A SUMMER AFTERNOON WITH BACHAR AND BRIDWELL

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Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 12, 2009 - 06:18pm PT
A SUMMER AFTERNOON WITH BACHAR AND BRIDWELL

One summer afternoon in 1975 John Bachar, Bridwell and I went to the base of El Cap to have fun, take a play day. John was 18 years old and the year before had done among other things the FA of the tiny Short But Thin with Tobin Sorenson; we ended up at its base which is between The Slack and La Cosita. So we all just hung out there, roped the little 5.11b route and had fun in the shade for a few hours. After awhile it seemed that we were done but then John without any announcement, got up and walked over to the base of his climb again this last time without a rope while Jim and I sat in the talus. It was one of John’s very early solos. The last photo here shows him just about to clear the ropes away for his solo. He enjoyed it clearly and seemed to derive an important sensation from his 30 foot climb. Jim and I weren’t worried as we watched and of course John climbed perfectly. At the time it seemed the perfectly natural next thing to do. Jim had been kind of mentoring Bachar for a few years and they were close friends.











Scout 2

Trad climber
Placerville
Jul 12, 2009 - 06:36pm PT
Hey peter
thanks for posting that little gem, more days like that...

Cheers
Russ Walling

Gym climber
Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
Jul 12, 2009 - 06:58pm PT
Way to break with the moldy stuff! Bravo!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 12, 2009 - 07:00pm PT
Well done Peter! Great pictures of Jim and John. Hits my nostalgia button.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 12, 2009 - 07:02pm PT
me too, friends!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jul 12, 2009 - 07:07pm PT
Great stuff! Were you too mesmerized to take a photo of John's solo ascent?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 12, 2009 - 07:11pm PT
PtPP, I think I had packed the Nikon by that point. I think John had been kind of inwardly debating whether to solo it and just as it became apparent we were leaving really soon, he fired it off, you see.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Jul 12, 2009 - 07:59pm PT
that's a good set of images.

what would we have done without the internet?

thx Peter.
martygarrison

Trad climber
The Great North these days......
Jul 12, 2009 - 08:04pm PT
great post!
MisterE

Trad climber
One Step Beyond!
Jul 12, 2009 - 08:19pm PT
What a gem - Peter hits the right notes yet again.

Erik
graham

Social climber
Ventura, California
Jul 12, 2009 - 08:24pm PT
Those were the best!

Thx
Mimi

climber
Jul 12, 2009 - 08:31pm PT
Thanks Peter. Just what we needed.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 12, 2009 - 08:51pm PT
thanks for the work to show us those great images from a summer afternoon 34 years ago

who knows where the time goes?

seamus mcshane

climber
Jul 12, 2009 - 09:08pm PT
Days like that are the only ones we really remember.

Great weather, great rock, great times, and better friends.

RIP John Bachar.

Amazing history Mr. Haan. Bravo!
pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
Jul 12, 2009 - 09:08pm PT
this is so awesome!
totally stoked to see this!

Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Jul 12, 2009 - 11:22pm PT
Thanks, Peter.
Rick
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Jul 12, 2009 - 11:34pm PT
The years go by like flipping thru the pages of a book. Thank you Peter for capturing an afternoon in time that years later is appreciated by so many. I was just up there at the base of La Cosita, and like so many climbs and places, you can sense the passage of the ones before you if only you take the time. Its one of the things that make the Valley such a special place. Right on.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 12, 2009 - 11:54pm PT
The years go by like flipping thru the pages of a book. Thank you Peter for capturing an afternoon in time that years later is appreciated by so many.

Geez, that's so true. Thanks, Peter!
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Jul 13, 2009 - 01:21am PT
Really Special Peter Haan, and thanks .......

Of so many pics that have been posted of Mr. JB I like your last one. It's right up there with the best. A photo that shows the long strong legs....and I'm told it's all about the legs in climbing. :D Peace to you Peter and Cheers to a great Dude.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jul 13, 2009 - 01:40am PT
It is indeed short but thin - I remember it being a quite balancy lieback/stem thing. Here's Eric Weinstein on it, in October 1976.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jul 13, 2009 - 10:06am PT
Great shots, Peter.
Thanks for the magic!
Brunosafari

Boulder climber
OR
Jul 13, 2009 - 10:20am PT
Now it is time for me to respond to the incessant comments about John's fashion sensibilities:

Is that funk belt buckle official BSA or is it Navy issue?

Thanks Peter --, more than sentiment, the twinner 'pirate' head shots seem so literary and timeless.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jul 13, 2009 - 02:41pm PT
I don't know what BSA stands for, but the belt looks like the Navy issue webbed belt with the pressure cinch buckle that were common. They were pretty handy for keeping your pants up. I may still have mine. Probably wouldn't fit around my waist anymore. Cool pictures Peter.
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jul 13, 2009 - 05:28pm PT
Nice Peter! Low key like the day, and stunner photos.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Jul 13, 2009 - 05:36pm PT
nice sequence, peter.

even though it's only thirty feet, sbt isn't a casual highball since that insecure step up out of the crack is probably the crux.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 13, 2009 - 07:20pm PT
BSA = Boy Scouts of America

I think that it is probably a "military surplus" belt, picked up at one of the military surplus stores that were still ubiquitous in the 60s and early 70s... the BSA ones were either kaki or green... that looks darker...
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 13, 2009 - 07:26pm PT
You're wrong again Ed. It means "Breedlove Standard Accessory"--- everybody knew that back in the Day --- BITD™™™™™™ And later on we learned to say, "accoutrement".
seakri

Trad climber
Sierra Crest
Jul 13, 2009 - 07:42pm PT
Thanks.

Much more interesting than most any magazine out there today.

More?
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jul 13, 2009 - 08:22pm PT
"Much more interesting than most any magazine out there today."

So true.
That's because magazines present at one remove from the personal.

This is personal...
HEY: "You talkin' teh ME ?"
He is.

Nice words Peter.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 13, 2009 - 08:28pm PT
oh man... not again!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jul 13, 2009 - 08:33pm PT
No really: not kidding around, this is just plain good stuff from the heart.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 13, 2009 - 09:59pm PT
Tarb, Eddie was talking about my smaller post above, where I said he "was wrong again" as in Breedlove Standard Accessory/accoutrement, not Boy Scouts of America. he wasn't reacting to your marvelous, to-the-bone post just now.

best to all, p.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 13, 2009 - 11:29pm PT
Peter is right, that response was to his post that I was "wrong again." Peter had commented a while back that I wasn't rising to his bait, a sign that I was dealing with a number of nagging physical problems and somewhat distracted and depressed. He was correct... so I thought I'd take the time to take the hook, as it were, and show that I've got a path forward... and am making progress.

But the issue with the magazines is an interesting one, and perhaps more important to those of us for which the magazines once played the role of SuperTopo Forum. I remember reading the "Info" section of Mountain, trying to pick up a wiff of what was happening out there in the world of climbing, or the Letters in Climbing...

Because of the limits of print media, choices had to be made by editors, and there was a need and desire to print quality material. Here things can be a draft, or built up in collaboration, with lots of temporary contributions, and often information from unexpected quarters... the multiplicity of voices and opinions can be developed, questioned, replied to, etc... and over a long period of time.

These fragments of a summer day so very long ago would have seemed a month ago to be of limited importance. The desire, in the aftermath of John's death, to recapture some small element of the way it used to be is human nature, and is really an online memorial to John. Perhaps such contributions could be a part of the traditional print media, but it seems so much more natural here at this virtual campfire...
Jim Wilcox

Boulder climber
Santa Barbara
Jul 13, 2009 - 11:50pm PT
This a pretty personal one from Mountain #93-Sept. 1983. Author:Phil Bard
The article's first few paragraphs appear to be very appropiate to this thread. I can post the other 3 pages if people want.
I sure do miss John's periodic posts adding color to stories.
Sigh.....
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 14, 2009 - 12:36am PT
hey Jim, post the rest!
Jim Wilcox

Boulder climber
Santa Barbara
Jul 14, 2009 - 01:12am PT
Just on youtube watching your videos, Ed
Scanning is commencing...

page 2, high up on Crack-a go go

page 3

Phil really did capture the essence of John's climbing-not Gillette!
page 4
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jul 14, 2009 - 10:58am PT
Well there we have it: the proto-appreciation thread, in print no less, hosted by Mountain Magazine of course.
(Would have to peruse the letters section of subsequent issues for initial responses to the OP)

Thanks Jim and Phil.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 14, 2009 - 11:21am PT
"For those of us who aspire to excellence at any level and in any style, someone like Bachar provides inspiration, both through his accomplishments and his dedication to the craft. The future undoubtedly holds many great events in this field - success, failures, tragedies. There is a good deal of unbroken ground. Controversies will continue; today's revolutionary solos may become tomorrow's commonplace. Climbing has always existed in a constant state of flux, and soloing, as personal as it is, will be influenced. We grant pre-eminence cautiously to a select few, but there is little doubt that, on the frontier of solo ascents, John is state of the art."
Jim Wilcox

Boulder climber
Santa Barbara
Jul 14, 2009 - 12:41pm PT
Time tells all...
Phil was partially right, what was groundbreaking often becomes commonplace. But even after 25 years the pictures of John's free solos, even the 5.9's, makes you pause.

Those who can perform at the highest level, at the purest level, leave you breathless
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 14, 2009 - 06:23pm PT
Well that's not the way climbing went... as we now know... but Bachar continued to inspire us, and he stayed true to himself in the process

Those iconic images evoke a whole series of memories of that era.

The feeling of sadness still hasn't quite given way to appreciation and wonder in the fact that I got to know him a little bit, and experience in small part the effect of watching him climb, solo or not... as Bard observed "it's nearly impossible to determine a route's difficulty just by watching John solo it." I would generalize it to "watching John climb it." Just watching him climb was mesmerizing, you couldn't process everything you were seeing, at least that was true for me. In my most recent climbing I have been trying to focus on the specific lessons I learned from those moments... the internal dialog: "get your feet just right, like John, get that hand in the best position, don't rush, focus..."

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 16, 2009 - 06:17pm PT
Just found and added two more Bachar images from that day; they are the last two currently.
go-B

climber
Sozo
Mar 27, 2011 - 01:23am PT
The sun can sure reflect off the rock, as you can see back to the future of what Bachar would do!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Mar 27, 2011 - 01:57am PT
Is that puppy the dog named "Captain"?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 27, 2011 - 02:08am PT
I can't remember. Maybe others will Jay.
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
bouldering
Mar 27, 2011 - 02:24am PT
What (brand) kind of harness is that? Trippy looking.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 27, 2011 - 02:24am PT
Thanks Peter. I can feel the warmth of a Yosemite summer just looking at those photos even though I'm sitting in my down vest here in Japan.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 27, 2011 - 09:53am PT
BioT, I believe that is just a custom harness--- I don't think harnesses were even made at this point--- we were just then transitioning from a simple multiple wrap of big tubular webbing, no leg loops. There was a period in the sixties where some of us, myself included---tied our own swami belts including leg loops. We used 1" tubular, about 25 feet long or so, put in two leg loops and wrapped all the excess a bunch of times around the waist. I can't seem to find any pictures of one on somebody. They were in effect about the same as modern day harnesses.

Another thing about that "summer afternoon". I pretty much thought the two JB's were quite high.
mastadon

Trad climber
crack addict
Mar 27, 2011 - 10:29am PT

No, that's not Capitan (the dog). Capitan was a Husky/Wolf who adopted the same personality as Bridwell. One day, in the Tahoe City trailer park where we all lived, there was a huge dogfight involving four or five dogs. One of the dogs was Cap's nemesis. Capitan came around the corner and saw the fight, sprinted over, and bit his nemesis on the butt (while the other dog was distracted) and ran away as fast as he could. It was hilarious.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Mar 27, 2011 - 10:33am PT
I thought, Captain was a wolf, thanks!


Peter, yeah that's what i was running in the early seventies; I believe it was 21' (I was a scrawny kid back then) 1" tube., Tied in leg loops then several wraps around the waist.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 27, 2011 - 11:46am PT
Great photos Peter, they bring back memories of a Yosemite scene that will never be replicated- we were young once and....
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 27, 2011 - 11:58am PT
I know J-Do. "We were young and we were beautiful and the wind blew through our hair"!

Captain was also a nickname for Bridwell early on. HIs father was supposedly a captain commercial pilot or similar and of course Jim was pretty much, yes, a "captain" in camp as well. I don't think the nickname stuck as well as "The Bird" however.
mastadon

Trad climber
crack addict
Mar 27, 2011 - 12:36pm PT

Captain (the dog) was a non-fighter. He just didn't care about stuff like that. Consequently, he used to get his ass kicked on a regular basis by the other dogs in the trailer park.

One day Peggy, Bridwell's wife, came home with a female akida puppy they named Akiko. Akiko adopted Captain as her father. She followed him around everywhere. She used to watch him get whipped by the gangs of loose dogs.

After a year or so, Akiko was almost full grown. They were wandering around the trailer park when a pack of dogs spotted them and came after Captain. She turned her head towards the fracas with laser-like eyes. She launched into the foray like a terminator and proceeded to tear the other dogs apart. More then one dog went to the vet that day.

After that, Captain would strut around the trailer park with his nose in the air taunting the packs of dogs, his terminator side-kick nearby. The other dogs would run and hide. That was Captain.
Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
Mar 27, 2011 - 01:29pm PT
Bridwell looks '70s porn
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 27, 2011 - 01:36pm PT
Yeah he did, Jingy. He might have got the jump on that look though, cuz he was all over it by 1970, you see. Maybe seventies porn guys looked like climbers; did you think of that?

Needless to say though, the "look" worked just fine for him; he was rarely solo.
Kalimon

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Mar 27, 2011 - 02:10pm PT
Thanks again Peter for breaking it out on the forum!

The two JB's almost resemble one another in your photos . . . I never saw those similarities before. Perhaps it was the "high" you made reference to . . . I'm assuming it was lysergic.

The route name is very clever in a humorous, porn kind of way.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 27, 2011 - 02:39pm PT
Great thread and photos Peter!

I have come very close to soloing Short But Thin myself. Once you have the exit moves keyed out, it feels pretty solid. Nasty on sight! LOL

Too bad pirate porn never caught on... Nobody to be offended by it really.
Jobee

Social climber
El Portal Ca.
Mar 27, 2011 - 02:40pm PT
I kid you not.

About 5 minutes ago thoughts of John were racing around in my head.
I said to myself. "I miss you John, I miss you very much."

Had not seen this thread before; images gave me chills, as well ... a very nice feeling.

Thanks so much Peter.


Leggs

Sport climber
El Presidio, Tucson
Mar 27, 2011 - 09:37pm PT
Bump
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 27, 2011 - 10:00pm PT
Well Stevie Grossman, Pirate Porn still can have its day, even at the base of El Cap; we just have to experience more examples of it on the stone and within the pages! People are clamoring for your full-court accounts from the Bounding Main!

AARRRGGHHHHH, pt.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Trad climber
Will know soon
Mar 27, 2011 - 10:12pm PT
Fantastic Pictures Peter Haan.....

Love the facial expressions. John's reminds me of Alex Honnard's. The clear, open eyes looking right into life.

What exactly happens sometimes when we get older ? A person does not necessarily retain "the look" as one ages. What cares weigh us down ?

I am determined to get back to the zest and sparkle of enjoying the day before me, loving what it holds and what one can make of it.

What ever your Thread topic Peter, you always stimulate the brain and heart. Peace and Cheers to ya Bro. lynnie
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 27, 2011 - 10:57pm PT
I cannot agree with you more, Rok and Coz. Truly. And in those days Bridwell was extremely influential--- as you say, it continued for another decade or so too. And it even seems a bit of a shame that as humans we almost always have these me-them principles at work interpersonally. Here Jim was, a legend then and still in the making very much, a little marginalized already by eager youth and its insanely myopic nature. In these photos of JB and Jim, already Bachar was identified by all as the Golden Boy, a new messiah practically, albeit in the making. there was a 13 year year difference between these men.

Royal was another one. I would go on trips with what I thought was a really old person, deal with the difficult personality, watch the semi-out-of-it climbing, listen to his midlife concerns, growing more and more anxious to "get back to my own group"--- and yet today, 38 is actually a hot climbing age to be. Many of our best are this age or older. In my heart, I still am 20 and Royal is still 38.

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 27, 2011 - 11:04pm PT
I know Lynnie. Those eyes. It is a huge important subject. Alex really has them too; I think the most I have ever seen on anyone. It is both haunting as hell and a shared ecstasy, looking into them.

The word “enthusiasm” is of course Greek in origin and so stems from enthous, meaning ‘possessed by a god’, ‘full of gods’. And supported since then in the French, ‘enthousiasme’.The gods in question were Dionysus and Apollo.

So in ensuing centuries we naturally had sects, notably the Euchites, who strived for this state, thinking that through the most stringent of practices, endless prayer and meditation, they too could be possessed by the Holy Spirit and that was actually their calling. Further on we even have some Protestant groups (15-16c) taking up this train of belief. And today still, there are men and women engaged completely in life’s joys and mysteries, recalling the Puer Aeternus, the eternal child, the Peter Pan. And for many, there is usually some notion of a regimen, a rite of passage or practice that makes all this possible. "if I try hard enough and don't pause, I will be able to fly".

So although it would be easy to sit sideline, and maintain the opinion that such people in climbing are deluded and will die or burn out shortly, Puer Aeternus people can also prevail, they can win and they can have splendid successful lives, lived fully and to length. There are more than one or two ways to have a good life despite what many would claim.

But if there is anything small-d divine about people, it is every so salient with our climbing elite and especially the soloists.
Shameless Yahoolihan

Trad climber
west malling, uk
Apr 5, 2011 - 04:28pm PT
Thanks, Peter. We were all young and beautiful. Once.
Bad Climber

climber
Apr 5, 2011 - 05:07pm PT
Peter: You're scaring us with your erudition. You're right, of course. Alex's eyes are strange, wondrous pools. The images that have flowed into them! I only hope that Alex takes the hard lessons of Bachar's passing to heart. Thank you so much for the pictures. I can feel the relief of the shade under the oaks, hear the squawking of the jays, feel the hard granite seat under my butt, the blinding light off the stone. Moments of unfettered joy and challenge are good to remember. We all need more of them.

BAd
Gus

Trad climber
Denver, Colorado
Apr 5, 2011 - 11:40pm PT
Very cool.
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Apr 5, 2011 - 11:51pm PT
I met for the first time this last weekend a very special person in Peter Haan. I felt a real sense of a TRULY loving person, genuine and real. Thanks for spending time with me Peter, I appreciate the person you are and hope to see you again in the near future. The pleasure was all mine!
Peace
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 1, 2011 - 11:53am PT
Great thread Bump!
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
May 1, 2011 - 05:26pm PT
Strangely I remember doing that climb, somewhere
around the late 1960's, maybe '69, possibly '70. Intense
but not too long.... I love that photo of Bridwell sitting
there with his fist at his headband... very nice portrait...
jopay

climber
so.il
May 1, 2011 - 05:56pm PT
A very nice post, reminds a lot of us I'm sure, of their own summer afternoon in 1975.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jun 19, 2012 - 06:02pm PT
Oh what the heck.
Bump.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Feb 8, 2013 - 05:16pm PT


Had the wonderful opportunity to spend a day with Alex and Dave Y. in an attempt on the Bachar/Yerian.

The eyes are still magnetic.

Edit: Tho as you can see, older and wiser. imho
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