/ NEWS: David Lama and Cerro Torre; A Mountain Set Free

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UKC News - on 25 Jan 2012
David Lama during his attempt to make the first free ascent of The Compressor Route on Cerro Torre in Patagonia, Argentina, 4 kbIn this news report Jack Geldard sums up the recent, and not so recent, events on Cerro Torre in Patagonia, from the contested first ascent claim in 1959, through to David Lama's free ascent of the infamous Compressor Route.

So the 'Compressor Route' as it has stood for forty years is no more, with around a hundred of its bolts missing on the crucial upper reaches of the mountain...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=66281

johncoxmysteriously - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Thanks for this, Jack.

I'd be interested to hear more about this 2007 meeting of Alpinists, if anyone was minded to post a link or anything.

I don't think, btw, that 'attenuate' means quite what you think it does!

Quaint for Lama to say he was especially proud of having done this without placing any additional bolts. Perhaps film crew bolts don't count.

jcm
mattrm - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to UKC News)

> I don't think, btw, that 'attenuate' means quite what you think it does!

It's an enjoyable article and a good conclusion to the story of the route. You certainly can't accuse it of being dull.

One of the meanings of attenuate is:

'to weaken or reduce in force, intensity, effect, quantity, or value: to attenuate desire.'

So I can see why Jack might have chosen it, but I agree, it is an interesting choice. Maybe it's something from the thesaurus? I would have chosen forced or chipped personally.
Jonas Wiklund - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

On supertopo.com's endless thread Rolando Garibotti claims that:

The 2007 meet and "democratic vote" was little more than a farce. There was no democracy at work because few, if any, true "local climbers" were present. The assembly participants were clearly not a good "sample" of this "particular universe". The decision was nowhere close to being a "community agreement".

Tom Chamberlain - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News:
Well, to my mind this is like Everest being done without oxygen at last. The difference is, ascents WITH oxygen continued on Everest after 1978, and the mountain's two ordinary routes have turned into a circus.
Now Cerro Torre has had a 'by fair means only' ethic imposed. Say what you like about the actions of Kruk and Kennedy, who have received tirades of abuse on the internet (see the whining prigs on Alpinist.com, where the website of a pretty awesome magazine gets devalued by a couple of regular inadequate armchair spraymeisters; thank god UKclimbing hives off the debate onto a separate page). Whether we see them as ill-informed, arrogant or otherwise, they have done the mountain a favour.
Scarab - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Nice article, thanks.


Hats off to the two Yanks who stripped the route. I sense that ti will be rebolted.


Normally, the discussion of, if or not to bolt tend to be btw sport and trad climbers. A bit odd to get climbers who are interested of the more alpine element to be pro bolting Cerro Torre
Kemics - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to Scarab:

What's strange is that it's caused such fuss.

If you'd asked me a month ago what would happen if someone chopped the compressor route i'd have guessed people would have been applauding. It seems like one of the most black and white cases for bolt chopping. I love sport climbing and I love alpinism. Neither part of me sees the need or place for bolt ladders on cerror torre but hey.

I don't even see it as that bigger restriction, realistically any climber going to patagonia will be able to climb 5.11 A2.
tony on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to Kemics:
> (In reply to Scarab)
>
> What's strange is that it's caused such fuss.

I agree - I honestly don't understand how anyone can think that having a string of bolts up a peak such as Cerro Torre is a good thing to be preserved.

jon on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to tony:

> I agree - I honestly don't understand how anyone can think that having a string of bolts up a peak such as Cerro Torre is a good thing to be preserved.

Ironically it's surely the bolts that have made the peak so famous. Just think of an equal to CT, the Trango tower. Sure it's famous too, but it doesn't get half the attention in the climbing media that CT gets, even before this latest circus. In that light the bolts, the compressor and most of all Maestri, are an important bit of history. I'm never likely to go there, so it really doesn't mean a thing to me, but given a say (which I'm not entitled to), I'd say leave them. And the compressor - until it falls off on its own accord. Nothing to do with ethics. Just history.

In reply to johncoxmysteriously: There is an account of the meeting on Planet Mountain. The translation is a bit odd but you can get the idea.
tony on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to tony)
>
> [...]
>
> Ironically it's surely the bolts that have made the peak so famous. Just think of an equal to CT, the Trango tower. Sure it's famous too, but it doesn't get half the attention in the climbing media that CT gets, even before this latest circus.

Is that a good thing, or a bad thing? Or just a thing?

> In that light the bolts, the compressor and most of all Maestri, are an important bit of history.

It's not the bolts that are the history, it's the placing of them. That part of the story will never go away - you don't need them to be left in place for that part of the story to stay the same. You don't need Toni Kurz's body to be left hanging on the Eiger to know that story.



pmot on 25 Jan 2012
It had value as a cultural artefact, a misguided piece of mad cap performance that was one man's response to his grief/detractors/guilt. Leaving the compressor strung up there to the last bolt was the piece de resistance, the masterstroke that sealed the routes future as a surreal curiosity piece, unique in the World.

The environmental impact was minimal compared to tons of rubbish elsewhere, so its impact is ethical - it lives on in the minds and outraged attitudes of right-thinking climbers & commentators everywhere.

The chopping is an act of vandalism against the original 'work' (as art has always attracted vandals), and it is this act that has caused the upset, as it was this work that ensured the mountain's popularity, notoriety and profile. Without that unique 'piece' it is less of an attraction - would so many people visit the Louvre if the Mona Lisa was repatriated to Italy ?

With a trip to the Patagucci store, a guide and some acclimatisation, you too could clip your way up Cerro Torre - now its just another 5.11 / A2 / 8a.
Jonas Wiklund - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to Scarab:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Hats off to the two Yanks who stripped the route. I sense that ti will be rebolted.
>

Most climbers who are competent enough to get up to the headwall pitch with hundreds of bolts will not be particularly interested in rebolting it...
Robert Durran - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to Kemics:

> I don't even see it as that bigger restriction, realistically any climber going to patagonia will be able to climb 5.11 A2.

Have you ever been to Patagonia? And tried to climb anything at all?!

Simon Caldwell - on 25 Jan 2012
Robert Durran - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to jon:
> Ironically it's surely the bolts that have made the peak so famous........ I'm never likely to go there.........I'd say leave them.

No it's not the bolts that have made it famous (infamy is not the same as fame). Cerro Torre is famous because of its apparent "impossibility" that Maestri decided to "murder". No mountain has left me as speechless and slackjawed as my first sight of Cerro Torre. Photographs cannot do it justice - it is every wondering child's perfect mountain - the ultimate mountaineer's mountain. With the Compressor Route being partially (and, I hope, along with every other bolt on the mountain, eventually chopped), it's aura of difficulty which presumably drew Maestri in the first place has been largely restored This can surely only be a good thing. Anyone who carries a drill on Cerro Torre (or anywhere else in the range in my opinion) is committing a crime against the perfect crucible of pure alpinism.

Jon, you should go there. You might even see what I'm tring to get at!
jon on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to tony:

As I said, I have no real feelings about it. But given the backlash that the boys experienced, obviously there IS a feeling that they should stay, maybe as I suggested, for historical reasons - I don't know (obviously there are real feelings that they should go, too). Your reply - which I have absolutely no problem with - does sort of beg the question, do we need museums? Why not photograph everything, then just destroy it. Indeed like archaeologists are forced to do nowadays when they are called in to building projects.
jon on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

Rob, I know and respect your views, and I'm not arguing against them. My reply was trying to answer the question 'why is there such a fuss about the boys having taken them out'.
a lakeland climber on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to jon:

vested interests?

ALC
jon on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to a lakeland climber:

What me or them! Maybe, who knows.
ads.ukclimbing.com
tony on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to tony)
>
> Why not photograph everything, then just destroy it.

Because there is no benefit in destroying most historical artefacts. But this is a bunch of bolts which should never have been placed there in the first place. They don't need to be preserved to retain their place in history.
jacobjlloyd - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News: Are there really enough climbers out there who haven't got the drive to acquire the skills to climb Cerro Torre without a bolt ladder, but have enough desire to clip up it anyway that they would rather leave it as it is? The mountain was raped, and any subsequent ascent of the bolt ladder while perhaps not damaging is distinctly undignified. There are many of us who applaud the chopping of the bolts, and would applaud further chopping. They shouldn't have been put there in the first place. They shouldn't be there now. I aspire to climb it myself one day, and re-invigorating this challenge by removing the path is certainly a good thing. And if I ever do manage to climb it, I would hope I would have the courage to rip out some more of the bolts myself. It is a proud peak, and it deserves its dignity.
Jonny2vests - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to Scarab:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Nice article, thanks.
>
>
> Hats off to the two Yanks who stripped the route. I sense that ti will be rebolted.

Really? Can you imagine the flak they'd be in for, especially now its free.
jon on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to jacobjlloyd:

My Jacob, that's fighting talk. Good to have a dream, though.
Fergal - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to a lakeland climber:

I would imagine that the vested interests of a few in Chaltern, with commercial concerns, thinking fewer climbers will now come to Cerro Torre, not to mention the climbers past and present who have climbed or desire to do this "via ferrata". There is no legacy, this fair means ascent turns a new page in the history and evolution of this iconic spire.
Sir Stefan - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to jon)
> [...]
>
> It's not the bolts that are the history, it's the placing of them. That part of the story will never go away - you don't need them to be left in place for that part of the story to stay the same. You don't need Toni Kurz's body to be left hanging on the Eiger to know that story.

Well put!
Kemics - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Though i'd still leave the compressor hanging at the top of the route. Like the boats washed miles inland by tsunamis, a forgotten monolith to a tradegy :)

eschaton - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to Kemics: or an accident waiting to happen?
jon on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to eschaton:
> (In reply to Kemics) or an accident waiting to happen?

Wouldn't that be ironic!
eschaton - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to jon: in what respect?
jon on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to eschaton:

To be wiped out by a falling petrol driven compressor. Normal objective dangers don't usually include that.
Robert Durran - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to eschaton)
>
> To be wiped out by a falling petrol driven compressor. Normal objective dangers don't usually include that.

I'd actually be in favour of leaving just the compressor as a momento of the history of the route. Perhaps reinforce its moorings though.....

jon on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

You surprise me Rob. Thank goodness we agree on something. Or have I just been had?
Robert Durran - on 25 Jan 2012
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
>
> You surprise me Rob. Thank goodness we agree on something. Or have I just been had?

No, I'm serious!

whistler - on 26 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News:
I can't help but wonder, did they really summit? Personally, I find it hard to believe. Come on, don't tell me it didn't cross your mind? For starters, any summit shots? The one on Mammut's website (http://peakproject.mammut.ch/ko/basecamp-news?page=12) could have well been taken on the Ben as far as I can tell? Except he wouldn't look as if he just walked out of Cotswold...

Sceptical Pete
jon on 26 Jan 2012
In reply to whistler:

Having read that I'm even more confused than before. Not whether they actually stood on the summit, but where is the 8a bit? He talks about changing back to mountain boots, then climbing a one metre wide crack with ice in it. I thought they'd bivvied at the Ice Towers (or something) and he doesn't seem to mention that. He says he followed the Maestri route, then the Bridwell route, but doesn't go into detail.

His write up in his blog seems to describe a completely different climb...

Confused Jon

tony on 26 Jan 2012
In reply to Conquistador of the usless:
> (In reply to a lakeland climber)
>
> I would imagine that the vested interests of a few in Chaltern, with commercial concerns, thinking fewer climbers will now come to Cerro Torre,

But will fewer climbers go to Cerro Torre as a result of the bolts being chopped? Did many (any?) climbers actually use the bolt ladder?
tony on 26 Jan 2012
In reply to whistler:
> (In reply to UKC News)
> I can't help but wonder, did they really summit? Personally, I find it hard to believe. Come on, don't tell me it didn't cross your mind? For starters, any summit shots? The one on Mammut's website (http://peakproject.mammut.ch/ko/basecamp-news?page=12) could have well been taken on the Ben as far as I can tell? Except he wouldn't look as if he just walked out of Cotswold...
>
That photo is attached to a 2011 blog entry.
In reply to tony:

> But will fewer climbers go to Cerro Torre as a result of the bolts being chopped? Did many (any?) climbers actually use the bolt ladder?

And indeed has anyone guided Cerro Torre? Presumably a pricey trip if they have!

jon on 26 Jan 2012
In reply to tony:
> (In reply to whistler)
> [...]
> That photo is attached to a 2011 blog entry.

Ah yes. That's why I was confused then. March 2011. So it was a different ascent.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Robert Durran - on 26 Jan 2012
In reply to jon:
> His write up in his blog seems to describe a completely different climb...
>
> Confused Jon

Maybe the whole thing is made up! That would bring the whole Maestri saga neatly full circle and no doubt satisfy the unforgiving Red Bull vigilantes....

jon on 26 Jan 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:

Must be the radon gas that granite gives off that affects anyone who trys to climb it...? But in fact it was a blog from last year.
Ramblin dave - on 26 Jan 2012
In reply to Robert Durran:
There is no Cerro Torre. The entire thing is a hoax - it was cooked up via a couple of afternoons on Napes Needle and some clever photo manipulation.
whistler - on 26 Jan 2012
In reply to tony:
Can't go back to have another look at that post as:
"We are currently working on a important update of our website.
Please visit us again later."

But if that's the case then there is no summit photo online? Eh, nevermind.
Mr Lopez - on 26 Jan 2012
In reply to whistler:

> But if that's the case then there is no summit photo online?

Plenty of forthcoming video footage from both 'on the mountain' and chopper cams. However, it'll take some time before they can edit it, so you probably still have a few weeks to make an arse of yourself if you so wish...
Jonny2vests - on 26 Jan 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> There is no Cerro Torre. The entire thing is a hoax - it was cooked up via a couple of afternoons on Napes Needle and some clever photo manipulation.

Napes Needle? You don't believe that old fairy tale do you?
whistler - on 26 Jan 2012
In reply to Mr Lopez:


I'm sure it will all look lovely. Until then I will keep "making an arse of myself" or just "remain sceptical" as normal people would describe it.

Luke90 on 26 Jan 2012
In reply to whistler:
> But if that's the case then there is no summit photo online? Eh, nevermind.

See here for a summit picture and some details of their ascent: http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web12w/newswire-kruk-kennedy-statement

I think it's reasonable to permit them some celebration time before expecting them to have published evidence. Most of the climbing community isn't as "sceptical" as you (scare quotes around sceptical because I consider scepticism an important quality and think you're doing the term a disservice).
whistler - on 27 Jan 2012
In reply to Luke90:
That's a write up for Kennedy & Kruk ascent. I guess you're right. Maybe I'm too sceptical. Time to move on with my life :)
Pete
Michael Ryan - on 27 Jan 2012
In reply to whistler:
> (In reply to Luke90)

>Time to move on with my life :)
> Pete

Move here Pete: http://www.ufos-aliens.co.uk/cosmicapollo.html

jon on 27 Jan 2012
In reply to Luke90:
> (In reply to whistler)
> [...]
>
> See here for a summit picture and some details of their ascent: http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web12w/newswire-kruk-kennedy-statement
>
> I think it's reasonable to permit them some celebration

* We hooted and hollered into the night *
* Grabbing the rack and changing into crampons, we high-fived and I took off *

Don't they realise saving the world and cleaning up after other lesser mortals is a serious business and should be approached with a sense of decorum. Kids, huh?
Two things:
1) Toni Egger was Austrian, not Italian.
2) The controversy is not about whether or not a bolt ladder should or could exist on a mountain. I hope we all see that and not fall into a sterile discussion on ethic or the good and the evil or whathever.

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