Jim Bridwell, a daring mountaineer who fearlessly climbed everything from the Andes in South America to mountain ranges in Yosemite National Park, California, died Friday, at 73.

Bridwell — who was often described as a reckless climber — died in Palm Springs, California, after suffering kidney failure as a result of hepatitis C.

His son, Layton, created a Go Fund Me page on Jan. 12 to pay for his father’s medical expenses related to hepatitis C. Layton said Bridwell’s wife suspected that he had contracted the deadly disease either during one of his many mountaineering adventures or from a tattoo that he had gotten in the past.

“… my mom suspects he could have contracted from any number of his adventures but more likely than not it came from the tattoo he received from the Headhunter’s during his cross navigation of Borneo back in the 80’s when I was a kid,” Layton said. 

Jim Bridwell Jim Bridwell, a daring mountaineer who fearlessly climbed everything from the Andes in South America to mountain ranges in Yosemite National Park, California, died Friday, at 73. In this photo, Bridwell visits the Salt Lake trade show, in 1990.

Layton also added his father, being the maverick he was, refused to be worried when he felt bloated a few months ago. Since he sought no treatment at the time, the symptoms worsened to a point when Bridwell had to be rushed to the emergency room multiple times till he was finally diagnosed with hepatitis C.

Bridwell was born on July 29, 1944, in San Antonio. His father was a pilot in World War II and later for Pan Am. Due to the nature of his father’s job, Bridwell always traveled as a kid, staying in places like Japan, New York, and Connecticut, the New York Times reported. 

According to his wife, Peggy, Bridwell got into climbing because he was “fascinated by birds of prey.” He decided to climb to higher altitude in order to watch their habitat and flight patterns. Bridwell was one of the members of a mountain-climbing group known as the Stonemasters, who took Yosemite National Park by a storm in the 1970s.

In 1975, Bridwell created history with two other climbers — John Long and Billy Westbay — when the three of them climbed the Nose — one of the original climbing routes up El Capitan, which is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park — in a single day. Other famed climbers in the past had managed to make the ascent in no less than seven days.

The Stonemasters Billy Westbay, Jim Bridwell and John Long after the first one-day ascent of the Nose in 1975.

“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,” Long wrote after the historic climb. “But that was before I had met Jim Bridwell.”

Apart from his biggest feat, he also climbed Cerro Torre, a 10,000-foot peak in the Patagonia region of South America; Moose’s Tooth, an intimidating peak in Alaska and a trek around Mount Everest in early 1980s.

Apart from his daring and often reckless mountaineering expeditions, Bridwell was also known for his dressing sense — often sporting loud, rebellious clothes and headbands, and for taking psychedelics to enhance his climbing experiences.

Bridwell told Palm Springs Life magazine in 2015: “Adventure and excitement are the two things missing from civilization,” he said. “Danger keeps you on your toes.”

Following the news of his death, Bridwell’s fundraising page was filled with condolences for the legendary mountaineer.

“Bless your brutal intense kind and gentle soul... a few times our paths crossed at Squaw in the 1970s your intriguing almost intimidating self continues to move UP! PEACE WILL FOREVER BE WITH YOU condolences to family,” a person commented.

“Jim was not only one of my heroes, he was a friend,” another commented. “And I remember hanging out with Layton at the Phoenix Bouldering Contest ‘BITD.' When Jim leveled some Brit for dising (sic) his kid. He came back to the campfire like it was nothing. He really taught me that age and treachery will always win over youth and ambition. His inspiration affects so many of us in such a deep way.”