PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) – Jim Bridwell, a hard-partying hippie and legendary climber who lived his life vertically on some of the toughest peaks in Yosemite National Park, has died. He was 73.
Bridwell died Friday morning at a hospital. He had liver and kidney failure from hepatitis C that he may have contracted in the 1980s when he got a tattoo from a headhunting tribe in Borneo, his wife, Peggy Bridwell of Palm Desert, told The Associated Press on Saturday.
The flamboyant Bridwell was idolized by some and labelled reckless by others, but no one disputed his sheer skill on a rock face.
He made some 100 first ascents in the California park and on peaks in Alaska and the Andes. In 1975, Bridwell, John Long and Billy Westbay became the first climbers to ascend a route called The Nose on Yosemite’s 3,000-foot El Capitan in a single day. A previous climbing team had needed seven days. A photograph of them afterward with Bridwell shirtless in a psychedelic vest and smoking a cigarette became famous.
While he may have