/ RIP Lorenzo "Enzolino" Castaldi
Enzolino was well aware of the dangers of climbing Ortles, but he still did climb it. In relation to the NF of Ortles he recently wrote, in an Italian climbing forum:
"For me that route has a meaning, transcending things like difficulty or beauty..."
Lorenzo Castaldi had been born in Sassari, Sardinia, but in order to follow his career has a chemist, he had moved to Zurich, Switzerland, where he had married his Mexican girlfriend. He's survived by his wife and a two years old son, Manuel. Despite not being well known outside Italy, he was an excellent all rounder with a prestigious resume as a rock climber and mountaineer, spawing thousands of routes across the globe, and including Patagonia and Yosemite.
Ironically, and at the same time sad, Lorenzo may pass history as the guy who did a passionate, cultured and deeply felt stance against the destruction of the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre (the epitome of anti-trad, in some people views); while in reality he was a competent and incredibly brave trad climber who opened few of the best and most committing trad routes of the Mediterranean basin (in Sardinia and Greece). In total, between sport and trad route, Enzolino's resume may total well above 300 new lines, often of very high difficulty.
But he would never brag about it. He was keen discussing climbing history, and spending hours arguing the merits of routes or future and often exotic climbing plans, but his own climbs would always take the backseat to someone else's feat. Because of this, people who didn't knew better would take him for a Internet armchair climber - which he definitely wasn't.
He was well known - actually, he had a legendary status - in the Italian climbing community because of his debating talent, his often abrasive (but never rude) personality, and his energy and stamina on conducting exhausting battles of wits on the Italian forums first, and later, when the Compressor Route controversy exploded, on Supertopo and UKC. To some extent, it was impossible to argue with him - his knowledge of climbing history, his dialectic ability, and the sheer willingness to keep on arguing and debate every point of a controversy were second to none.
The Compressor Route wasn't just "another issue" for him, and the intensity of his effort to convince fellow climbers that vandalizing the 40 years old Maestri route had been a mistake may seems at odd with his traits as adventurous trad climber, someone definitely not in love of bolted lines. But the contradiction is just apparent. "Enzolino" knew the the climbing world all too well, and I thing he disliked the idea of climbing as a single minded affirmation of one own prejudice. While he admired Hayden and Jason bravery, skill and single-mindedness (exactly as he had admired Maestri's figure as one of the bravest Dolomites climber ever), his stern (and very "sardinian") ethics had little patience for anything less than strict respect for local climbing history and local climbing customs (to the point he would argue for ages about moving one single ore-established point of protection on a route he didn't open, even against the evidence that point was badly placed).
RIP Enzolino, you will be greatly missed. I hope someone who knew you better that I did, and who climbed with you will come here and share some story about you.
Beautifully written as usual Luca.
Because it's so well written , it's worth re-posting this article link that was posted by "The Cad" on the compressor thread.
Should be compulsory reading - it's a great loss that someone who understands the scope of climbing both in the present and the past should be gone so young.
Thanks for all that Luca.
I never met enzolino, but I know him since 2002 in italian climbing forums: I always read his posts because he was really intelligent, very informed about Alpinism and Climbing and he wrote always interesting point of views.
Very often we had continue some discussion in private messages and we share a very good opinion each other: I will miss him very much and I am very sad now.
A lovely piece of writing. He still wrong, but I suspect he would like us to keep arguing with him! :-)
RIP Lorenzo, and my thoughts are with his friends and family.
I've asked around in several Italian forums for his friends to come here and share few memories of him (there are hundred of stories around him). Here's just an appetizer: the TR of his (and Marco Marrosu) attempt on El Cap, ended when Lorenzo broke one ankle on King Swing, and they had to bail out, abseiling all the way back down to the valley.
The original was in Italian, of course, so this is a Google translation, hope isn't too awful.
As I said, there are hundred of stories about Lorenzo's climbs, hope someone more knowledgeable than me may come here and retell them.
I had the great joy of spending many days over the last view years climbing with Lorenzo and showing him our mountain treasures in Switzerland. He was always a very enthusiastic partner full of energy to explore the vertical world.
I feel very sorry for loosing a very good friend but even more for a wive and a son loosing their most important relationship.
Thanks Luca for your very moving post.
Although I did not know him as a climber, I had the pleasure to share a student house with him in Sheffield for quite some time. He truly was a good friend and we spent a lot of happy times together. You will be greatly missed.
RIP Lorenzo and Jaime! And wishing a speedy recovery to the other climbers.
Lorenzo was well known and respected umongst the climbing community in Zurich, and will be missed!
A mention for Jaime too, I cant think of ever seeing him, and he didnt have a massive grin plastered accross his face!
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