Saturday, 20 November 2010

Cerro Torre and Super Topo comments

First of all Chapeau to Rolo Garibotti for standing up and speaking up. I'm not sure I'm the best person to sum this up but I will give it a shoot. This is my subjective view of the latest development in the Cerro Torre/Red Bull controversy.

First of all Rolo is know to be a reliable source and a climber withe great judgement. His track record in Patagonia is one of the most impressive out there.

Rolos latest report after coming dow Cerro Torre lately is to put it mildly conflicting with statements given from the Red Bull team to climbing media such as Alpinist. Its also in sharp contrast to what has been reported to Will Gadd and published on his blog.

Its impossible not to think of the "old" controversy when Josh Wharton and his partner shopped off one bolt on the top part of the Compressor route after completing a new variation avoiding a huge (if my memory serves me right) number of the bolts, that dispute ended with a hospital after a proper fist fight. So one thing is sure ethics matter in Patagonia!

A few questions raised in the Super Topo thread that kind of define the essence of the hole issue (in no specific order):

- Is it legit to add protection when you set out to do a classic in a better style than its previously has been climbed in?

- When you have belays with lots of old slings and pegs is it not better for general safety to clear it and bolt it?

- Who shall be blamed? Red Bull, David Lama, the Austrial UIAGM Guide or the hole bunch?

- Style VS progress and what price shall be paid?

Some of the topics raised remain unanswered but there is a strong consensus that Rolos removal of the added bolts was the right call.

Climbing style is an other strong consensus point. I think its fair to say that no one in the thread is in favor of diluting the style for the sake of a a film.

Adding bolts to belays is controversial any where in the world. Adding bolts to a route on the route thats has been at the epicenter of controversy since it was first claimed to have been climbed is just to much. Lama was clear that no bolts had been added to the actual climb and he is yet to speak out but there is nothing that suggest Rolo is wrong and that would leave the Red Bull team in a pretty ugly mess.

One point mad is that old slings and pegs can be removed, bolts can't. It can never be right to bring big crews on the hill if the price is paid by other who will follow and encounter added bolts and trash.

I think the iconic American climber Jim Donini sums it up well in just a part of one post.

"Style matters because climbing doesn't. If there were a cure for cancer on the top of Cerro Torre any means to get there would be justified. Climbing has evolved via knowledge, training, equip. etc. As climbing evolves style should follow."