On his way up the Compressor Route on Patagonia’s formidable Cerro Torre last month, Austrian climber David Lama was surprised to run into Jason Kruk and Hayden Kennedy (read our indepth report on the controversial climb) on their way down, chopping bolts as they went. Their encounter was reported to be a bit chilly. After all, it would seem that Kruk and Kennedy’s chopping unintentionally sandbagged Lama.
For the past three years, the twenty-one-year-old has been trying to make the first true free ascent of the southeast ridge. On January 21, 2012, he and climbing partner Peter Ortner finished the climb, despite “the fact that Hayden and Jason had chopped Maestri’s bolts a couple of days ago.” Lama said it “made my endeavor even more challenging, especially mentally, as the protection was poor.” The absence of bolts forced Lama into “long run outs.” He rated his challenging climb 5.13b. Kruk and Kennedy pegged their own mostly free route at 5.11, A2.