Legendary Yosemite climber Jim Bridwell dies from liver failure, hepatitis C

Jim Bridwell
Jim Bridwell Special to The Bee

Legendary climber Jim Bridwell died Friday in Palm Springs at the age of 73, The New York Times reported.

Bridwell’s son said the cause of death was liver failure and hepatitis C, The Times reported.

Last month his family created a GoFundMe to help pay for medical expenses related to hepatitis C, liver and kidney failure. Bridwell was on the transplant list for a liver.

Bridwell, who spent 15 years in Yosemite, was a living legend. He was written about in major media outlets from GQ to Rolling Stone. Although regarded at times as reckless and somewhat of a renegade, few could dispute his skills as a climber.

He is credited with 100 first ascents in Yosemite Valley and became the first to complete a one-day ascent of The Nose of El Capitan on May 26, 1975 with John Long and Billy Westbay.

Years later, Mr. Long would reminisce about the first time he saw El Capitan, in 1970, and about that historic climb five years later, according to The Times.

“If someone had told me, as I stood in the meadow after that first trip up to El Capitan, that I would someday climb it in one day, I would have laughed in his face,” Mr. Long wrote. “But that was before I had met Jim Bridwell.”

Brianna Calix: 559-441-6166, @BriannaCalix

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