Legendary climber Jim Bridwell dies at 73

Hard-partying hippie and legendary climber was 73

PALM DESERT, Calif. - Jim Bridwell, a hard-partying hippie and legendary climber who left his mark on some of the toughest peaks in California's Yosemite National Park, has died. He was 73.

His wife, Peggy Bridwell of Palm Desert, said that Bridwell died Friday after battling liver and kidney failure linked to hepatitis C.

In the 1970s, Bridwell was part of an outlaw group of climbers called the Stonemasters who took on the hardest, steepest and most dangerous pitches in Yosemite. They used minimal gear and aimed for style, precision and speed.

Bridwell set more than 100 Yosemite climbing records. In 1975, he and two others reached the top of 3,000-foot El Capitan in a day.

Bridwell also helped establish Yosemite's search-and-rescue team and made famous climbs in Alaska and the Andes.

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