to humanity at large. Brutus of Wyde (one of the coolest handles ever), may ye rest in peace.
Brian-- thanks for posting that. I have not been affected so much by anyone's passing in a very long time (and I never met Bruce except indirectly). I really appreciate all of the tributes everyone has written and extend deepest condolences to all of Bruce's friends and family.
In the hallway here at the OCH there's a photo of Granite Park Spire, that Bruce and I climbed with the Chief last summer. A couple of weeks ago Bruce brought home this poem, which he taped to the bottom of the picture frame.
I'm so touched by all the messages on supertopo and summitpost. I can't find the words to say... "thank you" doesn't seem enough. I don't even know how to post to supertopo (lurker to the last). But if you feel it would be appropriate, could you please post this poem...kind of a message from Bruce...with my gratitude. I think Bruce would've liked to share this.
Of all the things I observed from Bruce, it was his flat out genuine love and care for Em! God, just to see the two of them together was magical (and an example to all married couples). A narrative between Brutus and Em when he, Em and I were putting up routes in A-Hills earlier this year.......smooth cat:
Nurse Ratchet: Ok, Bruce....you're off belay.
Brutus (hushed voice): Really? Ya wanna roll in the hay?
Nurse Ratchet: Huh?
Brutus: Off belay?
Nurse Ratchet: Yes. You're off belay.
Brutus: Thanks Em! (with a subtle tee-hee after)
Brutus then looks over at me, "Gotta love that woman for puttin' up with my hopeless romantic nature!" (insert crazed look from Brutus)
Em, if you're reading this, that exchanged happened during the FA of "My Little Lab Rat" (.10b). Love you Sweet Nurse!!!
I will cherish the memory of Brutus, Em, Mrs. Mooch and I, hangin' out in the jaccuzzi at Dow Villas, one cold night out in Lone Pine. Enjoying some great Tempernillo and a beautiful full moon......yackin' away about FA's and far off adventures yet to be planned. All the while, Brutus providing a loving shoulder rub down to Em. They were hopeless! Love as it should be.
Dood will always be THE MAN!!
Bruce......I love you! Gotcha here in my heart! Looking forward to our next adventure!!
Like many others here, my wife and I were greatly saddened upon learning about Bruce’s tragic accident. Our heartfelt condolences go out to all of Bruce’s family and friends particularly Em, ED, and DMT.
We had the pleasure of sharing a ski lease with Bruce and Em in our cabin in South Lake Tahoe for several years. Although we never managed to go on any big climbing adventures together, we spent many afternoons and nights planning and scheming the next day, week, months adventures around a warm wood stove and drinking Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I will always cherish the memories of Bruce bar-be-queuing outside in a blizzard in his red suit while reading a book via headlamp. We would check on him once in a while…. gingerly stepping outside while trying not to dislodge the giant ice dam hanging dangerously off the roof which he termed the “death serac”. We have a cabin logbook where Em and Bruce faithfully recorded their outdoor adventures each trip. Bruce’s off beat humor shine through with his many drawings of Potts the back country skier who never seemed to hit conditions right…thrashing his way through wind blown crust and up to his neck in sierra cement. I managed to ski a few times with them with one particularly spectacular day up Round Top with Em, Bruce, DMT, and Dave. Unfortunately, we haven't seen Em and Bruce as much recently since they decided they were getting too "soft" at the cabin and traded a warm fire for snow camping.
Bruce, you lived life large... you will be missed.
If anybody is going to get VIP treatment in the afterlife, it is Brutus of Wyde.
Only thing is, he'll be so busy helping them make the food for the afterparty that he'll only have a fantastic time, instead of a heavenly wild time.
I'm on the road, just got the news, and, after a round of tears and meditation to send him my love and good will, I can only type this quick installment.
I don't care if he never climbed a rock. Getting to know Brutus was an inspiration on how to be a truly fine human being.
Over the top...A Saint without a God (an obvious One anyway)
One story from just a few weeks back.
Brutus and Em showed up at the tail end of my Birthday party in Southern Yosemite just to help clean up!
Sadly we were already gone. I was sitting in my house and this "character" shows up looking in my back window. Turned out to be Brutus! I didn't recognize him at first because he lost a ton of weight.
Em follows and they bestow gifts of prayer flags and homemade Jam. How I will relish the last nibbles of that sweetness.
So Brutus tells me about the diet he went on to get fit and not worry about dying of a heart attack like his doctors threatened, and recommends the same for me.
Both Brutus and Em...hearts of gold...walking the extra 10 miles to take pleasure in serving and stoking out somebody else's life and heart.
A week or so later I get a message on my answering machine from a voice claiming to be "The Angel of Death" warning me to change my diet or else (turns out to be Brutus looking for a crash pad after something fell through)
Now I better worry since Brutus and that Angel are now acquainted. I wish him soaring ecstasy on his new greatest adventure.
For Em...Words cannot express my dear. Even typing this wells tears in my eyes. Much love to you dearest sister. I'm there for you day and night.
I had the greatest privilege of preforming Brutus and Em's wedding ceremony in a high alpine meadow in the Sierra a few years back. Their love inspired and inspires.
More to come later perhaps.
Here's a link to a little climbing story about Brutus and Em
is there a list of Brutus first ascents available? maybe we should have an extended celebration of Bruce's route contributions and spread out and do his routes... then Trip Report back here next week...
Dear Em and relatives of "Brutus", I'm very sorry for your loss and my most sincere thoughts go out for you.
I met "Brutus" at the Utah SushiFest, his and Em's unselfish work to help Nature put on a delicious feast for the maddening herd was inspirational and an insight into the quality of both individuals.
"Brutus's" TR's over the years have brought to the forefront the ol' school style and tradition of when the going gets tough the "Brutus's" among us keep going. Our world is a lesser place with his passing. Godspeed Bruce.... We'll all see you at the Sushifest on the other side.
Bruce was a legend in my eyes, and clearly in those of many others. His posts on rec.climbing were some of the first I recall reading after picking up climbing back in the 90's. He was a straight-shooting, no BS kind of guy with a wicked sense of humor. Damn, he could tell a tale.
By pure chance I met him and Em the morning I arrived in Yosemite back in '95 (I think...it may have been '97). I had just pulled in from the long 12 hour drive and went straight to the bridge to park and go hang out in the meadow. I pulled in behind two folks who were racking up to go do some cragging and I recognized Bruce from pictures. I introduced myself and all three of us had some brief conversation about climbing, about life, and about the silliness of the internet. Almost in passing I made a comment lamenting how my recent marriage had cut drastically into my climbing time and I asked them how they managed to work it out. They both grinned at each other and told me "we're not married!" I guess the knowing grin they shared was an inside joke for them, because it wasn't a couple of months later that I remember Karl posting up here on the Taco about their wedding ceremony. The legendary couple had finally tied the knot.
I'm grateful for the few moments our paths crossed. Em -- my heart goes out to you. The two of you were a beautiful, loving couple and our community is diminished greatly by his loss.
I was fortunate enough to be able to rope up with Brutus (and Em) occasionally. The first time was in June of 1995, almost exactly 14 years ago. If Brutus had a "signature climb", it had to be the Steck-Salathe, and I know he spent a lot of time up there, both climbing, and doing maintenance on the route. I "met" Brutus initially via the early days of rec.climbing and then for real through my friendship with Inez Drixelius, who climbed a lot with Bruce back then.
Bruce picked me up at the airport in Oakland to head to the Valley. he'd been doing some bolt replacing up high on the route and had a pile of gear still up on top of Sentinel. We drove on out, loaded up packs with bivy gear, and headed up the dreaded descent gully.
A ways up the descent, we ran into 300 feet of snow blocking the way. Climbing up this with a big pack in half-blown-out running shoes felt pretty harrowing at the time, but Bruce led the way, kicking good steps for me in the snow with his heavy boots.
Bruce near the notch to the side of the summit area, still smiling, happy in a place he loved.
Near the top, we dropped off our loads. Brutus headed off to a snowbank to stash some of the refrigerated-type goodies, and I headed to the top to boil some water and drop off the bivy gear. We loaded up the maintenance gear and headed back down.
That night, the three of us bivied on the slopes below Sentinel, rising at 5am to a scones and fresh blueberry breakfast. We were headed to the base of the route before 6am.
Brutus headed up the first pitch at 6;12am. We had a long day ahead.
That first pitch was a bit of a wakeup call that early in the morning, with surprisingly burly climbing right off the bat. Bruce was relaxed and confident.
Headed up the third pitch with Inez belaying.
Brutus at home in the depths of the Wilson Overhang.
My favorite shot of Brutus, as he gets set to enter the Narrows pitch. We'd talked quite a bit about this pitch before the route, with Bruce telling stories about some large friend who'd nearly gotten stuck, but when he would scream, his chest would contract just enough to allow movement. I wasn't excited about that prospect, so I opted to go outside. After leading the pitch in about five minutes, Bruce pulled up the rope, clipped a few cams on it, and then swung it back into the chimney (outside the chockstones) so that I could tie in and climb up the outside. I was very grateful.
The day was long, and some of the night as well. We topped out on the route at 11;59pm, Bruce leading the way up the last pitch via headlamp. After I climbed, he left me to belay Inez while he headed off down to the notch to retrieve the food. As others have said, there were always things to do and he did 'em. That night, we didn't have a bivy-style snack. We had a full on feast, starting with huge grilled prawns. Then mushroom and rice pilaf along with the usual chicken "tits", all the while passing around a couple of nalgene bottles, one with water, and one with wine. Hands down best summit celebration I've ever had. Bear in mind, I had no idea what was on the menu, or what Bruce had smuggled up to the notch to bury in the snow. I think he quite enjoyed the surprise and delight as each new luxury was announced and savored.
The next morning, as the sun woke us, Brutus came over and handed me a large bottle of cold Mountain Dew, which he'd found out from Inez was my go-juice of choice in the morning. I was speechless to think that he'd lugged something so heavy, yet so trivial all the way up there just to make my morning better. As others have said, that was just the way he took care of his partners.
We spent some time hanging out up there, enjoying the warm sunshine and basking in the glow of a successful climb. To this day, whenever I think of Brutus, I think of him statuesque posing like this atop Sentinel Rock.
I'm so so sorry to hear this. It doesn't seem fair that a life so fully lived could end so quickly. I know there is little that anyone can do to ease the grief that those close to him are feeling now, but I hope there is some small comfort in knowing how many people were touched by Bruce's life. There are few people who can leave this earth so much improved by their thoughts and actions.
My deepest condolences to Em, Craig, and all who loved him.
Met Bruce on the Steck Salathe in 94 and at Peter's gym around the same time. I was looking forward to seeing him once again, in a predictably random place and time.
Sincere condolences to family and friends.
My daughter had to be at her High
School graduation at 3pm: Bruce spent the morning helping/teaching her & her sister & ED at Keller's Peak. Anyway she had her hair & nails done the day prior to this. She barely got home for a shower then off to the ceremony
EM was helping supporting all morning.
Since I posted pics of the first time I ever climbed with Brutus, I figured it seemed symmetrical if I posted some pics of the last time I climbed with him (and Em) in Sedona. April of 2006.
The route is called Sedona's Scenic Climb, and is 5 long pitches of beautiful sandstone climbing to the summit of Gibralter Rock between Oak Creek Village and Sedona proper.
Em and Brutus on the approach. Brutus lending a spotting hand...
Brutus at the top of pitch one. As he usually did, he graciously praised my lead and made out like it was hard for him.
Brutus heading off up the buttress of the second pitch.
Skyline shot of the same (second) pitch.
The third pitch starts with a really cool traverse out left from the belay ledge. The attention-grabbing start puts you on a good stance, so I swung around and snapped this picture of Brutus and Em (taking pics of me) back at the belay.
Not to be outdone, Em ponied up for the lead of the fourth pitch and floated it in grand style.
Brutus got the final lead, finishing off the route.
A bit of scrambling takes you to the very top of the formation, yielding some of the best views you can get of the beautiful red rocks of Sedona. Brutus assumed his usual relaxed summit pose.
Posted earlier... Brutus making one of the rappels from the route.
The day following the climb of the route in Sedona, my wife and I drove up through Prescott, where Bruce and Em were staying with her daughter, and then continued north to the basalt cracks of Paradise Forks.
Brutus automagically hones in on the nearest wide stuff...
...and heads right up... (photo by Em)
Brutus taking a lap on the Pillow Talk handcrack.
Em finishing the left Yogi Crack while Bruce belays.
Brutus racking up on the canyon rim.
...and leading the left Yogi Crack.
Brutus indicating that he's done for the day and ready for beers.
Poop*ghost...I forgot that your rig was borrowed until I read your post, and then several little things that you told me throughout the climb that Brutus and Em taught you came back so vividly that I cried again (as several of the memorials here have brought me to do.)
Name is Rhonda, but online please refer to me as Velvet Skye, or Velvet.
I am one of the three neices mentioned in jurel's posts. Who will dearly miss my uncle. Just today, as I was searching for cards in a local store for E.D. and my "Aunt" Em, I was in one of those states where you are thinking it is all a bad dream that will go away in time. Although I know it won't, and that haziness is a part of the process. (i started this process last year as I lost a child at 21 weeks gestation. A boy who was dearly wanted and is still dearly loved.) And as I chose appropraite cards for these fine ladies, I realized that I am in pain too and tears were trickling down my cheeks.
I need to know how to attach photos, I don't have videos, I haven't got any of climbing, but i do have Bruce with my son, his Great Nephew, Caspian. They were doing one handed pushups. My son was 6. (now he's 9)
Bruce understood my boy's intensity and energy, and channeled it. Now I can see why, he too had an abundance, and a zest for life.
Thanks for this thread and posting all your stories and thoughts. I am glad to know my uncle was well loved by all, the way we loved him.
I had always hoped for more, more time with my uncle. He will be so missed.
So now Uncle Bruce, is time for the climb of your life, I'm sure the mountains in heaven are bigger and better than any that Earth can boast. Go forth and conquer with no fear of falling and without the need for gear.
A shirt I will always remember him wearing when i was very little said, "Go climb a rock."
So go on now Uncle Bruce... Find it and Climb it. And take your great nephew Karar with you. Take care of my family, till I see you all again.
Velvet, you probably know, it was more than just a slogan on a T-shirt for Brutus.
For many years, when I called the Old Climbers Home in Oakland and got the answering machine - Brutus's voice always answred, with same excitement in his voice every time (it was a recording haha) -
"Let's go CLIMBING!"
Its sorta summed up his intentions you know what I mean?
Know why he had so many partners who loved him? Because none of us but Em could keep up with him. We were like a big ole Tag Team, each slappin in to rope up with Brutus and Em.
Jeez a round or two in the arena with Brutus was all I could go in any one period. I needed to retreat to my own safe little patch of climbing to regrow my nerve.
And then I'd get that email, like the one I got two weeks ago.
"Dingus, LET'S GO CLIMBING!"
And the old excitement, the promise of adventure, fear and fun... would be there like it never left.
Brutus brought that out in a lot of us.
He had many climbing goals still to accomplish - personal motivations to send those nagging projects that had got away from him.
But Brutus wasn't intersted in sating his own hunger first, no. He did not pursue 'his' goals with the simglemindedness of a man on a mission. Nope.
His goals changed and I noticed it and you can see it in the responses to this thread...
Brutus morphed his goals into others - he seemed to delight in the successes of his partners. He would team up with the likes of me... and then proceed to open our eyes to a wider world of mountains. And THEN he'd send that next last great project, WITH US.
It is that quality... his investment in partners and taking their dreams into his and then wrapping the whole thing in a joke and a good meal.
This is the first time I've ever posted! It took THIS to do it & some help from my son, Jeff & wife Lori. Bruce & I started climbing 35 years ago in high school. We had no one to mentor us back then, it was all trial & error. I could write a book on all the adventures Bruce & I have had, climbing sometimes for weeks (4 of us & gear all crammed into a Ford Courier truck.) Those of you that have climbed with Bruce, know all the antic, retching, wit, one liners, food, beer, drinking & some special concoctions! He was a hell of a man, partner & friend, we were like brothers. We both grew up in San Bernardino & went to the same school. Bruce eventually moved to the Bay area & raised his family, and I mean "family". I moved to Lk. Arrowhead & raised mine. We always hooked up for a climb once a year. Bruce would call, not to say "Hi", but "lets go climbing" would be the first words out of his mouth. I'll surely miss him, as will so many others. Bruce was so full of life & gumption. Bruce, R.I.P.. See ya soon & "lets go climbing" up there in the big sky when I get there!
I didn't know Bruce very well. Skied with him one time on Mt Tom. Only climbed with him once, in the gym of all places. But his emailed counsel on logistics for Castle Rock Spire was invaluable to me. I probably wouldn't have made it to the base without his kind and freely offered help and encouragement. The tequila he left up there was also greatly appreciated. Thanks, Brutus!
When I saw his recent posting asking about conditions there I thought how cool that we was headed back out there once again...
now that's a worthy objective. thanks, it sooths just a little. kind of speaks for what his heart was set on. like laying down a wreath, but more appropriate for a man who had an eye, and the will to fit his vision
Bob Burd (summitpost) took that shot back on May 25th while he was on the High Sierra Trail, headed to Eagle Scout Peak. This was the photo we were studying prior to the trip to see if we needed crampon for the snow tongue in the gully between The Fin and CRS.
Hey Rob -
Did you get my email regarding the east side of the spire?
Heard the terrible news through the grapevine and registered to try to express our sadness at this loss...I don't climb, but I ski and my husband Mark and I had the gift of meeting Bruce and Em through the tele classes we took with them at LTCC. In bounds skiing was hardly an environment for Brutus' wild nature to fully express itself, but nonetheless in reading this thread I can recognize so much of his exuberance and the very special bond he shared with Em. He routinely skied with double whippets which ensured him space in the lift lines and, particularly that first season, took more body-slam wipeouts than the entire rest of the class combined. Incredibly (to me), his masochistic approach seemed to work; a season later he was ripping with steeze and the class coronated him 'most improved'! He was so typically modest, I don't think anyone in the class realized they were skiing with a Sierra rock legend.
I also remember how 'crashing' at Em and Bruce's ski cabin near Angora was invariably a gourmet affair. Bruce would concoct elaborate, delicious multicourse dinners and breakfasts that this ski bum didn't deserve and was very grateful for.
Em, if you're reading this our thoughts are with you, and we mourn the loss to you and to our entire outdoor community. I hope time can help ease some of the pain and allow you to find peace. If there is a public celebration of Bruce's life sometime in the future, please post the info here so we can share in the remembrance.
What a wonderful tribute to someone I barely got to know.
This is sort of a psyber-wake, except far better. There is more time for stories and pictures. It's self-catered, so you don't have to worry about people showing up just to wolf down the ham. And for people like me it is an opportunity which, despite the sadness, allows me to know him better.
DITO! Remarkable how one man can change your life.....forever. What an incredible mentor he was to me, on the high angle stone and with life's challenges. I loved Brutus' brutality....it was the cornerstone of his personality! And, as said before, the way he cared for his partners and friends.......priceless! Remember takin' a 40' whipper off some route to the left of Sweet Home Alabama in the A-Hills. Thought for sure my ankle was broken.....AGAIN! He and Em were quick to give me a look over and applying one of many uses from an ice cold Sappporo. Satisfying it was....but my ankle still hurt. ;)
just in case I didn't mention it, thx to all that have posted up kind words. I think Dingus already mentioned that Em has appreciated it too, and Jurel is on board the taco and hopefully will post some pics. Just cool to see folks telling their stories, and their 'best of brutus' hits.
I had to break the news to Noots today and he said it right "that just f*#king sucks"
but we go. we go to have fun adventures. get out all! do it like there is little time left. be smart, but get out there!
I never met Bruce, but his trip reports, advice and humour on rec.climbing in the mid 90s were one of the things that kept me going back there again and again. We had a few exchanges of views and he put me right a couple of times when I was being an arse.
One thing that sticks in my mind was playing the "Six Degrees of Separation" game between posters and Dingus Milktoast, the proviso being that you actually had to have climbed with the person named as the link.
Almost everyone who played had at most 4 degrees of separation. However, I posted that I thought I could beat the odds, as I was here in the UK and the only person I knew in the whole USA who climbed was a girl called Carolyn who'd recently emigrated to California.
Within minutes there was a post from Brutus saying "Would that be Carolyn D***, then?". Snookered, first shot!
It was Carolyn, now back in the UK, who alerted me to the tragedy.
Brutus didn't encourage folks to get on the wyde for some perverse form of entertainment.
OK there was a little bit of that but he hid it well.
He did it because he genuinely celebrated the successes and advances of his partners. He really did and he worked hard at that aspect of his climbing. It was quite purposeful.
Plus he was always cultivating belayers and haul bag carriers, like ME!
There is even reference to it in some of his writings in these threads, quoted by others. As he mastered his aspects of climbing he did indeed become Master to many of us. I have in fact referred to him as my Master (in that Kung Fu sense) for a long time.
As chief says, that dude was a warrior and a teacher. He enjoyed watching folks traverse Gumby to Journeyman. Then he'd call you up with 'Let's go CLIMBING!'
ED at Kellers peak ,family climb, 3 hours prior to EB's high school graduation. LB climbing this day altho her mood was isolated & dark. Brutus of Wyde & Em teaching/( & healing)
(when the learner knows the teacher is attending ,no news is good news)
ED teaching this day also!!! (the teachers daughter)
I just got through sailing and diving around Palau for ten days and I thought I would check in on the taco stand. Reading the headlines just breaks my heart.
Brutus and I did a few climbs together about 10 years ago and would run into each other here and there in the ensuing years. A true climber to the heart. My deepest thoughts and condolences to Em and all of Bruce's family and friends.
early photo with some of his family .........................................................................................his mom is above left
Yes we will miss him, think of him, & remember him
I just read 400 posts about a man I never knew. 2 hours into the posts I come across Mooch's photo of the hug and it all hit me, what a great man. Munge, dingus, and all of his "Family", I wish upon you peace after the grieving. That gentleman touched so many with his words, laughter and humility that it poured like a fountain in all of your words and photos.
I feel honored to have read all of your stories and comments in this setting. To those of you who shared moments with Bruce, my condolences.
Brutus was eyeing this route over a year ago. This weekend, Dingus and Scuffy really had the Spirit of Brutus with them in pushing the line half way up. It was hard! Really nice job guys. Bruce wouldn't have had it any other way.
Scuffy doing the wide with pride onsight...
We toasted him many times with the Gatoritas and beer we brought out this last weekend. We ate like kings as Brutus would oft do in the backcountry.
Hope everyone had a great weekend and did something fun.
I only met Bruce a couple of times, but I sure remember the first meeting (~1994). It was at a Rock Rendezvous meeting in Berkeley, at the house of Max Moehs et al. RR meetings are always potlucks, and while most climbers are very generous about sharing their remaining 1/2 power bar, he had this huge delicious spread of sushi -- so many people have mentioned this specialty of his. He was the first one to clue me in to the Tokyo Fish Market on San Pablo. So anyway I was kind of a newbie and didn't know very many people at this meeting. He comes up to talk to me, and he was so warm and friendly and engaging (and wanting me to try his sushi) I can remember thinking ... does he think I am someone else? have I met him and I forgot? is he also new and just looking for someone to chat with? did one of the few people I know feel sorry for me and tell him to come on over and chat with the new girl? No and no and no and no. He was just like that, as I subsequently learned from some mutual friends, and is obvious from all these posts. Very warm and open to everyone, very giving of his time and resources.
Thanks to all who have posted so many stories, photos and anecdotes. I have enjoyed reading them and getting to touch in some way what you all have shared with him.
My deepest condolences to Em, his family, and friends.
It has been more than a year since I last read rec.climbing, and this news was what I get!
I have never met Brutus. I started out climbing and reading rec.climbing about 15 years ago. Brutus was one of the posters who has shaped the way I appreciate climbing, humor, and people.
In the last few years five or six climbers who I have climbed with, or who I could regard as friends, have died. Every time it happened I felt a bit of me had been taken away. Affinity between climbing friends is real. Now I know it is even real between climbers you have never met.
Brutus' passing away is like a lamp going out in my own little world. But somehow the light of the lamp still shines. A cruffy old climbing man is till someone I aspire to become when I have aged enough. Younger climbers have picked up from me certain ways to appreciate climbing, humor, and people. Although they probably will never know I have picked some of them up from a Brutus of Wyde, the light is passed on.
Bye bye Brutus. Take care Em, Dingus and all other who appreciate Brutus' life.
I've been meaning to post this image. If I had to pick ONE image from our time together, to best represent everything about Brutus, his character, his generosity, his climbing ethics and aspirations and his love of the mountains, it would be this drawing.
He created this on a scrap of paper in Shangri La basecamp, using a broken pen and nothing else. This was the samew day he found all the arrowheads. He had been staring up at our objective for a long time so I wandered over to see what he was up to.
Sitting there in crushed granite gravel, the scent of pines and wild flowers on the air, green grasses in all directions, a riot of color... he created this.
Mountaineer, poet, musician, gymnast, artist. Again, I was stunned by what my friend could do and his soft-spoken humbleness. This was the first and only time I ever saw him draw. He never spoke about it and we never discussed the wellspring from whence this ability flowed.
Somehow we didn't need to.
When he finished this drawing later in the day (it was really REALLY cool to see it evolve) he walked over to me and handed to me with a big smile.
Here I have inked in the two lines we did... the direct line (A2 Brutus? Grade V, 5.10, C1)
and a line Brutus and Em did up the north ridge, I forget what they called it. Grade II, 5.8 I think? 5.9 if going to summit. It has a simple name, but it escapes me at the moment. I'll ask Em next time I see her.
He did topos for these too but I'm not prepared to share the details.
This one is a special image for the SPH Band of climbers. It was taken from Camp Dingus at Chipmunk Flat. Brutus was there, as was Miwok, munge, Angus and one or two others. This is looking up pass as a storm cell passed over the crest.
Over the years our little band has established a few routes down below. This is where Midas is located, as well as Wagon Wheel, part of my stomping grounds since 91 when I first climbed there with Stu Pollack.
We have some truly magic moments in the mountains, don't we? I have been blessed to climb and know people like Brutus and people like you. And to recognize these special moments, as they happen, well, its a gift.
Yes we do Miwok. You and I need to talk about that drawing, brother. In person.
And I gotta tell you something dude. Thanks.
I sat there on Scuffys Puffy Coat slab, looking down at Donnell and Broad Dome. I could see our approach road to Atlantis Wall, I could see where Brutus Em and I topped out. I was sitting there thinking of the great days I had with them in there and well, I was crying a but again.
I felt someone watching me, turned around and there you were. I could sense in your look you sorta knew what I was up to, where my head had gone.
You gave me that look of yourn and said,
"Are you going to lead something or what?"
HAH! F*#king A dude, that was EXACTLY what I needed to hear and you knew it too. What's more we both knew it, at the time you said it.
No I wasn't ready to lead. That dirt filled wydeness scared me dude, you know that.
Betwixt your question and the Brutus answer lied a rack and a dirt filled crack. Damn that was a lotta dirt man!
When you tossed me your dirt5 goggles up through that chimney ande I caught them at the top of the arc on the first try?
I knew I was back with my tribe, doing what I was supposed to be doing.
I'm back buddy.
And we need to talk about that drawing.... in person.
The rugged old Norsemen spoke of death as Heimgang-"home-going." So the snow-flowers go home when they melt and flow to the sea, and the rock-ferns, after unrolling their fronds to the light and beautifying the rocks, roll them up close again in the autumn and blend with the soil. Myriads of rejoicing living creatures, daily, hourly, perhaps every moment sink into death’s arms, dust to dust, spirit to spirit-waited on, watched over, noticed only by their Maker, each arriving at its own Heaven-dealt destiny. All the merry dwellers of the trees and streams, and the myriad swarms of the air, called into life by the sunbeam of a summer morning, go home through death, wings folded perhaps in the last red rays of sunset of the day they were first tried. Trees towering in the sky, braving storms of centuries, flowers turning faces to the light for a single day or hour, having enjoyed their share of life’s feast-all alike pass on and away under the law of death and love. Yet all are our brothers and they enjoy life as we do, share Heaven’s blessings with us, die and are buried in hallowed ground, come with us out of eternity and return into eternity. "Our lives are rounded with a sleep."
Steck Salathe. We climbed this a few days ago and noticed the star dryvins
in the pitch below the narrows were upgraded. We both wondered: Brutus?
I later found a note he'd posted to that effect, dated late May of this year.
But he climbed it with Em the beginning of June. Maybe his last long climb.
He uploaded a beautiful photo of her smiling brightly on the summit. My
heart really goes out to her.
So does this really mean he climbed Steck Salathe twice in a row?
Thanks, scuffy. I realized after I posted that this was probably the most likely scenario. Especially given that he was in the habit of prepping the summit in advance for his team's arrival. I'll bet he was also the one who made the improvements on marking the descent. Thanks again, Brutus!
"We have some truly magic moments in the mountains, don't we? I have been blessed to climb and know people like Brutus and people like you. And to recognize these special moments, as they happen, well, its a gift. "
Brutus was always honoring "the gift" like those rainbows that serendipitously popping up to express the poetry of life. Em was telling me Brutus would see some little girl in a pink dress on a pink bike peddling around the campground and say. "See, our gift for today"
I am stunned. I had only just now heard about Brutus' passing. I knew him some from banter on rec.climbing, and then in passing when I moved to Northern California. He had a significant affect on me; he introduced me to sushi!
I'd always wished I could have climbed with him. In a way, though, after reading his trip reports I feel I have.
Wow, I just signed on after hearing from Scott Presho that Bacher had died. What a shock, and what a sadness I feel. I never met him, but I knew him well from his posts and writings. I knew him from pulling down on the same pieces of white and black rock - at different times. He sure left a wyde wake.
I've enjoyed reading all the good thoughts and seeing all the cool pictures. It's nice to see all the old names that I used to spend time on the internet with. My condolences to all who knew him well.
I met Bruce when I was still in high school in Joshua Tree. I consider myself one of the lucky ones to have known this man. I climbed my very first big wall with him, sharing a combination of sardines and chocolate easter eggs on easter morning on Leaning Tower. Later Bruce and I put up a first accent on Mt Whitney named Hairline. The memories are incredible and I feel Bruce will always be a part of me.
I want to express my regrets to his loving family and say thanks for sharing him!
Bump to post the dates for Brutus' public memorial....@ The Stonehouse, Lone Pine Peak's South Face on Aug. 29/30th. More details to follow....perhaps Munge, DMT or Chief will post up for more info on exact times. Talked to Nurse Ratchet and she mentioned she has reserved 3 campsites in the LP campground.
Hey munge - it was 12 k, not 11. Hehe. That's a thousand feet of ass whoppin didn't even know I'd earned - till I looked at a map this morning. LOL! No WONDER I didn't summit till nearly 5 pm. It was 2 miles farther and 1000 feet higher than I supposed.
Oh well. It was good to run into you at Whoa Nellie, even though the pansy bastards were CLOSED before 10 PM on a Saturday night.
I had to settle for a bag of stale almonds from the gas station.
Got home at 2 am. Back up at 7... there for the kids right?
And no one bothered to tell me. I coulda been so OH! Ridge!
Oh well, sometimes just going through the motions for family, is important.
Climbers passing in the night (trucks, gear, fart gas)
I'll be in San Jose working the week before and might be able to make it. If one were to drive from San Jose to Lone Pine, is is easier to go south past Lake Isabella or north through Tuolumne ?
Approximate driving time, assuming below ticketing speed ?
I assume there is no other viable option, correct ?
I miss his worldly presence every day! But I can say truthfully, Brutus is with me every day in one form or another. He speaks to me through the rising and the setting of the sun each day. He touches me when I lay hand upon stone and make that initial move skyward.
While I never met Bruce, his spirit keeps turning up in not unexpected places... Old rec.climbing posts I'd saved, his trip reports and photos on mountainproject.com. I was also thinking about him in conjunction with Bill Sherman's accident on the way to Castle Rock Spire, a wild place well known to Brutus.
Shine on, Brutus... You touched those who you never knew.
Here is one of those great Brutus posts I mentioned from back in the the rec.climbing days. Still good advice and funny as heck:
From - Thu Feb 6 16:33:37 1997
From: email@example.com (Brutus of Wyde)
Subject: Re: Break into 5.10?
Date: 5 Feb 1997 00:19:28 GMT
Organization: InterServ News Service
X-Newsreader: SPRY News 3.03 (SPRY, Inc.)
> firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
> Then its on to 5.11 (anybody have any advice on how to become solid on
> 5.11 off widths?).
Get Knee pads.
Get Elbow pads.
Get Head pads.
Get Ibuprofen in 500 tablet bottles.
Read Sado-masochist periodicals.
Put together a rack of big pieces.
Study and practice offwidth and chimney techniques,
such as helmet, pack and rack towing, chicken wings,
arm bars, kneelocks, elbow locks, hand stacks,
gastons, prayer jams, foot stacks, hip bridges,
Leavittation, and perversion.
Do lots of Vee-sit-ups
Lead, follow, or toprope every chimney and
offwidth you can find. repeatedly. till you puke.
Then do it some more.
Follow Dr. Offwidth around Yosemite Valley for
Recommended climbs, Yosemite:
Yosemite Point Buttress
N. Face of the Rostrum, taking the wyde cracks.
"Horrow Frake" pitch on Salathe' Wall
"The Groove" pitch on lower Magic Mushroom
The OW pitches on Excalibur
and many, many others...
Recommended climbs, Joshua Tree:
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
and many, many others.
Recommended climbs, High Sierras:
Lover's Leap: Eyores Enigma
East Face Keeler Needle
Direct East Face Mt. Whitney
Direct East Face Tulainyo Tower
Instant Espresso on The Duck
Regge Pole East Face Dihedrals
JCAs Wide World of Sport
Crimson Chrysalis (Face holds are off!)
Then you're ready to take a trip to
Note that these climbs are recommended for
the wide crack sections, and recommendation
does not necessarily indicate that the climb
is overall high quality, although many are.
Hope this helps.
Brutus of Wyde
Still working on the proud 5.4 offwidth
"Homer said one excellent thing:
'A generation of men is like a generation of leaves.'
But few who hear this with their ears
take it to heart; for the hope that grows in the breast
of the child remains in every man.
So long as he keeps' his beautiful bloom,
he happily lays impossible plans.
He does not think he will ever age or die;
in health; he has no fear of disease.
Those whose minds are so disposed are fools to
to forget that life and youth are brief.
But you, being so advised, should boldly indulge
to the end of life in all its joys.
Being human, never declare what tomorrow will be
or say how long prosperity will last.
No dragonfly shifts as quickly."
On Saturday Daphne and I climbed Washington Coloum Direct; my first OW 34 yrs ago and the climb that further corrupted a relatively corrupt 19 yr old into a life of adventure. I can't help thinking that the timing of this was a Brutus rumble through the force!
In the land of the highest, harshest mountains on the planet, humans
have developed a way of tending to spiritual concerns while
concentrating their time and efforts on more immediate matters like
survival. From porches, housebeams, trees, and from rough rock cairns on
the highest mountain passes, they string prayer flags. The Windhorse, a
mystical creature, carries prayers from the flags to the heavens on the
wings of the wind. Ubiquitous in the Himalayas, prayer flags are seldom
seen in the West. Thus were my partners and I surprised and pleased this
summer when approaching Stonehouse in the southern Sierra of California,
to see tattered prayer flags fluttering in the ever-present breeze.
South Face Lone Pine Peak: Brutus approaching the big roof on the 8th pitch during the first ascent of Windhorse.
Climbed the Flatiron in the Pinnacles on Turkey Day.
Only about 10 ascents since April 2009. When it was climbed by Brutus of Wyde.
I never met Brutus but know a few who climbed with him. Spent a moment or two in silence. Thinking of Brutus, Em and his friends.
love.... I get so lost, sometimes
days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
when I want to run away
I drive off in my car
but whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are
all my instincts, they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside
in your eyes
the light the heat
in your eyes
I am complete
in your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
in your eyes
the resolution of all the fruitless searches
in your eyes
I see the light and the heat
in your eyes
oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light
the heat I see in your eyes
love, I don't like to see so much pain
so much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away
I get so tired of working so hard for our survival
I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive
and all my instincts, they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside
in your eyes
the light the heat
in your eyes
I am complete
in your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
in your eyes
the resolution of all the fruitless searches
in your eyes
I see the light and the heat
in your eyes
oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light,
the heat I see in your eyes
in your eyes in your eyes
in your eyes in your eyes
in your eyes in your eyes