Becoming a "Bridwell Boy"

By Dave Yerian - Co Founder of Jam Walls

We were young Yosemite crack climbers; teenagers finding our way into the unknown of what we were going to become…Crack Masters.  It was just another beautiful, sunny Yosemite morning when Jim Bridwell, Ron Kauk, Kurt Bernard, and I met up at the base of Outer Limits at the Cookie Cliff.

Crack Climbing in the 70s with Jim Bridwell. A man reaches deep into a vertical crack in Yosemite as he attempts to ascend Cookie  Cliff

Food was scarce but that morning adrenaline fed us. The only food we would see that day would be much later back at Camp 4, when someone would eventually offer us some real food. It was in the early 70’s and there were not many 5.11 crack climbs. I remember following Outer Limits that morning after Kurt led it and I remember Kauk and Bridwell lying on the ground looking up at me as I made my way up the rock. My arms were pumped, my hands cut and slightly bleeding. A little out of control, I was struggling for the next hand jam and a needed rest. Without any warning I somehow managed to drop two hexes almost nailing Kauk and Bridwell. As we cleared the base Jim said with quiet authority, “Well, Yerian hasn’t learned all the lessons yet, but he will.”


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