Cerro Torre- the lie and the desecration

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 233 of total 233 in this topic
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 3, 2009 - 04:22pm PT
Cerro Torre- the lie and the desecration.


Over the last four decades I have climbed on all seven continents. During that time it became apparent to me that Cerro Torre was the most magical mountain that I would ever encounter. A spike of light brown granite soaring over a vertical mile out of an ice sheet and capped by an otherworldly ice mushroom. Cerro Torre is also a peak of ever changing moods predicated by swirling storm clouds or an intense orange alpine glow on the rare clear days.

Cerro Torre also has a colorful history and therein lies the problem. In 1958 Walter Bonatti, the greatest climber of his generation, climbed to the Col of Hope on Cerro Torre’s southern flank and declared an ascent to the ice mushroomed summit impossible. A year later, Cesare Maestri arrived with Toni Egger and a support team to attempt the first ascent. During a six day period of stormy weather Maestri claimed to have completed the ascent of Cerro Torre with Toni Egger. During the descent Egger was swept away by an ice avalanche, along with their only camera, to the glacier below and his body disappeared, covered by fresh snow from the storm. Exultant with his success, Maestri crowed about his achievement and chided his rival Bonatti. Maestri said in referring to Bonatti’s ascent of the Col of Hope the previous year, “hope is the weapon of the weak, there is only the will to conquer.” Maestri had, with what now appears to be world-class hubris, named the col on his side of the mountain the Col of Conquest.

There was a great deal of skepticism about the ascent. A climb of such magnitude done in alpine style in such bad weather seemed unlikely given the state of the art of alpinism in 1959. When Maestri returned in 1970 with a veritable army, replete with a compressor powered bolt gun and sieged and bolted his way up the SW Ridge, he ignited a firestorm of protest. “A mountain desecrated,” roared the headline in Mountain Magazine. “How could a man who claimed to have climbed Cerro Torre in such impeccable style in 1959 come back and bolt his way to the top.” There were also defenders of Maestri, especially in Italy. Cesare had a formidable record of first ascents in the Dolomites and Egger was regarded as one of the best ice climbers of his time. As a young climber viewing these events from Camp 4, and three fourths Italian, I was a defender of Maestri’s, believing that a climber’s word was sacred.

In 1974 during my first trip to Patagonia I happened upon the remains of Toni Egger shortly after he melted out of the glacier that had entombed him for 15 years. I became obsessed with the idea of doing Cerro Torre’s immediate neighbor, which had been named in honor of Toni Egger. Torre Egger was unclimbed in 1975 and is still considered by many to be the most difficult summit to reach in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1975 I went to Patagonia with John Bragg and Jay Wilson to attempt the first ascent of Torre Egger. Our plan was to follow the footsteps of Maestri and Egger to the Col of Conquest and then climb the final 1400 ft. tower to Torre Egger’s summit mushroom.
There appeared to be three sections in the climb to the Col of Conquest: an initial 1000 feet of vertical climbing to a prominent triangular ice field, followed by 1500 feet of lower angled climbing, and, finally, a 400 foot traverse into the col. The traverse, from below, looked blank and vertical. What the hell, we reasoned, Maestri and Egger did it in 1959, and with our Yosemite experience we should be able to figure it out.

The climb started out as a trip through history. In the 1000 feet to the triangular ice field we were overwhelmed by the number of artifacts. Shards of rope, pitons, wooden wedges, and the odd bolt were found on nearly every pitch. The last pitch leading to the ice field was completely fixed with a bleached old rope that was clove-hitched to a piton and carabiner about every five feet. At the end of this pitch, just below the ice field and about a 1000 ft. up, we found an equipment dump left behind by Maestri and Egger. A brewing storm chased us down to the glacier and incessant storms over the next six weeks allowed us to speculate over the peculiar things that we had found.

When the weather finally improved we went back up and made it to the Col of Conquest and finally on Feb. 23rd, 1976 to the summit. After seeing a hundred plus artifacts in the first 1000 feet we were surprised to find nothing, zero, zip, nada in the remaining 1500 feet to the col. No rap anchors or fixed gear, absolutely nothing. Suspicious, even damning, but not absolute proof that Maestri lied. What seals the case is the fact that Maestri described the route to the col as it appears from below and the actual climbing is quite different from his account. He recounted the first 1000 feet, which he undoubtedly did, as difficult, which it is. He described the 1500 foot lower angled section leading to the traverse into the col as easy and the blank looking traverse into the col he proclaimed difficult, requiring some artificial aid. The converse is true: The climbing to the traverse is more difficult than it appears and the traverse into the col, due to a hidden ledge system impossible to see until you are on top of it, is by far the easiest part of the climb. There is no doubt in my mind that Maestri did not climb Cerro Torre in 1959. I also am convinced that he didn’t make it the Col of Conquest.

Why did I write this, isn’t everyone aware the Maestri lied? Apparently not, the Trento Film Festival this May is hosting a program about the history of Cerro Torre. Given that this years festival coincides with the 50th anniversary of Maestri’s adventure it is not surprising the Maestri will get more credence than he is due.

Why do I care? Cerro Torre is one of this planet’s truly singular peaks and believing a climber’s account speaks to the heart of alpinism. In a little over a decade Maestri, it may be argued, perpetrated the greatest hoax in the history of alpinism and also desecrated Cerro Torre with the Compressor Route. While the route does have 18 pitches of real climbing on it, seven pitches of bolted climbing make it the worlds hardest via feratta. I should know, the weather prompted me to survive rather than summit. Cerro Torre deserves better. If the West Face (one of the world’s premier ice climbs) were the easiest route, which would be the case without the Compressor Route, Cerro Torre would surely be a mountain whose difficulty matched its beauty.

klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 3, 2009 - 04:24pm PT
Heheh.

The politics of Italian alpinism are notoriously difficult, even when we set aside that difficult Fascist episode.

Just ask Bonatti.

Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Apr 3, 2009 - 04:34pm PT
whoa!
Prod

Trad climber
A place w/o Avitars apparently
Apr 3, 2009 - 04:42pm PT
Great stuff there.

Prod.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 3, 2009 - 04:42pm PT
Awesome, Jim.

It's great hearing real history. Real fact.

If I could only walk in your footsteps. . .
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 3, 2009 - 04:48pm PT
Just a note to honour those who made the first (edit) unquestioned ascent of Cerro Torre, in January 1974, via the west face.

Daniele Chiappa, Mario Conti, Casimiro Ferrari and Pino Negri, members of the Lecco Spiders.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 3, 2009 - 04:50pm PT
Ferrari so loved the area he bought an estancia on the shores of Lago Viedma. He lived there until cancer took all to soon at the age of 62.
Riotch

Trad climber
Kayenta, Arizona
Apr 3, 2009 - 04:51pm PT
When you are not honest about your ascents it hurts all climbers; makes them feel just a little bit less than, even though the reverse is often true.


If Maestri lied he is a scum bag, and deserves to be remembered as such.

Cerro Torre is sacred, like the Holy Grail to many climbers. Its blasphemy, I tell you!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 3, 2009 - 04:51pm PT
Things are as they are.

Maestri was a master, but things went bad. Still, heroes and villains are often a lot closer to each other than we would care to believe.


Lie? Sadly, yes.
Desecration? Again, although todays powerdrillers could see it as a water mark, many others would still say yes, sad.

But the damage is done.
Should we sweep it under the carpet?

No.
It is a potential lesson.

And the bolts are museum pieces with a rather exclusive "entry fee".
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Apr 3, 2009 - 04:54pm PT
Fascinating,i saJay;s (I think ) slide show in Berkely of this shortly after you guys came back, been intrigued ever since. I didn't know who any of you guys were, back then.

Didn't you do something unusual like shipping a van down there?

Thanks once again.
Anguish

Mountain climber
Jackson Hole Wyo.
Apr 3, 2009 - 04:56pm PT
Jim,
Your view, based on the evidence, is widely shared. The only possible, but highly improbable alternative is that the peak was suddenly cloaked in styrofoam ice enabling the ascent. It is hard for a nybody who has seen your slide show and passionate and compelling descriptions to leave unconvinced.
Alas Egger's camera....
Why don't you go to the Trento Film Festival in May.
Italians have always had a hard time picking the right side to be on. Maybe you could give them some guidance.
Gene

climber
Apr 3, 2009 - 05:01pm PT
Irrelevant comment warning:

February 3, 1959 was the day that CM claimed to have climbed Cerro Torre and coincidentally the day the music died with the plane crash that killed Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper. Not a good day, I’d say.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 3, 2009 - 05:06pm PT
Fattrad, if I did that me going to Italy would be like Cheney going to Spain. I am, however, going to Chamonix in late April as a jury member for the Piolet D'Or. There will be climbing press there from around the world. You can bet that I am going to let my opinions be known.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 3, 2009 - 05:14pm PT
Jim's story is known in Italy. Many Italian climbers disbelieve Maestri's claims.

But the politics of northern Italy, especially, are notoriously conflicted. In Trento, Maestri is a hometown boy, and one of the few from mid-century who wasn't associated with the Fascists and who fought against the Nazis.

The best quick-and-dirty account of the larger context (that I know of, in English), is here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/may/07/features.sport5

rick d

climber
tucson, az
Apr 3, 2009 - 06:27pm PT
but donini, you looked so cool in the dorky reindeer sweater in the olde movie.

(I bs'd with you about this at the creek some years back and you said you were pretty drunk in that interview.)

CM is a liar along with Tomo that is all...
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 3, 2009 - 06:39pm PT
Jim - Thanks so much. Did you write that excellent account just for us here at McTopo? Or is it copied from elsewhere?

I'm trying to find Rolando Garibotti's excellent expose on the Cerro Torre hoax. Can anyone find the link? It used to be on a pdf somewhere.
GRJ

climber
Juneau AK
Apr 3, 2009 - 06:39pm PT
Who cares about the lying. Lies only really hurt the teller. The "real" first ascentionists are well aware of the value of their ascent, it is their's and belongs to no one else.

THE BOLT LADDER IS THE PROBLEM!!! That prick desecrated the single most beautiful and magical piece of stone in the world. His lies are his, but the bolts are ours to deal with.

Thanks for the great post Jim.
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 3, 2009 - 06:41pm PT
Owww, rick d. soothsayer....ye drageth Tomo into the fray.

Me thinks ol' Tom Patey would be chuckling about the "solo man" ploy, eh?!

Jim,

Thanks for that wonderful post. Good stuff of the highest order.
Emon

Trad climber
Apr 3, 2009 - 06:41pm PT
bump
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Apr 3, 2009 - 06:47pm PT
me too!
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 3, 2009 - 07:02pm PT
Me Three!! But, he's saving them for the book.

But wait, all his biggest fans are already right here, on the holy taco!
yo

climber
I drink your milkshake!
Apr 3, 2009 - 07:16pm PT
Rolo's airtight dismantling of Maestri's claims:

http://www.americanalpineclub.org/documents/pdf/aaj/2004/138_garibotti_torre_aaj2004.pdf



EDIT: Indian Creek: the Lie and Desecration (Part II). On this dark day in 2006(?) I trudged up to the Way Rambo wall with my pard. We dispatched that juggy warm-up with all the face holds. Laying about, we watched what seemed to be a yak train laboring its way up the approach under thick clouds of dust. This proved to be not a train of animals but none other than El Presidente the honorable Sr. Donini with his legions of groupies. I believe he was wearing his green beret and carrying a mountaineer's axe. We watched stunned, nay stupefied!, as this legend proceeded to hold forth on the merits of athletic tape, sprayed his forearms down with some sort of aerosol goo/hairspray/lube/who knows, and wrap each arm to the shoulders with a half inch of tape. Oh the humanity!!!1 Then he hiked some thin hands thing.

ANOTHER EDIT: Then we went over left and climbed the Cock-o-meter and came back and Donini said, so, did you measure up? bwahaha, you're the best, Donini!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 3, 2009 - 07:32pm PT
After a two week climbing binge I've been festering here in Ouray in unseasonably cold, wet weather. Bored speechless, I've embarked on a little writing binge. I'm about ready to post a little account of Overhang Overpass. The weather is clearing tomorrow and I'm heading to the Creek. I'll post some pictures when I get back, after my wife shows me how.
Mimi

climber
Apr 3, 2009 - 07:42pm PT
Thanks for the spate of stories, Jim. Way to make the most of a rainy day. Have a great time at the Creek! And in Italy.
#310

Social climber
Telluride, CO
Apr 3, 2009 - 07:50pm PT
It was late April or May of 1976, that Jim, John and I think Jay made a "triumphal" return to the Valley. I remember watching their show about Cerro Torre in East Auditorium and being totally blown away. What a great climb and the first real "proof" of the Maestri lies.

Good job! Jim - and yes it is time for the weather to change sun in our neighborhood.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Apr 3, 2009 - 07:52pm PT
Given that this is an explosive historical issue, I'll try and be as clear and objective as possible.

When I interviewed Jim Bridwell for Mountain Magazine about 25 years ago, it was right after Jim made the supposed 2nd ascent of the "Compressor Route" on Cerro Torre. The first ascent was attributed to Casare Maestri, circa 1970, via his now infamous compressor debacle. I am not entirely certain (perhaps some other reader is), but as I remember it, Maestri did not climb the final ice mushroom, which rests on top of the rock "summit." I believe Casare claimed that since the ice mushroom was not part of the rock, it didn't represent a legitimate summit - or some such thing.

Anyway, I seem to recall that there was some controversy about this, being as the ice mushroom seems such an obvious and integral feature of Cerro Torre.

Long story shortened: If Maestri didn't bag the ice shroom, could he really claim a first ascent (or second ascent if you believe he climbed the mountain in '59)? I say, No - but read on to see why . . .

From the way Jim described it during his interview, the Maestri bolts ran out 100 or so feet short of the top of the rock, on which sat the final obstacle - the ice mushroom. From the last of the Maestri's bolts, Bridwell had to use copperheads and a few rivets to surmount the face and gain the top of the rock (below the shroom).

I've never followed this up and checked/discovered what present-day climbers do up there near the top, where Jim described Maestri's bolts running out. Perhaps I misinterpreted things, or maybe Casare swung around at the end of his last bolt ladder and found some other way over the final 100 or so feet to the "top." But at the time of the interview I firmly believed two things, and still do:

1), Knowing that Jim Bridwell was a vastly more experienced aid climber than Casare Maestri ever was, I was confident that Jim had found - and climbed - the easiest line to the top. If another line has existed, which Maestri might have followed off the end of his bolts, Jim Bridwell (veteran of fifty plus big walls) would certainly have found and climbed it. And 2), that "easiest line" (off the top of Casare's last bolts) required copperheads and rivits. This means that the crack Jim nailed to the top of the rock almost certainly had never been climbed before. Hence, given these factors, the likelihood of of Maestri having climbed to the top of the rock, during his compressor adventure, was approaching zero.

Preliminary conclusion: It would appear that Casare got to a high point on the wall - short of the top of the rock - and retreated.

While I would want to exhaustively vet all this information and cross check it all kinds of ways before accusing the Italian of fraud, the preliminary evidence makes an unconvincing case for Casare Maestri ever having climbed the Torre, not in 1959, nor yet in 1970. Based on what world class climbers have seen with their own eyes, it would appear that Maestri bailed short of the top (or the rock) in both of his reputed ascents. But again, there would have to be much more investigation into the details for me to be convinced one way or the other. It all certainly raises some big questions - of that we may be sure.

It would be interesting to ask Jim Bridwell exactly what he found at the top of Maestri's last bolts, at that point where Jim had to bust out his Yosemite wall tackle and throw down some legitimate Valley A3 to surmount the last part of the face of Cerro Torre. Was there a gear stash similar to that which Donini, Bragg and Wilson found on Torre Egger? Was it possible that the compressor was as high as the Italian ever got?

These questions are worth trying to answer, for we're talking about one of the world's great summits, and the historical record should be accurate.

JL
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 3, 2009 - 08:04pm PT
I really have no idea about any of this, except to ask one question.

From personal experience I know how easy it is to miss the easiest way, particularly if there is a storm or if I've got some preconception about how it should go.

also, I know that conditions change on Cerro Torre quite a bit, and that sections that in some conditions might be climbed as ice, must at other times be climbed as rock.

Just making sure the writers here have these factors in mind when pronouncing the word "Lie" (and I'm not saying Maestri didn't lie. Sadly, it seems some otherwise fine and bold alpinist also lie boldy too)

Peace


karl
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 3, 2009 - 08:10pm PT
Good on both Largo and Jim Donini. V. interesting, isn't it.

When Donini says above: "As a young climber viewing these events from Camp 4, and three fourths Italian, I was a defender of Maestri’s, believing that a climber’s word was sacred" you want to agree but we all know now that what we all should have believed is simply that "a climber's word SHOULD be sacred", rather.

And for there to be such damaging questions in regard to both of these ascents of Maestri's points out Maestri's failing as a member of our community--- he has allowed these very real questions to persist unresolved for decades for almost everyone and to stink up the place, even if his claims are truly valid. It's the year 2009 for Christ's sake.

But alas there have always been liars and cheaters, and yeah, some of them are climbers.

best to you, ph
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 3, 2009 - 08:11pm PT
John, if I remember rightly, Maestri said something about chopping some of the bolts at the top of the ladder, just under the icecap, to make it more difficult for the next party, or something of the sort. I don't remember anyone ever suggesting that he didn't get onto the ice shoulder, only that (as he stated) he didn't go to the top of the summit mushroom. Although conditions from ascent to ascent may well have differed.

I have the Mountain magazines with translated interviews with Maestri, and if I find time will scan and post them.
aguacaliente

climber
Apr 3, 2009 - 08:12pm PT
yo beat me to posting the link to Garibotti's pdf , an excellent read. Here are a few photos from his climb: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/photography/patagonia/cerro-torre.html

A nagging detail about the story, why was the Maestri-Egger rope below the ice field fixed with clove hitches to every pin? Both Donini and Garibotti mention it, it seems odd, but I am not an alpinist and maybe one of you could speculate on what it means.
TwistedCrank

climber
Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day
Apr 3, 2009 - 09:18pm PT
JB's AAJ article:

http://www.americanalpineclub.org/documents/pdf/aaj/1980/375_bridwell_cerrotorre_aaj1980.pdf#search=%22bridwell%20cerro%20torre%22

on p380 he says (near the mushroom) "Looking up I saw seven broken bolts..."
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 3, 2009 - 09:24pm PT
Being old fashioned, I believe that an alpine first ascent requires you to stand on the summit. Using that rationale: Bridwell did the first ascent of the Compressor Route. This also means that Ferrari et al did the first ascent of Cerro Torre in 1974- not Maestri either in 59 or in 70.
Ben Harland

Social climber
Baltimore, MD
Apr 3, 2009 - 09:34pm PT
I also read about the bolt chopping somewhere, and I though that was the best part. Why on earth would you chop a bolt this way? It will be found later and people would wonder why you did it (of course most of them would be easily missed).

To me, that had the most impact on my feelings about the story. Is it possibly not true?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 3, 2009 - 10:04pm PT
Viper Ridge was a variation not a complete route- fun though.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:13pm PT
I've never seen any photo of Maestri et al at his high point, and am quite skeptical of his claim to have gotten much past the compressor. Assuming that he got to the 'shoulder', it's hard to believe he and his two partners wouldn't have taken a picture there, especially with what happened previously. Such a picture might be of the inside of a white out, but would help.

I wonder what Maestri's two partners said and say about it?

There's a lot of coverage of Cerro Torre in Mountain 24 (September 1972), including an interview with Maestri by Peter Gillman, a journalist. Seventeen pages altogether, including a double page photo of the mountain, and a seven page interview.

The line of the Maestri's route is marked on the big photo, and is shown as ending on the 'shoulder'. The photo is rather foreshortened. It doesn't say who put the markings on. The interview took place at Maestri's home. A quote: "When we saw his book, one thing immediately became clear: the 1971 climb had not finished on the summit of Cerro Torre, but had merely gained the plinth on which the summit ice mushroom rests (the mushroom itself being approximately 150 - 200 ft. high.)" I surmise that the line marked on the photo in the book was marked by or at the direction of Maestri.

Other quotes from Maestri:
"..the compressor, which we abandoned about 15 metres from the beginning of the final ice cap; if their (following climbers) technique was on a level with their vainglory they might even have got beyond our compressor to our final line of bolts. These I broke off in their holes, so that I would at least compel my successors to bolt those few metres, and so that I would not eliminate an important proof of our ascent."

"If, one day, the English or the Spanish, aided by good weather, by their splendid form and by miraculous fortune, were to arrie in the vicinity of the summit, they would be able to by-pass the compressor, follow my broken-off bolts, which trend from left to right, and attack a snow-tongue which descends from the summit ice-cap."

And on and on. Maestri's story doesn't jibe with what Bridwell and partner found, although it's possible that conditions had changed. A mystery inside an enigma inside a riddle, but all in all very hard to believe.

April 9th will be the centenary of Peary's claim to have reached the North Pole, an even more famous fraud which we can have some fun arguing about and dissecting.
Bullwinkle

Boulder climber
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:14pm PT
The mountain doesn't give a ratz azz how you climb it or even if it's climbed, it don't care about you, me, or anything else. It has no name (cerro torre? does it even speak. . .spanish?)and lives time in a way we can't even understand. . .

We on the other hand have ego's and we assume that the mountain has one too. . .white folk fight over the dumbest things huh?

MisterE

Trad climber
One Step Beyond!
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:19pm PT
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Jim.

These examples of the pitfalls of self-promotion and the ensuing slippery slope of maintaining the ego should strike a deep chord with all of us tempted to follow that path.

Your stories serve as a solid reminder.

Erik
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:31pm PT
I think Ferreri did the right thing and instead of futzing around in the confusion of who did what, he just went down there and climbed the thing. From what I understand, Maestri's bolt ladder route is by far the most popular route up the mountain and is really something of a classic.

Wish I would have climbed that thing . . .

JL
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:58pm PT

WBraun

climber
Apr 3, 2009 - 11:00pm PT
And now they climb it in 9 hours.
TwistedCrank

climber
Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day
Apr 3, 2009 - 11:18pm PT
they?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 3, 2009 - 11:24pm PT
Maestri
Ferarri
Donini
Pedrini



They oughta just call it the Roman Tower.
Rudder

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
Apr 3, 2009 - 11:56pm PT
Largo wrote: ""When I interviewed Jim Bridwell for Mountain Magazine about 25 years ago, it was right after Jim made the supposed 2nd ascent of the "Compressor Route" on Cerro Torre. The first ascent was attributed to Casare Maestri, circa 1970, via his now infamous compressor debacle. I am not entirely certain (perhaps some other reader is), but as I remember it, Maestri did not climb the final ice mushroom, which rests on top of the rock "summit." I believe Casare claimed that since the ice mushroom was not part of the rock, it didn't represent a legitimate summit - or some such thing.""

I read that article 20 some years ago... and I have the worse memory going, so don't trust me... but I remember it as Maestri said he did the Mushroom in '59. But, then when he was criticized for not doing it when he did the Compressor route he said he'd "never been on the Mushroom." The author was pretty easy on Maestri if I remember right... but noted this slip up. But, then gave him an out by saying that oftentimes those guys would not do some boulder type thing on the top. I don't know, I read it a long time ago. lol
Double D

climber
Apr 4, 2009 - 12:43am PT
"if I remember rightly, Maestri said something about chopping some of the bolts at the top of the ladder"

I remember Jim telling his version of why he didn't think the route had been completed by Maestri but I don't remember him saying anything about a chopped bolt ladder. Maybe it was over-shadowed by his tale of falling 150’ on a bowline-on-a-coil and cracking his ribs.

Any more sheep rustling stories over the years?

(-;

justthemaid

climber
Los Angeles
Apr 4, 2009 - 12:55am PT
Thanks for posting.
aguacaliente

climber
Apr 4, 2009 - 02:03am PT
TwistedCrank, thanks for posting the link to Bridwell's AAJ article. I had not read it. That is awesome, literally, as in inspiring awe.

When Bridwell writes of the blank stretch of rock after the last bolt, "My God, I thought, Maestri must have nailed 80 feet of ice tenuously bound to smooth rock. It was a bad joke and inconsistent with the magazine articles," I think you can tell what his opinion was.

It is sort of spooky to see the picture looking down on the compressor drill bolted to the mountain. I found a picture that shows it still there in 2005. I suppose it will be there until rust and falling objects sweep it away someday.
Eric McAuliffe

Trad climber
Alpine County, CA
Apr 4, 2009 - 02:56am PT
largo rote -at that point where Jim had to bust out his Yosemite wall tackle and throw down some legitimate Valley A3 to surmount the last part of the face of Cerro Torre.

i think that was superbadass


E
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 4, 2009 - 10:54am PT
Note that Jim's partners bailed on him after arriving there, their bollocks shrivelling in terror. Funny how that happens sometimes, eh? What a gripping tale as Jim and Steve race the oncoming storm towards the summit!

Best quotes from Bridwell's article:

"Nevertheless, I like to think that if you’re not scared, you’re not having fun; and, if that’s true, the Cerro Torre is worth a couple of years at Disneyland."

"I realized that we were higher on the Cerro Torre than anyone else had ever been in a single day. I knew that what Steve and I had just done was but a premonition of how fast and well the younger climbers will do the difficult technical routes in the future. We had probably climbed the fastest and farthest ever accomplished on any mountain of that
technical
standard."


Great stuff!
Michael Kennedy

Social climber
Carbondale, Colorado
Apr 4, 2009 - 11:51am PT
Don't get the old farts going on this one!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 4, 2009 - 12:12pm PT
"[Jim,] don't you know that Mountain Hardware now makes titatium bed pans?"

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 4, 2009 - 12:38pm PT
Pete, I'm getting an enema right after I finish dialysis.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 4, 2009 - 01:00pm PT
Cool stuff - thanks!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 4, 2009 - 01:17pm PT
I think I need one of those. Where can I get it?
(My bedpan is too heavy.)
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 4, 2009 - 01:23pm PT
Good read by James D. Bridwell.
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Apr 4, 2009 - 01:56pm PT
Jim, thanks for sharing your thoughts about this. I'm looking for all those articles you are going to write for Alpinist coming up.... Your passion and need to know the truth jump off the page. Its really great to see you posting up here.

I've never climbed Cerro Torre but I've always been fascinated by it. I'm a history bluff and have all the old mountain magazines back home in NZ. To the best of my knowledge I've never seem anything that looked like a summit shot, or shoulder shot. Most of the photos are descriptive, shots from the glacier, etc....

My understanding is that either of three things happened:

1. There was a lot of ice that year and they were to climb the ice sheet to the shoulder. Doubtful considering the date of the ascent and ice climbing techology, protection at the time?

2. They bolted the last stretch to the ice and then stood on the shoulder and then erased their bolts. Doubtful as well, since Jim bridwell never mention this. If anyone come spot a line he would have.

3. They didn't get any higher than the compressor. Don't know? Maybe the real story. As people get closer to their nature death often the truth is told, but i expect in this case the people know will hold on to their version of what happened.

Once we took everything about things like this as gospel and it wasn't questioned, but with a mountain such as CT, it is such an iconic summit then we all need to know the truth. Where is the photographic evidence. What about the memories of the other climbers...

I can't believe that Jim Bridwell missed a line of erased bolts, (smashed in)? At the time of the ascent there was no one better in the world with his big wall skill set.

Anyhow, another snowy day in Denver so i'm surfing rather than out having fun...

Thanks to everyone who makes this site such at neat place to hang out.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 4, 2009 - 02:00pm PT
My understanding from people who've done the route is that many bolts are short 5mm wedge ended "piton type" that tend to loosen on their own.

In some cases people have pulled them out by hand and then hammered them back in with some matchbook cover or extraneous material to make a tighter fit,..
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 4, 2009 - 02:01pm PT
Just to avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater, Maestri deserves some credit for being a pioneer and a visionary.

Some pioneers and visionaries also lie, have huge egos, and some of their visions are ahead of their time, and some are flops.

Founder of the bolt gun, for better or worse, went up into a scary ass place where nobody had succeeded before, and bad ass in many other ways.

Not to excuse him, but hey, the number of visionary climbers that don't have hypocrite stories if you dig deep enough is pretty small.

Peace

Karl
TwistedCrank

climber
Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day
Apr 4, 2009 - 02:25pm PT
Bragg, Donini and Wilson on Torre Egger

http://www.americanalpineclub.org/documents/pdf/aaj/1977/bragg_torreegg1977_49-56.pdf

As for the case against Maestri, I'd say it's not completely airtight but the evidence against him is pretty damning. Who among us wouldn't like to believe him? I know I don't.
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Apr 4, 2009 - 02:39pm PT
Karl,

I agree with your statement that Maestri deserves some credit for being a pioneer and a visionary. He was an amazing climbing with vision and the drive.

I suppose I would one day just like it settled one way of the other so that we can give credit where it is due. I wonder how Maestri feels with people doubting him? It would eat me alive.

I don't have much in terms of "stuff", but I've always valued telling the truth highly, even when it hurts like hell. I learnt the hard way and it almost cost me my marriage but on Wednesday next week we will celebrate our 20th!

I just would really like to know what really happened?

Thanks.



Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 4, 2009 - 02:43pm PT
Kinda like this.......I think.

klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 4, 2009 - 02:43pm PT
"As for the case against Maestri, I'd say it's not complete airtight but the evidence against him is pretty damning."

It's as close to airtight as anything in the high mountains is likely to be, unless we find long-forgotten 16mm footage showing him backing off at his actual high point(s).

And as Karl and JM say, it is sad that such a great and visionary climber will be remembered primarily for a hoax and an air compressor.

John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Apr 4, 2009 - 02:50pm PT
Pete,

If the bolts had fallen out, wouldn't JB have seen the holes and used them?

Cheers

John Mac
drljefe

climber
Old Pueblo, AZ
Apr 4, 2009 - 08:08pm PT
Unbelievable, no. Unreal, wait. Farkin amazing!
With all those links this was a great read.
Thanks Donini and everyone.
WOW.

In related news, I just got a $145.00 gift card from Patagonia
for some OLD played out fleece! Woohoo!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 4, 2009 - 08:31pm PT
Great discussion! Time for the lowdown straight from the source at the time. Mountain 23 Sept 72 The bloody Cerro Torre issue. Everything that you ever wanted to know and more. The Ken Wilson interview with Maestri will follow.




















klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 4, 2009 - 08:59pm PT
Well, since Mt. is long gone, there's no one left to intitiate a lawsuit.

Thanks for the scanning labor.

In a perfect world, we'd have the dough to hire groms to scan, post and catalogue the entire collection of the AAC Library. The German and Italian mags are there as well as the French and English.

Imagine all the mags, back issues to the 19th c (in a few cases), searchable online, the way the AAJ is now.


Phantom Fugitive

Trad climber
Misery
Apr 4, 2009 - 10:02pm PT
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 4, 2009 - 10:52pm PT


The Alcove beneath El Cap Spire, when Tom and I climbed Bermuda Dunes and replaced the rusty old 1/4" anchor bolts with 3/8-inchers.
Walleye

climber
regnaD kciN's office
Apr 4, 2009 - 11:04pm PT
Yeah, the irony of those last two photos sure isn't lost on me. Man conquers all, above ground and below it. Can you say harmony with nature?
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Apr 4, 2009 - 11:09pm PT
Great thread!
Thanks all, especially Mr. donini
Z
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 4, 2009 - 11:10pm PT
Shooting wolves from helicopters, pneumatic bolt guns, 8000 meter peaks draped with fixed ropes: why are we so out of synch with nature?
yo

climber
I drink your milkshake!
Apr 4, 2009 - 11:23pm PT
Because we're all so snail-eyed we can barely get outta bed in the morning.
Ezra

Social climber
WA, NC, Idaho Falls
Apr 4, 2009 - 11:57pm PT
Thanks Jim Donini!

Fantastic post, I heard you recount the same story in Salt Lake in 1999 or so, at a presentation for a mountainering shop; I believe you 100%.

Bonatti got the shaft so many times, especially with the K2 expedition.

I guess climbers are just like the rest of society, although I'd like to believe we hold ourselves to a higher standard.
WBraun

climber
Apr 5, 2009 - 12:00am PT
Higher standard?

We can only climb so high on our own.

To go higher you need the kind of help that we don't have ....
Fletcher

Trad climber
the end of the world as we know it, & I feel fine.
Apr 5, 2009 - 01:51am PT
Thanks for a stimulating and very fascinating post Jim (and to all those that contributed additional articles et al.). This has really helped me to get a better understanding of all the elements of this long running story. SuperTopo is capable of some fine things.

Eric
Paulina

Trad climber
Apr 5, 2009 - 02:06am PT
Awesome thread. Thank you Jim D. and everyone who responded with articles, images, and their own perspective. A fascinating read!
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Apr 5, 2009 - 02:29am PT
Well, Jim, I'm just going to throw a little bit of doubt into the equation you and others have constructed on the Cerro Torre question. Although I think your analysis is probably close to the truth, I feel the need to emphasize that Toni Egger was one of the best ice climbers of his generation, and Maestri of course was a great rock climber. Between them, they had soloed many of the hard alpine and Dolomite climbs in very fast times.

They were, purely and simply, capable of climbs that no American at the time was able to understand. Even when you started climbing in Patagonia I don't think you had much experience of current standards of alpine (ice and mixed terrain) movement as practiced in France and Italy. Those dudes could motor! It's kind of like an American cyclist of the day trying to comprehend the speed of Jacque Anquetil or Eddy Merckx: it would be a couple of decades before Americans were capable of performing at that level (understanding the skills, mind-set, experience required).

I think most of the lack of evidence of Maestri and Egger's passage on the upper part of the mountain, and the speed with which Maestri claims they climbed it, could be atributable to exceptionally heavy icing and a truly inspired effort by a pair of the greatest alpinists of the era. In my mind, it's just possible they did it!

But you're probably right...

Thanks for the great posts, old man.

-Jello
GDavis

Trad climber
Apr 5, 2009 - 03:59am PT
Donini,


Where is the line on Desecration? If some committee came up with an arbitrary bolt count, would The Nose be on it?


The compressor route, like The Nose, are history. Whether or not they are relevant can be found right here in this thread, and in articles written since he named the Col of Conquest, as writing of them gives them relevance.

There is enough reason to believe that his ascents were not the valid ascents, and I too like to think that if you can only take in 180 degrees of the view around you your ascent isn't full! But lets be honest and say that Maestri was a unique character and his story helps create the definition of alpinism. After seeing all the bolts on the nose, Robbins put his neck out that much farther to keep his hole count low, I speculate.


In short, don't discount Maestri's ascent as something diabolical or desecrated. That is how he wanted to live his life, so be it, and until Doc Brown comes by with the Delorean set to 1959 there isn't much we can do to change it. Chop the route, keep the route... that spire will be standing long after we are all dead, the best we can do is set good examples for our childrens, and any babies they might make who decide climbing is a good idea.


By the way, I did read Enduring Patagonia, thanks for the recommendation. What a stubborn bastard!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 5, 2009 - 08:50am PT
Is it just that hope springs eternal?
Did Jeff just fart in a crowded elevator?

I must admit that inside me is a little voice that would take great glee in somebody finding rap anchors that were definitely from '59 high on the north side,..
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 5, 2009 - 09:06am PT
Jellow makes a good point.. An inch of ice plastered over the rock changes eveything.
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Apr 5, 2009 - 09:11am PT
I get what you're saying, Ron; in a bigfoot, sasquatch, Mallory, kind of way I want to believe that he pulled it off, nailing between the ice and rock, mebbe, as Bridwell suggests, somehow, the scientist partition of my brain is disinclined to think that that evidence will be forthcoming.
Dingus Milktoast

climber
Apr 5, 2009 - 09:11am PT
Anyone who presumes to remove the Compressor Route is no better than the man who established it.

Leave it be. Its not YOURS.

DMT
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 5, 2009 - 10:04am PT
Jeff, you have a point about icing, that wouldn't explain the complete absence of rap anchors and the false description of the climbing. G. Davis, concerning your point about desecration and the comparison with the Nose. El Cap is the premiere wall climbing venue on the planet but it lacks something a mountain like Cerro Torre has- ACCESSIBILITY. You can hike to the top of El Ca: hell, Dick Cheney, if he adjusted his pace maker, could do it. To me that factor, accessibility, is what makes a mountain magical. To have pieces of real estate, on this crowded planet, that are extremely difficult to attain fires up my imagination. Its a primitive thing, I get a similar feeling when I'm in an area inhabited by wolves. Using whatever technology it takes to attain these summits seems unfitting. I only wish that there was a mountain (say Torre Egger on top of K2) whose summit would never see a human footprint.

I have never advocated chopping the Compressor Route- I just mourn the fact that it is there.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 5, 2009 - 11:16am PT
The name says it all- The Compressor Route. That's the man's legacy and I refuse to see him as a victim of anything but his ego. Accepting that he did succeed doesn't really even lessen the disgrace done to the Torre and the rest of the climbing community.

What did you get for it??? Faust's little gambit...
Double D

climber
Apr 5, 2009 - 11:28am PT
"that wouldn't explain the complete absence of rap anchors"

Ice bollards?

klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 5, 2009 - 11:36am PT
Jeff, you have a point about icing, that wouldn't explain the . . . false description of the climbing."

Yeah, that's the dagger. And the photos underscore the point.

Apologists could always say that M/E found unusual conditions, that maybe they downclimbed instead of rapping, or there was a once-in-a-lifetime blob that they could bollard, but even those longshot scenarios don't get out from under the fact that subsequent ascentionists found a rock landscape radically different from that described by M, and the really killing detail is that ledge system.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 5, 2009 - 11:42am PT
Double D, I have been climbing in Patagonia for 35 years. I have seen possibly one occasion when icing (might) allow for an ascent to the col- and that would be unlikely. I have never seen an instance where the icing was substantial enough for ice bollards. Then, there is the problem of Maestri's erroneous description of the climbing. Keep in mind that we are talking about the possibility of Maestri getting to the Col of Conquest. There is also that small issue of getting from the col to the summit- see Rolo Garibotti. By the way, Maestri said that he and Egger found a 60 degree ice passage from the col to the summit. Subsequent exploration of CT has shown that such a passage does not exist.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 5, 2009 - 11:46am PT
it's a beautiful day in California, I'm home finishing up this phase of the 510 OW project (one more phase to go), and I'm slightly bumming that I'm not out climbing or walking with Debbie...

..but this sort of thread provides the primary stuff that makes SuperTopo a potentially significant contribution to climbing and climbers. No one will ever mine this site for the political/social debates that occur here, not ever.

But the record of climbing experience, opinions and observations regarding climbing that inform the community on its history, cannot be found elsewhere (I believe).

Thanks again to Jim for his writing, and taking the time to share it with us here!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 5, 2009 - 11:54am PT
Good points all. The weather has finally cleared and I am off to clip some bolts and then desert sandstone. I am glad that this post has generated so much thoughtful and divergent commentary. I have expressed my ideas and will leave any further commentary to others.
Ciao
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 5, 2009 - 12:04pm PT
Not a trace of an anchor above the last cache is very defining. This has never felt like a Mallory/Irvine sort of drama and more like the Annapurna controversey where success is raised above all in the interests of national pride and individual prestige. Into the void, created by marginalizing and dissing Bonatti, slipped Maestri...clear enough.

Being above failure and any sense of humility is the core tragedy.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 5, 2009 - 12:14pm PT
Perhaps Maestri's biggest mistake was going back with the compressor. If he hadn't done that, you'd think people would have been more accepting of his FA claim.

"No spinning"?! Man, I know someone who would be very disappointed to hear that...
TwistedCrank

climber
Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day
Apr 5, 2009 - 01:51pm PT
A recent interview with Cesare Maestri from Nat Geo Adventure:
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/0604/whats_new/cesare-maestri.html

"What I did was the most important endeavor in the world. I did it single-handedly. But this doesn't mean that I . . . that I reached the top. . . . "
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Apr 5, 2009 - 01:59pm PT
This has been interesting. I think the jury has agreed but, like Jim, I too was a good Catholic boy once.
To me the most damning evidence is the lack of a photo of any sorts. Somebody of that ego doesn't leave home without it and I've never seen conditions where you can't fire off something.
Heck, even that Cook guy got a shot of the 'summit' of Denali.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
Apr 5, 2009 - 02:00pm PT
If I wasn't there, it didn't happen, regardless.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 5, 2009 - 02:10pm PT
WOW!!!

That interview is remarkable.
Hopefully a lesson to all. The same extraordinary drive to accomplishment that motivates successful heroes can have a dark side.
GDavis

Trad climber
Apr 5, 2009 - 02:22pm PT
Torre Egger on top of K2? C'mon now, the Russkies would find a way...
yo

climber
I drink your milkshake!
Apr 5, 2009 - 02:23pm PT
Wow, no joke.

[Maestri reels off a string of obscenities.] But I don't give a [expletive] about all this. It has already been covered, goddamn it to hell! You can't understand.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 5, 2009 - 02:57pm PT
The American Alpine Journal 2004 has a 7800 word study by Garibotti titled:

"A Mountain Unveiled: A revealing analysis of Cerro Torre's Tallest Tale"

members can access it online, I suspect. I can't but would love to see a copy here. It is apparently the most exhaustive study of the issue. Garibotti is a linguist and scholar of Patagonian history as well. His article examines English, Italian, French and Spanish references as well.

Maestri say in the guardian article that KLK cites: (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/may/07/features.sport5);

'I don't have to explain anything; I don't owe anything to anyone. They can invent what they want - pitons, no pitons, I couldn't care less. What I did was the most important endeavour in the world. I did it single-handedly. But this doesn't mean that I... that I reached the top, do you understand? Do I make myself clear?'

The overarching point is that he thinks, regardless of what actually got climbed, that whatever he did up there, it turned out to be "most important endeavour in the world" --- that he deserves this fame no matter what, and is tangentially admitting the factual problem of not actually having done these climbs. How quaint and primitive.

More of this article:

"Maestri has often said that he wished he died on Cerro Torre and talks about the pleasure he would feel if the mountain were smashed to pieces, embracing the destruction of what he still claims as his greatest creation. He has also repeatedly told journalists that if they doubt him, they doubt the whole sport. Mountaineering, Maestri is saying, lives or dies with his reputation."

"In Pinzolo, Alessandro Beltrami, Salvaterra's young partner from Cerro Torre, arrives with his girlfriend. Where Salvaterra is restless and edgy, Beltrami is gentle and modest. He is full of doubts about Maestri's climb but had told Salvaterra that he should lay off the old man. In Italy, what happens on the surface is often more important than the reality beneath. Now, however, he hopes Maestri will lay the burden of Cerro Torre to rest."

"Salvaterra shows us a letter he sent to Maestri recently, asking him to tell the truth. Maestri had scrawled on the envelope that he didn't want to read its contents and was returning it unread. But it is also quite obvious that the envelope has been opened and then stuck back down again."
Michael Kennedy

Social climber
Carbondale, Colorado
Apr 5, 2009 - 04:32pm PT
Even if you are not a member you should be able to search the AAJ. Try this for Rolo's article:

http://www.americanalpineclub.org/documents/pdf/aaj/2004/138_garibotti_torre_aaj2004.pdf
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 5, 2009 - 04:41pm PT
Fabulous, Michael! Thanks!! Your link worked as did some more reading I wanted to do in old AAJ's. Another huge reason to support the AAC. I was a member back in the early 1970's but got terrifically bored and did not renew back then. This site is quite a bit more useful to members and nonmembers than I thought at first glance recently.
Anastasia

climber
Not here
Apr 5, 2009 - 04:46pm PT
Eyes wide open in wonderment and awe...
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 5, 2009 - 05:07pm PT
Anie, your eyes are always wide open in awe and wonderment. hugs
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 5, 2009 - 06:04pm PT
Another Leo Dickinson photo burned into our imaginations.


Ascent 1973
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 5, 2009 - 07:02pm PT
Dang. Ol' Cesare's gettin' a bit feisty in those interviews, eh? He doesn't like Rolo much, does he? The interviewer got him pretty het up, at which point he pretty much said he didn't reach the top.
sandstone conglomerate

climber
sharon conglomerate central
Apr 5, 2009 - 07:47pm PT
Excellent topic! more photos please. Any other articles floating around out there?
Michael Kennedy

Social climber
Carbondale, Colorado
Apr 5, 2009 - 10:42pm PT
Here are two of my favorites:




Anastasia

climber
Not here
Apr 6, 2009 - 12:37am PT
Bump
Phantom Fugitive

Trad climber
Misery
Apr 6, 2009 - 10:40pm PT

Taken one month ago, from Vivac Polacos


-jer collins
WBraun

climber
Apr 6, 2009 - 10:47pm PT
Cerro Torre has been climbed in 9 hours now.

Hubers probably can put it too 1 1/2 hours if they trained.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Apr 7, 2009 - 12:49am PT
"Cerro Torre has been climbed in 9 hours now."

Using Cesare's bolts.
Tami

Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Apr 7, 2009 - 12:57am PT
jab - HAHAHAHA

Happy Passover You Troll
Porkchop_express

Trad climber
the base of the Shawangunk Ridge
Apr 7, 2009 - 12:57am PT
What an awesome thread. The amount of passion, forethought and history that is involved with a place like this definitely makes me want to tread (lightly) on such hallowed ground. It certainly adds depth and meaning to our pursuit of climbing that there is so much value placed on how ascents are done. Someday I hope to be ready to measure myself against this mountain. Very moving.
Dingus Milktoast

climber
Apr 7, 2009 - 09:48am PT
I feel sorry for that old man.

DMT
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 7, 2009 - 10:02am PT
I do also, DMT. It is kind of a classic tragedy, really. And he rages still.

I want to re-emphasis how good this AAJ Garibotti article is that Michael Kennedy gave us a link to above. It is really the definitive work on the whole long story; he weaves in everything that Donini/Bragg found too. Really an exhaustive, total look:

http://www.americanalpineclub.org/documents/pdf/aaj/2004/138_garibotti_torre_aaj2004.pdf
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 7, 2009 - 10:14am PT
I think that you shouldn't linger too much on your own post, so this will be my last comment. My feelings about the historic events on Cerro Torre are clear, but, in the end, I to feel sorry for Maestri. We will never understand the deep emotions that drive him. I don't doubt that he has come to the point where he firmly believes his story. To be in your 70's and to be so defined by such a polarzing event must be extraordinarily difficult. He accomplished a lot in his life but he will always be defined by the events on Cerro Torre. I will always firmly believe that he lied, but I will never begin to understand the complex workings of place, time and psyche that were at work. I don't believe that he will ever recant, but I do hope that he finds a measure of peace.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 7, 2009 - 10:24am PT
It will forever remain an example for those who attempt to plumb the depths of climbers' motivations.
sandstone conglomerate

climber
sharon conglomerate central
Apr 7, 2009 - 07:59pm PT
Beautiful from all angles...how can you look at it and not be inspired to climb? All that rock must have driven Maestri a little crazy...
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Apr 7, 2009 - 08:45pm PT
This is a great human interest story (Maestri's). The best on SuperTopo so far, IMHO. I remember (vaguely, as always) an Ascent fiction article from maybe late '70s - early '80's, about a guy who lied about some famous FA - in a similar manner, apparently, to Maestri's - and the consequences this lie played out in his life. I loved that story. This is Greek Tragedy.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 7, 2009 - 09:16pm PT
Like Water And Like Wind, I believe.

Not long after reading it my partner from the FA of Monkeyfinger was last seen heading into the Winds. (The protagonist eats a jar of sleeping pills at the bottom of a crevasse.)
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Apr 7, 2009 - 09:36pm PT
Dave Roberts! Like Water And Like Wind! Ding, ding ding! What do we have for them, Johnny? Thanks for remembering that.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 7, 2009 - 10:11pm PT
Jim, thanks for the thread, it's good to hear from someone who's been on the line. Your description of the the littering of pro and gear up to the dump and then nothing, along with the reversed descriptions of the following two sections of the line seem to utterly and conclusively close the door on any discussion of what may or may not have happened higher on the route.

I also think this discussion and collective investigation and introspection is in no way pointless. The compressor bolts either are all being, or at some point will all need to be, replaced and that represents another judgment call. I'm sure there are no shortage of folks, including locals and guides, who will argue for preserving the line by rebolting it as and whenever needed as there are those who would prefer to see it erased or at the very least let nature take its course. In this respect it is a matter of current affairs and in no way simply one of history and the past.

P.S. SteveG - amazing just how utterly timeless that cartoon has become and able to describe exactly what went on today at any number of crags around the globe.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Apr 7, 2009 - 11:12pm PT
"What I did was the most important endeavor in the world."

That's a troubling statement for many reasons. It's sort of a riddle, sad and baffling, but also strangely curious, like CM himself, and the whole damn saga.

Had Cerro Torre and Maestri been in Plutarch's Lives, Shakespeare would have had a field day with it.

JL
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Apr 8, 2009 - 12:35am PT
Cerro Toree stirs the climber's blood like no other mountain on earth bump.
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Apr 8, 2009 - 01:11am PT
And why not? Man, those photos!
gregfromvermont

climber
Yosemite
Apr 8, 2009 - 03:14am PT
I climbed the Compressor Route last year....

This is my first real ST post. I check in on you guys once in a while but this one really caught my attention..I figured some first hand comments about the route and the mountain might be interesting. It is also my first written TR of Cerro Torre.

Max Hasson and I climbed it on about Jan. 12th, 2008. Like Werner said, we did it in 9 1/2 hrs.

I thought it was a great climb. Absolutely awesome. I don't care if it was desecrated, I had a blast. It was one of the coolest things I've done. I never did one of those Petzl cable routes in France, but it's definitely not a 'via ferrata'. It's real. Hanging around on the Torres no matter how you get up there is no joke. I've seen 2 dead guys frozen in the ice in my 2 years down there.

Here's a quick run down of the route. We did it in 4 blocks. We brought 10 cams, 3 screws, pins, and 2 tools.
The most difficult parts could have been the '1000m of mixed climbing' they call the approach. On my first go, Christmas Eve 2007, my first partner Joel and I hiked un-roped all the way up the side glacier to the Torres and then soloed 800m of the '1000m mixed' at about 70 degrees in 3 hrs or so. We had started the day late and we were the 4th party on the route. I short-fixed the first ten pitches passing all the partys. Then we bailed because of falling ice. Once we bailed everyone else bailed too.

When Max and I left high camp a month later the conditions were different. We quickly had to rope up because of crevasse dangers not far from camp. I had to pitch out all 1000m of mixed and was disappointed to reach the shoulder at 8AM, 8 hrs after leaving camp. Some Argentine friends who were just coming out of there snow cave after bailing the days before, encouraged us to go up anyway. I'm glad they did, because I was up the first 10 pitches of rock and snow in less than 2hrs short fixing them all.(That is after I got some French guys rope down that was stuck from their rappels.)
Max took over and cruised more rock pitches in my climbing shoes calling the 5.10+ light, while I simul climbed or jugged behind. We were across the Monumental Traverse(4 pitches of bolts)in no time. When we reached the Ice Towers block, I short fixed all those pitches too. One screw per pitch. Max's next block, which was our last, was the headwall. The head wall and the Monumental Traverse are where most all of the bolts are on the whole mountain. It is also extremely featured. Maestri had even bolted detached flakes that were just thick enough for the bolts. (The bolts by the way were more like pitons. They are a cross between a lost arrow and a snarg. Just drill and pound them in.) Max short fixed all the way making some difficult dry tooling moves to gain the compressor stance. He actually dry tooled the compressor itself. Then I climbed the mushroom, threw down the axes for Max and belayed him up. It was about 5pm. We high fived, he smoked a cigarette, I lowered him back down the mushroom and then down climbed it to start the rappels.


A few comments:

John Long- I'm not saying it's too late for you but, yeah you should have done it. It was rad. You would have liked it.

Jello and Anguish- In my mere 17 weeks in Patagonia I have seen the conditions change back and forth fast. That rime ice comes and goes fast. Regarding the North Face route, I think Maestri said some thing like 'we were climbing on air'. That's what it would have been like. Or maybe climbing up vertical pillows... I also climbed the Supercanaleta on Fitz Roy the year before and the hardest pitches weren't the 5.10 or supposed WI5. They were some 5.7/5.8 OW chimney pitches right at the top that were covered in rime 2 feet thick. The cracks were plastered shut. Steve Su and I got benighted up there because those 2 pitches climbed at M5 or so. If Maestri and Egger did climb that stuff they must have been super bad asses!! Or maybe it was styrofoam the whole way. Who knows. As a climber and dreamer just like Maestri, I of course want to believe him.....I don't know how they would have made belays in that stuff though....
Fast changing ice conditions might account for there being no Maestri bolts above where the compressor was left on the SE face route too.

Recently there was also some publicized drama down in Patagonia about a plan to chop the route. When the climbers all got together to 'discuss' the route's fate, a vote was cast. It was 20 to 1 in favor of leaving it alone. All the Argentinos and South Americans voted to keep it. They like it the way it is.



Greg Loniewski
Yosemite West
TwistedCrank

climber
Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day
Apr 8, 2009 - 09:51am PT
Was Maestri a thief in addition to being a liar and a rapist? Did he steal the Torre from the realm of superalpine badassedness?

I'm just askin'

I for one am not a position to judge because even the via feratta is way out of my league. Or maybe I'm just not that interested in casting my fate into the Patagonian winds - as Bridwell so eloquently put it.

WRT to the Roberts Ascent fiction I recall heaving read it and thinking that in the alpine realm the truth is often more interesting that fiction. It certainly stirs more debate.

Roberts is still one of my favorite outdoor writers despite some of the baggage he carries.

I still have the Cerro Torre poster in picked up in Buenos Aires way back in my youth. It's a cool peak.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 8, 2009 - 10:01am PT
Breaking my promise about not posting again. Greg, I agree that the Compressor Route has some great climbing on it and shouldn't be chopped if the Argentines are opposed. I also wish the route had never been established. Josh Wharton and partner were the ones who wanted to chop the route, but only if they could do it sans bolts. They created a bit of a firestorm with the locals. I believe it was Josh"s second trip to the area and he was perceived as being a bit brash and presumptuous. Josh and partner did climb to the middle of the headwall without using a single bolt but were driven off by a storm.
There are many great routes on El Cap that have a lot of bolts, but Cerro Torre is not El Cap. Two routes come to mind that epitomize the way a mountain like Cerro Torre should be climbed: the West Face (Ferrari et al), and Rolo's route from the Col of Conquest. Additionally, given the rise in climbing standards, the Compressor Route will be done without bolts- what then?
El Cap is all about the climbing. A three thousand foot high chunk of impeccable granite set in a very accessible location that is blessed with a mediterranean climate and capped with a forest that is a pleasant place for a picnic.
Cerro Torre, and mountains like it, are about the difficulty of their accessibility. Given the fact that climbing mountains will in no way benefit society, style becomes all the more important. Magnificent mountains deserve our best efforts and the best efforts in climbing are those that require the least amount of technology.
The Compressor Route has made Cerro Torre accessible to many climbers that would otherwise only be able to look at the mountain (as did Bonatti in 1958) in awe. Many would say that making such a summit more accessible is a good thing. I, for one, feel that having places, on this crowded planet, that only our very best efforts will allow us to visit is a good thing.
One of the things that I like about the climbing community is that we can disagree in a collegial manner. My wife understands me best when she says that I am, "often wrong but never in doubt."

tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 8, 2009 - 10:10am PT
How would you feel if some brash Argentienian climber came to the ditch and announced that they were going to chop the nose?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 8, 2009 - 10:17am PT
You missed my point about the difference between a mountain and a cliff. You probably also skimmed past the part where I said the Compressor Route should never be chopped as long as the Argentines are opposed.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 8, 2009 - 10:25am PT
Didn't miss that part Jim, just comenting on what tools those guys were for going to annother country and declaring their style of climbing superior and their intentions to chop the rout. It's annother country fer christ sake and they are guests.. How rude can you possibly get.. Well at least they didn't bomb the piss out of it;)
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 8, 2009 - 10:32am PT
Gotta agree with that.
WBraun

climber
Apr 8, 2009 - 12:29pm PT
Bump for Greg's awesome "Cerro Torre" ascent account.

gregfromvermont

climber
Yosemite
Apr 8, 2009 - 05:26pm PT
Yes, being up there and seeing where Josh and Zac had gone around the bolts, I do think it is just a matter of time before the South East Ridge of Cerro Torre gets climbed sans bolts. They did some amazing climbing up an old British line I think. I'd like to do it without bolts.

Josh's thing ended up kind of twisted because of the initial secrecy surrounding there 'project'. Alpinist had a climber/photographer on stand by down there to try and document the chopping if it where to happen. Even if the route were to go sans bolts, I think what is done is done.

Some partied come up the west face and rap the Compressor route. Rollo and Colin rapped the route using the bolt stations after completing the Torres Traverse. And actually they climbed the bolt ladder to get down as well. You have to reverse the Monumental Traverse to descend. It is more difficult then going up too.
A note on the bolting: there were no bolts at all until just before the bolt traverse(10 pitches up). Then hard chimneys filled with ice go without bolts all the way through the Ice Towers. Then just before the head wall the bolts start again. Bringing that compressor 13 miles from town across two glaciers and then up another side glacier over the crevasses, and up 4000 ft of steep rock and ice must have been the real challenge back then. Once it got to that point, they pulled the cord and starting drilling, bringing it up another 1000ft for it's finally resting spot. Actually years later someone hauled it the the summit but Glowaz or somebody brought it back down the wall and put it back at it's high point for the movie.

Thanks for getting back in it Jim, I started the forum late on this one.

mt1000.I knew that when I chimed in on ST I'd get some sort of smack one way or another...

No, the mixed part which only added up to 8 hrs., is not considered the wall. Its only the approach, even though it was somewhere in the 5.10 WI3 M3 70 degree range. We don't count the death slabs when timing Half Dome. This approach would have been like climbing 3 Death Slabs covered in ice with deadly bergshrunds above you...

Yeah, you don't have to time yourself if you don't want to. But hanging around on Cerro Torre longer than you need to is like having a picnic on the I-5 median. I didn't invent speed climbing but it suits my climbing style well. Big objectives are easier light and fast, as well as potentially safer. We weren't going for the record, that's just the way it worked out.

The rules of climbing were mentioned....Maestri obviously had his own rules. El Cap is El Cap and Cerro Torre is just some random tower down south, right. Maybe Maestri wanted to be just like the big wallers of that time - who were drilling away in sunny California.
scuffy b

climber
Frigate Matilda
Apr 8, 2009 - 05:39pm PT
I think an earlier question went unanswered.
Why all the clove hitches on the lines fixed by Maestri and
Egger?
OK, an answer occurred to me, but I don't have big wall
experience, so what do I know?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 8, 2009 - 06:11pm PT
When I siege climb I will sometimes fix my rope with clove hitches to many pieces within a pitch as I descend. This allows me to visually inspect short sections of rope for wind damage before using them. It also reduces rope stretch.
For me it is no big hassle, second nature, and reassuring when returning after a wind storm.

I think they have a little wind down in Patagonia as well,..
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 8, 2009 - 06:27pm PT
So the brash Americans go down there with magzine photographers in tow on a seceret agenda to chop this rout and have a media frenzy. No wonder them furriners don't like us..... jesus h godblasted christ Where the Fck do they find these people???

Im sorry but I am just haveing a hard time wraping my brain arround the level of arrogance that it takes to travel to a forgin country with paparazi in tow and the intent to chop their most populer route?? WTF???????????????????????????
Rankin

climber
Bishop, CA
Apr 8, 2009 - 06:37pm PT
Great thread Jim (you're a hero man). I love climbing history. Thanks for the entertaining trip report Greg. Don't worry about the super taco haters. The anonymity on the web brings out cowardice and rudeness, as no one really has to stand by what they say here.
shipoopoi

Big Wall climber
oakland
Apr 8, 2009 - 06:44pm PT
jim, and everybody, this was a great thread. i think maestri maybe did it with egger, but only like 1 or 2%. i'm still jacked to try and repeat the compressor route, after 4 unsucessful expeditions down there, it seems i cannot get up this route for the life of me. but i have imagined myself on top of the mushroom enough times that i would like to make the dream a reality as long as i can still effectively try to. it is an amazing, bigger than life type of a mountain, and its history is so controversial, everybody has their own opinion. ciao for now, steve
scuffy b

climber
Frigate Matilda
Apr 8, 2009 - 06:57pm PT
Thanks, Ron.
rbob

climber
Apr 8, 2009 - 07:11pm PT
"A note on the bolting: there were no bolts at all until just before the bolt traverse(10 pitches up). Then hard chimneys filled with ice go without bolts all the way through the Ice Towers. Then just before the head wall the bolts start again."

Greg, might want to check the math on this one... There are actually bolts all over the place... Right at the shoulder there are a cluster "practice bolts" splayed into the rock for no apparent reason. This isn't the only place where the nonsensical bolting happened... Then many of the belays are bolted. The "ice chimney" is full of fixed pins, and then exiting the chimney there is another bolt ladder before the ice towers. Then bolts after that up to the headwall.

With that being said, the route is totally kick ass.

Golden granite..
wrw

climber
Apr 8, 2009 - 07:48pm PT
Just for some historical perspective...

A picture of one of the cruxes on the sans bolt attempt ( Wharton/Smith)... Josh can be seen aiding around the snow blob on the headwall... The compressor route "bolt traverse" goes directly right at the orange looking dike into the first chimney...

sandstone conglomerate

climber
sharon conglomerate central
Apr 8, 2009 - 08:13pm PT
hey, anyone happen to have a copy of the article jon krakauer wrote about climbing cerro torre for the Outside magazine anniversy issue? used to have it, but can no longer find it...
Ezra

Social climber
WA, NC, Idaho Falls
Apr 9, 2009 - 11:13pm PT
Bump for the real deal!
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Apr 9, 2009 - 11:25pm PT
so even though I don't agree with chopping the route, if it was chopped would they chop the anchors also, and if so what would be the rap descent?
WBraun

climber
Apr 9, 2009 - 11:46pm PT
......... if so what would be the rap descent?

B.A.S.E
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Apr 10, 2009 - 12:22am PT
I don't quite understand how it would be possible to declare a "bolt free" climb if you rapped from them. A dubious claim at best.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 10, 2009 - 09:53am PT
Annother interesting question; what is the difference between a modern cordless drill and the compressor other than the fact that the compressor was much harder to transport? The end result is pretty much the same. Power drill.
Tomcat

Trad climber
Chatham N.H.
Apr 10, 2009 - 10:00am PT
And done on lead,so I don't get it.
mt10910 hater

climber
Apr 11, 2009 - 08:33pm PT
Im going to chop the whole thing. I hate bolts. Bunch of f*#king winers.
WBraun

climber
Apr 11, 2009 - 09:29pm PT
You don't like the bolts in your car?
Klimmer

Mountain climber
San Diego
Apr 11, 2009 - 10:52pm PT
What you don't like the San Diego Chargers? Com'on leave the team sport bashing off the SuperTaco. That just hurts.



Jim,

Great story. Those who speak the truth will always suffer the outfall.

Hey, that reminds me, completely different climb and (same) continent. There was some bigwall climb you did in Venezuela with Bev Johnson et al. on one of the Tepuis (sp?), and if I remember right there was an image in Mariah magazine with someone standing in aiders above holding up a squirming snake while making a nasty face posing for the camera below (kinda a Indiana Jones "I hate snakes" kinda look before its time). Was that snake real?

Ok, ok, I already know the answer (he-he), but others might enjoy the yarn.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 11, 2009 - 11:02pm PT
Jim- Regarding posting on threads that you start....I like to look at it as having to go down to the store for more tequila while a party is roaring back at your house!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 11, 2009 - 11:09pm PT
Stevie, incredibly funny.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 12, 2009 - 05:35pm PT
bump
adam d

climber
CA
Apr 22, 2009 - 02:16am PT
Greg thanks for your great perspective on the Torre. Well spoken. I wish the weather had given me a shot on it when I was down there but my last climbing day there was the only possible summit day with everything rimed and we had to settle for S as the only feasible tower consolation prize. (still fun but casual...) We met in Chalten...we shared a couple asadas and I loaned you a softshell for the glacier crossing to the cache and some shoes for Frey.

I know for sure that I'm not the one to make any decision about what to do about the compressor bolts, being a gringo who's never been up there. At this point, Maestri isn't the one to make the call either. Can't say I wouldn't like to climb it though.
MH2

climber
Apr 22, 2009 - 04:09am PT
anyone happen to have a copy of the article jon krakauer wrote about climbing cerro torre

The cure for baldness? Didn't he go with the owner of Vertical World in Seattle? I think I do have a copy but unearthing it might bury other treasures or topple a stack of dusty archives onto poor old me. Here lies ?

I was riveted by the Mountain cover picture back in '72 and a co-worker must have liked it too, since it disappeared from my locker in the Vassar Brothers Hospital OR.

I did not understand the fuss over the Maestri claims. Other than Ken Wilson histrionics and/or marketing savvy. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, not likely we will ever know for sure.

The compressor seemed to come out of an unbalanced mind, but as a blot on the landscape it barely registers.

There have been great climbs done in the area before and since. Those are personal experiences but in the telling they can affect the rest of us. A Brit likened plates of ice carried in an updraft to "Eldritch spirits out of an H. P. Lovecraft story". A friend of mine who started out as a sport-climber progressed through longer climbs, big walls, the Alps, and pictures of him and his partner's boots standing on the compressor. Jim Donini et al in their time also reduced the inaccessibility/impossibility myth. And what I remember best was that they used valium to get a good night's sleep.

It was very interesting to have Mr. Donini relate the trajectory of his belief in the Maestri/Egger story.



Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 23, 2009 - 12:55am PT
As promised earlier, the Maestri interview portion of the Bloody Cerro Torre issue, Mountain Sept 1972. Gillman and Wilson at the prod.....













SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
May 1, 2009 - 12:18pm PT
Bump!
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
May 1, 2009 - 12:49pm PT
Thanks Steve. Seeing that issue of Mountain brings back memories. I guess one of these days I'll get down into the basement and dig through all the old boxes... Or maybe not. If I wait long enough you'll have scanned a posted all the good stuff right here.

And btw, if you think Ken's rants were wild in print, you should have heard him in person. The man was a world-class ranter. And actually a pretty good climber, too.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - May 1, 2009 - 02:38pm PT
Just back from IC. Steve, you should be nominated as climber historian laureate for ST. Klimmer, it was a rubber snake- quite a funny story behind that trip.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 2, 2009 - 01:03pm PT
So I'm reading through the article. My first impression is, that in spite of his puffery and my disagreement with , I kinda like ol' Cesare. I like his "I don't give a rat's ass" outlook, much like Warren Harding's.

I love how he talks about soloing Grade 6 [sic] routes. One wonders how many on this forum have soloed Grade VI walls.... of course one can't compare the rather friendly El Cap to the Real Mountains of danger, fear and {shudder} cold.

At the top of page 32 Ken Wilson talks about two types of ethics. People confuse ethics with style all the time, although I can't for a moment imagine him doing so. Perhaps the term style had not yet evolved?

Hey! He says that while his compressor isn't suitable for mountain climbing because it's too big, he thinks it might be useable on El Cap! Can I try it???? Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!

Oh! I just read Ken Wilson's response: "You'd be lynched if you took it there." Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!!

Man, the crafty bugger was certainly evasive, wasn't he. Too bad he lied.

Steve - can you please post up the interview of Jim Bridwell that subsequently appeared in Mountain, where he describes what he found up there, and how counter it was to Maestri's claims? Also, if you could make the images a bit bigger, it would be of benefit to the myopic.

Cheers.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 2, 2009 - 04:44pm PT
Maestri has #1 clearly in mind.

The only rules I observe are, firstly, not to steal other climbers gear; secondly, not to take excessive risks; and, thirdly, not to climb outside my own limit.

With all that money invested (in the compressor), you just have to get to the summit.

On the headwall it would have been possible to do about three pitches with pitons, and of course that would have been simpler, but we had left all our pegging gear at the foot.

Any semblance of style that I can relate to is just not his thing. Aw just leave the rack and grab a couple gas cans, boys!!!
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
May 2, 2009 - 05:36pm PT
>So I'm reading through the article. My first impression is, that >in spite of his puffery and my disagreement with , I kinda like >ol' Cesare. I like his "I don't give a rat's ass" outlook, much >like Warren Harding's.

Cesare Maestri is an interesting chap. He’s the walking definition of “larger than life”: self-centred, arrogant, volatile, vengeful, sometimes full of histrionics (he comes from a showbiz family – his sister Anna was a famous actress of the 60’s and 70’s), but at the same time admirable in many ways – he had a life long marriage many people could only dream of, he’s an extremely popular with his friends, he fought (and survived) cancer with a strength that many have found inspiring. He’s big in everything he does – for good and bad, easy to admire or despise. Some of the stories surrounding his exploits in the Dolomites have an almost Whillan-ish aura, but without the petty sarcasm one sometime associate with Whillans, and the way he speaks in lectures is almost mesmerizing (even if, after watching a few of his lectures, you realize he’s following a script!).

As for Cerro Torre – sooner or later (too late, I’m afraid) the climbing community will have to realize that’s there no real evidence that he lied about the 1959 climb. Ok, a lot of people believe (or, more accurately, desperately wants to believe - at least in Italy) that he lied, but there no evidence whatsoever that he did REALLY lie. There’s of course also no evidence he climbed the bloody route too, but if we take this as “proof” that he didn’t, we should probably discount as lies something like a good 30% of all the routes or repeats you see printed into any climbing guidebook.

He definitely likes to be hated by who he thinks are his "enemies" - I believe that's his major weakness. When he sees something standing on his way, he wants (wanted - he's an old man now) it crushed. No turning around. The whole political thing is one example - he insisted for years on airing political views that were horrendously unpopular in his native NE Italy (and still are) probably believing he was above the scorn he was subjected for years. He really really really rubbed the wrong way the wrong people, and now he's paying for this.

Mind you, I'm no Maestri groupie, I've never been much interested in his climbs (even if I reckon he did plenty of amazing stuff in the Dolomites). Someone now tells "He asked for it, he should have seen it coming", but I'm not really sure anyone should be publicly humiliated and have his face rubbed on the dirt just because he wasn't universally liked, or had views not accepted by the majority.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 2, 2009 - 06:18pm PT
Thanks, Lucas. I like him even more - at least I think so. What a fascinating character. Thanks for your insight.

I disagree with you, however, that there is no real evidence he lied about summitting Cerro Torre. The preponderence of evidence is strongly against him. The best presentation of this was by Rolando Garibotti, linked above. Have you read this? I would also like to again read Jim Bridwell's observations of what he found up there, which were published in a subsequent Mountain Mag.

I also disagree that there is an attempt per se to humiliate him. The core issue is whether he lied or not about climbing the mountain, and he almost certainly did. To try to get to the bottom of things isn't an attempt to humiliate, but rather to seek the truth. Of course, the truth could be humiliating.

But without even considering Cerro Torre, I would like to hear more about Maestri - the man. I'd buy him a beer anytime! Got any good stories about him?
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
May 2, 2009 - 06:37pm PT
>I disagree with you, however, that there is no real evidence he >lied about summitting Cerro Torre. The preponderence of evidence >is strongly against him. The best presentation of this was by >Rolando Garibotti, linked above. Have you read this?

Yes, I've read it, was translated and published on ALP Cerro Torre monographic issue. It was given quite publicity here (has it happened with Salvaterra's claims when they came back from opening Arca - one entire page on the most popular Italian sport newspaper with a big black title "MAESTRI DID LIE" - may give you an idea of the atmosphere here).

Garibotti's case is well argued and interesting, but it's just a list of assumptions and circumstantial evidence at best - nothing that proves Maestri really lied. It's no real climbing history (in the positivistic sense of the term). It's just a well written resume why Garibotti thinks Maestri lied. Everything he wrote can be countered in some way. What's more worring, I could use Garibotti's method to destroy the credibility of ANY climb (my favourite example is Gervasutti's route on the East face of the Jorasses, possibily the most difficult rock route opened in the Alps before 1963 - there's NO evidence Gervasutti's opened it).

As far as I know, there's only one attempt to make a serious study of the "Maestri affair", and is Giorgio Spreafico's "Enigma Cerro Torre". BTW, Spreafico is very close to the "Ragni" climbing group, so everyone was expecting he would have savaged Maestri (so to give Casimiro Ferrari and the "Ragni" the title of "first climbers on the summit of Cerro Torre"). Instead, Spreafico just came to the only sensible conclusion - the case is and will always be (unless Maestri confess, or unless someone finds those bolts high on CT, or unless Egger's camera is found) completely undecidable. Interestingly, Gino Buscaini and Silvia Metzeltin, who had been for years the foremost historians of Patagonia climbing, felt that way.

It's the difference between "gut feeling" and hard evidence. Anyone is entitled to his gut feeling on the Maestri case, but hard evidence is another thing.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - May 2, 2009 - 06:39pm PT
Lucas- I have to take serious issue with your post. You say that it can never be proven that Maestri lied and that he suffers because he rubbed people the wrong way. What do you consider proof? Perhaps a confession, but would that be proof because someone who lies once is likely to lie again. If you take time to read what I have written and the definitive article by Rolo Garibotti in the AAJ, you might come to the conclusion that the body of evidence against him is overwhelming. Because someone is "larger than life" is no reason to believe them. Maestri has tried to degrade and intimidate everyone, including Bonatti, who disagrees with him. His cynical, and in the light of the evidence, laughable dismissal of Bonatti and Mauri for naming the col between CT and the Adela the "Col of Hope" is one of the most ergregious statements in climbing history. To refresh your memory: Maestri said in explaining why he called the col between CT and Torre Egger the "Col of Conquest" and directly referring to Bonatti. "There is only the will to conquer, hope is the weapon of the weak." Guess what: Maestri never set foot on the Col of Conquest.
One of the reasons I have been passionate about climbing for so many years is
due to of the quality of the people I meet. Exceptions like Maestri come along rarely but they do exist. Thankfully he is proof positive that the exception makes the rule.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 2, 2009 - 07:08pm PT
Holy dichotomy, Batman! The plot thickens. What polarizing viewpoints. Incredible.

Lucas - it's really great to have you here. There is nothing that would make me happier than to believe that Maestri really did climb Cerro Torre, but I just can't. In fact, I am always the one to offer the accused the benefit of reasonable doubt. Any defense attorney would want me on his jury, that's for sure.

And in spite of my willingness to offer this benefit of reasonable doubt, I find it very difficult in the case of Maestri, especially in light of Jim's firsthand observations above. So why are you able to do so? What do you know that we don't? Do you know Maestri himself, and if so, what is your relationship with him?

Most importantly - could you somehow convince ME to give Cesare the benefit of the doubt?

I hope you would be so kind as to share your thoughts with us, not just your interpretation of the facts, but also your gut feelings, and why you have them. I love to root for the underdog.

With thanks,
Pete
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 2, 2009 - 07:39pm PT
Looking at it with a lawyer's eye, and having followed this issue since the 1970s, but never having been there:

There is no evidence that Egger and Maestri got to the summit of Cerro Torre, or anywhere near it, apart from Maestri's word. No physical evidence, and his story of the route above the Col of Conquest does not match the reality. His assertion is otherwise unproveable, in the evidentiary and perhaps philosophical senses. You believe it, or you don't.

OTOH, there is very considerable circumstantial evidence that Egger and Maestri did not get to the top, and probably did not get to the Col of Conquest.

In a Canadian or US court, with the evidence to date, Maestri would not be found, on the balance of probabilities, to have done the climb. It is very unlikely he would win a defamation suit against those who say he didn't do the climb.

Maestri is clearly a fascinating character, and was an outstanding climber.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 2, 2009 - 09:45pm PT
Fascinating thread.

(just a minor point Pete, their soloing grade 6s isn't the same as when you and I soloed Grade VIs)



EDIT:
NO NO NO Pete, not temperature.

Their "grade" is a free climbing rating (so solo means unroped)
Our Grade is an overall assessment of the size of the climb.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 2, 2009 - 09:50pm PT
I know, I know ... mine were WARM.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 2, 2009 - 10:21pm PT
The only way he could have done it would be if there was ice. The only way to try to verify that would be through weather reports for the whole season and photographs of the mountain from close to the date that he claimed to have climbed it. Then there is the conflict between his description of the climbing and what Jim found up there. Again it might look diferent if covered in ice but maby not that much diferent??

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - May 2, 2009 - 10:36pm PT
I have a photo of Toni Egger low on the route with the upper part of the climb to the col showing- it looks drier than when we did it. In my many trips to Patagonia I have never seen ice on the route sufficient for climbing. Even if that happened, there would never be enough ice for V-Threads- where are the rap anchors? Maestris's description of the traverse into the Col of Conquest is completely wrong ice or no ice. Oh! and where did Maestri's 60 degree ice route fron the Col to the summit go to? There is no such thing as 60 degree anything on that piece of mountain real estate.

I know that climbers always want to believe their peers, but this guy is a scoundrel and needs to be outed.
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
May 3, 2009 - 12:14am PT
This is one of the most awesome threads that I have ever read on any forum on the internet...ever! And I'm an internet junkie! This is what make Supertopo so awesome. I don't even look at it for weeks at a time, then I check in and find stuff like this. Wow! I have a strong opinion as to this story but I don't even want to go there (let's just say I believe Jim Donini far more than...you know...). But hey, miracles happen sometimes...

Anyway, I have already said too much. My point was this thread blows my mind, everyone's posts are just incredible. If you don't find this interesting there is something seriously wrong with you...

Tom Michael
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
May 3, 2009 - 01:57am PT
I asked this question at least a month ago on this thread and to my knowledge there has been no answer: Are there any photos of CM on the "summit" (below the ice mushroom) during his compressor ascent? Never mind the supposed 1958 ascent, is there any hard evidence that he got to the top of the rock face during the compressor effort? Are we really supposed to believe there was no camera on hand during the climb - in fact, I've seen pics from lower down on the route, just not on "top."

If the man never got to the top of the rock wall during either of his efforts, the whole business is pathological and tragic. I hope for the sake of his own peace of mind that he summitted both times, but I wouldn't bet my life on it. Who would?

JL
aguacaliente

climber
May 3, 2009 - 05:24am PT
TwistedCrank posted a link to Bridwell's report of his climb of the Compressor Route way upthread. Here it is again:

http://www.americanalpineclub.org/documents/pdf/aaj/1980/375_bridwell_cerrotorre_aaj1980.pdf#search=%22bridwell%20cerro%20torre%22

I think you can pretty much tell what his opinion was about who did what above the compressor. But that's not the most important thing. It's an adventure and a beautiful, concise piece of writing.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 3, 2009 - 06:43am PT
"I have a photo of Toni Egger low on the route with the upper part of the climb to the col showing- it looks drier than when we did it" end quote;

That pretty much works for me. We know he could have soloed grade 3 ice quickly but whers the ice?
they wouldn't have known about threads and would have had to use bollards or snargs but still wheres the ice? and wheres the 60% slope that would allow grade 3 ice climbing?

justthemaid

climber
Los Angeles
May 3, 2009 - 08:27am PT
thanks for reposting that link Aquacaliente. It is a great read.

Quote: "I had fallen about 40 meters, broken some ribs, chipped an elbow, badly bruised a hip and rearranged my mind... No serious damage."

My favorite line.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 3, 2009 - 10:11am PT
Maestri will fall from his throne long before the ice mushrooms topple. If even he won't provide a straight and honest answer about his adventure at this point in time then the case is closed in my mind. No style, no conscience, no summit-- no peace of mind....and certainly no underdog, Pete!!!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 3, 2009 - 10:13am PT
Agua - thanks for the link, but that is knott the article to which I am referring. What I'm looking for is an interview of Bridwell - I believe in Mountain - where he is asked about Cerro Torre, and his thoughts about what Maestri did or didn't do.

Can you find that one, Steve? [C'mon Steve, we all know he probably didn't climb it, but at least let Lucas try to convince us that he might have!]
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - May 3, 2009 - 10:22am PT
Probably didn't climb it...y'all should go down to Patagonia and have a look for yourselves then you might not want to be apologists for the "underdog." Bridwell's article is about the Compressor Route which was put up in 1972 is an entirely different issue.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 3, 2009 - 10:59am PT
Jim, please do not get the idea that I am an apologist. I am merely trying to find reasonable doubt, which so far I have been unable to do, so I therefore remain firmly in your camp of non-believers. I was merely hoping Lucas could explain his gut feelings and why he [seems to] have reasonable doubt.
Bldrjac

Ice climber
Boulder
May 3, 2009 - 01:39pm PT
I thought there was a picture from CMs original article that shows him at his highpoint standing either on top of or next to the compressor. I'm looking through my archive for to see if I can find it. I think it was in La Montagne magazine,

Jack
Pate

Trad climber
The High And Lonely
May 3, 2009 - 04:25pm PT
MK, those are fantastic photos.
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
May 3, 2009 - 04:45pm PT
Jim D:
> You say that it can never be proven that Maestri lied and that he suffers because he rubbed people the wrong way. What do you consider proof?

I consider (negative) proof of a climb - from a mere "investigative" point of view either

1) Someone was seen somewhere else away from the claimed route in the same claimed timeframe, o NOT seen there by external witnesses
or

2) The claimed line was clearly and physically impossible to climb with the materials available at the time AND (mind you, not or) the claimant had clearly not the abilities to do that.

Everything else is just circumstantial evidence. Which bring us to the heart of the problem - 50% of the history of alpinism is based on circumstantial evidence. We're more often than not the only witnesses to our own climbs, and distorting/lying/cheating the crucial details of a climbs very easy. And this is true for - again - 50% of climbing "exploit".

In the majority of the cases, we accept climbers word for face value, even if often their claims are difficult to substantiate. It's a sort of unwritten rule that runs through the entire history of climbing. So, if we decide that "climber's word" is not enough for Maestri - which is what we want to do here - why should we not the same for the rest of the history of climbing? Why shouldn't we decide that the only "acceptable" climbs are those for whom we have supportable evidence?


> Perhaps a confession, but would that be proof because someone who lies once is likely to lie again.

You're right about that, but once again - Maestri is not exactly renowned for lying (outside the Torre thing). In fact is renowned for the opposite - opening his big mouth a bit too often to say what he feels about people.

To make things clear - Maestri ALWAYS made himself well know for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time (see his public clash with Messner in 1974 - another event that's now coming back to haunt him).

>If you take time to read what I have written and the definitive >article by Rolo Garibotti in the AAJ, you might come to the >conclusion that the body of evidence against him is >overwhelming.

I've read your statement (I was tempted to start discussing the topic with you in Chamonix, but you were way too busy with the Piolets D'Or, so I thought it wasn't neither the time nor the place). It's a very articulate and intelligent rebuttal of Maestri claim, but, as Rolo's article on AAJ (which I've read both in the original and the translated version) they're not - in my opinion - enough as final evidence that Maestri lied.

>Because someone is "larger than life" is no reason to believe >them.

I've never said that. I just meant that being Maestri very often a major pain in you know what and - quite frankly - a bit too outspoken for its own good, had a lot of people (particuarly in Italy) quite anxious to see his downfall (which of course has happened)

>Maestri has tried to degrade and intimidate everyone, including >Bonatti, who disagrees with him.

I'm afraid that the person that could seriously "degrade" and "intimidate" Bonatti (at least in Italy) is yet to be born. The last time anyone tried to "intimidate" him (almost 40 years ago) they had his car tyres slashed and his house windows broken. THAT's intimidating

>His cynical, and in the light of the evidence, laughable >dismissal of Bonatti and Mauri for naming the col between CT >and the Adela the "Col of Hope" is one of the most ergregious >statements in climbing history. To refresh your memory: Maestri >said in explaining why he called the col between CT and Torre >Egger the "Col of Conquest" and directly referring to Bonatti. >"There is only the will to conquer, hope is the weapon of the >weak." Guess what: Maestri never set foot on the Col of Conquest.

This is another thing that I find enormously disturbing on some of the backlash against Maestri - he did NOT write that. What he did write was:

"In montagna non esiste la speranza, solo la voglia di conquistare. La speranza è l'arma del povero."

Which translated mean.

"In the mountains there's no hope, only the desire of conquest. Hope is the weapon of the poor."

"Poor", not "weak" - in Italian they've a completely different nuance, and given Maestri political leaning, I don't think the choice of word was just casual. And given that he clearly changed the name of the col as a sort of joke against Bonatti (who at the time had views completely opposite to those of Maestri) and Mauri, I believe this meant a lot more than just a "cynical" joke.

>One of the reasons I have been passionate about climbing for so >many years is due to of the quality of the people I meet. >Exceptions like Maestri come along rarely but they do exist. >Thankfully he is proof positive that the exception makes the >rule.

I understand your point, and you're maybe even right about this, but still, even if we assume that Maestri lied on the 1958 climb (and even taking in account the bolting of the Compressor Route), well, he just lied about a climb, and bolted a route. Hardly anything new or worth making him the Hitler of mountaineering, as I'm afraid he has become in the last ten years. Personally, I would be far more critical of the - many - climbers of the past that, because of their personal climbing pursuits, have wrecked their families, neglected their children, exploited their friends, bullied and sometime damaged their weaker "rivals" and taken advantage of their political connections - often with totalitarian powers, just to keep climbing and climbing and climbing. While I agree with you that there are many wonderful people who climb, and I agree that THEY make climbing worth the effort, I'm afraid they're not exactly the majority.
WBraun

climber
May 3, 2009 - 04:52pm PT
Thanks Lucas for writing your response.

It's very interesting and thought provoking .....
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 3, 2009 - 05:10pm PT
"Hitler" of the mountaineering world is pretty strong language, Lucas. Is this really true? Is Cesare considered such a pariah? How do you think this has come to be, especially within the last ten years? Is it because of opinions of people like Jim and Rolo, or is there more?
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
May 3, 2009 - 05:10pm PT
Jim D. again

> I have a photo of Toni Egger low on the route with the upper >part of the climb to the col showing- it looks drier than when we >did it. In my many trips to Patagonia I have never seen ice on >the route sufficient for climbing. Even if that happened, there >would never be enough ice for V-Threads- where are the rap >anchors? Maestris's description of the traverse into the Col of >Conquest is completely wrong ice or no ice. Oh! and where did >Maestri's 60 degree ice route fron the Col to the summit go to? >There is no such thing as 60 degree anything on that piece of >mountain real estate.

I feel a bit silly arguing with one of the greatest Patagonia luminaries while a) I've never been there and b) today I had a lot of trouble completing four pitches max F6b, but still, I'll try to explain my point going on a terrain I'm more familiar with

Errors, even HUGE errors on completing the description of a route, aren't not "per se" evidence that the route was not climbed. The first example that I've in mind - in 1954 Tom Burdillon (of Everest fame), together with Rawlinson and Viney, completed in two day the climb of the SE ridge of the Southern Aiguille de Pra Sec, a satellite of the mighty Grandes Jorasses, on the Italian side of Mt. Blanc. It took them two days to complete the climb, and they wrote a very detailed description of the route.

The Aiguilles de Pra Sec are among the least climbed, least know and most obscure and remote mountains of the MB range - they may be climbed once or twice every decade. In 1964 Ottavio Bastrentaz and Dino Rabbi climbed the entire Pra Sec ridge up to the summit of the Grandes Jorasses (in three days), linking the smaller Petites Aiguilles de Pra Sec with the bigger Aiguilles climbed by Burdillon and C. To their suprise, the route had absolutely no relation with sketch written by Bourdillon, except in a couple of points. I've talked again with Dino a couple of years ago (Ottavio died in 2003) and he confirmed that the route he climbed (a narrow and difficult ridge almost 500m high) was completely different from the one described by the Brits ten years before (by the way, Ottavio and Dino climbed the route twice, the second time in 1967 to make the first ascent of the Central and Northern Aiguille)

Now, what should we assume from that? Maybe that Bourdillon lied? Of course this is completely preposterous. The Aiguilles de Pra Sec are absolutely obscure items no one would risk his reputation to claim their ascent, let alone Tom Bourdillon! So the answer must be something else - in my opinion, that they really climbed a parallel rib far more to the R. But it's just an opinion - I guess I'll never had any chance to really find the truth about this (and this is a place I've been!).

Writing on the climbing history of MB I could make a lot of examples of these "wrong/mixed up route descriptions that aren't really lies" - aren't we sure that Maestri doesn't fall in this category?
Jennie

Trad climber
Idaho Falls
May 3, 2009 - 05:11pm PT
Edu Aresti has some outstanding aerial photos of Cerro Torre at this link. The photos can be viewed in original large size. Downloading is permitted but hotlinking them to this forum is probably not (?).

Some show modest icing directly up arete above Col of Hope but nothing like Cesare Maestri described for his claimed 1959 ascent.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/eduaresti/sets/72157601637011335/
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
May 3, 2009 - 05:12pm PT
>"Hitler" of the mountaineering world is pretty strong language, >Lucas. Is this really true? Is Cesare considered such a pariah? >How do you think this has come to be?

Well, maybe not Hitler, but it's no secret lot of people consider him a sort of calamity for the good name of Italian climbing.
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
May 3, 2009 - 05:24pm PT
Steve:
>Maestri will fall from his throne long before the ice mushrooms >topple. If even he won't provide a straight and honest answer >about his adventure at this point in time then the case is closed >in my mind. No style, no conscience, no summit-- no peace of >mind....and certainly no underdog, Pete!!!

But again - there's no throne! It's weird to see that outside Italy Maestri is seen as someone enjoying some kind of overwhelming national popularity a la Messner or Bonatti, while, at best, he's just well know by climbers, and definitely NOT an household item. Some people appreciate him, but as far as Italy goes, he's seen as a sort of relic of the past. The paradox being that in an Italian scene obsessed by bolts and bolting (today I've been told that there's going to be yet another wave of retrobolting of icefalls in the NW), Maestri - who, outside Italy, seems to be subject to an inordinate amount of scorns outside because of the Compressor Route, gets thrashed in some quarter here as an example of "heroic", "retorical" (and so, terminally out of fashion!) mountaineering, which we should be much better without!

Talk about contradicting views....
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 3, 2009 - 06:14pm PT
Jennie - thanks for the link. Those photos are amazing.

Jim - if I am getting this correctly, how is it that nearby Fitzroy is almost free of ice, yet Cerro Torre is plastered? What causes this?

nature

climber
Tucson, AZ
May 3, 2009 - 06:24pm PT
Just a totally and completely awesome thread.

Lucas... thank you for your thought provoking commentary.


Pete: nice shot and great question. Patagonia experts - any ideas on the answer here?
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 3, 2009 - 07:29pm PT
I'd bet on Mine That Bird, but what the heck do I know?

I'd *love* to bet on Cesare, but I just can't. The odds seem too great against him. Is it possible there was climbable ice above that seventh chopped bolt? Incidentally, how did Bridwell climb the chopped bolt ladder? And where's that Bridwell interview I recall from way back?
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 3, 2009 - 08:18pm PT
"if we assume that Maestri lied on the 1958 climb (and even taking in account the bolting of the Compressor Route), well, he just lied about a climb, and bolted a route. Hardly anything new"


Intersting take ;)
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
May 3, 2009 - 08:29pm PT
As to the iceing question it may sound counter-intuitive but in the aeronautical world it is a fact that a 'pointy' or 'narrow' leading edge on a wing will ice more readily than a blunter one. The blunter one builds more of a 'boundary layer', or cushion if you will, which causes the moisture/ice particles to flow around the wing. Since Fitzroy is so much more massive than Cerro Torre it might be the same effect. That is also why you see peaks like Mt Rainier producing such nice lenticulars while the Grand Teton wouldn't. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - May 3, 2009 - 08:56pm PT
Pete,
The picture of CT with Fitzroy in the background shows the upper, north side of CT. CT is right next to the ice cap and collects moisture coming off of the Pacific, hence the extreme icing. Fitzroy is in the rain shadow of the Torres and does not have the same icing. The micro climates down there are amazing in the differences a few miles can make. Only a few linear miles from Fitzroy is the beginning of the western edge of the Patagonian desert. The ice formations in your picture do not occur on the lower eastern flank of CT which is the area of concern.

Thanks Lucas for responding, I wish you had approached me at the Piolet d'Or. The second argument you use as definitive proof...claimed line clearly and physically impossible with materials available and physical abilities... is precisely the one used by Ken Wilson of "Mountain Magazine", and one that I rejected. Wilson implied that Maestri and Egger could not have done the climb given the state of the art of climbing at the time. I was pro Maestri, feeling that Wilson, having not been to Patagonia, could scarcely decree that Maestri did not have the materials and skill to do the climb.

I went to Torre Egger believing that Maestri and Egger had succeeded. In fact, a big part of our plan was to follow their route to the Col of Conquest in order to reach the final tower of Torre Egger. It was only after starting the climb and viewing the "circumstantial" evidence that I changed my mind. We were the first people to see the evidence, or lack thereof, of their ascent. Lucas, I wanted to believe, but the body of evidence against Maestri was simply overwhelming.

I certainly don't think that Maestri is a Hitler. I have heard that he has many admirable qualities and is well regarded by his friends. We all do things we come to regret. The workings of the human mind are complex and peoples behavior, even those very close to us, will continue to surprise.

Come to States and I'll show you around my neck of the woods. Desert sandstone and Colorado granite.

Ciao,
Jim
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
May 4, 2009 - 01:20pm PT
Tradman:

>"if we assume that Maestri lied on the 1958 climb (and even >taking in account the bolting of the Compressor Route), well, he >just lied about a climb, and bolted a route. Hardly anything new"
>Interesting take ;)

Just before someone misunderstands: I don't like or condone lying about big climbs - whatever common may be this practice (and it's quite common, I'm afraid) and I definitely DON'T like the idea of bolting (particularly retro-bolting) climbing route on "adventure" terrain.

This has nothing to do with Maestri and the Torre affair, but massive and indiscriminate retro-bolting of classic routes, particularly in the NW, is becoming the scourge of Italian climbing, killing the diversity of the climbing terrain, and greatly lowering the average climbing level on everything but sport climbing (and bouldering). It's a big problem here, and something I believe we will pay for many years to come.
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
May 4, 2009 - 01:38pm PT
Jim D.

>Thanks Lucas for responding, I wish you had approached me at the >Piolet d'Or

We actually chatted a bit before the Chamonix ceremony began, and I believe we had met the same day at Francoise Call's place - but again, you were pretty much busy with jury duty (and I was chaperoning around the Cassin family). I was supposed to stay in Cham on Sunday, but I had to drive back to Turin on Saturday night. Well, good excuse for a follow up the next time your're around here!

>Come to States and I'll show you around my neck of the woods. >Desert sandstone and Colorado granite.

Well, thanks a bunch, I'll really love to, but it's unlikely it will happen in the foreseeable future. But I would love to show you more of MY neck of the woods, as I understand that the only bit they showed you during the Piolets was Machaby, nice roadside crag, but hardly the best climbing spot in the area. I believe you may like more unspoilt sectors, like the Orco Valley or Sea (if you haven't climbed there already - I suspect you did!)
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
May 4, 2009 - 04:29pm PT
How did Dave Turner make out in Chamonix, then?
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 4, 2009 - 04:50pm PT
And this is the centenary of Robert Peary's and Frederick Cook's claims to have reached the north pole, in 1909 and 1908 respectively. Not much media fuss has been made about this. As few now believe Peary's story to be true, and even fewer believe (or ever believed) Cook's story, perhaps little wonder. The evidence, again mainly circumstantial apart from the actual claims, indicates that Peary got to 88 degrees north, perhaps even 89 north, but that Cook may not have gotten to much more than 84 or 85 north.

Cook was in a sense the bigger liar, Peary the more successful, aided by his wealthy and influential backers.

Roald Amundsen, a supremely competent polar explorer and traveler, may have indirectly summed it up when he and his team indubitably reached the south pole in December 1911. They camped there for several days, and watched the sun circle the horizon - at the same elevation throughout the day. Amundsen's comment? "Are we the first to see this sight?"
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
May 4, 2009 - 04:57pm PT
Pete:

He was not there physically, and got represented by Dougald MacDonald.

During the ceremony, Doug (Scott) has explained that while all the jury had considered Dave 34 days epic climb an achievement of the highest degree, the presence of bolts and the possibility for him to retreat (albeit one just wonder how risky a retreat would have been!) made his route not totally compatible with the standards set by the jury.

To be honest, not everyone present was happy with Doug's decision to publicly explain WHY some of the routes had been NOT awarded, and personally I've felt this meant concentrating too much on the negatives, instead of applauding the positives of a route. This got quite evident in realtion to "Are You Experienced", the big route on Nuptse set by Patrice Glairon-Rappaz and Stephane Benoist, as the reasoning for not awarding them was that "they did summit" (they reached the summit ridge then had to retreat). Felt a bit unjust and artificial, if you ask me - but I'm still very happy with everything else the jury decided, and generally speaking, this year Piolets have been a tremendous experience, and I believe it did a lot to resurrect the event.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - May 4, 2009 - 05:04pm PT
Lucas,
Thanks for summing it up for Pete. As a member of the jury I was not at all happy with Doug's explanation as to why a person/team did not get the award. He meant well, but it came off as too negative for climbs of such high merit. I mentioned this to Christian and i think that changes will ensue.
David Wilson

climber
CA
May 4, 2009 - 11:51pm PT
Guys, I hope this posting works. One more photo in today from a friend of mine, Kike Arnal. Never seen this aerial view before.

http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/2667/picture1zkq.png
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
May 5, 2009 - 01:03am PT
THAT is an awesome photo.
SGropp

Mountain climber
Eastsound, Wa
May 5, 2009 - 10:28am PT
Just one question :

Did anyone else on Maestri's team that put up the Compressor Route ever have anything to say [publicly or privately] whether or not anyone had actually stood on the summit on that attempt ?

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - May 5, 2009 - 10:56am PT
Good point- I don't know. Of course with the 1959 route the only other climber, Toni Egger, died. Let's not confuse the two issues. My statement was that Maestri failed in his attempt, lied about it and then went back in 1970 and put in the controversial Compressor Route.
In 1977 or 78? Jim Bridwell did the first alpine style ascent of the Compressor Route. Jim found compelling evidence that the Maestri team ended their climb a short distance from the top and did not actually summit.
I have no doubt whatsoever that the Maestri/Egger climb ended below the Col of Conquest and believe Bridwell's claims about the 1970 climb. Regarding that climb Maestri was quoted as saying that climbing the mushroom was not important as it would fall off some day.
Sifting through everything leads me to the conclusion that the first ascent of Cerro Torre should be credited to Casimiro Ferrari et al for their brilliant ascent of the West Face in January 1974.
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
May 5, 2009 - 11:15am PT
It took my high speed connection a while to download
the pic Dave posted the link to so here's a jpg of this remarkable shot...
His link did not contain any reference or attribution
to the photographer.

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - May 5, 2009 - 11:55am PT
Wow!!! David/Reilly this picture shows it all. Taken just after a storm you can see the West Face of Cerro Torre, both the Col of Conquest and the Col of Hope, Torre Egger, the giant West Face of Fitzroy etc. etc. Best of all, a great view of the little known El Cap sized N. Face of Pier Giorgio, and the North Pillar of Cerro Pollone. I can see five of my first ascents and some near misses in this one shot. Kinda wets the appetite!
David Wilson

climber
CA
May 5, 2009 - 08:39pm PT
Hey Jim, The photo is by Kike Arnal, a Venezuelan photographer/climber. I'm not normally a fan of aerial images, but that one caught my attention. I was down climbing in Patagonia in 1985, my lifetime high water line for anything alpine. Glad you enjoyed the image. David
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - May 5, 2009 - 10:44pm PT
David thanks for posting that photo. I agree about aerial pics but THAT photo is the most dramatic one I've ever seen of the whole range.
sandstone conglomerate

climber
sharon conglomerate central
May 9, 2009 - 06:37pm PT
The Bridwell article link in the AAJ seems to be f**ked. that sucks because it looked like a good read.
aguacaliente

climber
May 9, 2009 - 10:43pm PT
The Bridwell AAJ pdf link works for me. Or just go to http://www.americanalpineclub.org/aajsearch and type "bridwell cerro torre" into the AAJ search box. You have to use the AAJ search box, not the upper box that searches the AAC web site.
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
May 10, 2009 - 03:49am PT

>Did anyone else on Maestri's team that put up the Compressor >Route ever have anything to say [publicly or privately] whether >or not anyone had actually stood on the summit on that attempt ?

They stated (and, for all I know) continue to maintain that they summited. By the way, "2000 metri della nostra vita", the book that Maestri wrote on the 1970 experience (co-authored by his wife Fernanda, an interesting book that in some way anticipated some of the questions that have become so relevant in the current evalution of mountaineering, like the role of spouses and non-climbing relatives) states clearly that the summit (and the ice tower) were climbed.

Then of course Maestri told to Messner (in fact, Messner says that Maestri told him) that he did not, but to me it seems all part of Maestri deliberate shock tacticts when people start to annoy him.

There's however a controversy related to the descent. In the book, Maestri says that on the summit it suddenly decided to break every single bolt of the route (a plan than he himself admits was "childish and devious"). The he says that after breaking 20 or 30 of them he decided against it (by himself, I mean). But Alimonta later on revealed that the issue had been much more convoluted - after Maestri broke a couple of dozen of bolts, he and Claus told him that this nonsense was putting them all in danger, they were all tired and wanted to go down as soon as possible. Maestri insisted (he had stated from the beginning that he was the leader), and an huge argument erupted, with Alimonta and Claus threatening to leave him alone if he did not stop.

As far as I know Maestri never commented on this (but I may be wrong, I'm no Cerro Torre expert)
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 10, 2009 - 11:30am PT
Luca- Are you saying that Maestri sought to erase the Compressor Route on the way down?

This seems like a perfect ploy to account for any irregularities described by the next party. Do you consider it fact that he removed some bolts from the route leading to the quarrel that you describe?

The chopped placements would seem to be unmistakable up in the area of Bridwell's rivet ladder and elsewhere.

lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
May 10, 2009 - 01:59pm PT
Steve:

>Luca- Are you saying that Maestri sought to erase the Compressor >Route on the way down?

That's what he wrote in the book and that's what was reported by Alimonta and Claus later. Personally, I've some difficulty believing they were all lying, as this would give Maestri a bit too much credit as a conspirator... :)

The main difference is that in the book (and the interviews) Maestri says that he recognized spontaneously the idea was childish and stupid - it was basically "I've spent so much time and effort putting this route, it's MINE, so I don't want anyone else using it...". So he gave up. Alimonta's version is that he was hell bent on smashing every single bolt down to the base of the Torre, and he and Claus at some point told him something "Do you want to kill us or what?" (the weather was closing in and they were all tired and hungry). They went up almost to the point of fighting, then Maestri gave up.

The main difference between Maestri's version and the story reported by his mates is that in the latter he may have smashed far less bolts. However, Maestri talks about bolts on the headwall, and NOT placement on the ice tower - the doubt about him summiting in 1970 remains (in all honesty, while I think the 1958 climb undecidable, I believe he summited in 1970. My opinion).

>This seems like a perfect ploy to account for any >irregularities described by the next party. Do you consider it >fact that he removed some bolts from the route leading to the >quarrel that you describe?

Frankly, I just think Maestri was, at the time, the closest thing to a real life Captain Achab you may figure out. He was obsessed on climbing the Torre again, and he was obsessed in doing it on his own terms, and he was obsessed by the idea to humiliate everyone who had doubted the 1958 climb. He didn't just wanted to win - he wanted to triumph (in some way he DID triumph - his return to Madonna di Campiglio in 1970 is still the stuff of legends). So, yes, I think he removed the bolts, and he really wanted to destroy the entire route. Not to cover his own tracks - he wanted to do it because it was HIS route.

>The chopped placements would seem to be unmistakable up in the >area of Bridwell's rivet ladder and elsewhere.

Just for the records - Marco Pedrini (another gifted climber, and the first to solo the Compressor Route in 1985 - died the year aftewards descending from the Drus) confirmed to have seen several smashed bolts above the compressor. Again - this just mean that Maestri reached the summit ice tower, is not a proof that they summited.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 10, 2009 - 04:50pm PT
Thanks Luca!

You have such a rich perspective and wealth of information! Thanks for sharing it with us.

The Ahab comparison is right in line with the way that I see him, too. Dogged, proud and tenacious.

Is that account written by Maestri and his wife available in english?
lucasignorelli

climber
Torino, Italy
May 10, 2009 - 05:15pm PT
Steve G.

Not sure, the book is this one

http://www.vivaldaeditori.it/index.php?evt[catalogue-showProduct]&id=230

It's interesting for Fernanda's perspective (at the time climbers spouses didn't got much voice in the sport's literature, so it was in some way an ahead of its time book). On the other hand, people disliking Maestri's arrogance may find the book difficult to bear (it's beautifully written however, at least in Italian).

Another good Maestri's book is "Se La Vita Continua" (If Life Goes On), the follow up of the "2000 metri). I don't think it was ever translated, but I may be wrong.
rolo

Boulder climber
chalten
May 20, 2009 - 08:10am PT
Thanks to Jim for the excellent write up, which came out at a very timely time, the 50th anniversary of the ascent of the first 300 meters of a dihedral on the east face of Cerro Torre...

In case some might be interested, Messner just wrote a book on the matter. It was published in German a couple of months ago:

http://www.amazon.de/Torre-Abenteuer-Reinhold-Messner-Tragödien/dp/389029359X

in Italian just recently:

http://www.corbaccio.it/libro-pp.asp?editore=Corbaccio&idlibro=6587&titolo=GRIDO+DI+PIETRA

I dont know if Ken Wilson/Batonwicks and/or the Mountaineers plan to translated it into english.

The book has no "new material", and unfortunately does not credit nor quote the sources, has a number of mistakes and deficient bibliography, but since people pay attention to anything Reinhold says it is a welcome addition, and does help "close" the case, particularly in Italy where, unlike in the rest of the world, resistance to admitting the "shortcomings" of one of their "regional institutions" (Maestri) has been particularly fierce: just ask Ermanno Salvaterra the amount of grief he has received for coming out three years ago to question Maestri in public!!!

Messner presented the Italian edition of the book just before the Trento Film Festival, an english subtitled video can be seen here:

http://www.trentofestival.it/webtv/ita/scheda.php?idFilm=330&bck=1

Other non-subtitled (in italian) videos of Messner and Ermanno discussing the subject can be seen here for Messner:

http://video.gazzetta.it/?vxSiteId=f89d11d6-1424-420d-8ebb-23904200f68a&vxChannel=AltrisportNews&vxClipId=2570_52a65c52-35a2-11de-855c-00144f02aabc&vxBitrate=300

and here for Ermanno:

http://video.gazzetta.it/?vxSiteId=f89d11d6-1424-420d-8ebb-23904200f68a&vxChannel=AltrisportNews&vxClipId=2570_92f0d792-35a2-11de-855c-00144f02aabc&vxBitrate=300

For those that might not know, Ermanno climbed Cerro Torre 5 times, although reducing all the time and effort the has devoted to the peak in the number of times he reached the last inches of the peak is a major understantement.

In an Italian forum Ermanno suggests to the "believers" to go up there, to Cerro Torre, and have a look. Not as a negative comment trying to discount those that cannot go up there, but as a positive, since the truth of what happened becomes painfully obvious when seeing the terrain and comparing it to all the original descriptions of the supposed ascent. Obviously the first person to experience this was Jim, with John and Jay in 1976.

http://www.forum.planetmountain.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=38100&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=messner&start=20

Ermanno also suggest to the "believers" to participate with "concrete" stuff. It would be great to read a well researched piece -with concrete arguments, references, quotes, bibliography and etc- countering each and every point of Jim Donini's recent write up, Ken Wilson's many articles, Tom Dauer's book, Messner's book, my 2004 AAJ article, etc, etc. It is unfortunate that the likes of Lucas, or Elio Orlandi or others have not been willing to pick up the task.

Unfortunately Ermanno did not upload the english subtitled version of a film he made partly about this subject, but some might find it interesting anyways. The opening aerial footage is worth it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGlnBaqC6kw&feature=PlayList&p=1EADDAD33A8FC18E&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=10


cheers
rolo




donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - May 20, 2009 - 10:06am PT
Thanks Rolo for the bibliography. Your article in the AAJ is THE definitive statement about the controversy.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 20, 2009 - 01:31pm PT
Wow!
That's a bunch of good links Rolo. Thanks.
(Been a while since we met at Torre summiter Mike Clifford's house, saw him yesterday, cheers.)


Climbing abounds with poignant stories, but few even come close to the tales of the Torre. With the complex and emotional nature of it's history how lucky we are as climbers to have such monuments to both the greatest strengths AND weaknesses within the human spirit.

I cannot imagine a more arresting example.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
May 20, 2009 - 01:33pm PT
Rolo.....YOU should write this book of which you speak. Certainly. Your 04 article is incredible.

thanks very much, Peter Haan
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 21, 2012 - 01:29pm PT
More background on the Cerro Torre controversy...
Lovegasoline

Trad climber
Sh#t Hole, Brooklyn, NY
Jan 21, 2012 - 03:52pm PT
Thanks Rolo for the bibliography. Your article in the AAJ is THE definitive statement about the controversy.

Logically, how can there be a 'definitive statement' about a controversy?
EdBannister

Mountain climber
13,000 feet
Jan 21, 2012 - 04:44pm PT
Jim,

you may be right, but

Dr. Walter Bonaiti himself sat me down one day on the subject, face to face, fake teeth, big smile, all emphaticly expressive Walter....
He was a joy to deal with, always happy, and was always in a really fantastic suit... Italian. I had known him for a couple years when he said hey listen, i want to talk to you about this, and for the first time i had ever seen, Walter Bonaiti, got serious.

His opening statement: "He did it, he summited."

The total absence of gear and difference of the route are supported by the report of entirely different accumulations of snow and ice, Walter referred to Maestri encountering many meters thick plastered freaking ideal, terrain alering conditions, where on previous and later attempts no similar summit enabling conditions existed....

You have seen it Jim, and you know the area is capable of wildly variable conditions, Birdwell gets away with a summit bivvy with a client not far away...., Maestri got miles of terrain altering perfect conditions, or whatever it was that he told Walter was "ideal"... could this explain the differnces in gear not left behind because it later melted and fell?

and next time around.... he took the compressor because the manufacturer sponsored the trip, a climbers scheme to get the trip financed!

I was not there when he did, or did not do it, you have been there, and have more info than anybody, but you still don't know what the conditions were on that day.... and whether or not, it got done.


Even Walter Bonaiti, emphaticly, emploringly tried to convice me, it did.

And come to think of it, he was in a pretty good place to make the call, he knew the guy well and had every reason to come down on the other side.

But, you still are probably right!

All your contributions well appreciated !

Ed
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Jan 21, 2012 - 09:35pm PT
Nice thread that seems quite spot on.
iep

climber
Feb 15, 2012 - 11:34am PT




looking real villainous in those pictures..


quoting Ron from the first page:

Maestri was a master, but things went bad. Still, heroes and villains are often a lot closer to each other than we would care to believe.

enzolino

climber
Galgenen, Switzerland
Feb 15, 2012 - 12:39pm PT
In an Italian forum Ermanno suggests to the "believers" to go up there, to Cerro Torre, and have a look. Not as a negative comment trying to discount those that cannot go up there, but as a positive, since the truth of what happened becomes painfully obvious when seeing the terrain and comparing it to all the original descriptions of the supposed ascent. Obviously the first person to experience this was Jim, with John and Jay in 1976.

http://www.forum.planetmountain.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=38100&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=messner&start=20

Ermanno also suggest to the "believers" to participate with "concrete" stuff. It would be great to read a well researched piece -with concrete arguments, references, quotes, bibliography and etc- countering each and every point of Jim Donini's recent write up, Ken Wilson's many articles, Tom Dauer's book, Messner's book, my 2004 AAJ article, etc, etc. It is unfortunate that the likes of Lucas, or Elio Orlandi or others have not been willing to pick up the task.
Rolando Garibotti and Salvaterra still don't understand one basic issue.
The point of discussion is not about facts, but their interpretation and the assumptions on which such interpretations are based.
The technology of Maestri's and Egger time it's not an argument to disproof the '59 ascent. So, this request to go to Cerro Torre, doesn't change the issue.

The inconsistency between the Maestri's account and what has been observed on Cerro Torre it is indeed an argument. And nobody questioned Salvaterra descriptions. But that argument used as a proof of Maestri's lie is based on the "wrong" assumption that human memory is an exact science. You cannot dissect the recollections of someone, who had a traumatic experience on a mountain where he lost a partner and almost died, and use them as the infallible and accurate description of an experience.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Feb 15, 2012 - 12:47pm PT
Wow what a post. Glad I read it.
TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO
Mar 1, 2012 - 11:42am PT
There was a climber named Donini
Mighty proud of his horse-size ....

No sign of Maestri high on the Torre
Egger's bones far below and gory

Donini found all this odd
Pronounced Cesare a fraud

When the Italian returned with his Compressor,
He removed all doubt what he was about,
CM the Italian lesser.

Stallion Donini the bester.
KabalaArch

Trad climber
Starlite, California
Mar 2, 2012 - 03:46am PT
When I was in school, I was present at Jim Bridwell's small and intimate presentation at Berkeley's Marmot Mtn Works; then Steve Brewer's slide show at another, larger Berkeley venue.

I may have passed something in this thread, but it would be cool if they were to post a few words here. I was entranced by their accounts of hooking up after their partners bailed after a month of storm; Jim losing his gear cache at the base of his intended route after avalanche burial.

Mostly, I was blown away by a 3 day alpine ascent that had taken...what? more than a month to establish? (I think I still have the Mtn #24...I definately have the issue which featured Donnini's FA of T.Egger.

Anyone been up Pt Herron lately?

Mighty Hiker - I almost made it to 84*N. The near solistace sun did appear to maintain a near steady azimuth above the horizon - but the colors of its day would begin with pastel saffrons, hold to azure, then fade into lavenders after a prolonged amber.

I guess I sound like an interior decorator.

As close as it felt, walking to the North Pole would be like walking from my home to LA. About 360 miles. Doable, but not as a dayhike. We'll leave that challenge to the next generation.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Jan 10, 2014 - 03:36pm PT
Bump for a great thread.

Just a note to honour those who made the first (edit) unquestioned ascent of Cerro Torre, in January 1974, via the west face.

Daniele Chiappa, Mario Conti, Casimiro Ferrari and Pino Negri, members of the Lecco Spiders.

Edit: the Italian wikipedia page shows the ascent in 1973:
http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragni_della_Grignetta

Following is a memorial/monument atop Grignetta, a small but imposing peak that towers above Lago di Como and Lecco in Northern Italy:



It is easy to see why having such a back yard "crag" would inspire so many noteworthy climbers. I took this pic a few weeks ago:


From this spot (if you rotated a quarter or half turn to your right, you can see Monte Rosa, Matterhorn (Il Cervino), Eiger, Jungrau, Mönch, and a bazillion mountains that go on forever in a 270 degree arc. The rest of the circle you have to content yourself with this view of the valleys and lakes.

I'm bringing crampons for my next trip!

Edit: Random trivia point I just discovered, I share a birthday with Cesare Maestri.
Rocky IV

Social climber
Jan 10, 2014 - 07:53pm PT
I shared some belays last summer on the Hulk with a couple Argentinean climbers. Inevitably the topic of the chopping came up and they were adamant that the bolts should have never been chopped, equating the bolt ladders on CT to the final ladder on the Nose.

El cap is a completely frivolous climb, if you really want to stand on top all you need is a pair of shoes. Cerro Torre is a incredible mountain that deserves inaccessibility. If there's one place that ethics matter it is in the Torres. Or at least that's what I told them, they remained unconvinced.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 10, 2014 - 09:11pm PT
You did your best Rocky....I agree with your point of view.
bigbird

climber
WA
Jan 10, 2014 - 10:43pm PT
Here is a question... Why are we still arguing about this? its over, the bolts are chopped... Can we turn are attention to something more fruitful? We could argue about the masses of other route that were "stolen from the future" via bolting and fixed ropes. The Korean route on Gasherbrum IV (1997), the japanese Direttissima on the Eigar (1970) and Royal Flush on Fitzroy (1995) are all shining example of heavy-handed style that deserve constructive criticism.
Messages 1 - 233 of total 233 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

Review Categories
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews