UKC

GUEST EDITORIAL: Cerro Torre, David Lama and Red Bullshit

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 UKC Articles 28 Jun 2010
[Red Bullshit Logo from the Facebook Page, 4 kb]Another Cerro Torre controversy. What is it about that spire? If fantasies build any peak, they make Cerro Torre. It is beautiful, hostile, otherworldly. Were it not for its bolt-ladder Compressor Route, with its sordid history, it would surely be the most difficult spire in the world. It attracts not only the obsessed, but also the crazies. And now, the commerce-hungry corporate-funded junkshow...



In this Guest Editorial, AAJ Editor Kelly Cordes gives his opinion on the recent attempt at Cerro Torre by David Lama...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2840

 JPGR 28 Jun 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: Good Article.....but.....British Petroleum???
 duncan 28 Jun 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

Red Bull have previous: http://tinyurl.com/5lu74b

 GarethSL 28 Jun 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

HA!

Cerro Torre is situated inside of Los Glaciares National Park. Is it difficult to transport all of your equipment inside of it without breaking any of the laws of the National Park?

'Daniel and myself will be carrying all of our stuff into the park and out again. Transport flights are forbidden, but it’s not in our interest to leave any traces anyway.'

From the red bull website...

so full of shit...!
 GarethSL 28 Jun 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

'Red Bull savagely bolted the area around the cave'


Seems they're good at that.

Could you imagine a Red Bull publicity stunt at somewhere like stanage, one can here the angry hoarde already.

 ClimberEd 28 Jun 2010
In reply to duncan:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
>
> Red Bull have previous: http://tinyurl.com/5lu74b

Yeah, I was going to bring that up.
In reply to UKC Articles: Excellent article. someone should mail this to David Lama - Sealed with a loving kick in the nuts!
 old skool 28 Jun 2010
In reply to Gaz lord:

Like the recent Mammut publicity stunt, you mean?
 Bruce Hooker 28 Jun 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article, although when he writes

"Just because it may have been “legal” doesn't make it right — that's the disappointing thing here, is that Red Bull is so woefully out of touch with the climbing world that you/RB simply don't get it."

I wish it were true - a few posters on ukc seem to be convinced that climbing ethics can be reduced to "what the legal situation is."

Just had a thought, maybe they are all Redbull drinkers?
 stewieatb 28 Jun 2010
In reply to Bruce Hooker:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
>
> I wish it were true - a few posters on ukc seem to be convinced that climbing ethics can be reduced to "what the legal situation is."


Not just climbing ethics, but some more general countryside ethics - see the 4x4 thread.

Worrying, isn't it?
In reply to UKC Articles: Considering his mentor was Peter Habeler who was Messners partner on many climbs, it seems as though the ethics have not been passed down, which is pretty sad...
In reply to UKC Articles: Red Bull - The server is down for maintenance...

Grrrr. Very unimpressed with this. No more Red Bull for me.

LD
 tobyfk 29 Jun 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

Nice rant. Kelly Cordes is always worth reading.

I suppose it would be unfair to point out that Red Bull sponsored climbers throw out a pretty steady flow of news-tastic ascents to feed the climbing media's need for content ie http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=49160 (nice helmet ...) In that sense, perhaps "we" are all complicit in the sort of commercial pressure that ends in this Cerro Torre fiasco.
 tobyfk 29 Jun 2010
In reply to duncan:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
> Red Bull have previous: http://tinyurl.com/5lu74b

You saved me googling ... Also discussed in a hijacked Leo Houlding/ Reality TV thread a while back http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=317959


 tobyfk 29 Jun 2010
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to tobyfk) Will Gadd has been writing interestingly about it
Which is the "interesting" part? I have learnt: 1. WG is also associated with RB; 2. that's, er, kinda embarassing

Slightly off-topic but do many people know that the whole RB edifice is built on rip-off of a Thai drink that was in turn a rip-off of a Japanese health drink, Lipovitan ... whose inventor was too coy and/or short-sighted to sue?
 George Ormerod 29 Jun 2010
In reply to Lurking Dave:
> (In reply to UKC Articles) Red Bull - The server is down for maintenance...
>
> Grrrr. Very unimpressed with this. No more Red Bull for me.

Not exactly a difficult decision is it, it's rank stuff. Now if Jennings or Timothy Taylors had sponsord antics like this, then that would have posed a real dilemma for lots of climbers
 Michael Gordon 29 Jun 2010
In reply to old skool:

Was Lama not also part of that Mammut team?
In reply to tobyfk: Well, interesting in that he is obviously trying to balance his personal interest in being sponsored and that -I'm happy to take Gadd at his word- RB have never pushed him to do anything, with his disagreement with what has been done.

I can totally see why everyone is angry at Red Bull - your reporting of what happened in Oman had already turned them in my mind from a bit of joke ("extreme dude!" etc.) to an unfunny joke - and if they were Lama's sponsors than they get to carry some of the can, but from Gadd's explanation of how they work it seems that Lama and his guides should be bearing much of the responsibility. It's interesting that you think guides=mountaineers and mountaineers=some idea of mountain ethics - but this case seems to show that really not to be true.


I can't boycott RB anyway because I buy Lidl own brand sparkling caffeinated energy drink for 16 hr drives to Norway. It's less than half the price and tastes just as disgusting.
 Jonny2vests 29 Jun 2010
In reply to Michael Gordon:
> (In reply to old skool)
>
> Was Lama not also part of that Mammut team?

Indeed. Everything he touches turns to shite.
 Morgan Woods 29 Jun 2010
In reply to tobyfk:

yes it's a staple of thai truck and bus drivers but lipovitan is not carbonated.
 tobyfk 29 Jun 2010
In reply to TobyA:

> It's interesting that you think guides=mountaineers and mountaineers=some idea of mountain ethics - but this case seems to show that really not to be true.

My thinking about guides never gets beyond being puzzled at what sort of person employs them. Just seems such a zone of bogusness that all involved could be capable of anything. But that is probably harsh!

I think the core problem with Red Bull is that they have no connection with the sports they sponsor. It really doesn't matter much to their brand if they pull out of sponsoring climbers and retreat back to the other ten (*) crazeee-dude adrenaline sports they are involved with. In contrast, a firm like DMM doesn't have that option. Hence they probably care an awful lot more about what is done in their name.


* number made up ... sounds about right though.
 Ackbar 29 Jun 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: One problem is that any publicity is good publicity for Red Bull. For example, if you wanted to protest by putting a negative comment on one of Lama's youtube videos, Red Bull will probably just think, "hey lots of people watch this guys video clips, let's pay him more".
 bouldery bits 29 Jun 2010
In reply to Morgan Woods:

Chinese Red Bull is also not carbonated and highly addictive!

I was a regular red bull drinker - but now am not! I'll stick to the cheaper alternatives to wake me up instead (my blood is like 15% energy drink)
 Jonny2vests 29 Jun 2010
In reply to bouldery bits:
> (In reply to Morgan Woods)
>
> Chinese Red Bull is also not carbonated and highly addictive!
>
> I was a regular red bull drinker - but now am not! I'll stick to the cheaper alternatives to wake me up instead

Like daylight? Feck knows why you'd want to drink that pish anyway.

In reply to UKC Articles:

Very good article, and of course Kelly's views on this fiasco are at very least commendable.

However, I still find very sad that Cesare Maestri will go in history ending up being remembered just as an "obsessive maniac" (which I don't believe he was) and not as one of the finest climbers of his generation.
 DJonsight 30 Jun 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: So, can everyone stick to grown up drinks like coffee and beer now, please.
 Tom_Harding 05 Jul 2010
Has anyone found any recent updates? both red bull and lama have been silent for a while now.

I take it there just going to take a low profile and hope the whole thing washes over. I think they will be in for a shock.
 antoniusblock 05 Jul 2010
In reply to Luca Signorelli:
>
> However, I still find very sad that Cesare Maestri will go in history ending up being remembered just as an "obsessive maniac" (which I don't believe he was) and not as one of the finest climbers of his generation.

Its not what you do right, but what you do wrong that will stay with famous climbers. Cesare Maestri created a massive controversy over the ethics of climbing (twice). Apart from the Cerro Torre controversies, I know nothing of what Maestri did. As far as most people are concerned, that is all they know about him. Which is how they will remember him.

In reply to antoniusblock:
> (In reply to Luca Signorelli)
> [...]
>
> Its not what you do right, but what you do wrong that will stay with famous climbers. Cesare Maestri created a massive controversy over the ethics of climbing (twice). Apart from the Cerro Torre controversies, I know nothing of what Maestri did. As far as most people are concerned, that is all they know about him. Which is how they will remember him.

I understand well that the Cerro Torre thing is/was a massive faux pas in terms of ethics (but does anyone ever put that in the early 70's context?). But again, Maestri did so many things beside bolting Cerro Torre, that at least form the point of view of an Italian who's more or less outside all the politics of the Dolomites scene, is difficult to escape the gut feeling he'll get forever trashed more because the way he rubbed everyone the wrong way back home (because he's a loudmouth, brash, politically incorrect, publicity seeking extraordinary climber, with the added stigma he's been succesful in a lot of things beside climbing) rather than just the fact that he was "just" an extraordinary climber...

The self defeating attitude of - part of - the Italian climbing scene will never cease to amaze me (and yes, the Claudio Corti affair was partially borne out of this attitude, if you've ever wondered that)
 Scarab 05 Jul 2010
In reply to Luca Signorelli:


I have to say Luca, the Italian climbing scene seems to attract lots of controversies. Did they used to be at each others throats all the time? Its almost like having 10 Stevie Hastons having a go at each other.
 Tom_Harding 06 Jul 2010
Still no word from anyone involved? Lama's website has been silent since he got back.
 tobyfk 06 Jul 2010
In reply to Tom_Harding:

> I take it there just going to take a low profile and hope the whole thing washes over. I think they will be in for a shock.

Maybe, maybe not. There's a lot of Red Bull money sloshing around parts of the climbing world so you might guess there's some incentive to quieten the subject down.

 Tom_Harding 06 Jul 2010
In reply to tobyfk: I cant image he is every going to be able to update his website without getting hundreds of people posting 'clean ceroo torre' on every news artical.

 tobyfk 06 Jul 2010
In reply to Tom_Harding:

That's true.
 M. Edwards 06 Jul 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

I Red this and thought it was Bull...

Seriously though... I have been told every ascent on the tower abseils down using the Compressor Route bolts. Seems a little lame to call foul when bolts are still being used. If a trad ethic is agreed and desired, then chop the lot. Return the tower to unclimbable due to the fact nobody can abseil off!
 Michael Gordon 06 Jul 2010
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

Speaking as someone entirely uninformed as to Maestri's other exploits, if you falsely claim that you climbed something which you didn't, and then go on to prove your detractors right by hideously bolting your way up the mountain, it's hard for others to think of you in any way as a 'fine' or 'extraordinary' climber.
 tobyfk 06 Jul 2010
In reply to M. Edwards:
> Seems a little lame to call foul when bolts are still being used. If a trad ethic is agreed and desired, then chop the lot. Return the tower to unclimbable due to the fact nobody can abseil off!

As anyone who follows the climbing press knows, chopping the Compressor route has been a live (and controversial) proposal for a few years now. ie http://www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews1.lasso?l=2&keyid=35788

I also believe but can't confirm quickly (someone else must know) that Cerro Torre has been descended more than once by other means than the Compressor route.

But neither of these issues seem relevant to the Red Bull affair which is primarily about a commercial enterprise despoiling a mountain to shoot a movie for their own gain. From an ethical perspective that is surely far less justifiable from a climber placing bolts in a bona fide effort to create a route?

 steve456 06 Jul 2010
In reply to M. Edwards: Nonsense. There are no style-points for the first bolt-less descent so why would anyone try? It's going to take a fair amount of fixed gear to get down in any case so the leave-no-trace ethic is obviously to use what's already there.

The east face has been climbed almost to the top without Maserti's bolts other than for belays. Like it or not (not sure why I bothered writing that) bolted/fixed belays or ab points aren't that unusual in an alpine setting so there's no reason why every single Maserti bolt has be removed but many reasons why *most* of them almost inevitably will be.

http://www.alpinist.com/doc/ALP18/newswire-cerro-torre-compressor-wharton-smith


Has anyone asked Lama why he thinks siege-yoyo-redpointing a huge alpine face is better style than going fast and light and pulling on a bit of gear? Even if he hadn't been responsible for so much mess I'd still think he was a dick.
 Tom_Harding 06 Jul 2010
In reply to steve456:

> Has anyone asked Lama why he thinks siege-yoyo-redpointing a huge alpine face is better style than going fast and light and pulling on a bit of gear? Even if he hadn't been responsible for so much mess I'd still think he was a dick.

I find the whole episode amazing, I have no Patagonian experience and have read a little about it but know that placing bolts is a no no on this route. How with all the pro climbers, guides and everyone else did no one say 'hang on a minuet this is really bad style and were going to get lynched'. He can’t argue that he 'didn’t know', so the only logical conclusion is its bloody arrogance. It’s an arrogance that even exceeds the first ascent IMHO.
 M. Edwards 06 Jul 2010
In reply to tobyfk:

After reading your suggested link (and thanks):

Well 30 of the 40 local mountaineers wanted the Compressor Route to stay, then that pretty much gives the crag open season for bolting. How can you even say no to anybody, or even say that was wrong? Its not like you can say, "Just this route and no more.", someone will always want to challenge that.

As for the commercial side of it by Red Bull, I really see no difference to what has happened on many filming projects before. The Old Man of Hoy was bolted and pegged for the cameramen to be safe for outside live broadcasts, and the fixings are still there!

By the way,I have no connection to Red Bull. I just see no glaring difference to many other episodes in filming ascents for the media (in my opinion, but I am open to be enlightened on this subject).
 tobyfk 06 Jul 2010
In reply to M. Edwards:

> Well 30 of the 40 local mountaineers wanted the Compressor Route to stay, then that pretty much gives the crag open season for bolting.

That's not a logical inference. Leaving a historically-significant, if flawed, route untouched is not the same as wanting to see massive additional bolting. Anyway, Mark, sorry, I am not a regular on this forum so not keen to debate that kind of detail. I think anyway that this subject is not primarily about bolts, it is about corporate arrogance, the unhappy consequences of allowing non-climbing firms to build their brand out of climbing and the climbing media's lame acquiescence with that.
 USBRIT 09 Jul 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: This is what you get letting loose a sport climber into the mountains. However we are all to blame when one considers the over weighted publicity and hero worship given by all the various web sites and magazines to sport climbing and bouldering.Its just a very difficult mind game for these guys to go more than a few feet passed bolted protection.
 steve456 09 Jul 2010
In reply to M. Edwards:
> Well 30 of the 40 local mountaineers wanted the Compressor Route to stay, then that pretty much gives the crag open season for bolting.

If you can come to that conclusion then there's something wrong with the way your head works. Put your hilti back in the shed before 40 out of 40 local mountaineers fill you in.
 Bruce Hooker 09 Jul 2010
In reply to UKC Articles:

For those of you wondering what yer man is up to, I may have the answer. I saw this car parked in Larchant (near a well known bouldering area in the S of Fontainebleau forest) this morning:

http://www.windmillweb.info/various/redbull_car.jpg

Not my taste in deco really though!
 steve456 13 Jul 2010
In reply to UKC Articles: Update from Will Gadd. Worth reading.

http://gravsports.blogspot.com/2010/07/lama-red-bull-cerro-torre.html

Why it was left to another RB sponsored-athlete to do all the detective-work and explaining is pretty bad. Everyone involved seems to have been waiting for it all to go away even though the damage could have been reduced so much by being a lot more open about the whole mess.

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