Bolts chopped on Cerro Torre


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Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 19, 2010 - 01:07pm PT
Placing protection blots next to cracks is more egregious because protection is removed by the second whereas bolts cannot be removed.

I think Rolo just showed that they can...(!)

Rap bolts placed next to perfect cracks in Patagonia are done by climbers who are using power drills and sieging routes.
Routes in Patagonia should be done in alpine style. Yes, style does matter!

What about trade routes? Like the Compressor Route? Should all the bolts be yanked and folks forced to leave gear on descent?

Part of me wonders if folks who use rappel bolts instead of gear, but, still say routes shouldn't have bolts, are a bit hypocritical (struggling with the phrasing here as I don't want Jim on my ass!).

Jim, my bet is if you added up all the rappelling you've done, say, in the last 5 years...that, a significant number of those rappels were on bolted anchors right next to cracks. Indian Creek, Red Rocks, Castle Rock (geez, I might have some photo's of that, ha ha) etc etc. Sure, you didn't place them, but, you also didn't remove them either or leave gear instead of using them.

Oh, man, I'm in trouble now...

This probably needs its own thread, but, it is somewhat applicable to the topic as folks gotta get down off trade routes somehow, and, really, are bolts not acceptable for descent in alpine terrain even on often attempted and climbed routes?

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 19, 2010 - 01:12pm PT
I've worked myself a bit into a corner. Style matters because climbing doesn't. If there were a cure for cancer on the top of Cerro Torre any means to get there would be justified.
Climbing has evolved via knowledge, training, equip. etc. As climbing evolves style should follow.
The Compressor Route is an abomination; certainly not an example to be emulated.

Nov 19, 2010 - 01:17pm PT

I know what you're really getting at here and that's what really matters.

I believe most people here know too.

And then we have ...

Hooorrraaahh man

See yea at the top when we rap off that tied tied off twig ....
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Nov 19, 2010 - 01:44pm PT
There are tons of traditional climbing areas with bolted anchors Devil's Tower being the best example in my area, but each time anchors are added it decreases the commitment level. Super popular climbs there like the first pitches One Way Sunset, El Mat, Carol's Crack ect. would not get done nearly as often if one had to top out to get off with out leaving gear. I think anyone that has trad climbed for very long has used them, but I don't think it is hypocritical to wish that there can still be places left where this is not the case. How would people feel if i wanted to make of film of climbing for profit, advertising or whatever and I installed two bolts at the end of every pitch on something like Pingora where the last time I was there I don't recall one bolt, belay or otherwise, on the entire 1500ft route. I would just like to see some places left as they are as a tribute to those that came first. This route had been done pletty without those bolts being there.

Nov 19, 2010 - 02:10pm PT
Good job, Rolo! Thanks for doing this.

Mountain climber
Eastsound, Wa
Nov 19, 2010 - 03:47pm PT
In the greater scheme of things this is the proverbial ''tempest in a teapot'', but in the smaller world of climbing the question of ethics matters a great deal.

This editorial from Alpinist gives some needed historical perspective and sums up pretty well why ethics and human impact do matter.


Mountain climber
Nov 19, 2010 - 04:13pm PT
Tami, I sent an email to

last night, and another a little while ago. haven't got a bounceback on either one. maybe check the address....

(edit) Tami - we need a Lama and Putz cartoon as someone suggested upthread

Peter - i got one of the template responses the other day, so I responded to that... am thinking of making "NO MORE Red Boltsh**t" stickers...
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 19, 2010 - 04:27pm PT
Steve, great link there. I missed those comments by Kennedy. Gotta love him.

Kunlun, Red Bull is issuing out automatic responses to all of our queries (see above); the complaints do good though and without a doubt are souring things for everyone that was involved. When Lama gets his Big Boy pants finally, maybe he will understand what our view might be.

Now on to Tami. Tami, back off, Hon; put down the candy, stand away from the child----this one is mine. Donini clearly has said upthread that the summit mushroom on Cerro Torre (don’t make me post that “Cerro Torre: the fourth Flatiron” image again) cures cancers. All of them. What the hell do you think is going to take place now? I see legions of the sick and of curanderos, headed south like army ants, don’t you? What about plumbing; remember we were talking about that too. These sacred playspaces cannot go without proper plumbing, T !?!? Also I want a plastic Tami action figure that matches your avatar. 1” high is okay; just a paperweight you see.

Nov 19, 2010 - 04:32pm PT
Donini said, "Style matters because climbing doesn't. If there were a cure for cancer on the top of Cerro Torre any means to get there would be justified."

perfectly stated...goes way beyond the lama debacle

Mountain climber
Nov 19, 2010 - 04:58pm PT
@ donini

"Style matters because climbing doesn't" One of the best one liners ever!!!!!!

a fun one for Lama

"In the 60's sex was safe and climbing was dangerous. Now it's the other way around."


Nov 20, 2010 - 09:33am PT
donini, thanks for the honest and well thought out answer. FYI,no agenda or anything other than wanting to know your point of view.


Trad climber
Nov 21, 2010 - 02:42pm PT
Ok all of you tough patagoniac's, if this bolt chopping thing is so important how come you let the abomination of the Pilar Rojo go un-contested. That thing has numerous (+/- 50) bolts right next to splitter cracks on every pitch and the FA'ers did it just to facilitate easier repeats, and every belay is bolted at 100' from the last so you only have to bring one rope. So, put your crow bar where your mouth is. Are you really motivated by the pura vida or is it something else entirely? Also, chopping bolts off flush with the rock is like only picking up half of the litter you find...
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 21, 2010 - 02:57pm PT
Not to play devil's advocate, but don't commercial climbers do similar things to what was done on Cerro Torre, all the time? (OK, the general climbing public too.) The over-development in much of the Alps being the classic example - teleferiques, "via ferratas", huts, and on and on. Not to mention many places in the world where bolts are placed as a matter of course, even if reasonable natural protection is available. Ladders on Chomolungma, fixed lines on the popular 8,000 m peaks, caches and fixed lines all over El Cap, the high environmental impacts of climbing generally and commercial climbing particularly - even if individuals often make a credible effort to look after the immediate are where they're climbing. And, of course, that film crews, riggers, and 'guides' of various sorts often behave as though they own the places they're using, and will do whatever they believe necessary?

Imagine Yosemite, without the NPS to fend off at least some of the commercial and development onslaught.

Lama, Red Bull and their accomplices may be somewhat mystified by the reaction, given that they do similar things elsewhere without reaction, and that Cerro Torre and area is hardly pristine.

As for bolts to facilitate rappelling - in most frontcountry rock climbing areas in Canada and the US, where a route is often rappelled, it now seems acceptable practice for there to be fixed anchors to facilitate it, even if natural anchors are available. It significantly reduces the amount of junk anchors and slings on climbs. It also, perhaps unfortunately, makes things a bit too convenient at times (no such thing as convenient or safe climbing), and perhaps encourages the mindset that belays should be bolted, even where not normally used for rappelling.

Boulder climber
Nov 21, 2010 - 03:49pm PT
How dare you in anyway question Rolo, he is after all one of the few Living Gods left on Earth. . .
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Nov 21, 2010 - 04:17pm PT
Yes, I'm not worthy to polish Senor Garibotti's carabiners. :-)

But that doesn't mean I can't comment on the issue.

Nov 21, 2010 - 04:23pm PT

First one must polish, then one can comment .....

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 21, 2010 - 04:26pm PT
I could not agree with you more MH- it certainly is a mess out there. That doesn't mean that we should not try to incorporate some "best practices" into climbing to reduce further damage. It also follows that reducing some of the in situ garbage on many of the World's iconic peaks would be a good thing. Keep in mind that there are organizations everywhere trying to repair environmental damage- why shouldn't climbers do the same?
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Nov 21, 2010 - 04:42pm PT
Yeah, it is happening all the time all over the place but that don't make it right. I have been told that the local climbing org is talking about adding bolts to iconic routes like Vertigo and have already done so to others. I am sure I will never do some of these routes such as they are, but I am OK with that. I guess Superpin, Hairypin, and the needles eye could use about ten more bolts each. Where is Henry Barber when you need him.
señor huynh

Mountain climber
Bay Area
Nov 24, 2010 - 08:21pm PT
Thank you, Rolo. Stay safe.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Nov 24, 2010 - 08:28pm PT
First one must polish, then one can comment .....

I don't understand why Werner thinks people from poland are so special.
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