Controversy Still Follows Maestri's "murder of the impossible"

Last month we ran a news item about Americans Zack Smith and Josh Wharton attempting Cesare Maestri's “Compressor Route” (VI 5.10 A2, 900m, Alimonti-Angeli- Baldessari-Claus-Maestri. 1970), up the Southeast Ridge of Cerro Torre in the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Patagonia, without using the protection bolts that were placed by a compressor on the first ascent (see Steve Long's account of an epic ascent with photos of the compressor here).

At both (report) and (report) Smith and Wharton were reported as not clipping any protection bolts until the route's 400-foot final headwall and then summiting Cerro Torre.

Cerro Torre has a "magnetism for ethical dissent" reports and it seems that Zack Smith and Josh Wharton's recent ascent has generated another storm of battling egos. At the American forum of the guidebook publisher, Supertopo, it has all come public with accusations flying and dirty washing hung. There are stories of belay bolts clipped below the headwall, the summit not reached, punches thrown, and local and international climbers enraged that Zack Smith and Josh Wharton planned to de-bolt the whole route despite at least ten parties queued up to do the “Compressor Route”.

The Parque Nacional Los Glaciares chaired a debate about this proposed eradication of the bolts on the Compressor Route. It was "a large meeting of about 80 climbers gathered after a film to discuss the bolt chopping matter. All of the Argentine climbers (the locals) and 90% of all who attended voted that the route should stay, or at least be dealt with by local climbers when the time was right. but not now....., " wrote a South American climber at

You can read the whole sordid episode as it unfolds at this thread (click here) at, with links to other sources. Including an explanation by the American climber Steve Schneider who ended up in hospital after a fight over whether the “Compressor Route” should be chopped of its bolts.

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