Cerro Torre, A Mountain Consecrated - The Resurrection of th


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Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 19, 2012 - 05:49pm PT
Since the title of the earlier thread regarding this ascent was wrong I figured it would be best to start a new one.

Here are the facts:
 Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk made a very fast ascent (13 hours from the Col of Patience to the top) of the SE ridge of Cerro Torre on what for sometime we have been calling "fair means" style, which implies not using Maestri's insane bolt ladders. We presume they used some of Maestri's belays but in pitches only clipped 5 bolts, four placed by Ermanno Salvaterra on his 1999 variation and one placed by Chris Geisler on his and Jason's variations last season.
 They followed an identical line to the one climbed by Chris and Jason last year, making a pendulum left in Chris's last pitch, to connect a number of discontinuous features over three short pitches to reach the top (5.11+ and A2) .
 During the descent they chopped a good portion of the Compressor route, including the entire headwall and one of the pitches below. The Compressor route is no more.

I have already expressed what I think about chopping the bolts a number of times, including in a 2007 Rock and Ice article reprinted here:

A quote from that article:
When asked about the Compressor Route, the legendary Slovene climber Silvo Karo, responsible for two new routes and one major link up on Cerro Torre, responded, “That climb was stolen from the future. Without all those bolts the history of that marvelous mountain would have been very different. I am convinced that in alpinism how you have climbed is more important than what you have climbed, and I have no doubt that the best are those that leave the least amount of stuff behind.” Surprisingly, Maestri agreed with the last part of Karo’s statement. In his 2000 Metri della Nostra Vita, Maestri recounts that, before making the first rappel from the high point of his attempt (he stopped 100 feet below the summit) he decided to, “take out all the bolts and leave the climb as clean as we found it. I’ll break them all.” After chopping 20 bolts, and in the face of the magnitude of the enterprise, Maestri changed his mind. Mario Conti, responsible in 1974 for what is now known to be the first ascent of the Cerro Torre, agrees, writing in the 2006 book Enigma Cerro Torre, “Only by taking out the bolts one can imagine the mountain as it was, as it should still be.”

Now the mountain is much closer to being, in Conti's words, "as it was, and it should be".

I am impressed beyond words by Jason and Hayden's incredible ascent, and will be forever in-debt and grateful to them for taking this game-changing leap. The future of alpinism is bright when we have such young and brilliant "heroes".

Yesterday evening, walking out of the Cerro Torre valley for the hundredth and some time, I turned around many times to look up at a mountain, an incredibly beautiful peak, one that I could finally see as it truly is.
Johnny K.

Jan 19, 2012 - 05:50pm PT
Amazing,Much respect.Congratulations the spectacular ascent in 13 hours,damn,and the clean up of Maestri's mierda.

Jan 19, 2012 - 05:51pm PT
During the descent they chopped a good portion of the Compressor route, including the entire headwall and one of the pitches below. The Compressor route is no more.

Wow!!! Thanks for the report. It looks like not all of your text made it though.

EDIT: Is that damn compressor still up there?

A long way from where I started
Jan 19, 2012 - 05:52pm PT
Whoo hoo!

Well done.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 19, 2012 - 06:15pm PT
Rolo's title is perhaps derived from Ken Wilson's famous article in Mountain 23 - "Cerro Torre: A Mountain Desecreated".

It must have been a lot of work, removing all those bolts, even if they were 40 years old.

Congratulations to Jason and Hayden for an impressive climb! The removal of the bolts is sure to cause controversy, but so it goes. It sounds like the route taken was similar to that used by Haston, Crew et al in 1968 (the first attempt on the ridge), to their high point, and perhaps not far from what they would've taken to the top, had they not dropped their bolt kit.

Mountain climber
Jan 19, 2012 - 06:20pm PT
Thanks Rolo.

Bonus style points for the chopping! Good job youth.

Jan 19, 2012 - 06:34pm PT
Bravo! Well done.

Mountain climber
100% Canadian
Jan 19, 2012 - 06:53pm PT
Major Bonus points for chopping bolts on the descent, totally awesome Jason !

The Granite State.
Jan 19, 2012 - 07:01pm PT
A bold ascent, and an equally bold descent.

That's awesome, hats off.

Mountain climber
Jan 19, 2012 - 07:11pm PT
I guess the beta needs to be changed eh?

Pro. A via ferrata kit, whichever you like best. Any brand will work. Since Maestri has already drilled plenty of “courage” into the rock you can leave yours at home.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 19, 2012 - 07:15pm PT
Hmmmm, lots to think about here.

Great job on the ascent and the climb, that's for sure. Well done, lads.

Now, what about chopping the bolts? I have never approved of Maestri's attempt. I hate bolts, incidentally. I have never placed a bolt on lead or rappel in my life, nor any chicken rivets or the like. I once added a rivet on a route when I ripped the only flake you could hook, and there was no other way to repeat the route without a cheat stick.

I have, however, removed a lot of bolts, and replaced a lot of bolts, mostly at belays, along with a few rivets mid-pitch. When we're repairing routes on El Cap, we take a tuning fork to a bolt, carefully pry it out of the rock along with its hanger, and then either drill the hole out from quarter-inch to three-eights and refill it with a 3/8" bolt, or else fill the hole with epoxy, rendering it pretty much invisible. You have this luxury when you are climbing in a pair of shorts, you see.

It's different in the mountains, of course, it's a hostile environment and you don't have as much time. Were Maestri's bolts just chopped off with a chisel? Do we have any before and after photos? And I'm knott criticizing, I'm merely asking. I have seen some damned ugly chopped bolts. As per buddy's question below, if you "chop" a bolt with a chisel, the bolt remains in the hole, and you are left with an unsightly hunk of metal. Now on a sunny crag, it might be unsightly. On a frozen wasteland like Cerro Torre, it might well be invisible. So just askin'....

So what will the "Regular Route" up Cerro Torre now be? How much harder is it than the Compressor Route? How many ascents has the Compressor Route received, and on average, how many per season?

Cheers, eh?
norm larson

wilson, wyoming
Jan 19, 2012 - 07:22pm PT
Thanks Rolo for that concise update. Well done to Hayden and Jason. It's a long time coming. It's interesting to conjecture what the story of the Torre would have been if Maestri had never put those bolts in. I'm sure someone would have found a cleaner way up the SE ridge many years ago if they hadn't been there..they defiantely turned it into the "line of least resistance".

Topic Author's Reply - Jan 19, 2012 - 07:29pm PT
in response to Pete's questions, the bolts are "preassure pins" of sorts, a sort of glorified rivet. When you hit them from the top with a hammer the whole bolt comes out like butter. Three to seven blows is enough.

No they did not fill the holes. Eventually it would be a good thing to do.

as far as to what the "normal route" up CT is now, that would be the outstanding Ragni route in the west face.

'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jan 19, 2012 - 07:45pm PT
OK, cool. Thanks, Rolo. That's good, the holes can be filled when someone has time and good weather. A stick of epoxy is knott all that heavy.

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Jan 19, 2012 - 08:25pm PT
Thanks for the update, Rolo.

Are the original rappel stations for descending this way still intact as is, or are there now new variations?

Jan 19, 2012 - 08:38pm PT
Let's not get sidetracked here. The fact that that such an amazing line – one of the best in the world - was recently climbed without use of bolts set by a freaking gas powered compressor far and away trumps whether the chopped bolt holes were filled. Come on, guys. Which is the bigger insult to what we believe in as climbers - hundreds of power-driven bolts or not filling their now chopped holes?

Stefan Jacobsen

Trad climber
Jan 19, 2012 - 08:43pm PT
Thanks to Kennedy and Kruk for chopping parts of the route!
At present the holes are of insignificant concern compared with the bloody compressor. But maybe successive teams will continue the cleaning up. Time will show.
The Alpine

Big Wall climber
Jan 19, 2012 - 08:57pm PT
Hmmm, not sure how I feel about the chopping of the route. A selfish me thinks its awesome.
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Jan 19, 2012 - 09:20pm PT
Wow, incredible stuff. I'll confess to mixed feelings about the chopping, however.
Johnny K.

Jan 19, 2012 - 09:22pm PT
The only insult is the unnecessary bolts and trash insulting the mountains left by coward climbers.

The chopping by Hayden,Kruk,Rolo and others are only helping clean up and showing respect to the beautiful mountains.

Maestri chopped his own bolt ladder on rappel at his high point while claiming the first ascent without even reaching the summit,he didnt even let his partner come to the high point before they rapped and chopped their own bolts on the way down.To hell with Maestri and his history and his contrived route,the compressor needs to be brought down and disposed of,as well as all the other trash left by pathetic climbers.Lama wants to rap bolt a section up there also,on top of all the bs he and rebull have made already.These people are insulting.Trashing the mountains with bolts and gear is the ultimate insult.

I applaud and commend anyone who cleans up trash from the beautiful mountains.So what they chopped the bolts but didnt fill them in yet,its a long process overall.They are doing something positive.Unlike all the big talkers online.
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