Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk recently completed a “fair means” ascent of the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre (aka the Compressor Route); the pair climbed without using any of Cesare Maestri’s controversial bolts. On the descent, the pair chopped more than 100 bolts from the upper route (read the full story here).
Cerro Torre, a mountain so perfectly steep on all sides, is the postcard for the ideal that is alpinism. There should be no easy way to the top. The fact that there was a glorified via-ferrata to its summit deeply offended a global community of dedicated alpinists. If Cerro Torre was any more accessible, someone would have chopped Maestri’s bolts a long time ago, returning the mountain to its former grandeur.
Who committed the act of violence against Cerro Torre? Maestri, by installing the bolts, or us, by removing them?
As long as the hardware remained it was justification for the unreasonable use of bolts by others. We are part of the next generation, the young group of aspiring alpinists. This is a statement we felt other young alpinists needed to hear.
Our real feelings were confirmed by three young Argentine climbers we passed on the Torre Glacier while we hiking out of the range. Their eyes lit up as they told us how inspired they were to climb on Cerro Torre now. To train harder, to be better. To rise up to the challenge that has been restored to the mountain. Two days later they would make a rare ascent of Aguja Standhardt, via Festerville. Respect.
A bunch of people climbed the Compressor Route and had fun, but now it’s a new era for Cerro Torre. Days after our ascent, young, talented Austrian alpinists, David Lama and Peter Ortner free-climbed their own variation on the Southeast Ridge. This news was greatly inspirational to Hayden and I, and is further proof that the bolts were unnecessary.