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 ( just came out with regards to a "vote" held in El Chalten some time ago, in this news article

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.