RIP Lorenzo "Enzolino" Castaldi


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Luca Signorelli

Mountain climber
Courmayeur (Vda) Italy
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 26, 2012 - 05:10pm PT
One of the most passionate and articulate contributors to the Compressor Route bolts chopping threads, Italian climber "Enzolino" (real name Lorenzo Castaldi), 40 years old, died in the early morning of March 25th in the first few pitches of the north face of Ortles (the highest summit of Alto Adige, in Northern Italy). He was avalanched together with three other climbers; he and a 35 years old Spanish man died, while the others two survived. Conditions on the wall were good, but the NF of Ortles has taken over the last few years a nasty reputation for sudden avalanches and serac collapse, with many fatalities.

Enzolino was well aware of the dangers of climbing Ortles, but he still did climb it. In relation to the NF of Ortles he recently wrote, on an Italian climbing forum:

"For me that route has a meaning, transcending things like difficulty or beauty..."

Lorenzo Castaldi had been born in Sassari, Sardinia, but in order to follow his career as a chemist, he had moved to Zurich, Switzerland, where he had married his Mexican girlfriend. He's survived by his wife and a two years old son, Manuel. Despite not being well known outside Italy, he was an excellent all rounder with a prestigious resume as a rock climber and mountaineer, spawing thousands of routes across the globe, and including Patagonia and Yosemite.

Ironically, and at the same time sadly, Lorenzo may pass history as the guy who did a passionate, cultured and deeply felt stance against the destruction of the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre (the epitome of anti-trad, in some people views); while in reality he was a competent and incredibly brave trad climber, who did open few of the best and most committing trad/clean routes of the Mediterranean basin (in Sardinia and Greece). In total, between sport and trad route, Enzolino's resume may total well above 300 new lines, often of very high difficulty.

But he would never brag about it. He was keen discussing climbing history, and spending hours arguing the merits of routes or future and often exotic climbing plans, but his own climbs would always take the backseat to someone else's feats. Because of this, people who didn't knew better would take him for a Internet armchair climber - which he definitely wasn't.

He was well known - actually, he had a legendary status - in the Italian climbing community because of his debating talent, his often abrasive (but never rude) personality, and his energy and stamina on conducting exhausting battles of wits on the Italian forums first, and later, when the Compressor Route controversy exploded, on Supertopo and UKC. To some extent, it was impossible to argue with him - his knowledge of climbing history, his dialectic ability, and the sheer willingness to keep on arguing and debate every point of a controversy were second to none.

The Compressor Route wasn't just "another issue" for him, and the intensity of his effort to convince fellow climbers that vandalizing the 40 years old Maestri route had been a mistake may seems at odd with his traits as adventurous trad climber, someone definitely not in love of bolted lines. But the contradiction is just apparent. "Enzolino" knew the the climbing world all too well, and I think he disliked the idea of climbing as a single minded affirmation of one own prejudices. While he admired Hayden and Jason bravery, skill and single-mindedness (exactly as he had admired Maestri's figure as one of the bravest Dolomites climber ever), his stern (and very "sardinian") ethics had little patience for anything less than strict respect for local climbing history and local climbing customs (to the point he could argue for ages about moving one single ore-established point of protection on a route he didn't open, even against the evidence that point was badly misplaced).

RIP Enzolino, you will be greatly missed. I hope someone who knew you better that I did, and who climbed with you will come here and share some story about you.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Mar 26, 2012 - 05:17pm PT
I'm so sorry for your loss, Luca, and extend my condolences to Enzo's wife and son.

He was obviously a real "character" and it would have been great fun to have had the opportunity to hang out with him on the El Cap Bridge and drink some beers, while he no doubt would have tormented us all with his threats to go up and chop bolts on the Nose in retaliation for Cerro Torre!

I'm aure you will all miss his great heart of passion.

Mar 26, 2012 - 05:19pm PT
Thanks, Luca, for your post. I appreciated Lorenzo's moderate yet firm tone in the CT chopping thread. Cool guy. I regret that our plan to meet on his next trip to Yosemite will not happen. We have lost a member of the Tribe.

RIP, Enzolina! Godspeed.


Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Mar 26, 2012 - 05:19pm PT
Luca, beautifully written post and tribute.

Enzolino sounds like a very accomplished and respected member of the community. Was he guiding at the time?

His posts here were always interesting and heartfelt. You could really tell that he cared.

My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Does his family have good people to help look after them?
Luca Signorelli

Mountain climber
Courmayeur (Vda) Italy
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 26, 2012 - 05:24pm PT
Believe me Pete, he never did really mean to chop bolts on Yosemite or anywhere else without local permission (or even WITH local permission), his arguments to that respect were just the classic "proof by contradiction", only to demonstrate how single minded (even if well meant) destructive actions very often just bring unwanted and destructive results.

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Mar 26, 2012 - 05:30pm PT
Luca, where was the accident in relation to this route?

Maybe you know someone who can share some pictures of Enzolino?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 26, 2012 - 05:30pm PT
well written Luca, thanks for that post,
my deepest sympathy goes out to his family, friends and climbing partners.

It is an unexplainable thing that compels us to go and do this thing, climbing, and somehow we understand it even with the pain of loosing our close friends.
Luca Signorelli

Mountain climber
Courmayeur (Vda) Italy
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 26, 2012 - 05:46pm PT
@Survival: I believe it was just below or in the "gourgel", the "first constriction" of you picture.

@fattrad: I will do, believe me.

@Ed Hartouni: As some has remarked on few Italian forum, Lorenzo was brave but not reckless, and well aware both of the inherent dangers of climbing, and his duties toward a family I he felt deeply attached to. I think he went to that climb reasonably sure the dangers were manageable.

And Lorenzo, as energetic and committed he may have been in Internet debates, when in the mountains was a rational and reliable climber.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Mar 26, 2012 - 06:35pm PT
I know, Luca - his taunting was all in good fun, and just part of who he was. I'm sorry I didn't get to meet him as I know we would have gotten along splendidly - he was a kindred spirit.

Trad climber
Nevada City, CA
Mar 26, 2012 - 06:44pm PT
My condolences to his family and friends. :-(


Social climber
Mar 26, 2012 - 06:46pm PT
hey there say, luca.... :( oh my, and oh my again... :(

i do not know many famouse, etc, or well known climbers, or such, as i am
new to this world of such:

my deep condolences to the family and loved ones...
i really feel extra sad, as to the avalances, we see this happen so very sudden, and no one has a chance to fight back, :(

god bless to all, at this very sad hard time...

Trad climber
Mar 26, 2012 - 06:49pm PT
My condolences as well. Sounds like he was a good man. I'm sorry for your loss.

Trad climber
British Columbia, Canada
Mar 26, 2012 - 07:27pm PT
My deepest condolences to you, his family and whoever else is left with a void after such a terrible loss. Thank you for your poignant post, it is filled with admiration for someone who deserves great respect.

I read the entire Cerro Torre thread and some of it more than once, while abrasive at times, Enzolino's writing was certainly well penned and his passion always spoke through. It was clear that often his arguments were simply to implore others to look at the bigger picture and think about both sides of the equation.

Too many great climbers, both known and unknown have perished lately, it is my only hope that Enzolino's soul will endlessly soar among the mountains he loved.


Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Mar 26, 2012 - 10:25pm PT
A very worthy tribute to Enzolino, Luca. Offering deepest sympathies to his family and friends…

Trad climber
Hodad surfing the galactic plane
Mar 26, 2012 - 10:57pm PT
Very sorry to hear of his passing, but glad that we got to know about him and his love for the places that we also love...RIP, Enzolino!

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Mar 26, 2012 - 11:33pm PT
I would just like to thank Enzolino for bringing his contributions to this forum. He made the discussion of the chopping of the Compressor Route a much more interesting and informative thread. Thank you and rest in peace
(if that is possible for a Sardinian:-))

Social climber
Mar 27, 2012 - 12:02am PT
Condolences to both family & friends of Enzolino. A life cut off much too early; the piece he wrote for Alpinist ( online - the link is on the Cerro Torre thread ) was genuine, heartfelt and well thought out.

I really feel for his wife & child.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 27, 2012 - 12:10am PT
I'm sorry to hear this news, and my condolences to Lorenzo's family and friends. He added a nice element to the mix here, helping broaden our horizons.

Trad climber
Mar 27, 2012 - 05:37am PT
I've had to luck to meet Lorenzo about ten years ago and we've been quite close eversince.

As mentioned by other, also to me he's been one of the most reliable partners one could imagine and never endeavoured in anything except if the dangers were low.

I'll always remember him as a cheerfull, smart and warm.

R.I.P. my friend

Bishop, CA
Mar 27, 2012 - 09:03am PT
My thoughts go out to Lorenzo's family and friends.

I truly enjoyed reading and thinking about his rational contributions on the Cerro Torre topic. I was very impressed with his clear and steady thinking. His posts were quite refreshing among so many emotionally charged opinions. In short I can't think of any other contributer on this forum who has made such an impression on me. I truly respect his mind. At first the bolts gone was a no-brainer to me but he pulled my opinion closer to the middle on the issue. He was very persistent.

Thank you Luca for giving us more insight on "Enzolino". When strangers are going to miss him it is hard to imagine what his home community is going through.

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