Monday, January 23, 2012

busy times in Patagonia

I don't even know where to start, things are going off down south. One news flash after the next, that's what you get when you have a lot of strong climbers ready to strike assembled in Chalten and the weather is good.
First and foremost, Canmore's climbing community is in grief over Carlyle's tragic death on Exupery. I did not have the pleasure to know her personally, but those who did had only good things to say about her as a positive and inspiring person.
Amongst a lot of first ascents and fast repeats, in my opinion the highlight so far this season was the first ascent of the south face of Torre Egger. Make sure you check out the pictures on the link, what an amazing new route, and the style the two Norwegian's climbed! It just shows that there are so many more cool lines to do in Patagonia, besides getting hung up on the ethics of a route which has been done 42 years ago - which brings me to the next, rather complicated issue. Below a picture of mine from 1994 shows the 'controversial' top 500m of Cerro Torres SE ridge, taken from the summit of El Mocho.
Hayden and Jason made a fast ascent (or what they call 'by fair mean's' ascent of the SE ridge avoiding most of Maestri's line and bolts. On the way down they rappelled Maestris Kompressorroute and chopped most of the bolts in the upper part. Here is their official statement about the route they climbed and their chopping actions. It came to no surprise that this was the start of a lot of heated discussions and it seems to split the caring part of the climbing world apart.
A few days later the young Austrian David Lama (with partner Peter Ortner from my Austrian hometown) made a very impressive and ground breaking first red point ascent of the SE ridge, also with major variations to the 1970 line, and therefore also avoiding the majority of Maestri's bolts.
Of course everyone is entitled to his own opinion, now you can actually even vote on the issue - not that it will change anything though. Me personally I was always against erasing the Compressorroute, but I wanted to wait until the official statement of Hayden and Jason, because I highly respect them as climbers with great style and vision. After reading it I still hold on to my believes though. Every climber should have the right to make a first ascent in a style he chooses, of course in compliance with the local ethics, if such even exist. If other climbers don't agree with the style, they can stay away from the route or climb it in a different style. But never even climbing the route and then chopping it on the way down, during other climbers climbing up on it, seems a bit out there to me. Hayden and Jason climbed a major variation of Maestri's route in order to avoid the use of his bolts. They also used other bolts and placed their own last year, they made a pendulum traverse and aided on hooks, fine. David Lama also climbed a major Variation and free climbed everything, most of it on sight and the crux 13b pitch 2nd go, also good. And Joe Blow climber tries to full fill his dream and make the 400th repeat of the Compressor route, that should be fine too.


Grzegorz said...

I agree.
I vote Gery for president (priminister).
Grzegorz T.

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