Lama and Verhoeven Free 29-Pitch 5.13d

Posted on: July 14, 2010


Jorg Verhoeven leads Pitch 28 (5.13c) while David Lama belays on Brento Centro (5.13d, 29 pitches), a more than 1000-meter route up Monte Brento in Valle del Sarca, Italy. The two climbers freed the route on May 25, after previous attempts in 2008 and 2009. Calling it a "horror," Verhoeven explained that Brento Centro consists of very bad rock and delicate climbing with 90 percent of climbing on the headwall rated at or above 5.12b. [Photo] Heiko Wilhelm

Dutch sport climber Jorg Verhoeven and Austrian David Lama, of recent controversy, have freed a longstanding project in the Valle del Sarca, Italy. The line climbs the east face of Monte Brento, a wall of brittle rock as tall as El Capitan, and steeper.

The first attempts were made on this conspicuous overhang in the 1970s: the most successful attempt was abandoned only 150 meters up the crumbly 1000-meter face. It was this line that Lama and Verhoeven climbed to its logical conclusion, via aid in 2009 and then free at 8b or 5.13d this spring. Six of its 29 pitches are 5.13c or 5.13d.

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Their first attempt, in 2008, ended after 450 meters; they spent a night hanging from their harnesses, then bailed the next day. Verhoeven said this first contact with the wall was a disaster. "Two days in the wall, no portaledge, no horizontal place to be found, and every hour a new thunder storm," he wrote on his blog.

The team returned in 2009, this time successfully aiding the route and slowly working toward freeing it. "Only after we knew we had everything checked out really well, and that we were fit enough to climb it, we gave it a real try," Verhoeven said.

It took the pair 11 days of work over three years to free what they call Brento Centro, a route that intersects other existing lines: Universo Giallo, Vertigine and Grande Incubo. Verhoeven said that Brento Centro is more than 1000 meters long with a base climb of eight pitches (up to 5.10 on bad rock) over 400 meters. The headwall above consists of 21 pitches on even worse rock, with difficulties up to 5.13d.

Brento Centro (8b [5.13d], 29 pitches, ca. 1000m). The route intersects other lines on the face including Universo Giallo, Vertigine and Grande Incubo. [Photo] Heiko Wilhelm

They free climbed the wall in a single day, May 25, over 13.5 hours.

Verhoeven explained that the team chose the easiest and only viable line through the overhangs on the middle of the wall. "For the record," Verhoeven said, "the wall is said to be overhanging no less than 150 meters, mostly in the upper part, where 20-meter horizontal roofs pile up after each other." Lama and Verhoeven reverted to maneuvering between the roofs on very steep dihedrals.

The main problem with this route is the quality of the rock, Verhoeven said. Most of the holds aren't solid, making the easier 5.12 pitches "delicate and scary." The pair faced precarious climbing on the six hardest pitches, which came after 900 meters of chossy rock.

Verhoeven reported that he and Lama were tired and relieved after topping out. "Every hour was sheer horror," he said. "Exposed climbing on loose rock, all belays hanging, 3,000 feet of air below. It just got tiring in the end..."

Sources: Jorg Verhoeven, planetmountain.com, jorgverhoeven.blogspot.com, jorgverhoeven.com

Verhoeven belayed by Lama on Pitch 21 (5.13d), the hardest pitch on Brento Centro. [Photo] Heiko Wilhelm

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Comments
dustonian

Please, leave David Lama out of the news reports from now on. He and Red Bull are real detriments to the climbing community and I for one do not care or want to hear about what he is up to "professionally" on his latest sport-bolted projects. Alpinist is only feeding the rapacious beast and furthering his ill-begotten career by reporting such lackluster "news."

2010-08-29 08:57:13
Spraylord

"One can understand a viewpoint even if one does not agree with it. This is how people in the real world who disagree about things get along, maintain dialogue and resolve issues."

This is entirely unacceptable, outrageous. But in the end, it's all cool, brah, all climbing is good. Nice send, by the way!

"My beef here is mainly with the NATURE of the response: vicious sounding personal attack, immature, unhelpful, impotent rantings, willfully uninformed. "

You could have just said, "Hey guys, tone it down to something civil" and that would have been the end of it. But you defensed their actions as a means to criticize the discourse.

Willfully ignorant? In your course of defending Lama's team and downplaying the effects of their actions, you said, and I'll quote you:

"Why don't you find out more foryour self by looking into it? Try to undertand the issues and the perpectives involved. Eg, find out that ~12 bolts were added, not 70. Or you could just believe the first thing you read, put on your ignorant hat, and keep shouting withthe rest of the pack now you have a victim."

I then quoted the editor of this magazine contradicting your above assertion, and you throw my own words back at me:

'But maybe you, "like so many, allow your hero worship to excuse these actions"?'

The climbers I mentioned are authoritative sources of info on this area and on the controversy, they weren't the ones posting vulgar diatribes on this forum. I'm quoting viable sources of information to counter your assertions of "ignorance". You on the other hand said " I've got massive respect for what he has accomlished in the last year. This kid is trying some amazing things and succeeding" as a qualifier for why people should lay off the harsh criticism for the Torre incident. Completely different context- so, while I'm sure when you requoted me up there you thought the whole room was going "ooooooohhh", nice fail.

"Because I personally don't care what they have to say about it right now."

You SHOULD care, because these guys as public, sponsored figures are in a position to set an example for others to follow, and they are setting a poor one: leaving trash, I mean gear, behind in the mountains for "next season's attempt" and leaving permanent scars on the rock for the convenience of their media circus is not a habit I would like to see them, or anyone else, repeat.

"I care about ropes left on the mountain and the steel in the rock. Some bolts and a haulbag remain on the mountain. Nothings going to happen until next season. Hopefully by this time next year the bolts will be tapped in and the holes pasted."

Or maybe they won't- perhaps the haulbag will blow off the mountain or get hit by rock/icefall and yard sale its contents all over the glacier, scattering them to eternity. Or if they don't "send it" next year, or the year after, will the mountain become a permanent repository for their crap, until they send it or get tired of trying? How about all of us leave our fixed lines and haulbags up there next year, too?

Bottom line- poor form, even if they "fix it".

Anyway, as chewtoy intimates, I think this argument is played out.

2010-07-22 02:24:01
chewtoy

I like cake.

2010-07-21 23:22:26
steve_b

"Differentiate for us "unacceptable" vs. "understanding their viewpoint". Sounds like you're trying to have it both ways."

One can understand a viewpoint even if one does not agree with it. This is how people in the real world who disagree about things get along, maintain dialogue and resolve issues.

"Well, the story said 70, and the editor of Alpinist, Michael Kennedy, in the Editor's Note of Issue 31 says it was 60. So it sounds like he's ignorant as well. Rolo and Donini don't seem too pleased about it either, but perhaps they need to get some "perspective" as well? "

My beef here is mainly with the NATURE of the response: vicious sounding personal attack, immature, unhelpful, impotent rantings, willfully uninformed. But maybe you, "like so many, allow your hero worship to excuse these actions"?

"Yet their response to the uproar- basically, "screw you all, we're not finished yet"- suggests otherwise. I still haven't figured out how you find it both unacceptable yet understandable given their indifferent response."

Because I personally don't care what they have to say about it right now. I care about ropes left on the mountain and the steel in the rock. Some bolts and a haulbag remain on the mountain. Nothings going to happen until next season. Hopefully by this time next year the bolts will be tapped in and the holes pasted. Facts are facts. Talk, as demonstrated in forums and comment boxes, is cheap.

2010-07-21 20:32:40
Spraylord

"I regard this as unacceptable as I couldn't accept alteration to a mountain for commercial gain in a wilderness area. I think their team acted ignorantly, but I do understand their viewpoint even if i don’t condone their actions."

Differentiate for us "unacceptable" vs. "understanding their viewpoint". Sounds like you're trying to have it both ways.

"If I was on the shoulder there now and needed to get down I would use the bolted rap line. If I said I was appalled by it, I would be a hypocrite, because I know that now it's there I would use it (and would probably enjoy the convenience). Would you use it?"

This is a specious argument...basically you're saying that in some respect they did the climbing community a favor by putting in a better and more convenient rap route. People have been successfully bailing off the Torre for decades, it's one of the most bailed off alpine routes anywhere. Of course the new line is more convenient. So is having a detailed topo, a guidebook, bolts next to cracks, a cable car would be nice too, and I'm sure if it were there I'd use it for the descent- and I'd "appreciate the convenience". Yet I would know in my heart that the experience I had was less for it. I've done lots of big alpine routes without a topo, for example- and no doubt, had someone handed me an excruciatingly detailed topo beforehand, I'm sure I would have taken it. After the climb, I know I was better off for not having it, because I had to use my instincts and intuition instead of following the little paper dictator. My point is, whatever convenience the new rap route provides doesn't mean it was needed, or wanted.

"Why don't you find out more foryour self by looking into it? Try to undertand the issues and the perpectives involved. Eg, find out that ~12 bolts were added, not 70. Or you could just believe the first thing you read, put on your ignorant hat, and keep shouting withthe rest of the pack now you have a victim. "

Well, the story said 70, and the editor of Alpinist, Michael Kennedy, in the Editor's Note of Issue 31 says it was 60. So it sounds like he's ignorant as well. Rolo and Donini don't seem too pleased about it either, but perhaps they need to get some "perspective" as well?

"An Argentinean friend of mine told me that in Frey (that’s in Argentina) they bolt cracks because a lot of local climbers are unable to afford double racks of cams, more of a national economy issue. Now, I’m not condoning the recent bolting on Cerro Torre, but I am providing an example to demónstrate that many climbing communities accept bolts, even in mountain areas. Would you like more examples? Try visiting some new areas and talking to local people. "

I've climbed in Frey- there are bolts, indeed- but the place is hardly "sport" protected. It's often spicy.

"Leaving a kilo of metal and a haulbag a on the side of an infrequently climbed peak is of little concern to land managers."

It's only the most (in)famous mountain in the southern hemisphere and the dream of almost every serious alpinist. If you think this sort of stuff goes unnoticed, think again.

"I am not excusing the actions of this team, but I wanted to point out that these guys are not assholes just for having a different view on some aspects of climbing ethics. I don’t think they’re assholes for bolting cerro torre either because I can see where they’re coming from. I think they did something which enough people in the climbing community find unacceptable to be reasonably accepted as being ‘wrong’. "

Ok, lets grant for a moment that they were simply naive and ignorant, not "assholes". Yet their response to the uproar- basically, "screw you all, we're not finished yet"- suggests otherwise. I still haven't figured out how you find it both unacceptable yet understandable given their indifferent response.

Bolts do have their place, but these days, the local ethic and the history of an area need to be carefully considered regardless of what one's motives are. That the Torre/Fitz group is considered a trad area (despite, or perhaps because of, the Compressor history) is well-established. There was absolutely no excuse for what they did and none either for their (perhaps) not knowing.

Maybe the language some are using here is harsh, but it doesn't make the RedBull team's actions any more defensible.

2010-07-19 11:52:41
chewtoy

It is arguable that sponsored climbers, like baseball players are held to a higher standard because they are considered representives of the sport.

That said, I gather the general consensus is folks don't want Lama to represent them as a climber for dear spit.

Seems the simple solution is for red bull find a more fitting role model.

I can see the ad now

Available for free swag? Promise not to shit on a foreign countries ethics?

Schooner perhaps?

2010-07-18 01:19:54
steve_b

Firstly, I don't condone what David Lama's guides did in bolting near the route - the 12 bolts above the shoulder. Maybe I didn’t make this clear. I regard this as unacceptable as I couldn't accept alteration to a mountain for commercial gain in a wilderness area. I think their team acted ignorantly, but I do understand their viewpoint even if i don’t condone their actions.

I am personally somewhere between opposed to indifferent towards the rap line (~14 bolts) which I regard as a separate issue. If I was on the shoulder there now and needed to get down I would use the bolted rap line. If I said I was appalled by it, I would be a hypocrite, because I know that now it's there I would use it (and would probably enjoy the convenience). Would you use it?

"How else to explain adding 70 bolts to the most famously overbolted route in mountaineering history?" Why don't you find out more foryour self by looking into it? Try to undertand the issues and the perpectives involved. Eg, find out that ~12 bolts were added, not 70. Or you could just believe the first thing you read, put on your ignorant hat, and keep shouting withthe rest of the pack now you have a victim.

“Not in mine it isn't, and especially not in Argentina. What world are you living in?” Not everyone in this world lives in your country ‘spraylord’. Nor do they have such a strong belief that their moral understanding is superior. An Argentinean friend of mine told me that in Frey (that’s in Argentina) they bolt cracks because a lot of local climbers are unable to afford double racks of cams, more of a national economy issue. Now, I’m not condoning the recent bolting on Cerro Torre, but I am providing an example to demónstrate that many climbing communities accept bolts, even in mountain areas. Would you like more examples? Try visiting some new areas and talking to local people.

“Do you know that the Argentine government has made several attempts to impose sizeable fees on climbers, which have so far failed in part because of the tireless efforts of the Los Glaciares park rangers and the local community?” Yes I do. Damaging forests and trails, messing with livestock, shitting in rivers endangers access. Leaving a kilo of metal and a haulbag a on the side of an infrequently climbed peak is of little concern to land managers.

“Which is only part of the reason why true wilderness is near non-existent in Europe and "elsewhere".” Totally agreed. Again, I am not excusing the actions of this team, but I wanted to point out that these guys are not assholes just for having a different view on some aspects of climbing ethics. I don’t think they’re assholes for bolting cerro torre either because I can see where they’re coming from. I think they did something which enough people in the climbing community find unacceptable to be reasonably accepted as being ‘wrong’.

“By the way, censoring all the "haters" (term used in sarcastic overtone) won't stop this discussion from happening.” Why would I want to stop a discussion I’ve just entered into? Keeping egos and childish name-calling out of discussion helps bring out the real issues.

To summarise, I am suggesting considering that there are different perspectives on issues like this. As much as some people may vehemently believe that bolting in mountains is the murder of the impossible others think of bolts as totally acceptable with the same level of conviction.I expect that from the perspective of these guides that rigged the camerawork for Lama’s climb, they acted entirely responsibly. Different perspectives. For this reason I still think that anonymous, hateful and childish personal attacks (such as some of those below) against David Lama are over the top.

2010-07-17 20:32:12
Spraylord

"In this instance its for commercial gain but we do live in a world where bolting, even in mountains, is accepted widely in many climbing communities"

Not in mine it isn't, and especially not in Argentina. What world are you living in?

"Think about where people are coming from, especially outside of YOUR community and find out the full facts"

Something Lama and his team utterly failed to do either out of breathtaking ignorance or willful defiance. How else to explain adding 70 bolts to the most famously overbolted route in mountaineering history?

"Putting in bolts high up on an inaccessible mountain where a handful of people a year will see them will likely not endanger access to any climbing area. Now we know the full story some people need to chill out and get things into perspective."

What a completely asinine statement. Do you know that the Argentine government has made several attempts to impose sizeable fees on climbers, which have so far failed in part because of the tireless efforts of the Los Glaciares park rangers and the local community? The place is on the radar of land managers and debacles like this only push it closer to regulation. "Handful of people"...plenty enough people care enough about this special place that ignorant attitudes and destructive practices that Lama's team employed and which sycophants like you condone because his hard sends "inspire" you are not welcome there or most other places where adventure is still found in the in-situ natural medium and not will the drill and a camera crew.

"Bolting is not a universal disgrace everywhere, bolts are routinely added in the mountains in europe and elsewhere"

Which is only part of the reason why true wilderness is near non-existent in Europe and "elsewhere". Ever heard of the "leave no trace" ethic? Didn't think so.

"Reading many of the comments and responses on the net to the Lama/Cerro Torre incident make me embarrassed to be part of the wider climbing community and relieved not to be part of the american one."

Please do us all a favor then and stay well clear of our mountains over here and keep only to trashing whatever local pigpen it is you frequent. We don't want your trash or your bolts in our mountains. And don't send anymore of your teenagers over to create your vicarious spank material, thanks.

In short, you clearly haven't done YOUR research on "local ethics". And you, like so many, allow your hero worship to excuse these actions.

By the way, censoring all the "haters" (term used in sarcastic overtone) won't stop this discussion from happening. We're going to have and some of it by nature won't be easy for some to hear.

2010-07-17 03:22:44
chewtoy

Stevie B, where have you be?

do some reading,

Start with "Murder of the Impossible."

and end with "How to do great things and be a great person also through a code of personal responsibility."

2010-07-17 00:36:25
steve_b

"lama can suck it.."

"The little fuck"

There's a lot of hate going on here, it's pretty sad. I've got massive respect for what he has accomlished in the last year. This kid is trying some amazing things and succeeding.

Read Will Gadd's blog for the most accurate account of what happened on Lama's patagonia trip. He went on an expedition and some guides in charge of filming him drilled some bolts for camera positioning (basically?) and added an abseil route to reverse the approach. Are you really thinking about this cerro torre incident or are you just jumping onto the bandwagon of over-reaction? What would happen if someone drilled extra bolts on El Cap, the Marmolada, Grand Capucin, or Half Dome? In many places adding bolts, eg belays or rap routes is regarded as a time consuming service to others (ASCA?). In this instance its for commercial gain but we do live in a world where bolting, even in mountains, is accepted widely in many climbing communities. Think about where people are coming from, especially outside of YOUR community and find out the full facts before you hate and express this kind of anger. Bolting is not a universal disgrace everywhere, bolts are routinely added in the mountains in europe and elsewhere. I don't agree with adding bolts for a camera crew at all but I do believe that Lama's only personal crime here is naivety. Lama's team will knock in and fill the bolt holes. I've climbed past a haulbag stashed by Caldwell on the nose, leaving one on a route is no major crime. Putting in bolts high up on an inaccessible mountain where a handful of people a year will see them will likely not endanger access to any climbing area. Now we know the full story some people need to chill out and get things into perspective.

Reading many of the comments and responses on the net to the Lama/Cerro Torre incident make me embarrassed to be part of the wider climbing community and relieved not to be part of the american one.

I am disappointed that moderators on this website haven't removed some of the more offensive mindless comments.

2010-07-16 23:44:20
Spraylord

I dump my garbage at the crags, because what BP did is much, much worse. Until they clean up their act, don't talk to me about trash.

Besides, I sent my proj, and that's the main thing that matters. It's climbing, so it's all good. I'm OK, you're OK. Don't be a hater.

Just keeping things in "perspective".

2010-07-16 05:01:51
duke

I'm in agreement with edkeller above. Personally, I'd remove most of the posts here for their irrational ramblings. This is a significant piece of news, can't see the route receiving many repeats though due to its obviously scary nature! Good effort.

2010-07-15 15:04:23
Mozote

Stop commenting, on any news posted about him. Pay no attention. Punish the brands that sponsor him, by not purchasing anything from them.

2010-07-15 06:26:21
chewtoy

I ussually climbed naked,

which may explain why I hear folks yell

"Look at the hung dog"

when am sport climbing at the crag

2010-07-15 04:24:32
wkndwarrior

Dean Potter has done much worse, but he continues to be worshiped by Alpinist and its readers. If you wear a Gore tex jacket, swing carbon fiber ice tools, or use aluminum carabiners, then you are doing irreperable harm to the environment. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone...

2010-07-15 01:11:01
edkeller

Let's keep things in perspective. I don't agree with the way the Torre project was handled by Red Bull & team, but a few pounds of metal on a mountain compared to the BP/Gulf oil spill? If there are climbers who want to complain about environmental damage and ethics, get involved there. All the bolts in the WORLD don't matter in comparison. And, BTW^> congrats to Lama on his amazing climbs.

2010-07-14 22:39:21
scotty vincik

Lama should quit receiving positive press. He should be dropped by his sponsors. His display of professional ethics is threatening to the sport. There are people actively lobbying to restrict climbing access. Our professional climber representatives need to hold a high standard. Lama should be shunned by the press until he cleans up Cerro Torre, and issues a public apology. Press sanctions will affect his sponsorships, and issue an industry statement that climbers need to protect the natural resource.

The little fuck can get a job in restaurant and think about it for awhile.

2010-07-14 12:38:17
icetrollet

lama can suck it..

2010-07-14 11:27:52
NeeDlzdos

So, Lama is involved in a trash scandal and now he's climbing choss piles? I'd never heard of him till this last year and I sure haven't been impressed yet.

2010-07-14 10:23:29
discshooter30

Agreed give this kid no more props till he cleans his shit up and admits he was in the wrong and apologizes to everyone in the climbing community

2010-07-14 08:40:39
HikerClimber007

Lama, clean up your trash before you move on to slap "Red Bullshit" stickers on other wilderness areas.

2010-07-14 06:39:45
chewtoy

please remove this "news item"

Mister Lama should get no press till he removes his bolts and swag from that there peak that needs no name

2010-07-14 04:10:15
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