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FRI NIGHT VID: Jim Bridwell's Last Interview

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 UKC News 22 Feb 2019

Jim Bridwell's Last InterviewOur Friday Night Video this week is Jim Bridwell in conversation with John Long. This interview would be Bridwell's last and the following day Bridwell, who was critically ill with Hepatitis C, passed into a coma. The video covers a controversial event in climbing history: Cesare Maestri's purported 1970 ascent of the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre, Patagonia and Bridwell's 1979 ascent of the route.

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 Rick Graham 22 Feb 2019
In reply to UKC News:

Hero.

Edit. Heroes.

Post edited at 18:47
In reply to UKC News:

A phenomenal interview. You can see him seeing the climb in his mind.... wonderful

In reply to UKC News:

That is so moving. The spirit of the guy, right to the end, 'Balls to the wall.'

In reply to UKC News:

Hard to watch, especially knowing what happened the following day. John Long did a good job of gently but firmly questioning him. I'd rather remember him in that classic photo of him Westbay and Long in the meadow after their one day ascent of The Nose. Or the brilliant B+W photo looking down on him guiding a stretcher down El Cap in a dramatic rescue. His account of Sea of Dreams is a great read too: https://rockandice.com/snowball/24307/

 Cog 23 Feb 2019
In reply to jon:

> Hard to watch,  

Yes that was shocking, he looked really bad. Met him in J Tree a few years ago, he was guiding and was friendly and healthy.

In reply to jon and Steve:

Excellent. Thanks for those - I love his slightly circuitous writing style - little gems strung together. I think that came through in the interview, which I just took as a window in time, rather than a view of the future. 

 Mick Ward 23 Feb 2019
In reply to Rick Graham:

"Balls to the wall," Jim Bridwell. "Balls to the wall."

Mick

 Rob Parsons 24 Feb 2019
In reply to jon:

> ... His account of Sea of Dreams is a great read too: https://rockandice.com/snowball/24307/

"At the age of 32 I had naturally evolved into a father figure to some and was obliged to represent sound values. There’s a fine line between boldness and stupidity, and prudence and cowardice. I was there to help define the line. I had seen too many young climbers fall prey to self-glorification. It is inevitably fatal, but then so is life."

Ha!

In reply to Rob Parsons:

And this, which sums up the era pretty well...

> I awoke early to the hum of the earth’s solar engine (...) I had just come onto the initial effects of a mild dose of a hypothropic agent when the tell-tale repetition of a hammer hitting the drill signaled that something was awry (...)

 Rob Parsons 24 Feb 2019
In reply to jon:

Yep - it wasn't just flakes which were being expanded.

All in all, a great bit of writing.

 Rad 25 Feb 2019

Two favorite parts: 

Something falls off the roof. Bridwell pauses mid-sentence, says "Avalanche" as if the conversation is in a tent on a portaledge on a mountainside, and continues his sentence unphased. Priceless.

Also priceless: his refusal to throw Maestri under the bus despite Largo setting that up several times. 

A true mensch. RIP. 

 lorens holm 25 Feb 2019
In reply to UKC News:

Here's another one who died the next day: vimeo.com/275760948. 'Being 97'. Very different but equally poignant. Also about an explorer, but in a different way. A philosopher named Herbert Fingarette.

Post edited at 21:51
In reply to Rad:

> Also priceless: his refusal to throw Maestri under the bus despite Largo setting that up several times. 

I liked that a lot. I remember Maestri giving a talk at Buxton?? sometime around 1976 (I remember we bivied below Stanage and it snowed. At least I think it was below Stanage...

Anyway, in spite of the controversy, his talk about his earlier climbing went over very well and he got a ton of applause. It was quite moving. 


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