60 Bolts drilled on Compressor Route in Patagonia


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Trad climber
Monrovia, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - May 28, 2010 - 08:22pm PT
Via Bruno Schull on MP

There is an ongoing thread about this on rockclimbing.com, entitled "What a mess," but I have not seen anything here, so I thought I would start a new discussion.

Essentially, an Austrian team, including David Lama, traveled to Patagonia to attempt to free a classic line, and in the process placed 60 new bolts where ample opportunities for natural protection, violating national park regulations, local standards and historical precedent, and international ethical guidelines.

Rolando Garibotti wrote a very good piece about it here (in Spanish):


I hope this piece gets translated and disseminated.

The story deserves to be told.

Trad climber
Monrovia, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 28, 2010 - 08:24pm PT
Translation from Spanish via Google....

From - http://www.desnivel.com/object.php?o=20025

"Somewhat unrelated to this thread, but the very route that Jim and Steve finished back in 79 just recently got a facelift, the bad kind. In spite of spending close to three months in Chalten, the much publicized free attempt on the Compressor route by David Lama had no positive results (two attempts to the bolt traverse). However it did have some negative results. Lama's film team fixed 700 meters of rope from the glacier to the bolt traverse. The ropes were left for months until three Argentine guides recovered them, although they had to abandon a haul bag full of them above the bergschrund. The worst of it all was that to place those 700 meters of rope the film team placed more than 60 bolts. This in an section of the climb where not even Maestri had placed a single bolt back in 71, and where natural protection abounds. Somehow the 450 bolts that are already on the route were not sufficient for Lama's film team crew.

In 1985 Fulvio Mariani made one of the best climbing movies of all time when he filmed “Cumbre”, documenting Marco Pedrini’s solo ascent of Cerro Torre. They did so fixing 3 ropes, and nothing more, without placing a single piece of fixed pro. Obviously, as Lama and his entourage prove, there has been a big regression since then.

One has to wonder what the Swiss or the French would say if the same was done in one of their most iconic peaks in the Alps by a team of foreigners.

rolo "


Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
May 28, 2010 - 08:24pm PT
Chop the line!

Honestly I don't care, really, but it seems wrong if there was pro available.

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
May 28, 2010 - 08:27pm PT
This is a horrendous act of vandalism. What would be an appropriate punishment for this crime against us all?
Scared Silly

Trad climber
May 28, 2010 - 08:39pm PT
If you drink Red Bull, you helped pay for this clown's "adventure"


My suggestion is that folks write to his sponsors.

Dietrich Mateschitz
Red Bull GmbH
Am Brunnen 1
5330 Fuschl am See Österreich
Telefon +43 662 6582 0
Fax +43 662 6582 7010

Trad climber
San Diego
May 28, 2010 - 08:46pm PT
Chop Chop.

From Redbull.com:

"Due to different statements and allegations published on diverse platforms regarding my project on Cerro Torre I would like to clarify several facts. I want to make sure that these discussions take place on the actual facts and on the way they occurred. I came to Patagonia together with my partner to attempt a freeclimbing ascent of the compressor route on Cerro Torre. A filmteam was with us to document the attempt. Every step made in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and the Cero Torre by either my partner, myself or the accompanying production crew was executed in accordance with the rules and regulations as set out by the local mountain guides and the park administration; all necessary permits have been requested and granted. Due to bad weather and bad conditions we were forced to return home even earlier than planned. The danger of avalanches made it impossible for us to remove the fixed ropes and gear we had left on Col de la Patiencia before our departure. Therefore we engaged some pro guides to remove it for us, as soon as conditions would allow it. Constant communication with the local authorities during the project and the cleaning effort ensured that all standards were met and. if possible . surpassed. The current status is that the project is on hold until next year. The entire shoulder and wall have been cleaned, except for bolts used for the production which will definitely be removed after next years attempt. Personally, I don’t believe that we did anything wrong. In fact it was us to remove loads of old, ruined ropes and slings from the mountain which were left behind by others…I know a lot has been discussed about my project and a lot of false information has been spread. Therefore I kindly ask you to judge my project at its end. I’m looking forward to returning next season, Patagonia has impressed me more than anything that I have seen before. Regards, David"

The posts on Red Bull.com are classic.


"little children David and the motherf*#kers of red bul, clean the cerro torre now!! and not back again for our countrie, you are not welcome anymore. F*#k you!!. Jonathan Nahuel Caceres Republica Argentina "

"What David Lama and film crew on the majestic Cerro Torre is an outrage. Their vandalism of a classic route should not go unnoticed. Shame."

"Please explain the mess you and your crew are reputed to have left on Cerro Torre. Is it true? Reports from Patagonia say you and your team (film crew with guides, etc) fixed 700m of rope, to the bolt traverse, and abandoned them. Subsequent people had to clean the mess. Is this true? And also that you added 60 bolts to the already most overbolted route in the world (the Compressor Route has some 400-450 bolts on it already). As you said yourself, above: entire highway of bolts and pitons in the mountain’s south-east face, which has nothing to do with today’s climbing ethics. Adding more bolts, and abandoning such a significant amount of garbage, would obviously have nothing to do with today" -Kelly Cordes

Trad climber
Merced CA
May 28, 2010 - 09:01pm PT
If there was ample natural pro then CHOP THE LINE.

Tucson, AZ
May 28, 2010 - 09:26pm PT
It sounds lik the bolts are there for the film crew - not the climb. So chopping sends no message - the film crew could give a f*#k.

F*#king as#@&%es.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
May 28, 2010 - 09:30pm PT
A result of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
Sponsered climbers tread on a slippery slope.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 28, 2010 - 09:33pm PT
That's kind of David to insure the removal of a raft of bolts sunk for something that had nothing to do with the climbing. God forbid a 'project' be done for its own sake and under its own financial power. David clearly doesn't see anything wrong with slathering and removing bolts on a classic tower.

Seems to me that 60 vanity bolts on the Compressor would fall under the general rubric of WWDD*...

(* - what would Donini do?)

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
May 28, 2010 - 09:48pm PT
I agree that he seems to gloss over placing all those bolts for the sake of a film crew.

What if they did the same thing on El Capitan? Even if they could talk the NPS into it (which is totally unlikely), the climbing community would still be outraged. You don't go to a pristine wall and start bolting the whole thing for the sake of film project! Sorry, my friend,but these places are not movie sets! Get a film crew with some balls, or leave the place alone.

To quote Ricky Ricardo on "I LOVE LUCY" .........."Honey, you've got some splainin to do."

Jim Henson's Basement
May 28, 2010 - 10:01pm PT
HO...LY... COW...

What the hell were they thinking? The El Cap comparison is right on. It would have never happened in Yosemite. So because it's in another country it's OK to break the law and vandalize a natural treasure for convenience to make a cool video? It's all cool cause they're gonna remove them at some undetermined latter date? NOT.

Red Bull better batten the hatches cause a sh#t-storm is coming their way. I wonder if David's PR person wrote that idiotic press release, or if he is really naive enough to believe that load of crap.


Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
May 29, 2010 - 01:40am PT
If these bolts were not drilled with a Compressor, this is a MOCKERY of the orignal style!

I checked the date on this one to be sure it wasn't posted on April 1st.
Seriously? This can't be true.

Trad climber
May 29, 2010 - 01:46am PT
Those crazy sport climbers!

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
May 29, 2010 - 02:16am PT
Doesn't the Compressor Route already have that sort of precedent? I heard that Maestri used his engine-powered compressed air drill on blank walls, so he could stay out of the wind around a corner, instead of using good cracks. After being defiled in that fashion, the route might seem, to some, to be open to all manner of abuse.

And, when someone can drill new bolts up our own Dihedral Wall, in order to claim a FFA, and get away with it, there is no stopping the spread of that sort of disease.

Apparently, a socio-psychotic craving for one's name in a guidebook leads some people to do all manner of strange things.

In the future, everyone will be notorious for fifteen minutes
ß Î Ø T Ç H

from the Leastside
May 29, 2010 - 03:35am PT
What is it rated ?
the kid

Trad climber
fayetteville, wv
May 29, 2010 - 08:39am PT
yet another corporate expedition going awry. the genie that was let out of the bottle in the 1980's with the "bolt wars" has made it to the big mountains and more..
that genie will never go back to the bottle.
i say
chop it..
lame as euro attempt. seems appropriate, since they have bolted all the alpine and trad lines in eurolandia, they need to do the same where ever they go..


Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
May 29, 2010 - 09:07am PT
Well Port, it was good of you to post up but don't expect any greater acceptance here in TacoLand. What you and your team did was outrageously selfish! When someone with the remarkable credibility of Rolando speaks up in protest of this travesty then you should realize the magnitude of your folly. Red Bull needs to experience a negative press campaign much more intense than Black Diamond faced from the Delicate Arch Farce. This me, me, me Machievellian approach to self aggrandizement and corporate ad profits has no place in the wilds. Shame on you and Red Bull.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
May 29, 2010 - 09:12am PT
Here is Rolando's article translated by Babelfish; it is a little crude but does the job I guess. I tweaked it up some as the translation is purely automatic.

60 parabolts towards the Compressor Route of Cerro Torre

At the request of some readers, Rolando Garibotti extends and details to the column appeared in the last number of Unevenness. In her it demands explanations by parabolts placed, that remain, and the cord fixes installed during months for a project of shooting and liberation.

By digital Writing digital@desnivel.es Updated 21.05.201023:40

The route of the Compressor crosses the south-east spur, in center of the image. Photo: ®Rolando Garibotti.

To start up a project of clean scaling whose shooting demands great means and alteration of the route supposes, as the Argentinean Rolando Garibotti explains, a very serious ethical dilemma. This one is its valuation:

The great news in Patagonia this past season was not related to an ascent, but to the announcement of a project. Little it was materialized of as much publicity and that little he was negative. Although David Lama did not manage to at least release to a new meter of the route of the Compressor in the south-east spur of the Hill Tower, its equipment of shooting made up of several cameras and Austrian guides of mountain engaged by Red Bull placed about 700 meters of fixed cords throughout the route and near 60 parabolts.

The cords were retired several months later by Argentine guides, who could not with all and had to leave a full bed roll of them in rimaya. A smaller detail in comparison with parabolts.

Parabolts were placed in first half of the route--- between rimaya and the passage--- where not even Maestri in 1970 had perforated the rock in spite of being loaded up with his heavy compressor. In that section of the route there is an infinity of options to place removable protection, since the fissures abound everywhere. In the hundreds of repetitions that the route has had nobody has had to add nothing in that section. Without a doubt he is peculiar that is necessity to add parabolts to a route that counts already with more than 450 nails of pressure.

In relation to the actions of this equipment of Red Bull an ethical dilemma appears on the re-equipment of classic or historical routes.

I would like to know what would happen if this summer I visited Austria and added dozens of parabolts in "Locker vom Hocker" of Gullich and Albert or in some route of the famous Mathias Rebisch, or of Albert Precht, et cetera. And since the own Reinhold Messner helped to promote this attempt of David Lama (to see here) perhaps would be appropriate that added dozens of parabolts to the Spur of Means (Mittelpfeiler) in the Sasso della Croce (Heiligkreuzkopfel), in its historical one via. He is peculiar that is he, author in years 70 of the well-known article "The Murder of the Impossible"; against the indiscriminate use of bolts, that help to promote the upsetting of Red Bull and Lama.

To add parabolts to an existing route not only is in opposition to one of the good well-known ethical norms not written of the mountain climbing and the scaling, but also on Best Practice in Mountain Sports is written in the famous Tyrol Declaration result of a meeting of mountain climbers, climbers, clubs and bunds in Innsbruck in 2002. In article 8, point 1, is read: "This means that the climbers would not have to increase the number of fixed insurances in a preexisting route";. This declaration recently has been updated with the denominated Declaration of Ethics in the Mountain that the Union the International of Associations of Alpinismo (UIAA) the past made 11 public of December on the occasion of the Day the International of the Mountain. In his article 1 (individual responsibility) one takes shelter: "… To place fixed anchorages in new or old routes cannot automatically be assumed like acceptable". In article 4 (in foreign countries): "… We must respect the ethics and local style of scaling and not drill nor place fixed anchorages in places where there is a traditional ethics in his against or where ” is not an established ethics. In article 8 (style): "… We always must deal with not leaving any sign in a wall and the mountain.

In relation to the fixed cords it is worth the trouble to reflect envelope what reaction would have if we throughout left to fixed cords a summer in "Pesce" of the Marmolada, or in "Philipp Flamm" of the Civetta, or in "American Direct " on the west face of the Dru, or any other concurred classic route of the Alps. To anybody who likes to climb under fixed ropes, less even in a route that from the Eighties becomes in alpine style.

In 1985 Swiss Fulvio Mariani filmed in the Cerro Torre one of the best mountain films never done, "Summit";, a documentary of the solitary ascent of Pedrini Frame. In that occasion not only they did not place any parabolt, but they used only three fixed cords. Years later, in 1990, the German Werner Herzog I also film "Schrei aus Stein"; (Scream of Stone) in the Cerro Torre, and even that time there was no necessity to add parabolts to the route of Maestri. Since then, as it proves the behavior of Licks and the people of Red Bull, it seems to have happened an important regression.
Lama and Red Bull would have to explain how they justify as much impact to document an attempt of ascent that It licks same promoted saying that it would be in alpine style, clean, light, with “ to fair play ”, et cetera.

By Rolando Garibotti

Argentine mountain climber, mountain guide in the USA, is habitual and a great student of the history of the scaling in Patagonia besides a recognized analyst with numerous publications like, for example, "Cerro Torre", its history and its routes" in Desnivel # 210. Among others activities, in 2005, along with Ermanno Salvaterra and Alessandro Beltrami drew up "the coffer of winds" in Cerro Torre, whereas in 2008 the traverse of the Tower along with Colin Haley realised the first ascent. In Desnivel # 287 (May 2010) it published a chronicle of most important happened in Patagonia the past season.

Boulder climber
May 29, 2010 - 09:44am PT
Sure would like to read DR's opinion on this. Be an interesting read to say the least.
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