Cerro Torre, A Mountain Consecrated - The Resurrection of th


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Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jan 24, 2012 - 12:02pm PT

You have no idea..


Galgenen, Switzerland
Jan 24, 2012 - 12:15pm PT
I want to add a few words ...

Nobody ever mentioned "residents", and I consider Rolo a "local" in Patagonia ... and it's quite evident that he cares a lot about that place ... but this doesn't mean that he has to make of his belief a foundamentalist religion and Patagonia his temple ...

And if we apply his concept of "locals" ... well ... in his 1970 climb, Maestri spent 54 days on Cerro Torre and 28 on the hamac ... in comparison "actual locals" are sissies ... :-)

Alright guys and girls ... I'm going to climb ...

Bye ...

PS. Italians are lazy ... if they would chop the Nose's bolt ladders, they would do it from the top, with a nice american girl ... spending a romantic night on one of those beautiful ledges eating pazza and pizza and doing something else ... ;-)))

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Jan 24, 2012 - 12:20pm PT
Funny you mention this enzolino... I once encountered an Italian party (of two guys) on Camp 6 who had out their pots and stove and were cooking up a meal.

They had hauled the most fabulous leather haul bag...the only one of its kind I've ever seen. They probably had great shoes too, but I didn't look. The bag was quite small, so they didn't bring any sleeping bags, just cooking gear. I think they spent two nights out. They were super nice, and having a great time.

Sorry for the aside, but if we're slinging stereotypes here, I thought this was a propos.

Jan 24, 2012 - 12:27pm PT
Pizza eating Italians are going to chop the Nose bolt ladder.

LOL !!!!

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Jan 24, 2012 - 12:33pm PT
and doing something else ... ;-

Eating Pie?
American Pie?

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Jan 24, 2012 - 12:33pm PT
^^Zing! (re: DMT)

Sport climber
Jan 24, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
The 2007 meet and "democratic vote" was little more than a farce. There was no democracy at work because few, if any, true "local climbers" were present.

why were only a "few, if any, true "local climbers"..." present?

was the meeting not publicized properly?

who were the 40 in attendance?

did some climbers choose not to attend the meeting?

did you or others try to get another meeting together?

why had you chosen not to remove the bolts in the past yourself?

Also, I wonder where were these "self appointed locals" in 2010 when Lama's film crew added a bunch of bolts to "their" "historic route"? I did not see them rioting outside of Lama crew's residence, or taking Heli Putz -the head rigger- to the police, and I certainly did not see them anywhere when two of us went to chop those bolts. Was this lack of involvement on their part some sort of selective "historic preservation" since the Lama bolts would have made the mountain even more accessible?

did anyone object to your removal of the bolts?

i'd surmise that the removal of a 40+ year old route would galvanize a stronger response than adding some bolts that were then removed....

The police played along with the mob and that is quite worrisome.

how many people in this "mob", and who were they?

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Jan 24, 2012 - 01:17pm PT
What do you all say to an ad-hoc SuperTopo poll?
A yea or nay, good or bad, cool or crap, A or B vote as a straw poll.
We could read the pulse of a slice of the climbing community that way.
Without all the inflamed passions that is.

Shall we vote?

Jan 24, 2012 - 01:21pm PT
Polls are stupid, stale and bland.

Talking sh!t is where it at ......

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Jan 24, 2012 - 01:23pm PT
Feed Lot Frenzy!
Watch your step.

I wonder how Google will translate that into Italian?

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jan 24, 2012 - 01:35pm PT
Sounds like K+K chopped just enuff bolts to make a sport climber say "Runnout" on his blog after the send.

Jan 24, 2012 - 01:37pm PT
Here's some stupid sh!t talking, maybe even some resemblance of a faint reality?

It's all Bush and Cheney's fault. LOL

Those two dumb sh!ts started all these wars, aggressions and problems lately.

People when they get pissed now a days look at America as aggressive azzholes pushing their ideals onto everyone.

Stupid in a way but it still happens when other countries get pissed.

Most people still like Pizza and beer though .......

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Jan 24, 2012 - 01:42pm PT
Was the removal of 100+ likely redundant and unnecessary bolts from a decades old and often repeated route on the most iconoc mountain on earth at least for real climbers with historic significance as a symbol of Hubris Gone Wild a good thing or a bad thing?

No need for threats or lynch mobs.
A simple Yes or No will suffice.

Yes = good, the bolts are gone.

No = bad, they should have been left in place.

Jan 24, 2012 - 01:56pm PT
Threads about to go south very fast. I vote for a web cam at the local El Chalten brewery (happily contribute).
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 24, 2012 - 01:57pm PT
I dunno about chopping the Nose.

Apples and oranges.

If the Italians chop the Nose it could mean WAR!
(and we all know how successful they have been at that for the past century!)

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jan 24, 2012 - 02:02pm PT
You know the crazy thing about posting an idea on this thread is that most people won't even bother to read what you say, then comment as though they have.

I never said that I supported removing the bolts. I simply stated that what you or I have to say about the vanguard has no effect or bearing on the vanguard. None at all. They don't listen to us. And they probably never should, either.

Just as CM didn't ask for our opinion about machine gun bolting the Cerro with a gas powered machine, Kennedy and Co. didn't ask our permission, or the permission of locals, or the Holy Ghost, to "clean up" the mess of 40 years ago.

The rub to some is that a certain (VERY small) percentage of the population is going to operate entirely outside the system - and we simply have to lump it. The arguments, which are often thinly veiled hatred and jealousy, call the vanguard arrogant, selfish, reckless, self-ordained, and so forth, most of which is true in some sense - and also is required to march point, to run for president, to fly a gun ship in Iraq, etc.

Notice also how doomsdayers promise that if the vanguard's unlimited freedom is not checked, "authorities" will step in and forcibly control the vauguard (cutting our own freedoms in the process). Never happen, folks.
This is really just wishful thinking by those who cannot stomach the idea of anyone doing anything with total disregard to what others feel or believe is appropriate. Fact is, even if you gave every ranger in Patagonia an AK47, the vanguard is going to do just as it pleases. Arguments about this being right or wrong or that it must be stopped and that it should never be santioned and that I am extolling the "ethics" of bolt choppers (not true) is totally extraneous and irrelevant to the vanguard's path. The vanguard basically has nothing to do with us. They are a tribe unto themselves, for the time being. It is never sustainable.

Because the vanguard is always so small, their actions - both wildly insane and worthy of our praise - usually prompt sea changes in the existing order. Ergo Kennedy and Maestri are opposite ends of the same column of soldiers - and so long as they march right over us - as they always have - some people are going to feel violated - which is a natural enough emotion, but it will have no bearing whatsoever on the marching soldiers.

So it goes . . . The more we try to control and restrict, the more we try to impose a consensus, to be rational, to play fair, the more the opposite energies will exert themselves in the field of play - of that we may be sure.


Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Jan 24, 2012 - 02:02pm PT
Recently, upthread, Rolo asks where was the outrage when David Lama bolted Cerro Torre. I found these four threads on SuperTopo, note the number of postings in each thread. Given that info I think we gave David Lama a similar amount of attention as this current event.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1388483/david-lama-and-cerro-torre-again (330 postings)

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1319502/Bolts-chopped-on-Cerro-Torre (170 postings)

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1181099/60-Bolts-drilled-on-Compressor-Route-in-Patagonia (120 postings)

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1320697/Please-contact-Red-Bull-regarding-Cerro-Torre-Travesty (30 postings)
leo Dickinson

Mountain climber
Jan 24, 2012 - 02:03pm PT
Rolo this is very good news - particularly for someone who retains a long history with CT.

For those not then born I will explain.

Back in 1970 I organised an expedition to the SE Ridge. My team was a good one - Eric Jones (who later soloed the Eiger N Face), Cliff Phillips (who soloed the Piz Badille in 2hr35 mins in 1969)- the late Pete Minks (who soled the Walker Spur) and myself had climbed the Eiger N Face and filmed our ascent a year earlier. Swiss climber Hans Peter Tracsel who had climbed the Eiger in both winter & summer and Gordon Hibberd who was on the First Ascent of the Fortress in Chile, joined us.

Decades before the internet was even thought of, rumours were starting to filter through that Italian - Cesare Maestri had drilled his way up the SE Ridge using a compressor and pneumatic drill.

We had no idea what compressor meant. Why would you?

In 1968 Brit climber Pete Crew named the col on the SE arête – the 'Col of Patience' – with him were team mates Dougal Haston, Martin Boysen, Mick Burke and Argentinean - Jose Fonrouge. An all star team of the time.

On the 'Col of Patience' we dug the customary snow cave and waited and... waited. When fine weather came we climbed quickly up the ridge for several pitches to where Martin had dropped his bolt kit from their high point in 1968.

We were greeted by an old rope hanging downwards encased in ice like a giant gaucho’s boleadora. It dangled malevolently above our heads.

To our right we found the start of what became known as the first bolt ladder.

With clouds swirling around I filmed this via ferrate disappearing upwards.

The wall was utterly blank and even with modern climbing techniques I can not imagine this part every being climbed free - but dozens, if not hundreds of bolts were studded across this rising traverse. It was desecration on an industrial scale.

For 30 days the weather kicked in and gave us time to debate our predicament. There was no question that it was ruining our trip.

Do we use the bolts or not? At the time we were mindful of Messner’s “Murder of the Impossible” article on the over reliance of bolts and had not come half way around the world to climb an iron ladder in the sky – at least not with this team.

One day we were joined in our base camp in the forest by an Englishman Richard Cernesky – an Argentinean Peter Skvarca (who made the first ascent of Cerro Lautaro) and intriguingly an older man called Cesarino Fava.

At first the penny did not drop until Richard told me that Fava had been with Toni Egger and Maestri on the first ascent of Cerro Torre back in 1959.

Fava had his own views on the “Compressor” – he thought it was a waste of time but when I asked him about the original Maestri/Egger route from 1959 he clammed up.

“Why does everyone want to know about that climb”?

“Because - if its true, then it rates as one of, if not - the greatest climb of all time,” I replied more in exasperation than expectation.

No more conversation followed.

Maestri led two expeditions and was slow - incredibly slow but meticulously methodical. He helicoptered in a hut that was erected at the bottom of the mountain and air dropped in his supplies and secret weapon.

Now the reason for the slow progress was the weight of gear they were winching up the mountain. They were employing a weapon never before used by man against mountain. Up these precipitous heights, they carried 200 litres of petrol, oil, winches, ropes and a motor compressor – to drive a pneumatic drill. Come on guys this isn't climbing - its scaffolding.

Historians may remember that great "CONQUISTADORS OF THE USELESS
French climber Lionel Terray, who back in 1952 was offered the assistance, on the first ascent of Fitzroy, by President of Argentina Juan Peron - of a helicopter to lift him to the summit.(to save him all the bother of actually climbing)

After our expedition Peter Gillman from the Sunday Times, Ken Wilson - Editor of Mountain Magazine and myself representing the BBC went to interview Maestri in Italy. (See Mountain magazine No 23 pages 30-37 Sept 1972 for the complete interview).

Using Alan Heppenstall as interpreter, I asked Maestri about his two climbs.

“Why the compressor?” I asked.

Maestri told us, “I took it because I calculated I might have to hammer in 1000 bolts. Of course this would have been an endless process by normal means”.

He went on to explain that this decision had not presented him with any philosophical problems:

“I have spent most of my life trying to push forward the limits of climbing and climbing techniques in general. I did this with solo climbing – I have soled Grade 6 routes in both ascent and descent. When all the other expeditions started failing* on the South-East Ridge of Cerro Torre, despite the fact that they all compromised of good climbers, it seemed to me that the route must be impossible by normal means, so I decided bolting would be necessary.”

* all other expeditions? Only the Brit 68 one that I know of? –it seems to be a case of making the story justifying the facts.

Back on the SE Ridge our dilemma continued. The weather was not kind that season and with deep misgivings we climbed the long bolt ladder going up into the mists. We eventually reached the headwall and saw the bolts disappearing upwards towards the summit.

We had had enough. I returned to the UK and made my film for the BBC titled “CERRO TORRE – THE RAPE OF A MOUNTAIN”.

To my complete surprise when we spoke with Maestri, he told us that he had not actually stood on top of the mountain - justifying it by claiming that the top of the headwall was enough and that the summit mushroom would one day blow away as it was not part of the mountain!

After all his efforts – after spending 13 million lire paid for by Atlas Copco makers of his infamous bolt gun – and with expeditions in both summer and winter - he had not actually stood on the summit.

In 1973 Eric Jones, Irishman Mick Coffey and myself crossed the Heilo Continental Ice Cap – made the second ascent of Cerro Lautaro and made the first ascent of another volcano that we named Cerro Mimosa after the ship that brought early Welsh settlers to Patagonia in 1865.

The Ice Cap Western side of Cerro Torre thrusting out of a sea of foam is surely one of the most beautiful sights on planet earth but after spending 54 days on ice and running out of food we ditched our sledges, missed the Pass of the Winds - the exit to the Pampas and went the longer laborious route all the way down the Viedma Glacier to safety, where an asado, gratefully supplied by a local gaucho and a lorry home were our reward.

In 1974 I organised a third trip, this time to Torre Egger the smaller satellite to Cerro Torre named after Toni Egger. We were not successful and changing direction in the last days of the trip climbed the “Innominata” – (literally mountain with no name).

In memory of an Argentinean who had shared out camps earlier in the trip but had one day failed to return – we renamed it Aiguille Rafael.

Earlier that year of 74 we met another Italian expedition led by Casimiro Ferrari. They were attempting Cerro Torre from the western Ice Cap side.

Casimiro had served his apprenticeship with Carlo Mauri and Walter Bonatti a couple of years earlier and was well prepared for the biting winds blasting the Ice Cap. After six weeks of storms, four of the team - Daniele Chiappa, Mario Conti, Casimiro Ferrari, and Pino Negri, reached the summit and made the First Undisputed Ascent of Cerro Torre.

At the Trento film festival in 1976 I met Casimiro Ferrari.

He told me that the ice cap was a desperate place and that just as his team was running out of food, he had discovered two sledges which, on close inspection turned out to be British, and had revealed 15 Mars Bars which in turn, kept his team alive.

Rather embarrassingly I explained that the sledges were mine and that as the Mars Bars had been soaked in petrol they had been inedible.

After a year on the ice cap the petrol had evaporated and the Italians changed their diet to British cuisine.

It’s a lovely thought that in a small way we had assisted in the first ascent of Cerro Torre.

In Trento, Casimiro asked me who I thought had made the first ascent of Cerro Torre, I stared at him and said, “I am looking at him”.

But what a mess Maestri left.

A highly questionable first ascent in 59 which few now believe stands up to scrutiny since Rolando Garibotti, Ermanno Salvaterra, and Alessandro Beltrami climbed the same route as described by Maestri but found no evidence of earlier passage.

Then the ridiculous compressor ‘near miss’ route of 1970 which proved nothing.

But perhaps the most saddest piece of Maestri’s legacy is - denying his fellow Italians their rightful place in history.

Now that this ridiculous via ferrate has been removed, an ascent of Cerro Torre will have meaning once more.

It will take its rightful place as one of the world’s most inaccessible summits.

Please let no one put back the bolts.

Leo Dickinson Jan 2012


Jan 24, 2012 - 02:07pm PT
STFU Hiker.

We're busy here changing history .....
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 24, 2012 - 02:08pm PT
Not so John.

We all breath the same air and drink the same water.

Our actions DO have consequences, often especially so for the vanguard.

Is this a reversal of the WoS story?
Tongues will be wagging on this for decades at the least, but a consensus will never be reached.
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