RIP Lorenzo "Enzolino" Castaldi


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 48 of total 48 in this topic
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.


Jim Henson's Basement
Mar 27, 2012 - 09:10am PT
His presence will be missed. Heartfelt condolences to his family.

I do hope that some people who know him would post up some pictures. It would be nice to see him doing what he was so passionate about.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 27, 2012 - 11:06am PT
I think he went to that climb reasonably sure the dangers were manageable.

I was not being critical, but introspective of our approach to climbing. We all go out to do climbs and believe that the dangers are manageable, but, of course, we have only a limited ability to manage those dangers, and choose to take that risk.

That is what we do, what we choose to do.

It is this aspect of climbing which sets it apart from mere "sport" for we ante up our very lives as a part of the wager to buy into the rewards of an adventure completed. We all believe we'll be back to share that experience.

Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 27, 2012 - 11:57am PT
Really sorry to hear this.

His well crafted POV posts were great!
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 27, 2012 - 01:41pm PT
Bless you share that Tribute Luca.

Regarding the route he died on, he had written

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

There's a tragic beauty in dying on a route you feel that way about. I wish him Godspeed on his journey and also peace and safety to his family



davis, CA; Sardinia, IT
Mar 27, 2012 - 02:33pm PT
I didn't know Lorenzo, but his death deeply touched me.

Once, standing on the Mammoth terrace (I admit with a vein of presumption) I thought that I was maybe the first person from Sardinia to climb El Cap... and then I discovered there was this "Enzolino", who was also a scientist, he was from Sardinia and had touched El Cap before me...

I enjoyed reading his posts and sometime I could clearly recognize in his attitude a little bit of the proverbial Sardinian stubbornness...

Andasa in Paghe Lorenzo


Mar 27, 2012 - 02:52pm PT
Hello all

I am not a climber but a colleg of him. I worked very close with Lorenzo.
He was always open for new ideas in the job and had always a plan B. Enzolino I will miss you.

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Mar 27, 2012 - 04:02pm PT
Really really great to get some friends of Lorenzo from overseas posting here. Thanks again to Luca.

Climbers on Ortles.
Climbers on Ortles.

Credit: survival

Mountain climber
San Jose
Mar 27, 2012 - 09:28pm PT
Oh boy, I am deeply shocked.
I have never climbed with him, but learned to know him as real good colleague here in Zurich. Lorenzo was a very kind person and very, very smart. His questions during our seminars proved that he spent deep thoughts on every physical problem discussed.
He gave me a bottle of wine from Sardinia "as reward" because I alerted him about a job posting ... and he got the job!
I'll miss him deeply, although I probably would not have the chance of meeting him frequently in the future.
Next time in Yosemite, my thoughts will go to him and his family again.
Grazie Luca for this obituary.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 27, 2012 - 10:11pm PT
Luca and friends and family, so sorry that this tragedy has taken Lorenzo at such a young age and at all.

My sincerest condolences to Lorenzo's wife for her sudden loss.

Thanks for sharing some glimpses and details of his rich and interesting life.

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Mar 27, 2012 - 10:32pm PT
Thanks Luca for the news, and my condolences to his friends and family.

When so much on these type of forums is offensive blather, a reasoned argument such as his is much appreciated. I'm reminded of someone else of Italian ancestry that I don't agree with -- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. With Enzolino it was the same, I disagreed with his viewpoint, but I could see the arguments were coming from a sharp and thoughtful mind.


Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Mar 27, 2012 - 10:39pm PT
Very sorry to hear this. Many thoughts for his young family.


Trad climber
Mar 28, 2012 - 03:12am PT
I have known him since 2002 in italian climbing forums and it was really interesting to have discussions with him: he had always interesting point of views, a lot of arguments for his opinions, he was very informed about alpinism techniques and history and he was always fair in the discussions.
We talked also a lot about arguments not related with climbing and mountains: religion, politics, science. He was really a man with great culture on a wide range of topics.
I am very sad in the last days because I know that I really will miss him immensely.

Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Mar 28, 2012 - 07:57am PT
Luca, I am so glad you started this independent thread. Enzolino's passing is too significant to be lost amidst the chaos of the chopping thread.
His presence was a welcome and invigorating breath of internationality here on the SuperTopo forum. He made me think. Not knowing him I still mourn his passing and grieve for his young family. My most heartfelt condolences.

RIP Enzolino Castaldi, you made a difference.
Luca Signorelli

Mountain climber
Courmayeur (Vda) Italy
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 28, 2012 - 04:49pm PT
@everybody: thanks for the nice feedback. Great to see so much affection for Lorenzo.

I've asked around in several Italian forums for his friends to come here and share few memories of him (there are hundred of stories around him). Here's just an appetizer: the TR of his (and Marco Marrosu) attempt on El Cap, ended when Lorenzo broke one ankle on King Swing, and they had to bail out, abseiling all the way back down to the valley.

The original was in Italian, of course, so this is a Google translation, hope isn't too awful.

As I said, there are hundred of stories about Lorenzo's climbs, hope someone more knowledgeable than me will come here and retell them.

Mar 28, 2012 - 04:54pm PT

Do you or those who knew him have pictures of Enzolino that you can share with those of us who never met this friend in person? Thank you.

Luca Signorelli

Mountain climber
Courmayeur (Vda) Italy
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 28, 2012 - 05:05pm PT
@Gene: Maurizio Oviglia has some wonderful picture of him taken climbing in Sardinia and on the North Face of Eiger, but I don't want to post 'em here without his permission. I'll ask him if he can do it himself

Here's a picture of Lorenzo (he's the dude on the R) taken during the El Cap trip

Mar 29, 2012 - 02:37pm PT
Lorenzo: there are very few things I can say.

Last week, I went to pilgrimage to Marco SuperSic Simoncelli town (since there is no grave).
I have no idea where I should pilgrimage to honor you, but for sure I will.
Once I heard you left us, I was in pilgrimage in Siurana. A text message advised me you were gone.
In that endless rock climbing paradise, I felt immediately alone. I packed the rope, and went to the bar.

If I will ever get back on Cerro Torre, take it for granted, whatever it takes, I'll carry a beer to honor you.
Luca Signorelli

Mountain climber
Courmayeur (Vda) Italy
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 29, 2012 - 03:41pm PT
If I will ever get back on Cerro Torre, take it for granted, whatever it takes, I'll carry a beer to honor you

I know you will, I know you should, man... someone has to carry the torch for Lorenzo

Sport climber
Mar 29, 2012 - 04:01pm PT
As I saw Enzolino he was a man of integrity and courage who didn't bow to the majority or the mob. That's an unusual quality. Most people bow to the majority and the mob because they want to be liked, because they want a better place in the crowd.

And a glass to an old friend is always a good idea...

Addio Lorenzo!

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Mar 29, 2012 - 06:18pm PT
How very sad that he was taken at such a young age. My deepest condolences to his family and all of his friends in the climbing community. I enjoyed and appreciated his contribution to the Forum.

Luca, you seem to often be our source for this type of sad news from Italy and nearby regions. It cannot be easy for you to convey it, but I appreciate that you do it.
Luca Signorelli

Mountain climber
Courmayeur (Vda) Italy
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 30, 2012 - 01:14am PT

I've very, very little time for Internet forums these days because of my other commitments, but I thought it would have been very sad to leave Enzolino's contribution here just "hanging out" because of his sudden passing. I think his Internet and his real life (particularly climbing life) personae were two separate thing, so I've tried to convey here a bit of what he really was (even if I'm probably the least knowledgeable about him, that's why I've called for other Italian climbers to speak about him).

Wish I had more time for happier news, believe me! :)

Mountain climber
Mar 30, 2012 - 04:59am PT
ciao Enzolino...

Mar 31, 2012 - 11:14am PT
Credit: Erich_CH
Lorenzo was a very passionate climber, ready for every adventure and very concerned about ethical aspects of climbing. I had the pleasure to discover with him many routes in my Switzerland and show him some vertical treasures.
The responsibility for his family was important to him. How to console the ambition in climbing and job with the needs and wishes of our families was the topics of many long discussions. The ice avalanche stopped this discussion for ever. We have to be conscious that as climbers we take calculated risks that we are willing to take but that the consequences of these decision have to be carried by our families that might not share the same believes and our passion of the mountains.

A picture of a climb we did but where we returned after some nerve wrackling pitches in loose rock quite far above the last bolt, that was absolutely necessary in this climb and a essential element of local stile.

good bye to a good friend.

Dorian Goat

Trad climber
Apr 2, 2012 - 02:56pm PT
In my small circle of climbing friends Lorenzo stood out for his dedication to the sport, his commitment, his humility, his all round climbing skills, and his deep understanding of others pursuing this absurd activity known as alpinism.

While in Athens, Greece, as a postdoc researcher, one night Lorenzo agreed too easily to a call (without even knowing me enough) to complete a challenging, unfinished new route together on the mythical Mount Olympus. While leading the hardest pitch in poor rock (a good 5.10.d) he had to run it out a bit... Then, at some point, with one hand he managed to place half a piton in a shallow crack... Certainly, this would not sustain a fall, and he knew it. He also knew that more hard moves awaited above. So, with extreme care, he took a brief rest at this piton, repeatedly cursing himself for "ruining the free ascent". These were his words. At that point, while shooting a photo at him, I dropped the cover of his camera, which belonged to his sister (if my memory does not fool me). Then, not only he did not get upset with me, but as we watched the little thing flying down from our exposed position, he laughed out loud, and pointing at it with his eyes he told me: "it could be us, dude". Then he took a breath and said "give rope, off I go."

Lorenzo opposed placing even a single bolt at few belays that provided limited protection otherwise. He argued that we could well do without, and that hammering holes for bolts we were wasting valuable time. He was just right. Two pitches before finishing the route we had to rappel down so as to make sure that he will be at his office the next morning to wrestle with his wonderful nanotechnology problems. Still, this involved several rappels, hiking in the dark for 5-6 hours, and driving for another 5 hours straight to work. No one has ever repeated this feat of his after a hard day of climbing.

One of the following days we had an ice cream together next to his job to exchange pictures and schedule some more climbing. We discussed about our relationships and the difficulties of moving countries every too often, something that we both kept doing. As a consequence, I had lost track of him until very recently, when delighted to see his name again, I read (and commented on) his wonderful article in the Alpinist magazine, on the Cerro Torre debate.

I would like to express my sincere condolences to his wife and his family, and be close to them for anything that can be done to help growing his son. All your friends in Greece will miss you a lot, mate.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 2, 2012 - 05:50pm PT
This is so sad.

Lorenzo and I had just started to correspond this year. I would have hoped to meet him.

My thoughts are with his friends and family.

Mountain climber
San Jose
Apr 16, 2012 - 07:30pm PT
Hi folks
It us good to hear (but no surprise) that Lorenzo had so many friends.

We are going to set up a kind of godfather-hood for Lorenzo's son Manolo.
This wil be something like a bank account into which his former colleagues from work will pay some money in for Manolo's education, etc. over the years to come.
I'll return here with more details later, so if some of you want to contribute, please return regularly to this forum. I will be happy to provide the bank account details directly.

Trad climber
Mar 25, 2013 - 06:12pm PT
Allready a year has gone by my friend.
You'll be in my memory forever for all the things you stood for and tought me!
You shall not be forgotten...

Sport climber
Bergamo, Zurigo
May 4, 2013 - 03:06pm PT here a picture I took just one month before the Ortles. I just met him a few weeks earlier: I was ice climbing with friends, we were odd-numbered, he was alone, we started talking and climbing together.
That day he was soloing with a ropeman, his usual skills and lucid craziness (or crazy lucidity, I did not have the time to know him enough and learn to tell the difference).
We went climbing together one or two times more.
It's funny how people link sometimes: I barely knew him, but the little time spent climbing and free-wheel-talking together was enough to create some deep connection. It's been a bit more than a year now, and still, whenever I am outside and I wear my climbing shoes, I can't help thinking of him for a moment or two.
Messages 1 - 48 of total 48 in this topic
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews