Cerro Torre, A Mountain Consecrated - The Resurrection of th


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Big Wall climber
Can't Say.
Jan 22, 2012 - 05:19pm PT
What ever, I have FA in Patagonia, JT, Squamish, and Yosemite...you Philo?

I 'd say what I said about Hayden in front of Hayden and his father, Arne. But yes my neck is skinny, but I have no vested interest in climbing other than going out and climbing, sorry, not kissing anyone's ass.



Ice climber
Jan 22, 2012 - 05:22pm PT
If a small team made an alpine-style ascent of the north face of Jannu, then chopped all the bolts and fixed ropes left up there by the Russian big-wall team on the FA of the Odintsov Direct route, I wonder if there would be as much outrage and condemnation as there has been here. I suspect the answer is no.

Trad climber
Carbondale, CO
Jan 22, 2012 - 05:23pm PT
Credit: Snorky

Hobart, Australia
Jan 22, 2012 - 05:35pm PT
dunno 'bout that, BlackSpider. I think that would be internationally considered as quite a despicable act and with no justification.

What's happened on Cerro Torre recently is the cumulation of a long process of dialog. It's not just a case of just random chopping of someone else's route due to style differences.

Talked to Paul Pritchard the other day. His eyes lit up, and he said, "I was planning to do that (chop the bolts) on Cerro Torre!" But he also inferred that the team that would be entitled to do the chopping should have had climbed the SE ridge without any of Maestri's bolts, and he was also surprised to hear that the belay bolts weren't considered in the "fair-means" equation.

If we're talking nationalism, I reckon a Brit would have had a greater claim to the deed, since it was a British team that really got usurped on Cerro Torre back in the early 70's (though Paul didn't see it as a nationalism kind of thing).

Personally, I would have preferred it left alone as the classic nose-in-a-day of Patagonia!
(But that's not a comment on what was done, that's just an opinion informed by a dream that someday I might get down there again).

Side story: I recall being incensed at Dan McDivett when he "cleaned" up dozens of fixed pitons on the Nose back in 1984 (we were all pretty poor in those days, I figured he was just trying to make a few bucks selling used pins in the parking lot). At the time, I was gunning for the first link up of Nose and Half Dome, and it really pissed me off--Tucker had to hold me back. But in the end, the "day" potential of the Nose wasn't affected, and I was definitely overreacting, though it did affect my psyche for the link-up. I suspect something similar is going on now with some folks.

Ice climber
Jan 22, 2012 - 05:51pm PT
@Deuce: I guess I just see fixed gear (be it ropes, bolts, or whatever) as being closer to booty/crag swag or even just pure garbage than a lot of people do. If something was placed in a crack and abandoned, most people consider it fair game to pull out if you've got the inclination to do so. I'm not sure why a drilled hole should be any different.

Or what if, instead of pounding in pins, Maestri had drilled his way up and placed trenched batheads? Still off-limits for cleaning and/or replacing?

Hobart, Australia
Jan 22, 2012 - 05:59pm PT
sure, ropes and junk are fair game, but erasing routes is of course a different matter.

I posted a note about those bolts on a different thread, but I'm amazed at how those Cassin bolts were in such good shape after all these years. Maestri's work, though a botch job in terms of standards, is actually quite a work of art in terms of using the construction technology of the day. I don't really see the Compressor Route's style as much different to the style of those who bring motorised equipment to the mountains today--but perhaps that's where I would personally draw the line--otherwise you might as well extend the paradigm and just helicopter to the summit (or perhaps just past the blank pitches) and call it good. Thinking about it, what if we all had personal jet packs (the Apple iJetPack™)--wonder how that would affect the game we call climbing?
David Wilson

Jan 22, 2012 - 06:05pm PT
i agree john, the maestri bolts are somewhat of an art project; an odd period piece. pending other information, i think they should have been left in place...

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jan 22, 2012 - 06:11pm PT
Power drills are damn near standard on New VI VII routes these dayz...

So we have gone FULL CIRCLE.

If that makes any sense.

WTF? Those in the know are keeping it to themselves. NO NEW INFO OR CONFIRMATION OF "THE FACTS" stated above.

Mountain climber
Jan 22, 2012 - 06:22pm PT
I find some of the comments above quite hypocritical, especially considering these same people's comments on the Wings of Steel fiasco.

BTW, if some foreigner had come to the valley in 1970 and had put up a bolt ladder up the big stone, I'd imagine the route would not have survived more than a month... Robins started chopping a Harding route until he realized it couldn't have been put up in better style at the time. This is not the case with the Compressor route.

It's also admirable that people waited until a legit variation was accomplished before chopping the route. I think what transpired on CT is completely in line with established climbing ethics around the globe.

Seems like some people are upset for rather selfish reasons..
David Wilson

Jan 22, 2012 - 06:39pm PT
hmmmm....bolts do persist, witness tangerine trip on EC. as i recall there are at least two full pitches of rivets....and nobody has chopped them so far

Mountain climber
Swall Meadows,CA
Jan 22, 2012 - 08:34pm PT
Quite the little debate and even before all of the facts are in. Seems like there is a division between those who have been on the route and those who have not and those who have been on it might favor having left it as it was.Yes, I have been there, but not to the top but I have to go with Coz, SS and Greg. Always wanted to go back.
In an article Rolo stated that you need a rack no larger than that for Nutcracker. True maybe, but the climbs are a galaxy apart. If you are not scared up there and praying for the weather to hold then you are not going to live much longer. The route has quality free climbing and ice as well. I cannot comprehend how it was in 1970. Maestri's first attempt was in the winter and he got beaten down and left, returning in summer. He put his time in for sure and I still hope against hope that his ascent with Egger might one day prove to be true.
Let's be clear, it seems that a free ascent is not being claimed, only an free/aid ascent using a small number of the original bolts but original bolts were used for the ascent and descent. Yes, Maestri went wild and put bolts in all over. But then pre-cleanup Zodiac had up to 15 at the Mark of Zorro belay and you might ask how they all got there. Galen Rowell once told me that Maestri had got the compressor and other equipment from European manufacturer Hilti who were interested in providing equipment for the projected Alaska pipeline. Never seen that corroborated anywhere so take it as you wish. But if true what is a sponsored climber going to do but use the stuff - nothing changes. Easy to criticize Maestri, but if you have been there you have to ask yourself about the work it took to get that thing up on the peak.
The non-controversial classy complete climb would be to climb it totally on their own gear and create their own anchors on the way down. Their ascent proves something and these guys did an outstanding job of that - no debate. But on the way down using the same bolts you profess to detest is hypocritical.
How would the route have been if only extraneous bolts were removed and the route cleaned up as has happened to many Yosemite routes?
How many people really comprehend the full history of this climb from the British attempts, through Bill Denz's little appreciated attempted solo in 1980 to 80m of the top and Pedrini's solo?
The history remains, but the route they did seems to be no more. It took over 40 years and the skills of modern climbers for a route bypassing most of the bolts to be found; but only a few hours to remove a lot of it.

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jan 22, 2012 - 09:43pm PT
LARGO SAID: My point is that in the moment of actual doing, what you or I think about the Compresso route had nothing whatsoever to do with what the boys did up there. I have no doubt that many will try and MAKE it there businenss after the fact, but the fact has already marched past - should we like it or not is irrelevant, and is our issue, not theirs.


True that what you nor I nor ANYONE else thought seems to have mattered very little to the "boys".

And there lies the problem:

The "boys" took it upon themselves to remove bolts from a climb that seemingly they didn't even do, and was immensely enjoyed by many others.

It seems that you pay homage to a world where "the able" make the rules, to hell with the others, let the "heroes" follow their passions! (5.11 A2?!?)

Pay homage? Where did you get that? I repeatedly have said, "for better or for worse," that right or wrong was not my issue here.

My point is that "they took it upon themselves," to use your phrase. This is the "direct action" I spoke about and to which the vanguard had always practiced." All the yammering and judgments after the fact are perhaps important in a general, policy-defining kind of way, but the vangard is not expected to define their intentions through other's opinions, which are none of their business. That's just the way they roll, and we're powerless over that.

Another thing is that the vaugard, if authentic, always pushes the bar up - not sideways or down. Talk about chopping Nose being remotely the same as what happened on the Cerro T. is strictly absurd. Nowhere on the Nose was there anything remotely like the profligate show of bolts as seen on those pics, where a dozen or more festoon from the rock right next to cracks. If this was seen on El Cap today it would uniformly be written off as the work or hacks or madmen.

I think a lot of the guff we see here is sour grapes that leading edge folks are making policy decisions for all mankind. Well, they did. And will continue to do so. It's an evolutionary thing.

That said, I don't condone removing the bolts on the Torre, but I wonder if a lot of people are bent because without the machine-gun-bolted nature of the compressor route, the majority of us would never have a shot as such a mountain.


Big Wall climber
Jan 22, 2012 - 09:48pm PT
darn those forty niners!

well, i lot of great thought on this issue, really amazing how every issue has been presented by both sides and by so many people. although i remain bummed that the route has been choppy chop chopped, i don't slag anybody for thinking the other way. it is a grandiose peak, one of the world's greatest treasures, and if people feel the mountain is better without these bolts, i really don't even want to change their/your opinion. i understand that everybody here seems to appreciate how special this peak is, and that people are talking from the heart. i'm not going to lose any friends over this, at least not on my part, it's way not worth it.

at the same time, i would again like to explain why i might have been just a bit tweaked on my first post or two here. i have been down to try the compressor route on four separate expeditions, costing me thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, and 8 or 9 months of my life(i could have been in thailand with my wife). injuries, sickness, bad weather, and bad partners all have contributed to my failures. the last time on the peak, just below the banana cracks, my partner refused to continue because he was tired, even though i was leading every pitch in the dark. the weather was perfect. total heartbreak as i watched a german team pass us on our retreat and cruise to the summit. these times and attempts and failures on the compressor route are among my greatest memories, even though i never even got to the mythical bolt ladders of maestri, i longed to see them for myself. so, all of a sudden, bam...i am robbed of my chance to have another go on the compressor.

so, it should be understandable that i might be upset enough to squeeze my panties into a g-string. i not even saying here that i had a right to climb the compressor route, just that i have the right to be upset about it being chopped because of all i've been through on this climb.

people have argued i can always go do another climb on the torre, but i don't want that choice made for me. one thing i have found out is that it is not cool to tell other people what to climb, so i don't need anybody telling me to go do the ferrari route(west face). i wanted to do the compressor route. i've been shut down, just like the fortyniners today. ciao amigos, steve schneider


Social climber
Jan 22, 2012 - 10:21pm PT
//What ever, I have FA in Patagonia, JT, Squamish, and Yosemite...you Philo?

I 'd say what I said about Hayden in front of Hayden and his father, Arne. But yes my neck is skinny, but I have no vested interest in climbing other than going out and climbing, sorry, not kissing anyone's ass.


i miei complimenti a chi esce dal branco, chapeu !

Social climber
Jan 22, 2012 - 10:25pm PT
//If a small team made an alpine-style ascent of the north face of Jannu, then chopped all the bolts and fixed ropes left up there by the Russian big-wall team on the FA of the Odintsov Direct route, I wonder if there would be as much outrage and condemnation as there has been here. I suspect the answer is no.

tu stai confondendo arance con mele, come fai a paragonare una salita del 2004 e una del 1971 ??? Non ti sembra che sia cambiato qualcosa ? No, vero?

Social climber
Jan 22, 2012 - 10:53pm PT
//Trovo alcuni dei commenti sopra abbastanza ipocriti...
A proposito, se qualche straniero fosse venuto a valle nel 1970 e avesse messo su una serie di chiodi a pressione, immagino che il percorso non sarebbe sopravvissuto più di un mese... Robbins ha iniziato a schiodare una via di Harding finché si accorse che non avrebbe potuto essere salita in stile migliore per allora. Questo non è il caso della Via del Compressore.//

Qualcuno continua a ripetere che il Cerro Torre non è la Yosemite, ma qualcun'altro continua a non capirlo perchè gli fa' comodo così. Dimostrami che sul Torre nel '70 si arrampicava con difficoltà uguali alla Yosemite, altrimenti l'ipocrita sei tu. Robbins in quel momento aveva deciso di schiodare la via di Harding: aveva diritto di scegliere lui cosa era giusto fare e cosa no ?? A un certo punto si è fermato, non perchè ha pensato che non era giusto nei confronti di Harding e di chi avrebbe potuto ripetere la via... ma perchè si è reso conto che lui stesso non sarebbe riuscito a salirci ! Veramente una cosa corretta... wow

E'anche ammirevole che persone hanno atteso fino a quando una variazione legit è stata compiuta prima di tagliare il percorso.

Allora adesso sarà ammirevole anche togliere tutto da Nose, Salathè, ecc.ecc.??? Altrimenti, tenendo conto del tuo punto di vista, mi sembra un po' ipocrita, perchè solo sul Cerro Torre??

Penso che ciò che è accaduto sul CT è completamente in linea con l'etica stabilito arrampicata di tutto il mondo.

Si? Allora sii coerente, comincia a ripulire la Yosemite e tutti gli U.S.A. perchè per ora sono stati gli americani a farlo SOLO in casa d'altri: dimostrate di non avere la coda di paglia, una volta.

Sembra che alcune persone sono sconvolti per motivi egoistici piuttosto ..

Il sistema di imporre la propria idea in casa d'altri, è usanza tipica di qualcuno, non degli italiani

Hobart, Australia
Jan 22, 2012 - 11:01pm PT
More pondering and speculation from the peanut gallery:

To all the future "fair-means" chopping teams: perhaps y'all could leave the 90 meter traverse bolts as a historical variation. Unlike the headwall, those bolts wouldn't be in the way, as the original British line and its fair means continuation completely bypasses them. Other than that, carry on with your ethical cleanup if you so wish.

Maestri knew it was possible to go directly up the ridge. But he inexplicably chose to drill across a blank wall, and many people have speculated as to why. I reckon the weather had kicked in, and that he went that way to stay out of the wind, as the ridge is much more exposed. Perhaps that variant can remain as both as a historical novelty, and as a way some parties might attempt to gain just a little more ground if they get up to pitch 10 and the wind really starts kicking in; if the typical Patagonia wind doesn't abate, they're not going to have much luck on the upper part of the route anyway (with or without bolts).

Of course, if luck prevailed, then all successful parties would have to 'fess up as to which variant they took (with of course fewer kudos to the 90m traversers).

Other than the 90m traverse pitches and the headwall, most of the other supposed 4 gallzillion bolts on the route have already long been superseded by modern gear and free climbing abilities.

Galgenen, Switzerland
Jan 22, 2012 - 11:11pm PT
For whom questions the authorithy of the decision taken in El Chanten in 2007
Nevertheless, that meeting and decision shows how far from unanimity is the choice of chopping the Compressor bolts, and it enphasize further how arbitrary and arrogant was the action of Kennedy and Kruk action.

KKK = Kennedy-Kruk-Kontroversy ... too funny! :-)))

Social climber
Jan 22, 2012 - 11:12pm PT

Confronti la quantità di materiale lasciato sulla via di Maestri al Torre, e quello lasciato da Harding sul Capitan: non sarai così ingenuo da pensare che Harding sarebbe salito nel suo modo sul Torre ??? Magari in quel freschetto si alzava 20m e il giorno dopo trovavano un pezzo di ghiaccio...
Harding, Robbins, & C. il Cerro Torre se lo sono solo sognati, Bridwell ci è salito per la Via Maestri altrimenti tornava a casa anche lui.
Ora i tempi sono cambiati, bene, volete cancellare tutto e plasmarlo alle condizioni attuali ? Cominciate a farlo a casa vostra, fuori, sulle vie di altri, non è affar vostro

Jan 22, 2012 - 11:41pm PT
Hey Cedar Wright here. This is obviously a HUGE event in the history of climbing, and having just returned for the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow where I rubbed shoulders with the likes of Fred Beckey and Reinhold Messner, I can say that this is the go to conversation piece of the climbing world right now. After a few days of dialogue with a lot of climbing luminaries who descended on Salt Lake, I have formulated my own opinion. Here it is for what it’s worth.

First, Congrats to Jason and Hayden, two genuinely nice and talented climbers for what sounds like a great new style for the compressor route, or perhaps more accurately (Variation?) to the compressor route. Who would have thought that a more natural line would be climbed at the relatively moderate grade of 5.11 A2!!!! I will say that this was only a “fairish means” ascent. True "Fair Means" isn't achieved until here is an ascent where NO BOLTS are clipped including anchor bolts, and it would be a lot cooler if was all free too. The only more exciting ascent I can imagine would be a freesolo, followed by a climactic basejump from the summit... absurd??? perhaps...but I also thought Half Dome would never be free soloed.

My feelings? I have to say I'm a bit saddened that they have chopped the route, largely because I like the guys and feel that this is a very polarizing thing to do. There is no doubt they will be remembered for many years as the "choppers." If I had been in their shoes, I would have enjoyed this more pure ascent and then left the bolts intact for others to clip, or not. I would like to be remembered for my climbs and my character, and not for an incredibly divisive and dare I say zealous, act.

Looking at Climbing ethics as something akin to religious or spiritual beliefs, I think there is nothing worse than a devout Atheist, Christian, Alpinist or what have you, forcing their belief system on others. This is how wars get started, and Jason and Hayden have undoubtedly fired the opening salvo in one of the most legendary bolt wars of all time.

Part of why I love climbing is because it has no rules, just ethics, which are open to our own personal interpretations. For me, a huge part of my Ethics centers around allowing others to climb in a style that makes them happy, and then allowing their first ascents to stand as a tribute to the quality, or lack thereof, of their chosen style. Certainly the Compressor route was put up in poor style, but I think it is quite fascinating historically, much like the nose, which was sieged over god knows how many days.

To use Tuolumne Meadows as an example, under my ethical system, I would not add bolts to the ground up established "Bachar Yerian," nor remove them from the rap bolted route to the left "Shipoopi." Both CLASSIC routes. I personally aspire to go ground placing as few bolts as possible, especially on granite, but support peoples right to do their thing.

On the flip side, at the end of the day, I support Hayden and Kruk's right to chop the route, and at the same time the next guys right to rebolt it. I do want to suggest that this rebolting will INEVITABLY happen. I heard the Italians paid for a helicopter to tow the compressor back to the summit and then reattach it to the wall after it was cut loose. If that’s true, you can bet you're ass there will be a fully funded team perhaps already enroute, to rebolt this historic line....which would be great for keeping this supertaco thread going.

Also, if the consensus becomes to let the route remain chopped, I think it might appease the gods a little bit if an effort is made to truly clean the route by filing all of the holes with epoxy and rock dust, which if done well can remove virtually any trace of scarring to the rock. Regardless Cerro Torre will remain inanimate, unconcerned, and forever bad ass.

AND NOW THE BEST FOR LAST. I had the good fortune to attend a small personal lecture by Reinhold Messner, put on by the American Alpine Club. When asked what he thought about the ascent, he was very excited about it and endorsed the chopping of the route with a big smile and two thumbs up, but when I talked with him after the event, he was slightly disappointed to hear that it was not a completely boltless ascent. At the end of the day, I think Hayden and Jason will be happy to hear that for the most part they have the endorsement of THE godfather of alpine style climbing.

Certainly the pot has been stirred, and perhaps Jason and Hayden have put their pricks in a hornet nest. I think the most positive thing that can come out of this is a constructive and hopefully friendly dialogue about style and ethics in climbing. Personal philosophy is typically something that evolves over the span of a life, and I'm sure that as two young alpinists, Kruk and Hayden will see things from a different perspective ten and twenty years from now.

I do have to say that for Jason Kruk this controversy could be a good thing. Now he can move on from being the guy that sh#t his pants in an offwidth and had to be rescued to the guy that chopped Cerro Torre. http://vimeo.com/13831211

Last time I saw Hayden he was hucking fifty-foot backflips from the anchors of Pumparama in Rifle. That day we talked about Yosemite climbing and taking those skills to the mountains. I was impressed by his unique mix of 5.14 abilities combined with psyche and talent for alpinism, but mostly I was impressed by his goodhearted friendly nature.

Regardless of what we may think about the chop, I assure you, these are two great guys, who would probably be happy to talk with any of you about their decision over a cold beer near you.

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