Friday, January 21, 2011

David Lama to Rap Bolt Cerro Torre

Here is some background:

This year Chris Geisler and I won the John Lauchlan memorial grant for an unconventional project.  We are in Argentine Patagonia at the moment with hopes of climbing the southeast ridge of Cerro Torre (also know as the Compressor Route) without utilizing any of Cesare Maestri's bolts.

Also planning on something similar are our friends Colin Haley and Zach Smith.  Naturally, there has been A LOT of talk about the SE ridge between us: comparing strategies, possible variations to the line, equipment, etc.  About a week ago David Lama and a crew of mountain guides and videographers arrived with intentions of resuming their project from last year - freeing the line of the Compressor Route, with Red Bull again the sponsor of the project.

The four of us as well as Rolo Garibotti have been in several dialogues with the Red Bull crew, hoping to gain some insight as to their intentions and the style in which they choose to attempt their project.  We wanted to let them know of our plans so that everyone can be accommodated on the route and to ensure that our experience wouldn't be impacted by their tactics.

It has come out today that Lama and crew plan to climb to the top of Cerro Torre following Maestri's bolt line, then rappel from the top and rappel-bolt the best line for free climbing.  Lama claims that this is the only way in which he will be able to complete the project within the next 5 years.  He also says he can take the shit storm that is sure to ensue.

I am upset, and I don't know what to do about it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Climbing, Skiing, Patagonia, and Chris Geisler

Well, I am busy packing the full alpine arsenal on the floor of the humble cabin I share with my girlfriend Elise.  Various Arc'teryx jackets and pants cover almost the entire extent of the floor, and cams and spiky bits of ice climbing gear threaten to poke at us if we are not careful where we step.  I'm behind schedule in packing for my trip, and I will undoubtedly leave a hurricane for her to clean up in my wake... (sorry babe).
This year I applied for, and won, the John Lauchlan memorial grant for a trip to Patagonia with Chris Geisler.  John was a legendary Canadian climber who had a global impact on the sport of alpinism.  I am deeply honored to receive an award in his honor and am excited to perpetuate his spirit of adventure.
Out for a midwinter walk with Elise and Kafka the dog.
Midwinter in Squamish is feared by many residents, but I thoroughly enjoyed my short stint at a domestic life in the rain.  I find Squamish is a beautiful place to live year round, only if your happiness isn't dependent on the weather.  I haven't really climbed much in preparation for this trip, which is kinda how I like it.  Chris and I went out for a day with Jai Condon in search of elusive coastal ice to climb.  We ended up at the Suicide Bluffs just south of Pemberton, it was 0 degrees and threatening to rain.
Jia Condon photos
Geisler stemming hard on a very wet Psycho Pillar
The pillar was dripping wet, my Goretex was instantly wetted out.  In a word: miserable.  It reminded me what the very worst of coastal ice climbing feels like.  It's because of this that I prefer to go skiing whenever possible.  I believe ski touring to be some of the best cross-training possible for alpinism.  Skiing is almost always awesomely fun, it's usually hard work, and if you are scared, at least you are having fun.
Here is a video shot from footage on Tony Richardson's camera:

Rohr Shred w/ Tony Katja and Candace from Jason Kruk on Vimeo.

Check back from time to time, I will try and get some dispatches from our trip us!