Climbing legend Jim Bridwell is currently in the hospital due to serious health issues related to his kidneys and liver.

You can donate to help with the rising medical bills here.

Jim Bridwell visits the Salt Lake trade show, about 1990. Photo Pat Ament

Bridwell was one of the world’s leading big wall aid climbers during the 1960s and 1970s. He opened cutting edge climbs on many of Yosemite’s walls.

Internationally, he climbed a number of new routes in Alaska, some of which haven’t been repeated.

Climbing published an article this week which first appeared in print in their November/December 1981 issue title The Dane of the Woo Li Master, read the full article here and an excerpt below.

Many times I had to use my ice-tool picks as cliff hangers on edges, or wedged in cracks nut fashion. The Forrest Saber hammer was especially useful for this and quickly gained favor on these pitches. This assault continued on through the day and into the failing light of evening. I started to become weak and nauseous from dehydration, as our daily consumption of water had been less than six cups per man. In those temperatures, man’s devices cease to function as they are designed; the stove was by now an ineffectual nuisance which would only boil water after an hour of coaxing and shaking to warm it. We had penetrated the inhuman zone and were paying the price.

Mugs had fixed the last pitch, and I swung around a corner onto a small 65-degree ice slope, the only possible site for a bivouac. A precarious perch is produced after hours of ice sculpturing in the dark. It was nearly 1a.m. before we collapsed exhausted in our sleeping bags. The morning of the third day started with a tedious struggle for liquids and ascending the fixed rope to our high point. Vertical ice reached upward, and once again Mugs valiantly met the challenge. He led two pitches up the icy serpent, then exited onto an easy 100-meter snow slope, which extended to a formidable headwall. Even with the telescope we had been unable to probe the secrets of this section of the climb. Intuition lured us to the right, up an ice runnel and onto a snow rib. I poked my head around the corner to be confronted by a steep rock wall. Its thin cracks were well armored with ice, and presented a chilling spectre of extreme difficulty.

10 Jim Bridwell Routes
1965 Entrance Exam 5.9 at Arch Rock in Yosemite with Chuck Pratt, Chris Fredericks and Larry Marshik
1969 Triple Direct VI 5.9 A2 on El Capitan with Kim Schmitz
1975 Pacific Ocean Wall VI 5.9 A4 on El Capitan with Bill Westbay, Jay Fiske and Fred East
1979 Southeast Ridge of Cerro Torre in Patagonia with Steven Brewer (first alpine-style ascent of the peak)
1979 Northwest Face of The Ship Prow on Kichatna Spire in Alaska Range with Andy Embick
1981 Zenyatta Mondatta VI 5.9 A5 on El Capitan with Peter Mayfield and Charlie Row
1981 Dance of the Woo Li Masters on East Face of The Moose’s Tooth VI 5.9 WI4+ A4, 1,520 m with Mugs Stump
1999 The Useless Emotion VII 5.9 WI4 A4 on The Bear’s Tooth with Terry Christensen, Glenn Dunmire, Brian Jonas and Brian McCray
1999 Odyssey on Grand Capucin VI 5.9 A5 on Mont Blanc with Giovanni Groaz
1999 Dark Star VI 5.10 A5 on El Capitan with Giovanni Groaz

Billy Westbay, Jim Bridwell, and John Long after the first one-day ascent of the Nose in 1975. Photo Stone Master Press

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