UKC

RIP Walter Bonatti (1930 - 2011)

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Walter died yesterday in Rome. He was 81.

UKC News Addition

Brief news story here - http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=64092
Lyndsay Griffin obituary here on the BMC web site - http://thebmc.co.uk/News.aspx?id=4453
 winhill 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

“For me, the value of a climb is the sum of three inseparable elements, all equally important: aesthetics, history, and ethics."
 TonyM 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:
Sad news. A total legend. Time is definitely taking that greatest generation of 20th century climbers from us.
 Trangia 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

RIP

Another legend
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

The greatest of them all. Sad news.

I am not one given to hero worship, but the one time I met him I was just completely in awe.
 ice.solo 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

sad. i have an old bonatti karabiner i might get out for the occasion.
 jonoh 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli: just finished reading his account of the disaster on Central Pillar , Mont Blanc RIP
 Milesy 14 Sep 2011
RIP... A true legend.
 Boogs 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

That is sad , He seemed ( from the little that I had read ) such a sincere , strong , genuine man with lots of profound and inspiring things to say . I read a great interview ( i think in the telegraph ) a couple of years ago which gave a wonderful insight to the great mans life .

Tempo per un meritato riposo .
 Brannock 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

RIP

Very sad.
In reply to ice.solo:

Hate to be a spoilsport, but Bonaiti krabs, spelt thus, were nothing to do with the great Walter Bonatti.
 ice.solo 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to ice.solo)
>
> Hate to be a spoilsport, but Bonaiti krabs, spelt thus, were nothing to do with the great Walter Bonatti.

really? oh well.
(which good as i jusy spent 15mins looking for it but cant find it anyway)
 Phil1919 14 Sep 2011
In reply to winhill: Thoughtful but not sad. He lived a full life, and didn't die before his time.
 Paul Crusher R 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli: Massive collapse and Rockfall on the Dru, the location of some of Walters finest Routes on the same day, spooky. RIP.
 Mick Ward 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

An inspirational mountaineer and, by all accounts, a very decent and thoroughly genuine man. RIP.

Mick
 Poco Loco 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

What a legend. He will continue to inspire people for years to come. RIP.
cariva 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:
What a great man he was! Human kind has lost a little bit of its light!
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

A great man, whose legacy will no doubt continue to inspire people for generations to come. RIP.
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

Quite possibly the greatest alpinist who has ever lived and "On The Heights" and "The Great Days" are two of the most inspiring mountaineering books ever written.
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

For some reason I feel the urge to remark (as very few people know this) that the last time he climbed Mont Blanc, by far Walter's favourite mountain, he did it with a group of friends and in his mid-70's, with absolutely no media fuss and via the Innominata ridge on the Freney side, a route that's often proven to be too much for people half his age.
cling2 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Phil1919:

Agreed. A life lived. He will be missed, and remembered, by many.
 Sean Kelly 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli: My first and ultimate climbing hero. Sadly missed. The passage that begins " The storm had been raging for over 60 hours... is etched in my brain.
 stonemaster 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli: Vale. A life with inspirational moments during an extraordinary time among many luminous contemperaries.
 GLO 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:
His legend will live forever....ciao Walter
 dustyrat 14 Sep 2011
On The Heights & The Great Days by Walter Bonatti are two of the most inspirational books I have ever read, would highly recommend. Bonatti was a true inspiration, an amazing and groundbreaking climber.
MarkP 14 Sep 2011
In reply to dustyrat:

RIP and it seems a little freaky that bits of the Drus fell off on sunday morning......
 Alpa 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

RIP

Sad...
Yrmenlaf 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

His name will live on.

Y.
In reply to Yrmenlaf:

That's putting it a bit mildly!
 Frank Cannings 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

The list of Honorary Members of The Alpine Club has shrunk rapidly this past month almost in alphabetical order from the top:
Band, George
Blackshaw, Alan
Bonatti, Walter
Now there's only one "B" left on the list. Take care Joe!
Allan McDonald (Gwydyr MC) 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Frank Cannings: Gutted, the man was an absolute legend and opened the eyes of many who followed in his footsteps. Despite everything he seemed to outwardly show little bitterness to those who tried to put him down (the K2 debacle et al) and just carried on doing his own thing out of the public glare. His love and respect for the mountains gave him incredible memories and experiences no doubt and I am sure he will be welcomed by Mummery at the pearly gates - now that will be some conversation RIP Mr Bonatti a more dignified mountaineer one could have ever hoped to read about !
 Garbh Coire 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli: He will always be my biggest hero. A true legend. Rest in Peace Walter.

 Captain Solo 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:
The Original Captain Solo.
An inspiration.
zurby 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

The Gamba (Monzino) Hut will be a poorer place now without Walter around there!
In reply to zurby:
> (In reply to Luca Signorelli)
>
> The Gamba (Monzino) Hut will be a poorer place now without Walter around there!

Indeed. Saturday if the weather is not ugly (it shouldn't) I'll walk up there as my personal homage.
In reply to Luca Signorelli: very sad. one of my favourite alpinists, so much so that I have named one of my axes after him.

RIP Walter
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

Sad news indeed. Inspirational on K2.
 Gawyllie 14 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli: to my mind the finest alpinist ever

RIP
 morpcat 14 Sep 2011
Was given "Mountains of my life" for my birthday a few months ago. Read it twice, and then immediately put it in a box bound for Afghanistan for my friend to read while he's on tour. Unparalleled inspiration.
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

Sad news. He was from a time when they were gentlemen climbers in the true sense of the word. He did what he loved and was able to share that passion with others.

People talk of Brown's routes or Whillans' routes but look at the collection of first ascents (worldwide) that Bonatti managed, not a bad legacy.

ALC
 tony 15 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

Another obituary in Guardian today:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/14/walter-bonatti-obituary
 paul mitchell 15 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli: Indeed a great climber,on a par with Hermann Buhl.
Tim Chappell 15 Sep 2011
The man was a hero. RIP.
ollie211 15 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

a great loss
 Cobbler 15 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

"...the South West Pillar; this was climbed in 1955 by Walter Bonatti, an
Italian and one of the greatest climbers of this century. It was even
more difficult than the face and yet he went on it by himslef. It would
have been a considerable feat for a strong party but as a "solo" effort,
it was incredible."

...

"In the light of these subsequent ascents, Bonatti's achievment seemed all
the more unbelievable."

- Bonnington
 JimR 15 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

One of the all time greats, both as a man and a climber.

I'm glad the truth about K2 finally emerged, who knows what the man would have done had this unhappy and despicable episode not affected him.
 Dr_C 16 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

I can't remember how many times I have read On The Heights in the last 40 years, always being amazed by the man's vision,skill, courage and integrity. Hero is not a word I use lightly, but he most certainly is mine. We sall not see his like again.
 BALD EAGLE 16 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

A true legend and inspirational mountaineer who will be greatly missed...
 simes303 16 Sep 2011
In reply to Frank Cannings:
> (In reply to Luca Signorelli)
>
> The list of Honorary Members of The Alpine Club has shrunk rapidly this past month almost in alphabetical order from the top:
> Band, George
> Blackshaw, Alan
> Bonatti, Walter
> Now there's only one "B" left on the list. Take care Joe!

Joe Bloggs?
 Dr_C 20 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli: Am I the only one who wonders why Walter Bonatti gets no more than a cursory entry in UKC news? We are not talking about the death of an 81year old bloke who did a bit of climbing here, but one who was universally acknowledged - and by many contributors to this forum - as one of the true true greats of mountaineering. I can't understand why the UKC news piece is a merely cut'n'past job and link off to the BMC obit. Even our national papers print lengthy Obituaries to Bonatti.

So come UKC lets have a decent tribute to the man - and a bit of history too as many of the younger readers may not appreciate the magnitude his achievements. Nor understand what it was to climb on hemp rope tied directly to the waist and abseil the classic way!


In reply to Dr_C:

It is definitely worth a decent feature and Luca is probably the best man to do it, but give the guys chance.
 ice.solo 20 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:

or head over to alpinist.com where the wailing and gnashing of teeth can be heard.
 Dr_C 20 Sep 2011
In reply to The New NickB: Sorry I don't want to be too critical of UKC ( I love the site), but just a plea from the heart.
In reply to Dr_C: Hi,

We don't have a stock of these things ready (it would be great if we did, but we're a small team), they take a bit of time to put together, but we will hopefully publish something this week.

Best,

Jack
 Dr_C 20 Sep 2011
In reply to Jack Geldard - UKC Chief Editor:

Sorry Jack, forgive my impatience, I am just very moved by the occasion. I do appreciate what you do for us all at UKC.

 Jim Walton 20 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli: Great Alpinists like Bonatti make me feel inspired

They did soo much with soo little gear, the rest of us have managed to do soo little with soo much gear.
 Marc C 20 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli: One of my heroes - I'd assumed not even Death could beat him and he'd live forever! Nice interview with him here (when he was 80)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2010/jun/30/walter-bonatti-mountain-climber?intcmp=239


I particularly like his childhood fantasy of following branches downstream. a true adventurer.

Also, very funny the French guides burning 'his' house down!
 Jim Hamilton 20 Sep 2011
In reply to Marc C:
> (In reply to Luca Signorelli) One of my heroes - I'd assumed not even Death could beat him and he'd live forever! Nice interview with him here (when he was 80)
>
> Also, very funny the French guides burning 'his' house down!

I know French guides have come in for some "stick" recently on UKC, but presumably it was Italian (Courmayeur) guides the article referred to.
I'm reading The Great Days again, and Bonatti mentions he was upset that his climbing partner (Zappelli) joined them, and now I understand why !
In reply to Jim Hamilton:
> (In reply to Marc C)
> [...]
>
> I know French guides have come in for some "stick" recently on UKC, but presumably it was Italian (Courmayeur) guides the article referred to.
> I'm reading The Great Days again, and Bonatti mentions he was upset that his climbing partner (Zappelli) joined them, and now I understand why !

I think you are right, but the Chamonix Guides could hold a grudge as well, think of the way they treated Demaison after the Dru rescue with Hemmings and Burke.
In reply to Dr_C:
Definitely the end of an era - it's absolutely mind-boggling that he climbed the eponymous pillar on the Dru solo, although given that this was preceded by K2, it likely was a "getting his head together" exercise.
It's a lovely picture of him in the guardian interview.

I can't understand at all why he was treated so shabbily by his associates, but, as they say "time heals all wounds".
 dbm 23 Sep 2011
Walter Bonatti was just featured on the BBC Radio 4 obituary programme 'Last Word'.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b014qxbz

Its repeated on Sunday, 20:30 on BBC Radio 4

David
 Bruce Hooker 23 Sep 2011
In reply to Marc C:

The last paragraphs of that article are quite amusing, for the first, and true for the second:

"Bonatti's sudden retirement was not greeted with universal sadness. While the French government awarded him the Legion d'Honneur, some Mont Blanc guides chose to puncture the tyres of his Volkswagen and burn down his house. "They never really accepted me, as an outsider," he says. "Luckily for me, they also didn't realise I had already sold the house . . ."

His second career saw him travel the world as photojournalist, and his books are read in every Italian school. Yet it is as a climber that his legend was made. So are their regrets? "Not really," he says. "I would have liked to have climbed the Eiger. I once got about a third of the way up in a couple of hours when the rockfalls began, so I came back down. You see, the real essence of mountain climbing – of really knowing and loving the mountains – is not getting to the top. It's having the humility and self-awareness when necessary to be able to stop 100 metres from the summit and make it down alive."


 Scarab 23 Sep 2011
In reply to Luca Signorelli:


Legend!
In reply to Luca Signorelli:
I read 'the mountains of my life' this summer and Bonatti's climbing achievements just bowled me over. Audacious and an inspiration.

Thank you Walter...

brian

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Loading Notifications...