David Lama and Redbullstuff
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Kevin Landolt
(distantfellow)
David Lama and Redbullstuff on 07/05/2010 17:07:00 MDT Print View

I'd be curious to hear what other BPLers are thinking about this new climbing tragedy.

http://kellycordes.wordpress.com/

http://gravsports.blogspot.com/2010/06/david-lama-red-bull-patagonia.html

Edited by distantfellow on 07/06/2010 08:39:18 MDT.

Nat Lim
(LithiumMetalman) - F

Locale: Cesspool Central!
Confusion? on 07/07/2010 11:29:15 MDT Print View

From what I understand, the bolts were not placed "on route" but rather off route for the camera crews to take pictures , set fixed lines for rigging, jumaring and descending.

It is a pity on not cleaning the fixed lines, bolts & trash, AFTER the storm. At that time, safety of the crew and the team comes first, so the usage of bolts and fixed lines to retreat seem justified.

The last thing Red Bull needs is publicity on poor judgement in safety of the team (If people died, thank goodness no one did) vs bolts + trash on the route.

From a climbing purist point of view, Cesare Maestri's route was controversial to begin with, the excess need to place bolts, especially where there are cracks that take good pro, and the pursuit of summiting Cerro in bad style is irksome.

The climber is to meet the route's level not the other way round,the climbers spirit to push the envelope both mentally and physically is the ultimate in purity. The ability to climb with asthetics and environmentally concious.

Which leads to another point, where do the lines of safey vs the need or purity meet? As Royal Robbins states, "Style is a slippery slope".

-Is it justified to place a bolt on terrain where one is pushing the limits and the fall could be dangerous even though the previous party did so without?

-Should one make routes accessible and safe for everyone to climb, or leave it as an ego test?

This is not unlike the controversy of Snake Dike in Yosemite, when first put up, the first ascentionist WANTED to create a safe route for everyone willing to climb it; realizing that the route was lacking in safe protection, the first ascentionist requested that more bolts should be placed by the second team, yet, there was an outcry from the community for the bolts to be chopped.

So, is safety at play or is it ego?

Michael Febbo
(febbom)
Murdering the impossible- again on 07/07/2010 23:56:46 MDT Print View

I have not closely followed this issue, but after reading the content in the provided links I see an inherent contradiction between Lama's stated desire to not "leave any traces" of the endeavor and the inclusion of a film crew who (legallly or not) found it necessary to add dozens of bolts simply for the sake of filming. That these bolts were not on the route speaks to the valuation of a pleasing film product over clean climbing as (I assume) it would have been possible to film the ascent by using the route (and its bolt ladders) itself. This may have not provided the best camera angles however, which is my point-the priority was not as Lama stated.

Perhaps if this had occurred on any other route there would be less admonishment of Red Bull... but they have contributed to the defacement of a mountain whose route history is representative of a hubristic, conquest-oriented approach to the natural world that, IMO, should be abondoned.

Michael Febbo
(febbom)
ego vs. safety- my rant on 07/08/2010 00:17:48 MDT Print View

However, to address Lim's larger questions: the respect given the intentions of first ascentionists seems to flow from a recognition of their hard work, boldness, and spirit of adventure (as well as a kind of reciprocity- meaning that we all desire OUR intentions to be respected if/when we put up a route, and so we promote the universal value of respecting the intentions of all FAs). Despite this, first ascentionists perform within the larger community of climbers, and often community consensus will override FA intentions. This is not a bad thing, as the "ego" of a local climber who ignores what others think has lead to some very unsafe and unneeded bolts at a nearby crag. His ego (desire for his own safety and convenience) drives him to bolt very easy trad routes and to install anchors where they are not needed. First ascentionists do not have carte blanche to do as they please... though they often set the tone for the ethics of a particular area.

Thus, there is not a strict dichotomy between ego and safety and is it is often ego that drives people to place bolts in order to allow them the ability to climb a desired route that they may otherwise (humbly) have to walk away from.

There is a lot of rock out there- enough that some routes can be safe for most people, and for some to only be accessible to the boldest and strongest. That said, NOT placing a bolt, or installing a railing, or paving a path, or putting in a bridge may all reduce the safety of an area, but I sincerely hope that we are not so ego-centric as to believe that all areas must be accessible to us. It is an act of humility to see a rushing river, a blank wall, or a sheer drop and turn away without the need to subdue and conquer. I hope that in the very few truly wild places left in the world that we act humbly be letting them remain so.

Lastly- if you think climbing can ever truly be safe, I think you are mistaken.

Nat Lim
(LithiumMetalman) - F

Locale: Cesspool Central!
Fun with bolts! on 07/08/2010 17:56:43 MDT Print View

Safety is a perception evaluated only by one's personal sense of self-preservation :-)

I completely agree that the tone and ethics of an area is set by the consensus of a climbing local and that not all areas or places can (or should) be made safe to the general user.

As mentioned before, the climber is to meet the level of the route not the other way round.

Bold ascents and test pieces have pushed the climbing envelope, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I believe this is neccessary to truly push the capacities of what is truly possible.

At the same time, there are routes (popular ones too!) in established areas, that for those who do not wish to test mental/physical boundaries, are forcibly committed to meet the standards established by others, especially if one is limited in what one can climb, level wise. This can reduce the overall enjoyment and satisfaction for one, if not deter one from further pursuits in climbing.

I tend to find this more so with those climbing moderates who wish to enjoy themselves in a beautiful area only to be limited due to the standards imposed. (eg. Yosemite, Tuolumne, Taquitz, Courtwright...)

Should the climber meet the levels of standard imposed?

Yes and No.

Yes.I believe that the climber should meet the style and standard of the route established, the nature and the style of the route itself imposes; the beauty, thought, and in a sense, the embodiment of the first ascentionists essence.

No. Not all people can, or want to meet the standards imposed, if the FA deems a section not warranted the safety of a bolt, or protection in a potentially bad fall situation (especially for those pushing their own personal limit), this can lead to wanton fear, and severe reduction in overall enjoyment.

Ego IS a two edged sword:

1. Establishment of bolts in an area to climb a route that one would have (humbly) walked away from.

2. Not establishing points of protection b/c the section does not impose challenge or abide by the standards established.


Solution: As mentioned before, go climb another rock!

Debate: Not always so easy!