The Supertopo thread just posted by Rolando Garibotti — a friend I much admire and treasure — clarifies the facts of Hayden Kennedy’s and Jason Kruk’s “fair means” ascent of Cerro Torre’s Southeast Ridge. They did make the climb without using any of Maestri’s bolts for progress, although they possibly might have used some of his belay bolts, and on the way down they “chopped” (ie, removed) the entire headwall, and at least one of the pitches below it. Rolo doesn’t seem to have posted an update yet on his pataclimb.com website, although I’d imagine he soon will, and that will have additional information.
According to Rolo’s initial post, “The Compressor Route is no more.”
I’ve known for years Rolo has had it out for that route, since well before he published his American Alpine Journal article that so convincingly exposed Maestri’s 1959 first ascent story as a complete hoax, but I confess to having mixed feelings about the chopping. I’m sure I can get used to the idea, and the mountain is certainly closer to its original state than it was a few days ago, but on the other hand, it’s the end of an incredible story, and I think “the story” might be the thing I like most about climbing — whether mine or someone else’s.
Standing on top of Maestri’s Compressor is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever experienced, and I’m a little saddened that opportunity isn’t in the world any longer.
(I’m actually fool enough to have been there twice.)
Climbing is such a fascinating theater of character.
Update: I’ve also just posted some more thoughts about this.