In one end of the world on one big wall one of the coolest efforts seen in long time is playing out as i post. I'm off course referring to the Caldwel/ Jorgeson effort on El Cap. In an other end of the world one an other big wall one of the saddest stories of modern times is take a new turn. I'm off course referring to the David Lama debacle on Cerro Torre.
Bolts chopped on Cerro Torre
"Under the auspices such a topic title I wish I could report that I have chopped some of Maestri's bolts, but I have not. The bolts I chopped two days ago are some of the many that David Lama's film crew placed last summer.
Above the col of Patience (the shoulder) I came across 20 “David Lama-Red Bull bolts”, as opposed to the 12 reported by Lama himself and the person responsible for placing them, the Austrian mountain guide Heli Putz. Because of time constraints I could not make an in-detail inspection of that section of the route, so I am guessing there were a few more. Of those 20 bolts, I managed to chop 17. In contrast to what Lama and Putz reported, all bolts were very much on the route, drilled in existing belays or in the middle of pitches, all in places where natural protection is readily available and where for more than 30 years climbers have climbed by.
Heli Putz had also reported to Will Gadd that the rappel line he bolted below the col of Patience (the shoulder) followed an independent line. This also proved to be incorrect. More kool-aid or whatever fizzy drink his employer manufactures to cover up for his own idiocy. The rappel line Putz bolted follows the same buttress that the normal rappel line follows, sharing the first two anchors, which he retro-bolted and later takes a more direct line to the ground, following a line that is often used by climbers to rappel when conditions are very dry. Next to each of his bolted anchors there are old rap stations on natural gear. Because of bad weather I was unable to chop those anchors. In that section I saw 20 bolts, but likely there are more, in contrast to the 14 reported by Lama and Putz.
Also worth noting Lama and the Red Bull film crew left 5 haul-bags of stuff on the mountain last season when they bailed out of town, including the 700 meters of fix line on the route. About a month later they hired three Argentine guides to clean up their mess. They did a great job and managed to pull most everything off the route, with the exception of two haulbags (not one as reported by Lama and Putz). Just four days ago two Argentine climbers brought down in disgust those two remaining haul-bags and hopefully will hold their contents up for ransom.
In his response to the debacle Lama wrote saying that for his second attempt to free the Compressor route during the 2010-2011 season they would take a different, lighter approach. However reports suggest that the team size has been increased rather than reduced, so again in this case Lama’s statement might be but a diversion.
With the level of misinformation that the Red Bull crew is dishing out their fancy fizzy drink is fast becoming the modern Kool-aid. Dont drink it!"
Sad to have to thank some one for this kind of clean up. But job well done! Chapeau! I think this is as sobering news for the climbing world as the sad speed story on K2 or the "lost" Swedish girls on Shishapagma. Pathetic that so many seams to be motivated by fame rather than style. With the ethics out the widow one have to ask one self set off to the hills? What the driving force? What is the reward for the effort? Is it a headline in a magazine or is it an ever lasting memory? I'd opt for the the memory.
Source Rolo Garibotti post on Supertopo: www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1319502/Bolts-chopped-on-Cerro-Torre
Some interesting points on this issue from Rock&Ice to me copied from Facebook:
Rock and Ice magazine David ... always interesting opinions! ... Not to divert the discourse, but what is the difference between Caldwell and Jorgeson adding bolts to existing routes (which have been climbed for decades) in order to make a free climb, and the bolts that were added on Cerro Torre? Not trying to take anything away from Caldwell and Jorgeson, of course ... but since you brought up the comparison ...
David Falt I don't know how many bolts Caldwell and Jorgeson have added but one difference if they pull it off is that they have achieved what I would say is a quantum leap in terms of free big wall climbing. Then I think some one can go there and try and repeat it in a better style and cop off what ever bolts they don't need. On Torre they are not improving the style some thing Caldwell and Jorgeson are trying.