Cerro Torre- the lie and the desecration


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 221 - 240 of total 266 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Steve Grossman

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

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?

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

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 !

mike m

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

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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Feb 3, 2015 - 07:34am PT
Bump for another layer revealed:

Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Denver, Colorado
Feb 3, 2015 - 08:11am PT
^ From article above:

The one person who knows what really happened refuses to speak, leaving us to try to piece together the truth.

Why would someone refuse to talk about the death of their climbing partner? Am I reading too much into it?
norm larson

wilson, wyoming
Feb 3, 2015 - 08:37am PT
If you haven't read Kelly Cordes's book "The Tower" read it. It's one of the best climbing books ever written. IMO.

Social climber
Feb 3, 2015 - 08:39am PT
Nice post Rocky.

Imagine if the route Caldwell and Jorgeson worked on all that time led to a previously unclimbed summit. That their monstrous creation, with what, seven 5.14 pitches, was the only way to reach the summit. The easiest route!

A summit that only the very, very best could get to. I'm happy that Cerro Torre is now one step closer to that ideal.

Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Feb 3, 2015 - 09:11am PT
Hey this is huge! Really. If you haven't examined Rolo's article and particularly the side by side photos you owe it to yourself to do so. No business participating any further in the discussion if you don't take the time and examine them yourself.

It proves several things and continues to cast even more serious doubt to the claims.


Trad climber
Kalispell, Montana
Feb 3, 2015 - 09:38am PT
I mean it's right there. The first photo says it all. Maestri states that is a picture of Egger climbing on Cerro Torre and it is clearly not. There is no mistaking the evidence.


Oakland, CA
Feb 3, 2015 - 09:48am PT
Wow, MisterE, wow.

Great sleuthing by Rolo and Cordes.

Messages 221 - 240 of total 266 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews