/ NEWSFLASH: Compressor Route Climbed Without Bolts
The route was first climbed by hauling a gas-powered compressor drill up the wall in 1970, with which countless bolts were placed.
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=66115
Excellent news. Ken Wilson vindicated at last!
Errr... It says 'boltless', not 'free'...
But that's the point, Maestri didn't need to bolt it because it could be done without.
> But that's the point, Maestri didn't need to bolt it because it could be done without.
correct. but maestri wasnt bothered about free climbing it where as David Lama was which is the point Mr Lopez is trying to make.
Now this IS news. Chapeau to the gentlemen.
So not only done without bolts, but done without Red Bull too?
should they swing by Yosemite and strip the Nose while they're at it (who ever they might be)
That is one truly amazing feat , will keep an eye on the news regards this , absolutley mind blowing achievement ! Magnifique .
Has the Nose been done without bolts?
that's a very poor analogy for at least two reasons:
1. El Cap is, for betteror worse, a roadside crag, Cerro Torre is a remote and inaccessible mountain.
2. there are no bolt ladders several hundred meters long on El Cap. If anyone were to carry a compressor up El Cap, using it to put in 400 bolts, then leaving it on the wall, both the bolts and the compressor would be gone in five seconds flat.
Maestris route has been a disgrace since the day it was put up. It represents all the worst sides of mountaineering. The only thing more disgraceful than Maestris actions is the fact that the bolts remained there for over 40 years.
I'm replying to you because I don't undestand the paradigm on which is based your and other users comments.
Future technologies will always improve the approach to old routes with a better style.
This is why himalayan routes can be repeated in alpine style.
This is why aid routes can redpointed.
This is why some other routes (Astroman, Fish in Marmolada, Hasse Brandler, etc) can be climbed, now, in freesolo.
But the new approach doesn't make vain the old one, which showed a way through the unknown. They are complementary.
Furthermore, the fact that took 40 years to climb Maestri's route boltless, with actual tecnologies, means to me how big was the effort of Maestri's team.
There are climbing enterprises which have not been a big example of style, but nevertheless they were special for the human effort and the context when they were realized.
Two climbing routes come to my mind: the Nose on El Cap, and the Compressor route. Opened in two different decades, but one in a friendly and sunny environment with a big american audience, while the other in a very inhospitable region. They were both controversial and criticized by the purist climbers of that period.
Despite the use of bolts, both of them were an expression of an act of rebellion and anarchy towards the obsessive purism of the time. And an expression of human stubborness towards the impossible.
I want to be clear. I do not support bolts in the mountains. But I would be blind if I would not recognize the charm of these two routes which I consider legendary.
Robbins initially, criticized Harding, but then recognized his effort when he repeated the route. Jim Bridwell compared the Maestri's Compressor enterprise to the Hannibal cross of the Alps. But I don't get the actual double standard: the Nose is still a legendary route, while the Compressor is considered infamous by most climbers.
I've never read a comment which described the Compressor's route as trivial before Garibotti. Who, to me, is infamously re-writing Patagonia's history, like a new crusader, without giving the right credit to the people who were there before him. And now, I have the impression that everybody is undermining a route which for decades has been considered extremely challenging.
And I think this is unfair towards Maestri and the climbers of the past.
These two arguments make actually Maestri's route more valuable.
1. Maestri's route is longer, icy, exposed to terrible weather.
If we have to be consistent we have to condemn both route, or celebrate both.
2. You should measure the ratio bolted lengths/route length rather the bare meters. As I mentioned before, Maestri's route is much longer than the Nose. There are whole pitches on the Nose route which are complete bolt ladders.
> The only thing more disgraceful than Maestris actions is the fact that the bolts remained there for over 40 years.
At least a good part of them are not anymore :-)
> There are whole pitches on the Nose route which are complete bolt ladders.
Er...there's about 20m of bolt ladder on the next to last pitch and about 15m of bolt ladder leading up to Boot.
Out of a total of 900m.
You are confused here. Robbins criticised (and chopped bolts on the first few pitches of) The Wall of Early Morning Light not The Nose.
Harding finilized the ascent in 45 days, with many expeditions.
Maestri climbed the Compressor route in one single expedition, but in a much less hospitable environment.
But what I argue is not the amount of bolts, but the double standard to judge past enterprises.
If the Compressor route was infamous, it was infamous the Nose as well.
If the Nose was legendary, it was the Compressor route as well.
If someone wants to chop Maestri's bolts, should chop the Nose's bolts as well.
A. Maestri never claimed to have led the Egger-Maestri (1959) route above the Col of Patience. He always said that Egger managed to ice climb the whole section, due to the extraordinary ice conditions of the wall. And who knows about ice climbing, sometimes ice conditions can never be the same.
B. Maestri admitted was not a good ice climber (this is why he went with Egger in 1959).
Probably, for these two reasons he climbed Cerro Torre (but the mushroom) along a different line.
Secondly, I still believe 1959 is a controversial ascent and not a lie.
But this is disputable.
It's silly to call the Changing Corners pitch a bolt ladder. There's 3 bolts in the middle of the pitch (where they not places for Lynn Hill's free climb) below a section which is considered the hardest aid on the route.
Anyway, I think we're nit-picking. Dragging a machine up a route to bolt 100's of metres of blank rock and placing 6 bolts to gain access to another 500m of crack systems then spending 15 hours hand drilling to around a capping overhang is different IMHO.
At this point it is not so very "cool" to strip the bolts they did while rappeling...sometimes it is much "nicer" (more interesting statment) to show what is possible without "destroying" climbing history...
Always strange why some routes get famous while other infamous...:)
Are you connected to Maestri in some way?
Yes ... he is my son ...
3 or 10 bolts, I care about the concept.
There's not free ascent of the Compressor's route yet, contrarily to the Nose.
We may have different opinions about the routes.
For me they are both legendary routes.
But if you celebrate one and crucify the other one, I think you are using a double standard.
Now, apparently, the two climbers have chopped the Compressor bolts.
In my opinion this is an act of arrogance made by two Nord americans on a foreign country. Who do they believe they are? I wonder what would do american climbers if a foreigner would go and chop the Nose's bolts rappeling along the route.
This act is, indeed, an insane action more similar to a climbing fundamentalism than to anything else.
Too funny! I didn't realise Patagonia was a part of Italy!
Freeing the route isn't the issue. The issue is leaving the mountains as clean as you can.
"In my opinion this is an act of arrogance made by two Nord americans on a foreign country"
If memory serves me correctly Maestri is Italian, he turned up in a foreign country and went bolt crazy with a compressor.
But I would let argentinian locals to criticize or "correct" this action and not Nord Americans.
However, I would also enphasize the different context. I guess in the sixties, from a climbing point of view, Patagonia was still a no man's land. Now the situation is very different from 40 years ago.
> Too funny! I didn't realise Patagonia was a part of Italy!
> Freeing the route isn't the issue. The issue is leaving the mountains as clean as you can.
First of all, nobody climbed the Compressor route free, until now, but just "boltless", except five bolts ... very "fair means" ...
Secondly, the issue, in my opinion, is the mediatic and contradictory crucifixion of the compressor route, which I consider quite unfair ...
Third, you are right about Patagonia and Italy, but it should not be ignored that at the Maestri's time there were a lot of good relationships between Argentinian and Italians.
Forth, I'm not necessarily defending Maestri's route, but I'm criticizing the double standard used by some people of the climbing community. I think, for better or for worse, the Compressor route was an historical route and the bolts removal has been just an act of arrogance.
Planning to go and do compressor route?
Yes, I want to go there and place the bolts back again ... and to remove the bolts on the Nose ... just to celebrate climbers insanity and incongruencies ... :-)
Try telling that to Mr Piola and his fellow vandals of the Mt Blanc range. He is also responsible for some similar indefensible desecration in Patagonia.
I don't know if in the Buscaini and Metzelin guide or Spreafico's book (I guess they are only in italian), but it was mentioned about the recorded extraordinary atmospheric disturbance prior Egger and Maestri ascent.
Anyway, climbers are different. Why Maestri was supposed to go back and prove anything following your logic? He almost died on the '59 route, lost his friend and climbing partner and he was traumatized by the experience. He went back because he was angry and rebellious about the accusations he received and, we like it or not, the compressor route was also an special expression of human nature. Similarly to the Harding character, Maestri was a rebel.
As I said I don't like Maestri's style applied on the Compressor route, but I understand him and I find the action of these two north american kids of removing the bolts, a mere act of arrogance.
Maestri placed bolts on sections that had already been climbed without by a British team during the 1967/8 season. Many were placed next to cracks that were suitable for pegs or the chocks available at the time.
He should have left it alone for a better climber.
Why don't you ask Roland Garabotti about the 1959 climb? No evidence of the climb has ever been found above the triangular snowfield below the Col of Conquest.
> Maestri placed bolts on sections that had already been climbed without by a British team during the 1967/8 season. Many were placed next to cracks that were suitable for pegs or the chocks available at the time.
Which contrasts with the El Cap ethic which was to use rivets sparingly to get across totally blank sections.
> Maestri placed bolts on sections that had already been climbed without by a British team during the 1967/8 season. Many were placed next to cracks that were suitable for pegs or the chocks available at the time.
I disageee with it. How do you know he put the bolts on the same line of the british 68' route? As far as I know, after the col of conquest, he traversed, while the british went straight, and then retreated.
> Col of Conquest.
I've read his "inquition" document, read the reports of his and Salvaterra's ascent and I'm skeptikal about Maestri's claims. But for me all this is not sufficient to term Maestri's claims as lies. Maestri was found barely alive and maybe he didn't remembered very well what happened.
I understand what you're saying about his route being a product of its time, and a historical artifact, and in that sense it seems a shame to lose it in its previous form. However, the route was something of an abomination even in its own time. The constant bickering and the installation of the Compressor Route demeaned what the mountain could have represented -- a truly wild place for adventure where the actions of others do not inform the experience or the actions of yourself. Instead it was brought down to the level of an El Cap -- an incredible place still, but not the same wilderness it could and should be. And there is your explanation as to why the necessary bolts connecting natural features on El Cap (N.B. power drilling there is banned as far as I am aware) are acceptable and why the bolt ladder which makes no reference to the mountain on Cerro Torre is not. Sure, El Cap probably has some superfluous bolts, and I hope climbers there debate their merits.
N.B. -- "fair means" -- I originally thought this meant no bolts, but I read it's 'no compressor-driven bolts'. Is that correct?
I don't like the way Maestri opened the Compressor's route. But, as I said, it should be placed in the context when he did it and not, after 40 years, without redpointing it, using some of the bolts, aiding it, etc.
These two guys introduced a dangerous and fundamentalist principle: to wipe away and destroy the past, according to the ethic and possibilities of the present.
Also in Harding's time climbers, such as Royal Robbins and his friends, pursued a boltless ascent style. Harding route on the Nose was controversial, but now is a precious part of climbing history.
Should Lynn Hill and Caldwell remove the bolts they didn't use?
> I don't like the way Maestri opened the Compressor's route. But, as I said, it should be placed in the context when he did it and not, after 40 years, without redpointing it, using some of the bolts, aiding it, etc.
That's kind of what I was trying to get at at the the start of my previous post. In the context of 40 years ago it was an abomination worthy of chopping. The fact the climbing community has let it be for 40 years in order to gain easy(!) access to the summit is neither here nor there.
I'm sure that's an argument that some will have made. However, I suspect Hill and Caldwell used all of the bolts; they just didn't happen to (physically!) pull on them.
Don't attempt to re-write history. The context of when he did it was that the British/Argentine team had already attempted the SE ridge without bolts. Maestri was condemned for his actions at the time.
Reinhold Messner put it better than I can, written one year after the Compressor Route was ascended: http://upwardtrail.multiply.com/journal/item/1/The_Murder_of_the_Impossible?&show_interstitial=1...
The Mountain Magazine article 'Cerro Torre - a mountain desecrated' was published in 1972. The title accurately describes the context of the time. It also describes the bolting that Maestri did on sections that had already been climbed without bolts.
Article on this supertopo thread: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=825943&tn=0&mr=0
The two American climbers who have chopped part of the Maestri haven't introduced any dangerous new principles - the clearing up of litter (i.e. the compressor left behind), ironmongery etc from previous ascents is part and parcel (indeed an essential) of mountaineering.
Thirdly El Capitan (a valley level cragging experience) - is not Cerro Torre - Cerro Torre is perhaps the most beautiful and challenging mountain in the world and it deserved much better treatment than Maestri gave it in 1970. With the West Face as the true first ascent and now voie normale! it is a mountain that can now once again take it's place at the pinnacle of mountaineering.
I think it is widely accepted that it would be highly dubious to replace these ladders as they deteriorate further, so what is the answer? Surely it's that as these bolts become old and unsafe, and ethics, technique and style improves, that the route follows suit, and that we as climbers strive to improve on our ancestors?
You could say the same about the Nose, but the Nose has progressed from being the wildest thing you could imagine to a standard trade route that many teams complete every year - some as the pinnacle of what they will achieve, others as training for more serious routes - its almost a playground (albeit a deadly one). Cerro Torre is entirely different - it SHOULD be wild and difficult.
Do I agree that the bolts should have been chopped unilaterally? Probably not, but then on the other hand it is a statement to others that this way of climbing is not to be accepted, and that we as a community should bring our standards up to match.
have you read the comments of Reinhard Karl, Beat Kammerlander, Simone Moro, and many other top mountaineers? They climbed the Compressor route and honoured Maestri's ascent as a celebration of human effort.
Messner judged the Compressor route but never climbed it. His opinion on the Compressor route is not a law or a dogma.
Also in Harding's time bolts were condamned. Also his bolts were condamned, but then people re-consider the value of his challenge.
I think you are knowledgeable enough to remember the spirit of the ascents in Yosemite, when Half Dome and El Cap were considered impossible and not just "a valley level cragging experience".
Cerro Torre is more unhospitable, remote and challenging. This, in my opinion, gives more value to Maestri's enterprise. But for me this is not the issue. The issue is the paradigm for which, with the actual technology and knowledge two guys were arrogant and hypocrit enough to remove most of the bolts. Claiming it as an act of purification ignoring the context of the time. Arrogant because they played as "policemen" of the mountain in a region where they are not foreigners. Hypocrit because they used bolts.
I lived in UK and I can imagine what would happen if I bolt or remove bolts in your "just crags".
I think the reasons these two guys chopped the bolts is not for cleaning the route, but to dictate their idea of style. And this after 40 years from the first ascent. This is what I consider unacceptable. I don't go to Mt Blanc, Patagonia or wherever and remove the bolts I don't use.
The only thing that puzzles me about this is that it seems to have been deemed necessary to climb the route without using the bolts in order to justify chopping them. If the bolts are "wrong" it shouldn't have mattered whether the route was climbable without them in order to justify chopping them. If necessary the route could have been aided on the bolts and then chopped on the descent.
Your point about the local climbing community I think is a much stronger one. Although does not the likes of Argentinian Rolo Garibotti count? Also the influence of overseas climber's has always had an affect - American Henry Barber and Yvone Chounard in the UK, Italian/Tyrolean Messner in Nepal, Frenchman Patrick Edlinger and Wolfgang Gullich where ever they went. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened when Lemenestral soloed Revelations (a sport 8a+ at the time in UK) if he'd chopped the bolts - I suspect he would have been embraced by much of the UK scene at the time
As an aside, if you came to Mont Blanc and chopped bolts, I think you'd find many british climbers in favour of that...
It makes a stronger ethical statement, don't you think? It shows that the bolts are not only an abomination but unneccesary.
the fact that top mountaineers have opposite feelings about Cerro Torre shows me that to define the Compressor route as a "ferrata" and a "Maestri's insanity", as Garibotti and his followers call it, is at least excessive and unfair. As I said I didn't like maestri's style, but I cannot ignore the context when he did it. Not just the ethical context but the circumstances of mistrust towards him, when he was accused of lying.
Concerning the second point, if Garibotti, an argentinian and local climber of Cerro Torre would have chopped the bolts, it would have been more acceptable, although still controversial. But I think there is also a "chopping style". To utilize the bolts and to remove them in my opinion is not an ideal example of "fair means".
Why should "fair means" be used to remove the bolts? If they shouldn't be there, they shouldn't be there! It's a bit like saying the police shouldn't be allowed to use force to arrest a violent criminal.
> It makes a stronger ethical statement, don't you think? It shows that the bolts are not only an abomination but unneccesary.
No bolts are "necessary". No mountain has to be climbed. The impossible should be allowed to exist without being murdered.
I was pleased to live in Sheffield three years, and I love british style. But I can say that is not applicable everywhere. In the Alps there are plenty of areas with hundred of meters of super flat surfaces which need bolts, and still, the routes are challenging. Even legendary climbers such as Jim Bridwell used bolts. How much? 10? 100? It cannot be established. And the number of bolts is is not a measure of the challenge of a route. The point, for me, is that is too easy, after 40 years, to riduculize Maestri's ascent, remove the bolts but hypocritically use some of them.
in my opinion the only fair style of removing bolts in first place, is not to use them. If you use them you are implying that they were necessary to ascent the route.
Alright guys. I'm going climbing for the weekend ... write you next week ... ;-)
I don't understand your position. Why shouldn't they have climbed the route by fair means?
> in my opinion the only fair style of removing bolts in first place, is not to use them. If you use them you are implying that they were necessary to ascent the route.
So you are in favour of the murder of the impossible? Or at least to turn a blind eye? It is not necessary to bolt otherwise impossible routes.
> in my opinion the only fair style of removing bolts in first place, is not to use them. If you use them you are implying that they were necessary to ascent the route.
Of course. I don't know how someone can't understand this?!
I think the point is that if someone wanged a bolt into an unclimbed project at Burbage South you'd consider it reasonable to chop the bolt on abseil without tradding the project first. That the only consideration should be whether the bolt is appropriate given the local ethics.
No reason at all. I am pleased they did. I just don't buy the connection between climbing the route without the bolts and the "right" to chop the bolts. I could have climbed the route with the bolts (well actually I probably couldn't have, but you know what I mean!) and chopped them on the descent. The end result would have been the same. I applaud them for chopping the bolts. The climbing feat I shall applaud more is the first repeat of the route without the bolts as a sort of safety net if things go pear shaped.
>To utilize the bolts and to remove them in my opinion is not an ideal example of "fair means".
I don't follow this at all. I thought the point was that they didn't use the bolts?
Though they do seem to have used 'Maestri's belays' and some other bolts, according to supertopo. I'm not sure how that fits in exactly.
I don't think climbing the route without the bolts is important in this case. But you shouldn't use the bolts in order to ascend to aid their removal. To climb the peak by another route then abseil the Compressor route removing the bolts would be fair means.
That is why the Burbage example doesn't make sense in practice. You wouldn't aid up the bolts in order to remove them; you'd just walk round and ab down.
I agree with you to an extent about the first bolt-less repeat.
'The chopping style' can be over analysed to the 'nth degree' - yes it wasn't the ideal style but it was still pretty good. Many had considered just aiding the Compressor route and then chopping on the way down, the guys this time did at least climb their own variations to prove Maestri's own excesses weren't necessary.
Whilst to some it may seem this is some form of climbing cultural imperialism - with Americans imposing on another country as they and many other imperial powers have done in other walks of life. I think it's not that simple. Their actions are strongly supported by climbers across many many countries - even in Argentina and Italy. Of course in those same countries there are those who don't like it - this shows its an issue that transcends country boundaries. Also where a country has developed a strong climbing community which has developed a local ethic this should be respected, celebrated and protected. In 1970 there wasn't a strong local climbing community with a well known ethic - in fact the mountains of Patagonia have been developed within an international ethical framework similar to the Himalaya and Karakorum. Maestri worked within this framework in 1959 - some fixed ropes but a sympathetic approach to the mountain - sadly his attempt ended in tragedy. However his approach in 1970 was so far outside any known ethical framework it was almost instantly acknowledged as inappropriate. It is a shame that the international climbing community (who were Patagonia's guardians then) didn't act more strongly at the time but obviously Cerro Torre being Cerro Torre dictated that I'd say - if it really had been an el cap like environment then the bolts would have been chopped years ago. Frankly I'm surprised that the Compressor and Maestri's efforts (admittedly it was a dogged display of perseverance but not really that much else?) have got so much of your respect.
> You shouldn't use the bolts in order to ascend to aid their removal. To climb the peak by another route then abseil the Compressor route removing the bolts would be fair means.
I just don't think the idea of "fair means" is relevant-I would have supported their removal with the aid of a helicopter!
Precisely. You would do whatever is most expedient to right the wrong.
> I agree with you to an extent about the first bolt-less repeat.
Best to do so in good style though, right?
Like if you climb E2 and spot some nice new in-situ on an E4 I think it would be bad form to ab down and take it out. If it's a VS you've done before though that would be fine.
> Best to do so in good style though, right?
No. I don't think style is relevant here.
> Like if you climb E2 and spot some nice new in-situ on an E4 I think it would be bad form to ab down and take it out. If it's a VS you've done before though that would be fine.
Let's not go there again. Oh alright then - of course I'd ab for it! (actually, I would get my partner to ab for it and then climb the E4 without the insitu - that's good style!)
Why do you think it matters, though?
If the bolt really clearly shouldn't be there (regardless of whether or not you think that's the case here) then surely the important thing is that it goes, not who does the chopping? Like if I saw a bolt on Great Slab and chopped it, noone would complain that I should have left it for someone who's climbed it on gear (or lack of it) to chop?
Genuinely curious, there could be a good reason that I'm missing...
As for your Burbage example, the difference is the bolt shouldn't be there - if it's a clean-up operation anyone can remove it.
(please don't relate this back to Cerre Torre)
> As for your Burbage example, the difference is the bolt shouldn't be there.
Eh? That's not the difference. It's the similarity!
The difference I mean between drilled bolts and some shiny new trad gear some unfortunate soul has had to leave behind.
Interesting that the only two countries that go batshit about placing bolts are the States and Britain.
It's kind of like the way Blair was Bush's bitch: the rest of the world watches and wonders what the f@%k is going on.
In this case though it's about righting an act of vandalism condemned by climbers around the world, not just here and in the US, at the time.
It seems that at least some of the route as reported covers new ground so until the grade of this is known saying that the route has been "destroyed" is premature.
I'm not aware of any international ethical framework in Patagonia. And I doubt there was any agreement at the time, but rather Patagonia was a no man's land.
What I know is that Maestri was coming from a climbing heritage in Dolomites of the fifties and sixties, where the alpinists of the time were "exploring" the direttissima style. Only late in the sixties climbers started to criticize this ethics. The famous Messner article "The Murderer of the impossible" was written in 1971.
Has Maestri to be blamed if he acted according to the style he learnt?
Is it correct, after 40 years, to ridiculize him and his route according to modern technological and ethical standards?
I don't think so. And I don't condemn the mere act of removing bolts, but the attitude and philosophy behind where some young and performing climbers, after 40 years, call Maestri insane and still don't manage to climb his route boltless.
I think there should be more respect.
Superior (some would say just different, I disagree) climbing culture IMO; plenty of mountains and climbs in Europe (especially Switzerland for some reason) have been completely ruined in the name of convenience. Thank God (and Ken Wilson ;-P) we haven't gone the same way, and long may our crags and routes provide adventure for climbers of the future of all abilities. And long may our indoor walls provide a safe workout.
> Superior (some would say just different, I disagree) climbing culture
I partly agree with you. However, there are climbs in Switzerland (where I live now) with bolts, which are definetively more physically and mentally challenging than most traditional routes.
As you know I've already argued that I feel this strongly wasn't the case on any of those aspects. I think the strongest example of why I believe this to be true - is Maestri himself - in 1959 he chose a tiny team, a traditional rack for the time and a small amount of fixed rope. Why did he do this if he had been brought up in an era of heavy weight super directissimas? Because at that point he was an alpinist with a soul full of adventure. If he had stopped there whether he had claimed to have completed his route or not he would still be lauded around the world as a visionary. Unfortunately he returned in 1970 with his soul full of something else. What he did on the Compressor route I'm afraid I can never respect - I just find it deeply sad.
More challenging than they would be without the bolts? ;-P
Anyway, sorry for the tangent. Back to CT...
Presumably because he bolted some very blank rock - ie the murder of the impossible, which is what people object to.
Are you saying that justifies them?
first question. Have you ever read Maestri's books?
He said that, since in 1959 he realized how hard was to put bolts by hands on Patagonia hard granit, to set up bolt ladders he needed a compressor.
Second question. If Messner wrote his article "The murder of impossible" in 1971, what makes you believe that the "no-bolt-ladder" ethic was so consolidated?
Then a comment.
In the sixties communication and exchange between climbers was not as fast and spread as now. Bolt ladders started to be controversial late in sixties. Dolomite climbers were more affected by local and national issues around the Alps rather than international ones. Furthermore British climbers, maybe also as a consequence of such small amount of rock, have always been more sensitive about ethical issues than the alpinists around the Alps. So, what for you as a british is an unacceptable abuse of the mountain, for many Dolomite climbers of that time was not such a big deal. Therefore, although I don't support Maestri's style on the Compressor route, I think his ascent was just an expression of his time, of his rebellious attitude and of the accusation of being a liar concerning the '59 route.
Bolting or no-bolting are not two opposite religions.
Bolts are not mortal sins. Their presence is justified according to the geographical and historical context.
in the world there other ethics besides the british one.
> Bolts are not mortal sins. Their presence is justified according to the geographical and historical context.
Fair enough and very true, but this should not mean they should not be questioned.
Of course Messners article was a response to the Compressor route, but his certainly wasn't a lone voice but the expression of distaste that had been rising up throughout the late 60s. Furthermore the Compressor route wasn't just a standard directissima with the odd bolt ladder. It was unlike anything that had been seen in any remote mountain range before.
I'll agree that the Compressor Route was in large part a response to his being accused of lying in 1959. The analogy that comes to mind is of an artist who gets a bad review and so chooses to burn down the whole museum his painting are in. The Compressor route was a spectacular own goal.
Not really true, I remember when Maestri "did" his climb, I've probably got an old Climb magazine of the time even, and it was widely criticized back then too, and not just by Brits and Yanks, many continental climbers were just as critical. The thing was wrong then and nothing has changed since.
In reply to enzolino:
Your comparison with Yosemite is way out of line, it was the compressor and the shear extent of bolting that really got people mad. As for your "imperialism" angle, improving style in the mountains has never been just an affair for local climbers, it's not like on crags, especially as many climbing areas were not climbed by locals but but foreigners. Nobody has ever criticized Messner for improving the way a climb was done, or a French climber on the Eiger. You seem to be clutching at straws for some reason - a sort of mountaineering negationism.
Well Rob, since you digressed, I thought I'd ask him about his 'indefensible desecrations' in Patagonia. Here's his reply from a couple of minutes ago:
> Combien de spits = aucune idée.
I know that in your book just one bolt is a desecration, but the above doesn't sound an 'indefensible desecration'.
No. There is no other example. I think Maestri action was quite outrageous. He used an old declining ethical paradigm (sistematic bolting) with an outrageous use of a compressor and this is also why he was so heavily criticized. I don't know if he did it on purpose or not.
I don't think Messner target was specifically the Compressor route.
As I mentioned, the direttissima and superdirettissma (the vertical of a drop of water) styles started in the fifties as a consequence of the saturation of protectable routes. But the technological factor was starting to replace the human factor. Italy , as well as other post-war industrial economies were growing and aid climbing was an expression of this social-industrial development. Perhaps the compressor was an ultimate expression of such as "symbiosis" between mountain and technology. Messner manifesto and climbing achievements were fresh air in that climbing context. It's also thanks to him (Messner) that a new paradigm shift took place: the primacy of human engagement on technology. But now is easy to analyse all this. At Maestri's time, lots of Dolomite climbers were mainly following the "aid paradigm" of the two previous decades. But in late sixties it was becoming a decadent style, and more climbers were criticizing it. Especially, but not only, from Western Alps (Bonatti's school).
I think the Compressor route was due to a mixture of an old style and Maestri's anger. So, I insist, in my opinion it's unfair to reduce Maestri's compressor route as an act of insanity. Especially if we consider that in '59 route his lost a partner and friend, and was found half dead in the glacier after a big fall.
> Your comparison with Yosemite is way out of line, it was the compressor and the shear extent of bolting that really got people mad. As for your "imperialism" angle, improving style in the mountains has never been just an affair for local climbers, it's not like on crags, especially as many climbing areas were not climbed by locals but but foreigners. Nobody has ever criticized Messner for improving the way a climb was done, or a French climber on the Eiger. You seem to be clutching at straws for some reason - a sort of mountaineering negationism.
Really? On the "imperialism" angle I think that climbing and mountaineering cannot be separated by social and historical issues. 8000 meters Himalayan "conquests" were a typical expression of countries economical and political status. Furthemore guess what would happen if I'll bolt Ulysses in Stanage or I'll remove the bolts from the Nose.
Furthermore I see no reasons why I cannot compare the Nose, with the Compressor route. Perhaps Maestri's route was more outrageous, but both Harding and Maestri were quite rebellious and stubborn and both went against the dominant ethic of the time. But while a route is considered a myth, the other one is considered infamous.
This unfair and simply reveals a double standard.
Didn't Harding drill the holes himself by hand? Sounds different to me. Also, as has been said already, the proportion of bolts was lower.
As for if you took bolts out, I don't think anyone would complain if you did the climb without them yourself.... whatever your nationality. They might be if you put them in to a free climb though, you're right there.
It's being reported on the Rock and Ice site that the pair used just five bolts, none of which were Maestri's: four on one of the lower variations and one on the variation that Kruk did last season. The piece doesn't say if the route is free climbing or give any indication of grade.
> Well Rob, since you digressed, I thought I'd ask him about his 'indefensible desecrations' in Patagonia. Here's his reply from a couple of minutes ago:
This is the route I had in mind:http://www.pataclimb.com/climbingareas/chalten/fitzgroup/poincenot/patagonicos.html I probably should have checked the degree of desecration before posting, so I apologise if I have overstated things in the context of a discussion of the Maestri route. But yes, I like many others believe that bolts have no place in the mountains, and so I do consider it a desecration. I am obviously no fan of Piola for his apparently largely indiscrimate use of bolts in the Mont Blanc range.
Paul Preuss would laugh at Kennedy and Kruk's notion of fair means:
For those not in the know Carlos Comesana in 1965 with fellow Argentinian Jose Luis Fonrouge made the second ascent of Fitzroy by climbing the Supercanaleta a 2000m ice and rock route climbed in 2.1/2 days alpine style. Their ascent is one of the most respected in Patagonian mountaineering. Whilst a very different challenge than Cerro Torre - its shows the context and standards of approach that had already been set (partly by Maestri himself in 1959) before Maestri returned with his drills.
'It was january 16th., 1965. If interested, here follows the real cronology and facts about the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre that began when with Fonrouge we were at the top of Cerro Fitz Roy via the Supercanaleta in the second absolute ascent of this mountain. Because this beatiful and exigent mountain merits the most from climbers we did it in alpine style, mostly in simulclimbing, without fixed ropes, siege attacks or artificial weaponry. Behind and below us the fantastic Cerro Torre in clear skies showed with brightness his beatifull icy shape. Time afterwards - I guess it was 1966 or 1967 - at a table of a bar in Buenos Aires with Douglas Haston, Mike Burke and (was there also Martin Boysen?) we were dreamming about giving a try Co. Torre thru the Southeast Ridge and our fingers traced an ideal line over the SE ridge of one of our Co. Torre's photos we took from Fitz Roy summit. Sometime after, Fonrouge joined the British team that arrived high in this line but misteriously stopped before the icy towers. Wonder how the famous expedition rawplug dissapear...? Don't know by sure, but I always remember the conversation I had with Fonrouge at home - and his decision - after our meeting with Haston and friends at the bar that we'll never use an spit. And I also said thst...to give a try to this empoisoned mountain by Maestri's 1959's claim was a nonsense having manny other virgen summits to make. Later, in january 1970 Maestri asked to meet us in Buenos Aires when he decided to make an attempt to the Southeast Ridge and looked for details of the line but didn't mention the use of a compressor and gave us the idea to try the climb by fair means. As it is known they didn't make the summit this time. Weeks after their return I was in Italy for business reasons and he invited me to Maddona were we spent some time talking about his programmed new intent to Cerro Torre in the following southamerican 1970 winter. No words were said about the use of a compressor for drilling holes to plug spits. Upon his return from patagonia having used the compressor and claiming for his new line on the SE ridge - and also mentionning that the top mushroom was not the true summit-, more doubts appeared about his 1959's line statements. Living for professional reasons in Milan-Italy, since late 1973, I had many contacts with the Ragni Group and got an idea about the national battle around Cerro Torre's Maestri claims at the time of his public statement directed to the Ragni Group saying that his climbs were discussed by whom couldn't climb Cerro Torre. Casimiro Ferrari's answer to Maestri was that the Ragni Group climbs mountains that can prove they climb and start to organize another attack to the west face of Torre. As we know today they made the true first ascent of the mountain. More recently Garibotti, Salvaterra and Beltrame proved that no one had transit before the line claimed by Maestri. In my name and the others that resign the dream to climb for first this fantastic mountain I claim for our rights to delete from the walls of Cerro Torre all the remainings - compressor inclusive - of the rape made by Maestri in the 70's and I think that no one - for any reason - can have more rigths than ours.
After reading that here's my thoughts:
A 450 bolt ladder drilled with a compressor up 350 meters of rock - to compare this with Hardings hand-bolting on The Nose, especially the 28 bolts he placed in one 15 hour stint to top out on an overhanging section which is now 5.12C sounds even more ridiculous.
I've been refreshing my memory on this sad episode: Maestri didn't reach the summit claiming that the ice formations would "blow away"; he didn't let any of the other climbers come up to the high point; he smashed/removed some of the bolts on the way down himself - this latter section was crossed by Bridwell using rivets and skyhooks in the old holes on the 3rd ascent of CT and is reckoned to be A3 these days.
Last year Kruk got to within 40 metres of the summit without using any of the Maestri bolts so it was only a matter of time before the ridge was climbed properly. - "by fair means" as Garibotti puts it.
Here's some links:
An earlier attempt (2007) which reduced the aid to the final tower:
Plenty of stuff at Pataclimb as you'd expect:
Main page: http://pataclimb.com/climbingareas/chalten/torregroup/torre/SEridge.html
Rolo's rational debunking of Maestri's 1959 claim is here:
A quote from Pataclimb:
"In late 2008 twenty-one people climbed the Ragni route, more than all previous ascents combined. In comparison, that season there was only one ascent of the Compressor route. It seems to appear that the climbing community has finally come to understand that an ascent of the Compressor route is not really an ascent of Cerro Torre. "
Somewhere I have a copy of the issue of Mountain where Ken Wilson interviews Maestri - it really needs putting up on the web (with Ken's permission of course) as Ken's fury leaps from the pages - it makes Paxman look like a Breakfast TV presenter.
Doesn't it always! And his passion.
Enzolino, I wish I was climbing rather than writing about climbing but I’ve spannered my ankle and this makes for an interesting diversion between doing pull ups. So I’ll dive in.
You attempt two arguments and you equate Patagonia with Yosemite. All wrong.
Your first argument is that Maestri’s bolt ladders were acceptable in the ethics of the time. Where were bolts used in Patagonia before 1970? Where where the superdirectissimas? They didn’t exist. There was no precedent in Patagonia for what Maestri did. Almost as if they knew what was coming, the Brit./Argentinian team of ‘68 turned back from the SE ridge because they were not prepared to use bolts. Carlos Comesaña makes it utterly clear that Patagonia ethics never included widespread bolting and he should know.
Maestri bolted indiscriminately around cracks that could be easily freed (at VS or 5.7). The headwall was climbed by Bridwell at moderate A3, hardly cutting edge stuff. As for dragging a compressor up a mountain... Maestri knew what he was doing, he was deliberately transgressing, putting two fingers up to the ‘mountaineering establishment’ because the mountaineering establishment was calling him a liar over the events of ‘58. You say we are erroneously judging Maestri through the perspective of present-day values. This is nonsense. If anything, the attitude to bolting in the mountains is more relaxed in 2012 than it was in 1970. I think you are genuinely mistaken about this.
Your second argument is because Harding did a bad thing it was OK for Maestri to do a bad thing. That is doubtful logic even if it is true. It isn’t true. When Harding, Merry and Whitmore climbed The Nose, the use of bolts was well-established in Yosemite: Salathe on the Lost Arrow Chimney, Robbins’ bolt ladders on Half Dome the previous year. Harding used more than Robbins but it was a matter of degree. There were mutterings about the siege tactics and the number of bolts from Robbins at the time. Since Robbins had just lost out on the plum route on his home patch, the most important climbing area in N America, I don’t think we need take this to mean there was widespread condemnation of Harding. Maestri’s bolting was a different order to what Harding did.
You equate Patagonia with Yosemite. You should be equating Patagonia with The Dolomites since that is where Maestri learned the art of the bolted superdirectissima. However I suspect you know that would make your argument transparently ludicrous and you would miss out on dropping those not-so-subtle hints of cultural imperialism, always a good attention-diverting debating tactic with an Anglo-Saxon audience. Patagonia was never like Yosemite or The Dolomites. It never had the same ethics or values. El Captain is a road-side crag whose summit is two hours from the bar and pizzeria, climbed in a morning, on every kind of hallucinogen, jumped off, slack-lined, climbed by the paralysed, by the fat sons of rock stars, and by timid old men like me. On El Captain ‘Anything Goes’. I’d be surprised if anyone has taken LSD on Cerro Torre.
Even in my wildest youth I was far too scared of Patagonia. Totally different to Yosemite. This is Cerro Torre! Magnificent, terrifying, icon, trademark of ‘purist’ aspirational outdoor clothing brand, “the hardest mountain in the world“ - or it was before the Compressor Route - and perhaps is again now. I have no real business commenting on Kruk and Kennedy but symbols like Cerro Torre are strangely of great value to me so I applaud their climbing and their chopping. The SE Ridge is a masterpiece, disfigured but now partially restored.
"... El Captain is a road-side crag whose summit is two hours from the bar and pizzeria, climbed in a morning, on every kind of hallucinogen, jumped off, slack-lined, climbed by the paralysed, by the fat sons of rock stars, and by timid old men like me. On El Captain ‘Anything Goes’. I’d be surprised if anyone has taken LSD on Cerro Torre. "
Does this means, becauase it's close to a road and many bars, that I can come and bolt Ulysses on Stanage Plantation? I mean, it's a roadside crag like many anywhere...
> "... El Captain is a road-side crag whose summit is two hours from the bar and pizzeria, climbed in a morning, on every kind of hallucinogen, jumped off, slack-lined, climbed by the paralysed, by the fat sons of rock stars, and by timid old men like me. On El Captain ‘Anything Goes’. I’d be surprised if anyone has taken LSD on Cerro Torre. "
> Does this means, becauase it's close to a road and many bars, that I can come and bolt Ulysses on Stanage Plantation? I mean, it's a roadside crag like many anywhere...
Sure you can. Just don't expect the bolts to last a sunrise if you actually manage to drill them, and don't be surprised if you get stopped in the act by local climbers and have some teeth knocked out.
I'm a bit surprised by the enthusiasm about the chopping of the bolts on CT. Never have there been more bolts placed and clipped, even in the mountains, than today
I'm NOT advocating the use of bolts in the mountains, and even less the use of power drills,again quite common these days, and much easier than in maestri's days.....
some thoughts about the chopping on CT:
In different posts, it sounds a bit like the original state of the mountain was restored, a mess was cleaned up etc , but, as far as we know from the reports, bolts were chopped from the headwall pitches. This implies that a lot of (unnecessary) bolts remain on the lower, more featured, pitches, the compressor is still there and there have been bolts added ( by former teams ) on the new line of ascent. So for a clean-up....well, it's definitely not a success.
If it's not a clean-up, what then?
maybe just making the mountain harder? or more precisely, ''just as hard as I still can climb it but a lot of others can't anymore:)''
As history has shown, lots of the bolt-ladders have become freeclimbing challenges, why not the compressor route, even if today most alpinists don't have the rockclimbing standards required and thus don't envision this possibility?
the style of both ascent and descent+chopping is also not totally by fair means:
the new variation is bolted, not freeclimbed
belays were made on bolts placed by meastri
the bolts were chopped rapping from the bolts placed by maestri .....
Even R. Garibotti, the main advocate for the chopping has happily used maestri's bolts for rapping.. No Paul Preuss chopping bolts in this case!
So, I'm not that entusiastic about this chopping and personnaly, I consider it more like a selfish act to make a statement/publicity but CT is not the winner. There remain enough challenging mountains/walls to make a bold statement of what is state of the art in alpinism, just like Messner did regarding the superdiretissimas 40 years ago with his new bolt-free routes.
Placing these bolts in 1970 was wrong, but today , it's history and should be left as what it is, an exemple of bad style and a ( still very challenging) route of historic interest.
You mention there are enough other challenging mountains - but there is no mountain quite like Cerro Torre.
I'm sorry if I reply just now ... I was rock climbing yesterday and ice climbing today ... :-)
I don't have much time. What I want to say is the following.
Ian adn Duncan,
I overlooked the Comensana message, but I think is very interesting. For me if the argentinians decided to chop the Compressor bolts, it would have been much more acceptable. I didn't want to say that what Maestri did was right, but I placed the Maestri behavior in the historical climbing context that he lived in the two previous decades in Dolomites. I didn't say that Maestri ethics was acceptable in Patagonia, but that was a consequence of his Dolomite heritage.
We can see bolts close to the cracks in the compressor route. Have you seen the picture of Maestri's ascent? I remember a lot of ice, on the rock, on he ropes and on the climbers! So, it cannot be excluded that the cracks were full of ice when he climbed Cerro Torre in 1970. Again, I think all the judgments about the insanity of Maestri's bolts should be better documented.
I don't want to talk about the 1959 because it would become and endless discussion.
I don't think Harding did a bad thing, and he was criticized by the purists of that time, whose school was headed by Robbins. I just copy and paste from this website:
"But Harding and his cohorts were widely criticized by many in the climbing world, most notably followers of Royal Robbins. Robbins was famous for scrutinizing the big walls for natural climbing routes in an attempt to limit the use of bolts. He believed climbers should haul out what they brought in."
This shows also how much climbers were more flexible in that pioneering period towards bolting. However, the fact that somehow bolt ladders were accepted in the US enphasizes even more how americans use a double standard. The bolts in Patagonia are a blasphemy, but those in Yosemite were acceptable. Then, let's unify the ethics!!! Let's go and clean the Nose!
Duncan, for you it's not possible to compare Cerro Torre to Patagonia. Why? Just because Yosemite is more accessible? I don't think this is an argument. On the contrary this means that it should get back some more wilderness. I've been there and there are crews fo climbers which try to summit the Nose every year! Of course my comparison is provocative. But it's necessary to show that is easy to play the policeman in other country, but the perspective may chenge if others do it in yours.
Another thing ... when I lived in Sheffield and, jockingly, I said that I wanted to bolt a route in Stanage or chop the Hubble's bolts my climbing friends said that they would have lynched me!!! ... so I don't think those actions would be tolerated so easily in UK ... :-)
Anyway, for me the bottom line is that it's unacceptable that two boys arbitrarily play the policemen to remove bolts in a foreign country.
The climbing community does accept it? Fine. Then I, and I hope others, will feel authorized to do the same in foreign country. Then let's see what happens.
I'll enphasize the title and a relevant line concerning the bolts on the compressor route:
[ Cerro Torre: Patagonian Democracy
Hands were counted on the spot. Nobody said a word after the second group voted. From about 40 people, approximately 30 voted for the bolts to remain on the mountain.]
I'm jealous, if I was doing more of that I would probably be less heated on here.
Anyway agree the vote in Chalten is an important piece in the debate - it is the one thing that I am uncomfortable about with the chopping. I guess my thoughts are there been over 40 years of talk about the Compressor route but little action - it being Patagonia understandably talk has been easier than action. If the Compressor route had been chopped in 70s the chopping would have had overwhelming support. Now people have dreams, experiences invested in the route. Time also builds up a kind of rosy glow on history - for some people the maverick nature of Maestri's actions now have a mad cap romantic feel - the story is undeniably fascinating. So chopping is now not so clear cut for many.
But as of last week we have direct action - it's a game changer. Our easy opinions on the web etc matter little. If climbers really care so much about the Compressor route then they will re-establish it - if that's so then I wouldn't understand it but I would be more inclined to accept it. If it's not re-established then the compressor route's existence can't be as important as some have stated. Time will tell.
I can see we have more points of agreement now.
I hope people don't get me wrong. I like clean routes and in my routes I try to leave no traces. I even wished many of the bolts in Dolomite Direttissima's would have been removed, and it has been done, gladly, in some routes such as the Cassin on the West summit of Lavaredo (no direttissima) by locals.
What bothers me in this issue is first the escalating Garibotti anti-Maestri propaganda and historical revisionism (soon an article will be translated from italian into english), and then the fact that two foreigners arbitrarily took the decision of chopping the Maestri's bolts, ignoring the fact that the choice was far from unanymous.
For me this is just unacceptable.
From what I have read of the facts and circumstances I am:
a) Mightily pleased that such an abomination may finally have been removed, and that one of the world's finest peaks and climbing challenges may once again be left for those willing and able to rise to its challenge. I have long wondered why such a mess (in symbolic terms as much as anything) was allowed to remain for so long;
b) Very disturbed that such action may have been taken unilaterally and against the best-known wishes of the majority of other climbers active in the area. This is tantamount to saying "I know the election was rigged but since my party is now in power perhaps it was for the better after all." It is fundamentally impossible to restore a historical legacy to its historical condition - new bolts are not history, so no matter if there were now to be an enormous outcry and widespread agreement that it should be restored to its former historical state this simply would no longer be possible.
The outcome is not always more important than the process. We had years of so-called bolt wars in the UK during which unilateral action was repeatedly used by both sides in place of consultation and agreement, and we have since learnt that there is a much better way. It is a shame that this lesson may not yet have been learnt by some of those operating in more remote mountain areas.
Yeah I aslo read that on the Supertopo. Did you also read that the Italians have already winched the compressor back up to the last bolt?!
from their thread ;
"I heard the Italians paid for a helicopter to tow the compressor back to the summit and then reattach it to the wall after it was cut loose."
> Yeah I aslo read that on the Supertopo. Did you also read that the Italians have already winched the compressor back up to the last bolt?!
> from their thread ;
> "I heard the Italians paid for a helicopter to tow the compressor back to the summit and then reattach it to the wall after it was cut loose."
I think that was referring to the first time it was cut down (quite a while ago).
I do find it disappointing that a climber of Salvaterra's enormous standing apparently saw fit to place a few bolts on his variation. After all, a bolt is a bolt, and I cannot see the difference betwen Maestri placing hundreds of bolts to bring the mountain down to his level and Salvaterra placing a few to bring it down to his much higher (though era adjusted) level. It does seem somewhat hypocritical. All the bolts should go in my opinion, returning Cerro Torre to its unique icomic status of inaccessibility to be climbed in pure style only by the very best.
I agree with you. But if the bolts would have removed at that time, as Ian said, would have been a different issue. Kennedy and Kruk forced a decision which required a broader consensus. In this way, in my opinion, they made things worse.
I was not just disappointed by that, but also by te fact that on Infinito Sud, after hauling an aluminium box of 225 kg, they threw it onto the glacier at the bottom. And now he enthusiastic of this enterprise because Cerro Torre is "closer to how the mother conceived it" ...
> I do find it disappointing that a climber of Salvaterra's enormous standing apparently saw fit to place a few bolts on his variation. After all, a bolt is a bolt, and I cannot see the difference betwen Maestri placing hundreds of bolts to bring the mountain down to his level and Salvaterra placing a few to bring it down to his much higher (though era adjusted) level. It does seem somewhat hypocritical. All the bolts should go in my opinion, returning Cerro Torre to its unique icomic status of inaccessibility to be climbed in pure style only by the very best.
It's not a perfect ascent by any stretch of the imagination. I think he gains more kudos having attempted to clean up a significant portion of Maestri's line but it's really just a question of degree of damage isn't it? It's quite possible that the mountain may never be bolt-free since it seems one might only remove some of the bolts by using others (for ab anchors), particularly if more bolts are placed in the process!
It would be an incredible achievement if someone eventually manages to clean the mountain back to it's rightful state, but not many folk can (understandably) be this selfless and public spirited!
Good effort however for Kennedy and Kruk.
Chopping Maestri's bolts on rappel? Gross.
(yes, what Maestri did is gross too, but we're talking about Kennedy&Kruk, aren't we?)
From now on the two guys will be known as "the ones who chopped the Compressor Route": methinks there are better things to be remembered for.
Bummer for them.
Oh, and those bolts belong to Maestri, so I guess they should be returned to him (unfortunately it seems the local police have confiscated the bolts...).
Just my two pennies.
>Oh, and those bolts belong to Maestri, so I guess they should be returned to him (unfortunately it seems the local police have confiscated the bolts...).
Not so sure about that; depends on Argentine law, I'd have thought (assuming CT is in Argentina, which I find suddenly I'm not that confident about).
>From now on the two guys will be known as "the ones who chopped the Compressor Route": methinks there are better things to be remembered for.
Bummer for them.
My 2p says they've probably already thought of that and they aren't going to mind.
> Yes ... he is my son ...
Maestri was born in 1918 I believe.
> Maestri was born in 1918 I believe.
1929, according to Wikipedia. Sounds about right - in the Mountain #23 interview he says he was 42 when he did the Compressor Route. Probably irrelevant in this instance, though; I think it was a joke.
> 1929, according to Wikipedia. Sounds about right - in the Mountain #23
It's not a joke! Indeed he is my son!!! ;-)
I noticed that Michael Gordon is very sensitive to bolts and climbing integrity ... so ... this is for him ...
"There is one progression bolt in the lower dihedral dating back to 1959 and one at the pendulum point on the NW face, placed by Garibotti in 2008 during the ascent of the Torres Traverse."
Ha; still trying to do the maths on that one!
Incidently - while perusing contemporary commentary on the 1970 ascent I was reminded of Maestri's recollection that some sections of the headwall could have been climbed with normal pitons, but as these had been left at the bottom of the route he had to bolt the whole way. Do you think this has any relevance, one way or the other, in the "to chop or not to chop" debate? It certainly seems a little strange to have set off in the first place carrying only bolts and ice pegs, but that is a separate question, to which there may well be a perfectly reasonable explanation; they may have simply been left behind by mistake. (One of Sheridan Anderson's excellent cartoons springs to mind here - "Dammit, Schlieff; I thought you brought the hardware!" - wherein, amid mutual recrimination, two bearded climbers upturn their packs at the base of a route to disgorge an impressive supply of beer but little else!)
Well they didn't forget to take the 200 litres of petrol to run the compressor did they and it's not like the ascent was a lightening fast affair with a small team during which someone couldn't have gone down to get them is it...
I know the ascent (Maestri's) was an abomination, but dragging all that kit up there must have required one hell of an effort!
> Ha; still trying to do the maths on that one!
Maybe he named his son Maestri (ie. his son isn't the Maestri born in 1918 but just shares his name). Either that or he has a very strange family.
BTW, did anyone dig out the Mountain article by Ken Wilson (1998?)?
I'm sorry for doing this ... but as it emerges from the list of some routes in the '50 and '60 in Dolomites, sometimes the number bolts could even exceed the number of pitons.
Bolting was not such a big issue for Dolomite ethic during Maestri's time ...
I know that for british this is an abomination, and I understand it ... but while UK has always had very little rock, and every piece of rock has been considered sacred, in Dolomite there was a lot of rock and plenty of walls to force straight or unprotectable lines from the bottom to the top ...
If Maestri would have used more pitons instead of bolts, the issue would have been quite different ... but I think an additional aspect that contributed to the Maestri's style is the strong competition to be the first to climb Cerro Torre. Ferrari's team used a lot of gear for his route, but not bolts ... and his ascent is considered with a lot of respect ...
> Well they didn't forget to take the 200 litres of petrol to run the compressor did they and it's not like the ascent was a lightening fast affair with a small team during which someone couldn't have gone down to get them is it...
No, Mike - and to be honest I wasn't seriously suggesting that that could have been the reason; I merely posed it as a slightly daft example of how it can be quite easy in this type of long-distance analysis to overlook some very simple possibility. And somewhere in there, too, was probably a ruse to introduce a Sheridan cartoon; they're always worth a mention, I think! My assumption is that by that stage they were prepared to use any means necessary to reach the top, so with a functioning drill already up there they regarded the pegs as superfluous; I could, of course, be wrong.
It's all relative, but compared to the earlier 54-day winter attempt, rather than to more recent ascents, this final ascent in november/december was actually quite quick, and involved a team of three - Maestri, Alimonta and Claus. Having replaced the motor in the compressor they started climbing again on 25th November and reached the "top" on 2nd December, having spent three of those days resting or sitting out bad weather.
> BTW, did anyone dig out the Mountain article by Ken Wilson (1998?)?
The last edition of Mountain, #145, was May/June 1992. That probably doesn't help!
The matter of what was common practice at the time on Maestri's home turf is, I think, irrelevant in the discussion concerning the merit or otherwise of Kruk's And Kennedy's action, and doesn't stand up as a defence against criticism of his tactics anymore than one would expect a visiting Brit to get away with the excuse "but we do at home" when pulled up for using chalk in the Elbsandsteingebirge; you may well have already said as much yourself - I have to admit I've rather lost track of some of the discussion! I suppose my question is whether the First Ascent Ethic - ie respect for the first ascensionist and his style of ascent - should be unconditional, or whether it can reasonably be eroded by evidence of unusually poor style; of which setting off up a substantial rock route expecting to encounter aid climbing and carrying only bolts would probably be regarded by most climbers as a good example, then as well as now.
A short report from Jason Kruk is now on Alpinist.com
Not that short Bob.
A great report..
I love this bit, wise words...
"After a lengthy introspection on the summit, we knew the act needed to be initiated by one party, without consensus. The tribes will always remain too polarized to reach a common ground. "
Ian, I think that the motivation which pushed K&K to chop the Compressor's route is what bothers most: the vilification of an bad style, without considering its historical context, and its erasure in name of an arguably new better style.
At Maestri's time, ethics were not as standardized as now. So you cannot compare that period with the "use of chalk in the Elbsandsteingebirge".
In virgin areas, ethics is not standardized and is normal that climbers make their ascent according to their local tradition.
Even today look at the huge_team_expedition style performed by russians, or the alpine style of british or Nordamerican in Himalaya.
Concernign the K&LK report, these few sentences just show, in my opinion, how little serious and very fanatic they are:
"Fair means does not mean no bolts. Reasonable use of bolts has been a long-accepted practice in this mountain range."
"The Southeast Ridge was attainable by fair means in the '70s, he stole that climb from the future."
"After a lengthy introspection on the summit, we knew the act needed to be initiated by one party, without consensus."
"The fact that we were planning on leaving these bolts in anyways, meant it was too silly not to use them on the ascent."
So, did they planned on the bottom or on the top?
So there's a local tradition somewhere which includes compressors and hundreds of bolts?
Sorry but you're talking bollocks here, or maybe you are just trolling, so we should stop feeding you :-)
Nowadays they are called "drills" ...
But there were no drills those times ...
Maestri was a pioneer ...
> Nowadays they are called "drills" ...
> But there were no drills those times ...
What did he do then? Poke a hole in the granite with his finger?
> Nowadays they are called "drills" ...
> But there were no drills those times ...
So what was the compressor for?
> Ian, I think that the motivation which pushed K&K to chop the Compressor's route is what bothers most: the vilification of an bad style,
Bad style is bad style, and it seems it still needs to be shown to be bad style. Vilification of bad style seems fine to me. You're surely not trying to suggest that the bolt ladder is anything other than the worst possible style?
Chopping the bolts doesn't affect the context. It was the placing of the bolts in the first place that created the context - that doesn't change.
They were standardised enough that Italians like Comici, Cassin, Diabona (all of them), Bonatti and the likes would never have dreamt of doing what Maestri did. They would have come to the same conclusion as the Anglo-Argentine group the year before, that it was better to leave it. Climbing Cerro Torre was not beyond the standards of the time - Daniele Chiappa, Mario Conti, Casimiro Ferrari, and Pino Negri did it only 4 years later in perfect style, and Maestri denied them the privilege to be known as the first to summit because he lied and twisted truths for his own gain.
You keep repeating your argument, which is that ‘Maestri climbed the route within the accepted style (rules) of the time, therefore it stands as a legitimate ascent, even though it does not conform to the style (rules) of today, and as such should be left alone as a justified part of history’.
But this argument is flawed;
1) While the directissima approach was adopted in some areas at this time, where else had anyone taken this climbing approach to its bitter conclusion, that is, dragging a compressor up a route to drill over 400 bolts into it. Where else was this happening at the time? To say that it was within the style of the times is like saying ‘I saw somebody cut a tree down, so that gives me the right to cut down the entire Amazon rainforest’. There’s no rationale in extending an argument to its nth degree. If there was, people could legitimise what ever irresponsible behaviour they chose (as many people have done and still do).
2) Just because something has been given the label of ‘historical’ doesn’t give it immunity from being altered or destroyed. Many historical monuments have been pulled down and destroyed (such as the Berlin wall) and with good reason, because they stand for something repressive and controlling, or in Messners words they stand as monuments to ‘the murder of the impossible’. It is an act of catharsis to remove these monuments to the worst of human nature, and in this context the mountain and its people have been set a little bit freer by the act of removing these bolts.
2. This attempted justification of Maestri's actions because it fit the "diretissima ethic" that was being practiced in the Dolomites is kind of funny, because most of the time those routes actually were veritable diretissimas. Maestri instead overbolted one of the biggest lines of weakness on the mountain. If he wanted to bolt up a real diretissima, he should have either gone for the Hell's Diretissima on the east face or Infinito Sud on the south face (both of which were established with only a tiny fraction of the bolts he used on the much easier southeast ridge).
To put it another way, normally when we preserve something that historically did something we now disapprove of, it's because it no longer performs that function. To use the example of the Berlin Wall - Checkpoint Charlie is a tourist attraction now and is preserved (or actually rebuilt), but it doesn't enforce the separation between East and West Berlin any more. Whereas a gratuitous bolt ladder on a mountain route does something that we disapprove of - devalues and sanitises the route - by its very existence. The historical value of preserving it is outweighed by the ethical value of removing it.
I too would like to make donation to the zip wire/cafe complex proposed.
> I know the ascent (Maestri's) was an abomination, but dragging all that kit up there must have required one hell of an effort!
Wasn't he sponsored by the compressor manufacturer or something like that. Or to put it differently the story as i've been told it by one of my mates who's done a bit of Patagonian big walling and all the research that comes with it too. Is that the compressor company were tendering for some alaskan pipeline but had no bona fides for their equipment in extreme climates. So they sponsored maestri to prove that their equipment was up to the job in the environment.
I would like to explain you why a (great) part of people in Italy...and all around the world...does not like what is happening in Patagonia...also if these people do not like spits/bolds and never liked the Compressor route.
In my opinion Compressor route should be chopped (stronger...had to be chopped!) by Maestri's contemporaries and not after more than 40 years by two young people (kids...if I read what they written as justification of their acts...).
I would have been one of the people that strongly criticized Maestri for his ascent in 1970...and one of the people that justified the bolt chopping of the route at THAT time...not now.
40 years are like a quarter of the whole history of climbing mountain...a 40 year old route is, also if strongly controversial and notorius as the Compressor route, an historical route...may be a good (the worse!) example of what not to do in mountain...
In my opinion erasing a route like that is simply trying to change the cursus of the history, negating its existence...and to negate history is never a good thing...is simply revisionism. we must rememeber always what our fathers did...good and bad things...
I don't like it.
for fixing coordinates:
I consider the way a climbing more important that what I climb.
I climb ''by fair means''...no bolts, no bolted belays.
unlikely only in the alps (no time and no money for patagonia/himalaya...).
I consider that affirming ''by fair means'' after using 5 spits and several bolted belays is simply cheating.
you brits know this game (alpinism is a mere game...with all the respect for Mr.Hemingway) very well...the most important things are RULES.
and rules cannot be changed in function of our greater/lower capability.
rules must be fixed once and before playing...5 spits (+ belays) are not ''by fair means''...
Nevertheless I consider that this sharp and strict judgement must be applied to OUR climbing activity...0 bolt ok, 5 (or 360) bolts: bad!
...but not to a route that remained in place for 40 years and that WAS a (sad) element of climbing history...to judge firmly and to act had to be done a lot of time ago...now is too late for acting, we can simply judge.
so I do not support K&K action.
I would like to honor Dolomites...directissimas and bolted routes were only a little parentesis in the glorious history of that mountain...usually known for their solid ethics!
during the 30s people like comici, tissi, vinatzer, detassis...pushed the limits of what was free-climbeable (reaching F6a and more with 4/10 pitons in 400/800m walls)...people like comici, cassin, carlesso explored the ''fair side'' of artificial (and free!) progression climbing walls that were considered unclimbable...
also during the ''directissima era'' people like the young messner, cozzolino...lately casarotto...imposed their perfect style climbing without bolts (as their fathers...) and mostly free impressive walls...these new better realizations ''imposed'' the new (old!) style...not unilateral acts of vandalisms!
(maestri too performed several of the most impressive free-climbing solos...)
in the late 70s and 80s the group of mariacher (rieser, iovane, pederiva, schistl...) pushed the limit of free-climbing in the big Dolomite walls with an ethics that is comparable to yours...no bolts and NO AID climbing...otherwise they bailed.
they tried the FA of ''the fish'' (1100m, F6c, C2...free at 7b+...no bolts, rare pitons...slab climbing!) not accepting aid climbing...they bailed several time (to hard and exposed at the time the F7b+ part)...sustr/koller accepted the compromise of using aid (hooks) the did the FA...
also during the last ''dull'' era...where few spits are considered acceptable for hard climbs in dolomite...the old maricher group (not him) has mainteined his perfect climbing style...I know that ''climbing reviews'' report only the last bolted realisations...but FA up to F8a on slabs have been performed on 800m high walls without any bold and without any aid climb (FA...on slab!!).
Dolomites has been the place where continental people develop their capability and skillness before exporting these in western alps and all around the world:
-cassin and gervasutti learned to climb there...and only after moved to western alps
-desmaison and couzy thought neccessary to spend part of their summer in Dolomites
-without any doubt the strongest continental rock climber of the 70s 80s 90s ''belong'' to dolomites
For me the bottom line is that K&K were the last people entitled to chop Maestri's bolts, just because they pretend they are superheroes and their faith is the only right one. Full stop!
I've never said that Maestri's bolts should never be chopped!
Then I tried to contextualize Maestri's action, where the novelty of the Compressor.
Climbers didn't like it and he paid the price for it. But it happened 40 years ago!
What also Matteo is saying, is that climbing history in Dolomites was characterized by different periods, and one of them was characterized by sistematic boling. Here below just a list. In some routes the bolts/length ratio is much higher than the Compressor's route!
1959: Torre Trieste, South Face, Piussi-Giorgio Radaelli, 800 m, 330 pitons, 90 bolts, 45 wooden wedges.
1960: Roda di Vael, Maestri-Baldessari, 400 m, 400 pitons, 20 bolts.
1966: Taè, South face, Dibona-Valleferro_Da Pozzo, 400 m, 170 pitons, 180 bolts
1966: Tofana di Mezzo, East face, Dibona__Da Pozzo_Valleferro, 400 m, 180 pitons, 70 bolts
1968: Punta Gíovannina (Tofane), South West face, Dibona_Zandonel, 320 m, 150 pitons, more than 100 bolts
How does removing the bolts prevent us from remembering them?
I did not state ''I'm right''
I do not pretend to be right
I said why several people like me...people that never like the Compressor route...do not consider a fair action erasing that route now.
Climbers try to discuss and take a democratic decisions on the Compressors bolts. 75% say no, 25% says yes.
Now, let's wonder: why the locals consider K&K persona non grata?
So, for them other people's opinion counts zero and we have to thell them "bravi"?
> In my opinion erasing a route like that is simply trying to change the cursus of the history, negating its existence...and to negate history is never a good thing...is simply revisionism. we must rememeber always what our fathers did...good and bad things...
Remembering the good and bad our fathers did doesn't mean we can do things differently, or that we have to leave their mistakes in place for posterity - we can change things for the better.
Look at the Nose. There are two bolt ladders.
In particular Harding did the last one because he was exausted and fed up.
He took this choice.
He was criticized. He was celebrated, and the bolts are still there.
I don't care if he was right or wrong. It happened 50 years ago, and now I can go for it or try to do it with new challenges (boltless, free, etc) without necessarily erasing it just because of my opinion.
If I, italian, decide to go there and chop the bolts, I think it would be wrong towards the locals of that place.
As I would think it would be wrong if someone goes to Dolomites to do the same, or come to UK and add bolts.
Maestri was not a superhero. But he was very tough. Freesoloed some extreme freclimbs of his time up and down, but on the steep and smooth routes he made bolt ladders, according to the tradition of the place. But to be tough or weak doesn't make a decision right.
So, for you any decision has to be taken according to a personal arbitrary choice without considering other climbers's opinion?
Whilst there are always prevailing ethics and climbing styles at a particular time and place, these always change and it is climbers, individually through their actions, who instigate these changes.
Climbing history is organic and is in a constant state of flux.
One guiding light was Royal Robbins who, can't remember the exact words, said that it is healthy if climbers improve on the style of previous ascents.
He tried on the Wall of Early Morning Light in Yosemite, but gave up chopping Warren Hardings bolts when the difficulties got to difficult.
Robbins also didn't repeat John Gill's The Thimble ( a mere boulder problem in the Needles of South Dakota). Gill top roped it then soloed it, above some railings at the time. Robbins went with the intention of improving the style by doing it ground up without top rope practice. He didn't have the balls to do it, and admitted that, and he didn't want to top rope it, so he walked away.
Cesare Maestri when he bolted up Cerro Torre consulted no group of climbers, there was no consensus. He just decided to do it, because he could and he wanted to. Full on respect for him doing that, that's how climbing as always been.
Since then there has been, on that route and other routes on Cerro Torre, better ethics and style than Maestri...by Jim Bridwell, Ermanno Salvaterra, Rolando Garibotti and Alessandro Beltrami, Zack Smith and Josh Wharton, Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk, and of course David Lama, and others.
That's how climbing is, climbers get better, fitter, smarter, they become purer in style and ethics, especially we hope in the wild mountains of the world.
I think Kruk's words sum this up:
"After a lengthy introspection on the summit, we knew the act needed to be initiated by one party, without consensus. The tribes will always remain too polarized to reach a common ground. "
Two climbers, acting alone, without consensus, make a change. They do not need any higher authority than themselves. They climbed the route fairly and that gives more weight to their actions.
Good on them, good on Maestri, good on all involved in this saga.
This is what makes climbing so challenging, interesting and wonderful.
All the best,
What a great take on the situation! Ha Ha!
You forgot ...
1964: The Prow, 2 bolt ladders, 38 bolts
1972, Tangerine Trip, 550 m, 2 bolt ladders, more than 50 bolts.
1976: Lurking Fear, 2 bolt ladders
Maestri did the Compressor in 1970. So, to say that the ethic of the time was against bolt ladders is, at least, an overstatement.
Furthermore, I don't know of american who went to Dolomite to know their ethic. So I don't see why you have to pretend that Maestri should do the same.
Over all, I think there has been an excessive attack against Maestri and his 1970 route.
A furhter note.
Dolomite was not just about bolting. That concerned only for routes considered "impossible" otherwise.
I mostly agree with your last post.
Just two comments. A friend of mine climbed the Compressor route. He is quite a strong climber. But he told me that when he climbed that route there was a lot of ice on the rock and he had to use the bolts if he wanted to reach the summit. He made me notice, on the contrary, that K&K and Lama found very good conditions. Furthermore Maestri "forgot" the pitons at the bottom of Cerro Torre, so he had to resort to the use of bolts. At least this is what he says.
I read Maestri's books many years ago. What impressed me most was his winter attempt on Cerro Torre. In the pictures everything is icy. Ropes, clothes, beards. But for the personality I had mixed feeling about him. Admiration for his stubborness, will power and courage, but not for his dominant and aggressive attitude, which made him antipathic to most climbers. Now I think he was just extravagant.
Third. He always said he reached the rocky summit of Cerro Torre because that one for him was the summit. He never said he reached the top of the mushroom in 1970, but only in 1959. You may believe him or not but this is what he said.
"Robbins also didn't repeat John Gill's The Thimble ( a mere boulder problem in the Needles of South Dakota). Gill top roped it then soloed it, above some railings at the time."
This is a bit OT and only for precision's sake: according to John Gill himself, The Thimble was a "rope-unrehearsed, free-solo FA".
So Gill didn't top rope The Thimble, he did climb it solo, after some unroped rehearsal.
Read more at John Gill's site: http://www128.pair.com/r3d4k7/HomePage7.html
The above obviously doesn't change a bit of the meaning of Mick Ryan's statement.
thanks for the correction, I was typing on the fly....
Fact is that none of the three climbers he mentions has actually climbed the compressor route. This just goes to show the suspect quality of his information. For someone that speaks with such authority he sure knows little about climbing in Patagonia.
Karl attempted the route a number of times, mostly with Hans Martin Goetz but did not succeed.
The Kammerlander that climbed the route was Hans and not Beat (no relation, one is Austrian, the other from South Tyrol).
Moro attempted the route in the winter but had to give up early after their cache at the col of Patience was lost under piles of snow.
you are right. I was meaning Hans Kammerlander.
Concerning Karl and Simone, I read their books some time ago and most of my library is in Italy, and now I live in Switzerland. So, I have to resort to my memory and I can be imprecise. But I remember their positive opinion and how they were impressed by Maestri's achievement. This was my point.
I've not yet managed to find my copy of Mountain with the interview with Maestri (issue 23) but I had a look at Doug Scott's book "Big Wall Climbing" published in 1974. On p242 there is a section entitled "And to compressor drills" with some quotes attributed to Maestri. Here's one section:
However Maestri saw the mechanical drill as a step in the right direction. He said in a recent Mountain interview, 'It seemed to fit in with my own philosophy regarding the advancement of technique'
The following sections go to some length to counter this argument. There is also confirmation that Maestri was sponsored in the use of the compressor but "would have reverted to a hand drill" if it hadn't been available.
On p195 there is a photograph of Maestri with the drill with the caption "Maestri at work in 1970" but it's not clear where it is taken as he isn't wearing a helmet and there's a feeling of warm sunny rock - it looks more like a publicity shot for the drill manufacturer.
The surrounding text is fairly clear in the dismay felt at the time about the use of the compressor and the excessive number of bolts is already noted especially in areas where cracks were available. When the only tool available to you is a 7 pound hammer then every problem looks like a nail.
Most of the Compressor route had already been climbed without recourse to Maestri's bolt ladders only the last 40 metres or so had held out so Kennedy & Kruk's ascent is perhaps better seen as finishing a long task that had been started with the British attempt in 1968. It seems that the current line doesn't follow the exact line of (ex) bolts on the headwall but weaves in and out to find the natural line. Maestri followed blank rock but it doesn't mean that there aren't natural features for progression or protection.
Looking at the photos, some of the bolts look in good condition but on others there are distinctive rust markings across the shear line so it's possible that some bolts would have begun to deteriorate and fail in the next few years. What do you propose would happen then? Modern climbers return and replace them thus perpetuating the misdeed?
Kennedy and Kruk have only hastened this process. They've effectively forced the hand of weaker minded contenders who either have to up their game or seek to boost their ego elsewhere.
good post and thanks for sharing.
One comment. Maestri thought that drilling by using compressors or drills, was the future. I think it became, several decades later a specific style used on unprotectable routes. Here in Switzerland places like Wenden or Ratikon have hundred of meters of smooth rock without any protection possibility. Piola was a "pioneer", while extreme routes were opened by Kammerlander, Larcher, etc. The big difference that Maestri used the bolts for progression, while now they used only for protection, and the runouts, sometimes, are crazy.
This reminds me a parallel with the Preuss (freesolo for ever) vs Dibona and Piaz debate on the piton. For the latter, only the piton could lead to an evolution. Nowadays, fortunately, there are so many styles we can adopt, that we don't need to squeeze climbing on just discipline.
We can choose. For me the important is to keep diversity and to encourage engagement in the opening of new routes in the mountains.
Seba's resume: Fitz Roy at 16, first winter ascent of Fitz at 17, Torre at 19, K2 at 25 and many many other brillant climbs.
Comesaña and De la Cruz support the action. No need to mention Garibotti who has made his views more than clear.
the feeling around the world are not always the same.
I would like to show you the words of Mario Conti...one of the first ascentionists of the Ragni route on Cerro Torre...sorry for the bad translation...
''Certainly I want to congratulate with Kennedy and Kruk for their ascentand even more with David Lama for the free-ascent.
On removal of Maestri's bolts I absolutely desagree. A first ascent done in 1970, when even El Chalten existed, when Patagonia was not accessible as it is today, certainly done with methods that I did not approve, that I do not approve even today, still deserves respect for his historical value. This route is in fact, along with the controversy and the pages of literature inspired by it, a piece of the history of alpinism, history consists of beautiful and ugly things, and is representative of those years of mountaineering. Maestri put bolts in 1970, but others have not been more respectful, just think about the spits posed by Lama with subsequent removal by Garibotti. We can clearly state that among all the climbers that climbed Cerro Torre anybody can state that he had been consistent with what professed by himself. Maestri's Bolts and belays have been used by all. The certainty of a fast-descent has helped many, including some famous first-ascentionists, to ''play'' until the last possibility. In the same way others used the last part of the Compressor route to complete their new lines. I would point out that the only independent lines that reach the top are ours [Ragni route], and Maestri's route, with the last part climbed by Bridwell. Surely now the possibility of climbing Cerro Torre is denied for the most part of aspirants. Certainly these routes, symbol of an unsurvived Mountaineering, have been considered differently in the Alps. Maestri's and others' routes, such as the Minussi line in Lavaredo, have been free-climbed, nevertheless no one has ever arrogated the right to erase the historical value by removing the original bolts. Evidently the Torre is different, the charm of being involved in a controversy with famous climbers and unknowns is more passionating that ascents themselves, and so Kennedy and Kruk will be remembered in the history not for their beautiful ascent, but still thanks to Maestri, and the controversy over his forty years old decisions. In this sense, they should at least thank him.
May be Matteo can translate the whole paragraph but Conti says that "Maestri ruined it all" and that "Only taking the bolts out one can imagine the mountain like it was, like it should be".
An obvious contradiction with Conti's recent statements in which he criticizes the bolt chopping.
Seems like Salvaterra is not the only one that had a change of heart after the deed was done.
I don't have the spreafico's paper. If you kindly sand me a copy I could translate that for you guys :) avoiding the mistakes that often google does (I'm not incredibly better...but better anyway :))) )
I thinks that, if there is one positive thinks about this unilateral action done by KKK, is that force people to reflect...
reflect about ethics...for those that sometimes justified bolts/spits/siege
but also reflect about the history of mountaineering and the respect for what had been done by our ''fathers''...good or bad things
as someone state on ''supertopo'' KKK entered a grey region, and nobody is a white knight. I think this is the reason that push people to change advise...
don't we accept the Maestri's bolts?...ok, I agree.
but in the same way I don't whant to accept all the bolts on alpine climbs
1/10/100...bolts is the same things...the murdering of impossible, is our egoistic un-capability to accept to fail and to renounce to the summits.
would we like to have a clean mountaineering? I hope so.
so be able to u-turn and let something ''inviolated''...there is not an acceptable level of bolting!
In my opinion this should be our evolution (and you brits for that are great)...but does not means to destroy the past, at least not in a unilateral way...
I would like to show you the words of a great climber...what a man! what a bold ethics!:
''This arete will be climbed by someone that will use artificial methods,
I prefer to renounce''
Paul Preuss concerning the S arete of Aiguille Noire
I answered his question in his magazine
but after two days does not appear. I would also be grateful if my email address would be substituted by a nickname (enzolino), like I tried to do. I sent him an email but I got no reply. An additional comment. As I inferred correctly the "pseudo-.petition" comes from Garibotti
I wonder if Climbmagazine behaves always in this way or just in this circumstance.
Here my answer:
I and many other climbers consider the Compressor route and historical route and that the chopping of the bolts an act of arrogance for the way has been realized. Against the will of the locals and against previous democratic attempts to take a decision.
I am for the preservation of the wilderness and I could have agreed to the chopping in other circumstances, but I am against the disrespect for past good and bad styles, which are part of the history and climbing evolution.
By "supporting" this action you implicitely support the bolt removal from all historical routes of the world, ignorng the previous tacit respect for the routes opened with a different style. This, in my opinion, is a fundamentalist view which can promote and escalate the conflict between climbers with a different philosophy about ethics. This is why I mentioned the words "holy war".
Petitions are official and formal protests or requests for action addressed to an authority. So, who is the authority? Which is the action? Are those against the chopping supposed to promote a "counter petition"?
"Ridiculous bunch of names" is referred to their limited number which has no statistic meaning, and to the "pseudo-petition" itself.
Besides the polemic I hope that there will be a debate on this issue, a "real live forum" because the disagreement has reached international and broad proportions with climbers for and against the chopping.
I hope I satisfied your curiosity ... :-)"
I will look into getting your nickname on instead of your email, I suspect it's down to how you registered for the site. If you want I can put your reply above on the Climb site?
So thanks for your answer. Although still I'm confused. I asked you why the list of signatures was a 'ridiculous bunch' - you say it's because there aren't many - that merits calling climbers such as Messner, Boysen, Comesana, Caldwell and Siegrist as ridiculous! The size of the list is of a similar order to the 'Taliban on Cerro Torre' authored by Stefano Lovison petition published on planetmountain. You call the petition I signed a 'pseudo petition' why do you try to mock both the people and the simple support they offer? I can understand that you don't agree but your lack of respect does you no favours. The planetmountain petition was one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen published in the mountain world, as Ed Douglas said it would be comic if it it was a joke, but I have refrained from saying anything about that - respecting fellow climbers option to sign up to what they like.
The petition I signed offered simple support for the chopping in answer to those who claimed that Kennedy and Kruk's actions were isolated and unsupported. The petition shows that they have widespread support amongst many of those who have showed commitment to the range. I've no doubt there are others who have established new routes or made important repeats in the area who feel the opposite. I'm not suggesting that the petition is an immediate solution but it is another piece in the debate.
As to why supporting chopping the compressor route should lead to all historical routes bolts being chopped - this seems nonsense. Each route should be assessed on it's own merits. As you know there are plenty of other routes that have had bolt disputes - maybe not 125 bolts chopped but then few other routes have 360+ bolts placed, in such a manner, at such a time, on such an important peak. Do you really believe this conclusion? Words such as Holy War - give the idea of a black and white world driven by fundamentalists. You might not want to believe this but Kennedy, Kruk and Garibotti aren't fundamentalists. They haven't roamed the globe randomly chopping instead they chose one route that was so far out of line on one of the World's most important peaks.
I agree a big debate would be useful (although we have to realise there would probably need to be many debates i.e. in Italy, Argentina, US, UK etc) but we have to stop this kind of thinking summed up in language such as 'Holy War', 'Taliban' and on the the pro chopping side 'Rape' and 'Via Ferratta'.
I'm very calm. But I don't like to see no answer to your question and my name on it. And in future I'll be reluctant to place there my comments again.
I agree on the last part of your message here. But if you followed the issue, this escalation of extreme metaphors did not start with the anti-chopping supporters.
Consacration, resurrection, desecration, rape, Berlin's wall, atrocity, insanity, etc do not call for moderate response.
Perhaps I gave excessive semantic meaning to the word petition. Coming from "petere = request", petition tipically is a formal request for action addressed towards an authority. Therefore the "Climbing" statement is not a petition, it is nothing official. Therefore I found pretentious that list of names, as if they pretended to represent the "The mountaineering community's response". As Garibotti proved, this is not far from reality:
This is why I used the term "riduculous bunch", referring to the list, and not to the individuals. If the understanding of my comment is that I referred to the single individuals I have no problem to apologize and retreat that portion of my statement.
Stefano Lovison's statement is not a petition. It's just his opinion supported by many signatures. That's it. Doesn't have any claim to be anything official.
I disagree about Garibotti, Kennedy and Kruk foundamentalism. I have the impression that indeed they are climbing fundamentalists and that Garibotti is acting in bad faith.
[I've been twice]-[I've never been] to Cerro Torre and [I'm going back there next season]-[I'll never be].
I climb [moderate sport]-[extreme alpine] routes.
So what difference does it make?
Everybody chooses the amount of their own private life to expose on the Internet.
It's called freedom.
I don't care about putting my name. I just don't want to get spam or undesired emails. That's it.
As far as I'm concerned Ian can leave my Name "Lorenzo" and Surname "Castaldi", but I don't like to have my email address exposed.
Thanks for climbmagazine. I don't want to mess up again, therefore I'll leave it as it is. I don't have further comments to add.
Concerning the last message, so why they are attacking so much Maestri and the Compressor route? Why they ignored the opinion of El Chalten?
New documents now came out:
Concerning Kennedy and Kruk, they followed in the last years the anti-Maestri feeling, which has been grown progressively and I see them as young climbers who followed this feeling and chopping idea discussed and cooked during "cocktail time" in El Chalten + an additional incentive:
"But there was something else. David Lama was planning to try and free the Compressor Route during the five day weather window. Kruk explains: “That was extra incentive, not because we did not want to share the route with him but because we didn’t want to share the route with a helicopter 14 hours a day.” Another reason, although Kruk does not mention it; by being first in a race to the top, he and Kennedy would have first dibs on deciding the fate of the bolts."
I believe they have also some "noble" motivation behind (the wilderness of the mountain), but sometimes people have a tunnel vision about ethics and their language and behavior is what in my view makes them fundamentelists.
About Garibotti the issue, in my opinion, is even more complex, than mere fundamentalism. And there is not space and time to discuss it here. But there are several elements, beside the "Compressor route" affair, for which for me (and others) he is abusing of his authoritativeness about Patagonia, to re-write the climbing history of that region at his own convenience.
I don't understand this thing about rewriting history. I don't see how chopping the bolts is rewriting history. Climbing has a rich and full history, but we don't need to preserve everything to keep that history. We know about the tragedies on the Eiger without needing to have the bodies left in place, we know about the successes on the Himalayan 8000m mountains without feeling that every ascent has to follow the same routes and ethics.
The history of Cerre Torro is an ongoing history, from the failures, the bolting, and the successes. The fact that the bolts are gone does not change the history - that's preserved in words and images.
Good article that.
I think your conclusions are somewhat extreme! To me, they come across as two laid back guys, enthusiastic about alpinism, the way we conduct ourselves in the mountains, and the mountains apon which we are privileged to climb. Maybe you hold your views with such rigidity that anyone who contravenes them must be a fundamentalist.
By by re-writing Patagonian history I was not referring to the chopping, but on his website "pataclimb". The change of the toponimy, the credit of routes or first ascents, etcetera.
first the action itself, of two climbers in a foreign country who chop a route in the name of ethic purity, plus some of their statements from there and from here
- I couldn’t sleep knowing that a violent crime was committed against it and it had no restitution (get a life!)
- As a society we have removed other mistakes, like the Berlin Wall (LOL)
- Maestri's actions were a complete atrocity (Wow! Even an atrocity!)
- he stole that climb from the future (Really? Like many other aid routes?)
- The fact that there was a glorified via-ferrata to its summit deeply offended a global community of dedicated alpinists (via-ferrata? global community???)
made me believe that they have a quite fundamentalist attitude towards climbing ethics.
> By by re-writing Patagonian history I was not referring to the chopping, but on his website "pataclimb". The change of the toponimy, the credit of routes or first ascents, etcetera.
Strange - I would have said the opposite. After all, there's an extensive section on the Compressor route, with a topo of it. If he'd wanted to rewrite history, he could have removed all reference to the Compressor route, or he could have dismissed it in very short order. Instead, he gives considerable coverage to it - not really the actions of someone wanting to rewrite history, I would have thought.
Garibotti says why he renamed the col: Maestri called it "The Col of Conquests" in part due his claim to have climbed the peak with Egger and in part as a dig at Bonatti's "Col of Hope". Since it's now evident that Maestri and Egger didn't get beyond the triangular snowpatch, and therefore never even reached the col, the name is hardly appropriate.
However as a name, I quite like it. It does go well with "The Col of Hope" but it wasn't Maestri's to name.
Maestri engineered the Compressor Route out of fury and spite rather than a love of the mountains and as such it was destined to be climbed in a manner deserving of the mountain if not now then by a future generation.
I think it's inconceivable anyone would be stupid enough to replace the bolts.
The point as I see it is that this wasn't even a route. It was deliberate vandalism, and done by a cheat and a liar at that. All these arguments about rewriting history and so forth are just bollocks because the CR wasn't history (except in the obvious sense that it happened in the past); it was simply one person going more than a little mad, losing his dignity and reputation, and making an absurd mess where literally nobody thought it should be.
As for the stuff about how K&K are going to a foreign country and imposing their ethics, I really don't understand how anyone can say this given what Maestri did in the first place.
Does anyone outside Italy think chopping these bolts was a bad idea?
The fact that Hillary did Everest FA didn't allow him to change an established name.
The fact that Lacedelli and Compagnoni did the K2 FA didn't allow them to change an established name.
The fact that Garibotti climbed the Col of Conquest and take care of a website on Patagonia, doesn't allow him to change the established name.
Another of the example where Garibotti is trying to change Patagonian history:
A picture in the storm for Garibotti is not a proof.
The fact that Thomas Huber probably overlooked three bolts on the Egger, is a proof of the fact that De Dona' and Giongo lied.
Emanuele Pellizzari asked Garibotti in the Pataclimb website if the mail address Rolo supposedly sent the letter to De Dona' and Giongo and if it was normal or registered letter.
No answer from Garibotti.
This is just another example of Garibotti's method.
Well ... guess ... El Chalten itself ... who considered Kruk and Kenendy persona non grata ... so argentinian ...
Americans ... I suggest you to read here Greg Crouch, Steph Davis,and David Albert comments
I lost track of also french comments on this issue ... maybe when I'll have time Ill post here the link ...
> Does anyone outside Italy think chopping these bolts was a bad idea?
For example try to read this US based forum:
Yeah, yeah, but again, the point is that Maestri named it thus in order to glorify his own supposed ascent, which was a lie.
I did read that or some of it; my impression was that apart from a few rather tiresome posters whom I supposed to be Italian, the general opinion was pretty much in favour.
Well nothing, I imagine. I don't think many people are going to go all the way to Patagonia to climb an aid route and/or drill some holes. Generally speaking, alpinists with the requisite abilities have better things to do, I think.
This is one of those issues that, for me, lies in the hands of those who have been instrumental in Patagonian climbing. Not a single other opinion matters, and nor should it. In that respect, the petition reported in Climb Magazine is the single most relevant piece in the debate.
I can't imagine that there's more than one or two (if that) climbers out there who not only oppose the chopping of the Compressor Route but who have also played a significant role in Patagonian climbing. If there are, I have yet to come across their names.
If you want to use the patagonian climbers argument.
Just to mention some names, where are Giarolli, Beltrami, De Dona', Salvaterra, Bridwell, Brewer, Kammerlander, Huber brothers, names and so on?
Furthermore I can mention several names of people who have climbed in Patagonia and opened new routes.
Mario Corti climbed Cerro Torre in the Ferrari's team, which represents the first "proved" ascent of CT, and he heavily criticized the chopping.
Steph Davis, David Albert and others are also strongly against.
Mike Schwitter is also against.
I can mention a longer list.
The bottom line is that to call it "The mountaineering community response" is not only presumptuous, but a sign of bad faith. Because Garibotti knows very well that many other climbers do not support the chopping action. But he tries to give the illusion that there is a broad consensus.
Furthermore, what Messner did in Patagonia? Nothing!
How can, Heinz Mariacher, who was criticized for his bolted route in Marmolada
Look at how many bolts he used.
If this is not hypocrisy, you can tell me what is it.
In other word, that list of name for me has not statistical value and is just a persuasive way to built consensus. That's it!
IMHO there's NO opinion that matters.
The chopping is HISTORY.
We can only rant and discuss about what's already done, so all opinions have pretty much the same power: ZERO.
I'm sure Jason Kruk and Hayden Kennedy couldn't care less about my opinion, so what?
Should I refrain from expressing it?
You're certainly allowed to express an opinion, it's just that in certain debates the opinions of some people carry more weight, usually because they've earned that right.
It seems to me that the majority of those against the bolt chopping have voiced their opinions on the basis that they (or the "climbing community") were never consulted on the issue. That's just playground emotion and a little maturity is called for.
A mountain (or at least an aspect of a mountain) has been restored to a more natural state. That, regardless of who played a part in it, should be an overwhelmingly positive thing.
If the debate is about some scientific matter, then I agree with you.
In "our" case I don't think that stronger climbers' opinions are automatically true, or any "heavier" than average climbers'.
Do you? I don't.
I perhaps shouldn't mention the E word here, but for instance, whenever I see images of Everest strewn with fixed ropes, guides and supplementary oxygen-carrying clients, a part of me sighs. Conversely, I then see images of a small team trying to forge a line to the top of a trackless Karakorum 8,000er in winter, and I sit back in awe.
As mike kann has just asked, regardless of what has occurred on Cerro Torre, surely a peak equally as iconic as Everest is all the better for not being strewn (and strewn is the precise word here) with the detritus of convenience? As far as I'm aware, none of the climbers who support the bolt removal are opposed to bolts on Cerro Torre; they're simply opposed to hundreds of recklessly placed bolts.
As I always said I'm not against the chopping itself. But I am against the way K&K did it. Without respect of the historical meaning of the route, of Cesare Maestri and the locals. I said it many times, and I repeat it.
As far as I'm concerned I think, again, the locals should decide what to do.
I hope there will be some debate at the international level, where the current conflict of ideas and principles will be overcome, and possibly some guidelines for the attribution of climbing achievements, will be defined. The UIAA has already some of such guidelines, but they are actually conflicting as far as the chopping of Compressor route concerns. Some of these guidelines refer to the style and ethics of the locals, and some to the respect of the "wilderness".
Did Maestri show respect for the locals when he scarred "their" mountain?
There was not a standard ethics in Patagonia at the time. It was a "no man's land" as far as I understood.
El Chalten didn't exist.
But if the locals criticized the Compressor route and chopped it, they had the right to do it.
When Conrad Anker removed the ladder from the second step on the Everest, the Chinese forced him to put it back.
Jasper was heavely criticized by the locals because he placed bolts in his new mixed route. ANd if they remove it they have the right to do so.
If I come to the UK, do you think I have the right to remove bolts or pitons just because I can climb without them?
Or place them just because I need them?
Furthermore its a question of perspecitive, whether for history to be remembered, there needs to be a physical presence in place. For example do you need there to be a physical representation of the trenches for one to remember the 1st world war? Whilst there is undoubtedly a poinency about going round these trenches, if you were to fill them in you would not simply forget what happened. But on the otherhand they serve as a reminder, albeit a muted and far less terrifying one of what life was like.
The question is whether this can be applied to the compressor route. I don't think many would disagree that what Maestri did was a mistake. Even if he made that mistake with best intentions it was a mistake. So the question is do you leave the mistake to remind everybody of what could be, or do you remove it to make it clear that the mistake should not be made again. However leaving the mistake, does leave it open to interpretation, that leaving such a large amount of metal in a mountain is ok, whereas removal is unequivocal, and absolutely clear. The only danger is that some might forget - but can you really imagine anybody forgetting this saga?
No, but there were Argentinians in Calafate for example. Furthermore, anyone with citizenship in the country at that time was, for all intents and purposes, a local.
Ethics don't have to be written down, or standardised, to exist. Scarring a mountain, leaving behind "trash", is ethically wrong whether it's written or not.
Sadly, the commercial interests associated with Everest have ensured that mountain remains scarred.
In the UK, we have adopted an adventurous ethic with regards to mountain routes. It would be a retrograde step to place bolts or accept the heavy use of pitons.
As above, this would be a step backwards. Kennedy and Kruk took a step forwards by increasing the difficulty.
No, it doesn't.
Does Nico Favresse's opinion carry more weight than Steve House's? (Favresse has climbed in the area, while House hasn't)
I guess it doesn't.
Just a small provocation (so read it as it is: a silly provocation): Cesare Maestri has climbed in the area too, but it seems that for some reason his opinion is not as legitimate as other climbers'.
The two camps are so entrenched thanks to HOW the chopping was made.
Oh yes? And how would you have liked it done, pray?
>Another of the example where Garibotti is trying to change Patagonian history:
A picture in the storm for Garibotti is not a proof.
The fact that Thomas Huber probably overlooked three bolts on the Egger, is a proof of the fact that De Dona' and Giongo lied.
Emanuele Pellizzari asked Garibotti in the Pataclimb website if the mail address Rolo supposedly sent the letter to De Dona' and Giongo and if it was normal or registered letter.
No answer from Garibotti.
I don't find your criticisms terribly compelling here. He doesn't say Thomas Huber overlooked the bolts; he says six parties couldn't find them. And he refers to the picture in the storm and says it doesn't look like where they say it is.
Is this the story, then - the Italians think Garibotti's out to trash them all somehow?
> Oh yes? And how would you have liked it done, pray?
John. there surely can't be (m)any people around who agree with bolts placed next to natural gear placements, and apparently there were lots of those on this route. But bolt ladders on blank expanses of rock? Plenty of precedent for that all over the world.
One thing that a lot of people might be angry about is that rather than selectively cleaning the route of bolts next to natural placements, and bringing the route in line with other accepted classics around the world (El Cap, Alps etc...) those guys went and stripped the blank section at the top, which means that nobody can climb the route now unless they can climb f8b. By doing that they've initiated the discussion about who has the right to decide that routes/mountains can only be climbed in their style... Amazing climbers and purist visionaries, for sure, but also impetuous and a bit selfish, it would seem...
I haven't seen how Kennedy & Kruk's variation or David Lama's line compare to the line of (ex) bolts. We know the claimed grade of Lama's line but that of the KK variation is meant to be much lower, something around 7a+, (5.11+). They also talk of bomber Friend and gear placements.
Cerro Torre is not now unclimbable (there's the Ragni route) but the SE ridge formerly occupied by the compressor route is a bigger challenge than it was.
Forgot to mention that Maestri himself stripped a good proportion of the last pitch, or rather 20 metres below his high point, so the last pitch has always been "different".
Let's clarify something immediately. You talk about "routes/mountains can only be climbed in their style". Kennedy and Kruk have not artificially altered Cerro Torre, they've done the opposite. They've taken the mountain back to a more natural state. To climb Cerro Torre now is not to climb in the style of Kennedy and Kruk, but to climb in the style of the mountain itself, as it naturally appears.
Do you think that it's a negative because Cerro Torre is no longer in a "dumbed down" state? Do you feel that the actions of Kennedy and Kruk are discriminatory? People do not have the automatic right to summit a mountain like Cerro Torre, it must be earned. I find it incredulous that this concept is so difficult to grasp, but then again, people have historically dumbed down other iconic mountains - Everest being the most obvious example - to allow them to summit that this way of thinking has become acceptable among certain groups.
Should the Olympics be open to everyone? To qualify for the Men's 1,500m athletics event, for example, you must run the equivalent of well under 4 minutes for the mile (3.35.50 is the qualifying time for London, approximately 3.50 for a mile). Is that unfair in your opinion? Or should it all be made easier so that more people can experience the Games?
I rather like the idea that you can only climb the world's most iconic montaineers' mountain if you are really, really good at climbing.
In Yosemite there is a long history of bathooking on small drilled holes, which of course is not particularly clean but was seen as cleaner than bolts and rivits. What is the difference here? The holes remain so any climber who wants to could bat hook their way up the old holes. A slightly braver and more scary affair than before but still doable by an climber with the will. 8b it is not.
> Let's clarify something immediately.
I don't share your passion on the subject Tom, so spare me it, if you don't mind.
Factual and informative... I appreciate that, thanks ALC.
> I rather like the idea that you can only climb the world's most iconic montaineers' mountain if you are really, really good at climbing.
So do I Robert :) The one time I aided a bolt ladder (West Face of the Monkey Face Tower in Smith Rock, Oregon... hardly even worth bringing into a discussion about Cerro Torre!) I found that particular pitch to be an emotionless experience in an otherwise satisfying climb... It left a niggling blemish on my memory of the day, knowing that the only reason I was able to stand on the top of the tower was because I had aided up a line of bolts someone had placed on a blank wall.
That said, I understand that there are people in the world who feel angry that the line of bolts on CT has been unilaterally removed, depriving them of the chance to climb that particular incarnation of the route. One particular voice I read was Steph Davis, who I'd have thought eminently capable of climbing it in almost any state... It's not black and white, which is what keeps it interesting, right? ;)
Good to know Mike (not for me personally, of course, but for people who are thinking of jetting off to try and climb it any time soon), thanks. Thanks also for keeping the emotion out of it. Tony
I understand that too. But I find it really hard to care less about them.
Countless times in the mountains I could not find bolts or pitons even in small walls. But this didn't mean that they were not around there. Two years ago it was funny. A party ahead of me could not find 10 cm large belay rings on the West Ridge of Salbit, which were right in front of their eyes, and they had to use rusty pitons two meters below. These are my experiences, so I'm surprised that so lightly other people jump to the conclusion. Giongo and De Dona' themselves could not find their own pitons (buried in the ice) of a previous attempt, as they said in an italian article. Therefore I would be more cautious before doubting or erasing an historical ascent. But lately, this seems to be a fashion. No proof = no ascent. Perhaps it makes sense for sponsors and business, but it doesn't fit with my romantic, and maybe naive, idea of alpinism. And personally I'm against it. But as a climbing notary, perhaps Garibotti is doing the right choice.
Believe me, I'd like nothing better than Maestri and Egger succeeding on their 1959 climb, but the weight of evidence against them is enormous and their supporting evidence either missing or contradictory. Maestri is his own worst enemy of course, which doesn't help things. I can understand him wanting to protect the memory of his friend Tony Egger. I know that Maestri has threatened legal action against anyone making claims that he didn't succeed in 1959 but am not aware if this has ever happened: I suspect that given the passage of time the only winners would be the lawyers.
You are right when you say that, as a climbing community, we should trust the words of those in our midst but occasionally individuals betray that trust. There was a case on Gogarth (North Wales) in the 1960s with an individual claiming first ascents of several routes. This got to the point where the climbing community brought in a national journalist to expose the claims. I'm unsure if the climber involved ever admitted his lies. Search for "The McAllum affair".
I've climbed with someone who had what might be described as "a passing acquaintance with reality" and would claim that he'd made early or free ascents of major routes but there was no supporting evidence and often verifiable evidence directly contradicting his statements. In spite of all this he was actually quite a nice bloke, you just had to be wary of what he'd tell you.
When you come across convincing, valid evidence that doesn't support your views you have two choices: accept that your view may be wrong or ignore the evidence. We'd all like to do the latter, it's the easy option. Changing your world view is harder, it opens you up to claims of betrayal, turning your back on those who also hold your views. It is however the only way forward.
You may view Garibotti as a revisionist but he's only adjusting his view according to the evidence put before him. If Maestri wishes to change that view then he should provide credible evidence to support his claim rather than simply shout "trust my word!". He's had over fifty years to do that and has so far failed to do so.
There are also counter examples. Situations achievements difficult to believe were later supported by a proof. It comes to my mind Hansjorg Auer freesolo of the fish in Marmolada (5.12b slabs). He had not pictures, but a german party witnessed and took pictures of his freesolo asking later to the media who was this crazy guy. I believe nobody would have believed him. There is even a funny story which involves Maestri. He climbed Matterhorn from Cervinia in a day. The guides didn't believe him because of the winter conditions of the mountain. He said of the aluminium foil left on the cross at the summit, and the guides later had to apologize when they found it.
But let's talk about achievements without proof.
There's not proof tha Peter Croft freesoloed Atroman. Therefore we have to erase his performance from the climbing history book.
What about Lynn Hill freeclimbing the Nose? Is there any video of the full ascent that shows that in no point she pulled any gear for progression? No eh? So ... erased from the history book!
This is just to mention a couple of examples.
But we can make a huge lists of clibing exploits with no proof.
Most of climbing achievements are based on trust. And I strongly reject the idea of validating an achievement only if supported by a proof. The only exception could concern sponsorship. But this is an issue among professionals which does not involve necessarily all climbers.
In this sense Alex Huber, Dean Potter or Alex Honnold are very professionals. But their style should not necessarily be adopted by all climbers. Many of us climb for intrinsic motivation, however we also like to share our experiences. And if the experience becomes an exploit, I find that the obligation to provide a proof every time is more than reductive. It could be naive, it could be romantic, but this is my opinion.
This is just to question the Garibotti's way to validate an ascent. And it does not necessarily concern the Maestri's affairs.
Coming back to Maestri. There have been also situations where climbers were falsely and drammatically accused due to a misinterpretation of facts and circumstances. Messner on Nanga Parbat, Bonatti on K2, Claudio Corti on the Eiger. Time showed that they were just calumnies. And they have to teach us that we have to be cautious before crucifying someone to be a liar.
C'mon, man, don't be an idiot. There's a huge difference between ascents without proof, and ascents where there is a mass of evidence directly contradicting the climber's own account.
I don't disagree with what you say about proof and caution, but the cases you cite differ wildly from this case.
Actually, I agree only on his criticism about the chopping as a consequence of ignorance and arrogance, but not on the rest ... I guess many of his arguments, which I barely share, are a consequence of his personal delusion about life ...
'Wading through treacle' springs to mind.
Unfortunately, some awful news (nothing to do with the Compressor Route). "Enzolino", whose real name was Lorenzo Castaldi, 40 years old, died this morning during a (for him) routine ascension of the north face of Ortles. He was avalanched together with three other climbers. He and a 35 years old Spanish man died, while the other two survived.
Lorenzo was born in Sardinia, but he has moved from many years to Zurich, where he had married. He is survived by his wife and a son. Despite not being known outside Italy, he was an excellent all rounder with a prestigious resume as a rock climber and mountaineer. He was well known into the Italian climbing community because of his talent and his energetic and often abrasive but always intelligent personality, and I believe he'll be greatly missed.
That's really terrible Luca. As you say, he seemed so energetic.
God, that puts a few bits of metal into perspective.
I didn't know Lorenzo, of course, but anyone who cares about climbing enough to contribute so passionately to ethical debates generally has something to contribute.
It's a nasty route, with the lower part menaced by seracs. Even if the route itself is in safe condition there is always high objective danger.
Steinkotter tells a chilling story of how his crampon strap broke (or something similar) on the approach to the route and he wasted a load of time trying to repair it. Suddenly a big serac fall came straigh tdown onto the first section of the route, where they would have been but for the delay.
I was up a few years ago looking at it with a friend who I was trying to convince to climb it. As we were watching a massive avalanche came straight down onto the route. My friend remained unconvinced, needless to say.
> It's a nasty route, with the lower part menaced by seracs. Even if the route itself is in safe condition there is always high objective danger.
Yes, it is. Enzolino was well aware of that (was there anything he wasn't aware of?), but he still climbed it. He recently wrote (in relation to the NF of Ortles)
"For me that route has a meaning transcending things like difficulty or beauty..."
What I find ironic and at the same time depressing and sad, is that Lorenzo may pass history as the guy who did a passionate, cultured, deeply felt stance against the destruction of the Compressor Route (the epitome of anti-trad. in some people views) while he was really a daring, competent and incredibly brave climber who did open some of the best and - on the long run - most committing trad routes of the Mediterranean basin. In total, between sport and trad route, Enzolino resume may count well above 300 new lines, often of very high difficulty. But he would never brag about it.
RIP Lorenzo, it was great to argue with you...
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