Keith Richards of climbing’ set for talk |

Keith Richards of climbing’ set for talk

Aspen Times Staff Report

Big wall climbing pioneer Jim Bridwell returns to Aspen this weekend to present a slide show Sunday night at 7 p.m. at the Paepke Auditorium.

Bridwell’s resum dates back more than 40 years and includes 200-plus first ascents, many of them pegged in Yosemite, where he began climbing in the 1960s.

“His claim to fame dates back to the pioneering years in Yosemite,” the Californian National Park that boasts Half Dome and El Capitan among other big walls, said Austin Weiss of the Ute Mountaineer. “He did the hardest and most radical stuff in Yosemite on big walls in the 1970s.”

“And he’s got a reputation for being a character; he’s got quite a colorful personality,” Weiss added.

“He’s kind of like the Keith Richards of the climbing community – he’s old and shriveled up but he keeps going hard. He’s just as tough as they come,” added Bob Wade, owner of the Ute Mountaineer.

Bridwell’s Yosemite climbing buddies came to be known as the “Valley Rats,” Weiss said, “because they really lived to climb.”

Bridwell’s presentation will cover many of his Yosemite adventures and then follow his progression up into the bigger mountains of Alaska and the Himalaya.

The cost of the presentation is $10. All proceeds from the event benefit the Access Fund.

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