A Tribute to Dave Bridges, by his colleagues at Aspen Paragliding
It is with deep sorrow that we absorb the tragic news of the loss of our beloved friend, colleague and business partner, David Bridges. On October 5th 1999, he and our friend Alex Lowe were buried in an avalanche on Shishapangma in Tibet. We treasured our time with Dave, and are thankful for the many wonderful moments we were able to spend in his company.
Dave was multi-talented; an excellent athlete at everything he pursued, a talented, multi-skilled, hard worker, a wonderful teacher, instructor and communicator, a good organizer, a giving and caring friend to many. His short yet full life is full of many accomplishments. He was never one to boast and simply talked about his many achievements in a modest and understated way.
He pursued his interest in climbing and paragliding with quiet determination and excitement. He always continued to learn what he could from every experience and always sought to better his own performance.
At the young age of 19, Dave succeeded at his first major summit bid Denali. He went on to climb and guide mountains and walls around the world, from classic rock and ice ascents in the Western US and Europe (Austria to Chamonix, France) to volcanoes in Ecuador and peaks in the Himalaya.
In 1994 he went on his first Himalayan Expedition. He organized the climb and was the leader of the American K2 South Spur Expedition, in which he personally reached 8,300m. Dave continued climbing in the Himalaya on Annapurna IV, Ama Dablam, Baruntse, and Kusum Kangeru.
In May of 1999, Dave Bridges and Mike Groom (from Australia) successfully reached the summit of Makalu. During that expedition he was the self-designated high-altitude cameraman, coming home with excellent footage. On September 11th, he left Aspen to join the American Shishapangma Expedition as their high-altitude cameraman.
Dave was one of the best paragliding pilots the US has ever seen, having won the US national paragliding championships twice and having placed in the top-10 at international meets in Europe. Dave was also one of the most accomplished tandem pilots.
As a partner in Aspen Paragliding, Dave gave many people the opportunity to experience paragliding as a tandem passenger. As an instructor Dave not only taught students to fly at the beginner level, he also continued to teach and share his knowledge of advanced paragliding skills for mountain thermal flying.
Dave’s physical presence will be sorely missed by all of us, yet his spirit will soar among us forever.
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