Cerro Torre- the lie and the desecration

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nature

climber
Tucson, AZ
May 3, 2009 - 03:24pm 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 - 04:29pm 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 - 05:18pm 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 - 05:29pm 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 - 05:56pm 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 - 10:20am 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 - 10:38am 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 - 01:29pm PT
How did Dave Turner make out in Chamonix, then?
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 4, 2009 - 01:50pm 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 - 01:57pm 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 - 02:04pm 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.
mt10910

climber
May 4, 2009 - 04:09pm PT
Jim, hope ya feel betta soon.
David Wilson

climber
CA
May 4, 2009 - 08:51pm 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 4, 2009 - 10:03pm PT
THAT is an awesome photo.
SGropp

Mountain climber
Eastsound, Wa
May 5, 2009 - 07:28am 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 - 07:56am 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 - 08:15am 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 - 08:55am 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 - 05:39pm 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 - 07:44pm 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.
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