Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Some more ice pictures

Fournel 30/1 2012 First pitch of Double Scotch WI5ish...

Friday, 27 January 2012

Ice climbing week!

This past week I have climbed about 1000 meters of ice from WI4+ to WI5+ in four days and I really feel worked from hiking up and down the Fournel valley, climbing, drilling threads, setting up rapps, pulling ropes, but I'm really happy. I have climbed with Camilla who is relatively new to Ice and alpine climbing and she has been a champion. Now its weekend and I guess the ice falls will be over crowded so perfect time to recover, rest and catch up on emails and work stuff. If its sunny on Sunday I'm going sport climbing. I miss that so to day I brought my chalk bag... But as a camera bag... Boy that cake was unreal!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Ice outings and the Cerro Torre liberation

The weather is great in the southern Alps and all options have been open. Sport climbing in the sun or ice climbing in the mountains. The ice came a bit late but now conditions are great. Fournel and the areas around are all having prime season right now. I have done a fair bit of sport climbing as well trying to stay in shape. In February I really hope to get out on some alpine outing in Chamonix. But for now its Ice climbing and volumes of it.

The great conditions are really having a positive effect on the motivation. I'm so psyched on climbing I just don't seam to get enough. I really appreciate the kind conditions allowing for both good ice and rock climbing, that I think is really rare.

Since last posting its been reported that David Lama has freed the recently chopped route on Cerro Torre. I was pretty hard on the guy last year when he was about to go up and add more bolts but that did not happen in the end and now he turned the tables around and came back and did it in GREAT STYLE. What a great effort and so nice to see he found the inspiration to do it the way he did it. Chapeau.

According to some media outlets there is a up coming story on the bolt chopping from Jason and Hayden in the making. It will be great to get there thought on the topic rather than all the opinions some (interesting and some pure spray) on various forums. To day a fatal blow was delivered on Supertopo by Leo Dickinson in this post.


Friday, 20 January 2012

The bolts finally chopped off Cerro Torre!

If your next project is the Compressor Route on Cerro Torre, then you need to adjust to the new reality. The "via ferata" is gone! THE MAJORITY OF THE BOLTS HAVE BEEN SHOPPED¨! The route was finally cleaned on the decent by Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kurk. In an extraordinary feat the two climbed the route without using the bolts for progression other than the few placed by Salvatera and one added by Jasons partner last year.

I think this is comparable to the quantum leap it would mean for Himalaya Climbing if supplementary O2 would be banned. Mountains are meant to be climbed using the skills the team has with them. Its not KOSHER to bring down the mountain to a single teams current level of climbing skills. When opening new routes on mountains the FA has a huge responsibility to do it in the best of style, not forcing them self up the mountain at any cost leaving lots of fixed shit behind. Its no been confirmed with CLARETY that the younger generations can and will improve style and manners in the mountains.

This is great news for alpine climbing where style matters. Chapeau to the boys!

This is a quote from Rollo Garibotti posted on Supertopo:


"Since the title of the earlier thread regarding this ascent was wrong I figured it would be best to start a new one.

Here are the facts:

Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk made a very fast ascent (13 hours from the Col of Patience to the top) of the SE ridge of Cerro Torre on what for sometime we have been calling "fair means" style, which implies not using Maestri's insane bolt ladders. We presume they used some of Maestri's belays but in pitches only clipped 5 bolts, four placed by Ermanno Salvaterra on his 1999 variation and one placed by Chris Geisler on his and Jason's variations last season.

They followed an identical line to the one climbed by Chris and Jason last year, making a pendulum left in Chris's last pitch, to connect a number of discontinuous features over three short pitches to reach the top (5.11+ and A2) .

During the descent they chopped a good portion of the Compressor route, including the entire headwall and one of the pitches below. The Compressor route is no more.

I have already expressed what I think about chopping the bolts a number of times, including in a 2007 Rock and Ice article reprinted here:

A quote from that article:

When asked about the Compressor Route, the legendary Slovene climber Silvo Karo, responsible for two new routes and one major link up on Cerro Torre, responded, “That climb was stolen from the future. Without all those bolts the history of that marvelous mountain would have been very different. I am convinced that in alpinism how you have climbed is more important than what you have climbed, and I have no doubt that the best are those that leave the least amount of stuff behind.” Surprisingly, Maestri agreed with the last part of Karo’s statement. In his 2000 Metri della Nostra Vita, Maestri recounts that, before making the first rappel from the high point of his attempt (he stopped 100 feet below the summit) he decided to, “take out all the bolts and leave the climb as clean as we found it. I’ll break them all.” After chopping 20 bolts, and in the face of the magnitude of the enterprise, Maestri changed his mind. Mario Conti, responsible in 1974 for what is now known to be the first ascent of the Cerro Torre, agrees, writing in the 2006 book Enigma Cerro Torre, “Only by taking out the bolts one can imagine the mountain as it was, as it should still be.”

Now the mountain is much closer to being, in Conti's words, "as it was, and it should be".

I am impressed beyond words by Jason and Hayden's incredible ascent, and will be forever in-debt and grateful to them for taking this game-changing leap. The future of alpinism is bright when we have such young and brilliant "heroes".

Yesterday evening, walking out of the Cerro Torre valley for the hundredth and some time, I turned around many times to look up at a mountain, an incredibly beautiful peak, one that I could finally see as it truly is."

As this old article (http://www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews1.lasso?l=2&keyid=35788) just came out with regards to a "vote" held in El Chalten some time ago, in this news article http://www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews1.lasso?l=2&keyid=39055)

Further thoughts from me...

I think we need to accept and respect that Jason and Hayden made an ethical judgement call after improving the style in witch the route was climbed and it meant chopping the bolts for them.

With reference to the "voting article" linked to above my opinion is that a bunch of climbers that happens to hang out in El Chalten can't possibly "vote" on a topic like this and expect some one that follows in better style to take orders from the "voting" few, that's insane. HK and Kruk made a ethical judgement call and chopped the bolts. In a sport where style matters that's there call and not ours to judge.

As style improves so do we need to improve our skills if we want to follow. That some one once decided to rape the mountain can never justify the action. It can't possibly be controversial to say that it was a bad call to bolt it in the first place.

We (the climbers) have a universal responsibility to preserve the mountains and not try and get up them by any available means even if it hurts our ego, plans and ambitions. In due time some one will get it right and its for us to make sure that that can happen for them.

The fact that style will be improved by future generations has virtually never been more obvious than in this case. They restored the mountain to its original condition and we live to play by the mountains rules not ours.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Cerro Torre SANS Bolts!

The feat of a life time was just pulled off in Patagonia by Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk when they bagged an ascent of Cerro Torres infamous Compressor route with out using any of the plus 300 bolts. In my view this feat is as much of a quantum leap as Reinhold Messners NO O2 of Everest. Its hard to understand the significance of this with out knowing the history of the route and the number of top climbers and super alpinist who has tried to do the Compressor route SANS bolts... Now its done and Torre is liberated.

This is a quote from Colin Haley on Facebook:

"BIG NEWS: Although Jorge and I unfortunately fluffed this weather window, today we got to watch history being made through a Canon G12 zoom lens at Norwegos: Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk made the first fair-means ascent of the SE Ridge of Cerro Torre. Although I'm not 100% sure about the details, I think they took about 13 hours to the summit from a bivy at the shoulder, which is amazingly fast considering the terrain. The speed with which they navigated virgin ground on the upper headwall is certainly testament to Hayden's great skills on rock. Bravo! They might be in the mountains several more days (more good weather coming), but I'm sure we'll hear the details soon!"

Photo: Cerro Torre from the start of Pendelumorama on Fitz Roy. copy David Falt 2012

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The cool stuff that went down 2011

Lots of rankings and lists are published at the end of each year. Then in March the Oscars of Alpinism is held in Chmonix under the flag of the Piolet d'Or. The following ascents in 2011 inspired me and I list them in no specific order. I guess we all have our own private preferences and no universally true list is possible to agree on but for sure some ascents I think pushed climbing forward or just transpired inspiration.


1. Style, Speed & Spirit on the East Face of Fitz Roy

The free ascent of the 1350meter, El Corazon on the East Face of Fitz Roy in Patagonia, by Belgian climbers Nicolas Favresse and Sean Villanueva with a variation to avoid the A4 crux pitch. Unreal impressive. Belowe a picture of the mighty East Face.


2. Hard core cold on G1 in winter

The First winter ascent of an 8000 meter peak in Pakistan by Simone Moro, Cory Ricards and Denis Urubko. Done in light cool style. No fuss well executed. And the most impressive, the film and photos shot by Cory.


3. Determination pays dividen on K2

This award has to go to Vassily Pivtsov, Maxut Zumayev who finally with Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner bagged K2 via the rarely climbed NW ridge from China in a NO 02 light style expedition. All 14 8000 meter peaks have been bagged by this trio in exceptional style.


4. Vision mission on Torre Egger

This has to be awarded to Bjørn-Eivind Årtun, the Norwegian alpinist who in December 2011 together with Ole Lied established the route Venas Azules up the South Face of Torre Egger in Patagonia. A line that many looked at but few dared even imagine to try. That ice looks as cool and futuristica as the Gadd/Emmet ice route Spray Away.


5. Staying Power on Trango

The shear will to get the job done and the route climbed was put on by the girls who established a great looking new route up Trango Tower. The girsl spent 38 days on the wall! Not bad and the line looks so nice.


6. So close yet so far, Caldwell on Daw Wall

Year after year they are up there in the fall trying not only to free the rout but I guess also them self by now from the daunting project on El Cap. With thousands of followers and live coverage of the progress this was a nail biter with an interesting debate about blogging live from efforts in the hill that reach as far as toe the NY Times!



7. One Down whats next from Mayan?

On October 3rd, New Zealand’s Mayan Smith-Gobat free the iconic Salathé Wall (5.13b) on Yosemite’s El Capitan. This was no small feat and here second year trying. Last year Ben Dito shot some amazing photos of Mayan working the route that really inspired me to one day try a free big wall.


8. Shark Attack on Meru...

One can only lift the hat for this super cool climb. What a line what an effort. Anker, Ozturk and Chin performed on there second attempt on this majestic mountain.


9. What a season Korra pulled off!

Korra Pesce, has bagged a life time of wishes in a season and his understated style an low key approach to his passion is some thing may of us should be influenced by. We might not share views on some topics buts things he has pointed out are thing that got me think about alpine grading.

10. Community Service award for Giving back by Stve House

Apply and get up to speed by the best for the best.



The rest of the cool stuff...






Monday, 2 January 2012

Coming soon. Bets of 2011 alpine efforts!

Lists and rankings seams to be in Vouge so I will follow the trend and list some ascents and efforts I think where the High Lights of 2011. Stay tuned for the up coming best of 2011 list.