Bolts removed from Eternal Rest at Ceredo
On 10 December 2012 the bolts were removed from the sports climb Eterno Riposo, Eternal Rest, at Ceredo in Italy. On his blog Andrea Tosi, the man who first bolted the climb and now removed the bolts, explains his actions.
As far as we know, rarely are bolts removed from routes so that they can be reinterpreted by the next generation of climbers. The crag where this happened is Ceredo, the ultra-famous cliff just a few kilometers north of Verona. The route is the aptly named Eterno Riposo, Eternal rest, a beautiful and classic 8a+. And the person who removed the bolts is Andrea Tosi, the climber who first ascended the route back in the early '90's. We mentioned that one of reasons for "debolting" the route was to provide others with the possibility of interpreting the lines with the climbing vision of today. Put in other words: the future belongs to the young, if they want to seize it! This is why it seemed interesting to analyse this latest development, and offer Tosi's thought-provoking essay during which he explains the reasons for his "action". Also because as one reads about how this idea (and, let's face it, slight provocation) took form one cannot help think about the age-old question of bolt replacements, about who should do this, driven by what ideal and with what responsibilities. The question that comes across loud and clear is connected to the future of climbing as a comunity and expression of freedom.
GIVE BIRTH TO THE PAST TO ENSURE THE FUTURE by Andrea Tosi
A line of bolts ... 15 hangers... up there for at least 10 years... as if they were transparent.
Gear doesn't obscure rock, rather it defines an idea, marks the limits of a "way" to climb a rock face. Now that the idea has vanished, so too are the hangers. The idea was mine, a child of the '90s. The rock belongs to everyone... it's practically almost always been there. It was my sweat, my time spent up on the rope and my imprinting given to the route. Yeah, ... because the bolts had perhaps been given to me by a friend.
As right or wrong as it may seem, transparency is my forte and I therefore humbly share what I felt driven to do, certain of its pros and cons. To give myself a birthday present I got rid of a thought that had been bothering me and removed everything. "Eternal Rest" no longer exists. For many reasons. First of all, I was motivated by the thought that the original gear, a result of my finances at the time, certainly wasn't "CE" standard. In addition, having virtually abandoned the crag, having lost "control" of the route, plagued by the thought that nothing lasts forever, that times have changed and that there are more and more lawyers out there, that in the long term serious maintenance would hardly have guaranteed the route's safety, with the constant thought that "if I don't do it, who could?", with the "weak" but now powerful conviction that my future is increasingly removed from the rocks... there I was, making the present a recollection, attempting in some way or other to create a past. All I'm talking about is a route, and if we don't begin at 40 to attribute the right value... perhaps it'll be to late in the future.
I know... I know... I dabbled with the memories of other climbers, I've probably even deleted the dreams of those who'd added quickdraws to those hangers which were difficult to clip... for this I apologise. In truth there were different solutions, the first, most rewarding and perhaps most obvious was to rebolt the entire route, the second could have been put forward from "group", from the feeling that serious maintenance was being undertaken, a program which was suitable for this day and age, for the means and the "media" used... but nowadays there are many of us climbers, is there still any sense in talking about a group?
I don't know how much my personal interests (my bolting) can benefit the whole movement. All I can say is that sometimes one needs to renounce something for the good of others, some form of action is required to open otherwise closed doors. So I took things into my own hands and experienced the "pain" of remove my creation from Ceredo. I needed to give shape to that idea which, despite thinking about it over and over again, I'd failed to comprehend fully.
In concrete terms, I managed to rid myself once and for all from something which possessed me, it was "my" route, there for everyone, but it was "mine", with all the futilities associated with owning something, that concept of private, which leads to creating unnecessary barriers. With this I mean guidebooks more or less agreed with others, rebolting, fixing broken holds, restoring them more or less similar to their original form. So... away with it all, including those 4 dabs of sikka on those holds which disturbed the concept of homogeneity, so dear in the 90s.
I've eliminated a route, but I see this as a step forward, now there's place for those who bolt in 2012/13, for future generations. It's a bit like retiring, making way for others who will certainly take into account the ideas that feed these modern times. I wish for: a young bolter, top-notch gear, "proper" obligatory climbing from one bolt to the next, and no modifications made to the rock.
The ideas aren't entirely clear and here I hope this results in further discussion. At the end of the day crags only live in the present, are brought to life and remain unchanged over time. I'm not sure whether it's right to create a past, whether the climbing "group" interprets this only as an offense and not as an opening... I felt, once again, that desire for freedom which had motivated me when I established the route. The difference being that at this time is was freedom from fixed schemes, freedom to say no to what isn't shared, freedom to scream at the flock which for too long has walked forwards looking only at their own noses, afraid of raising their eyes and bumping into the bum of the sheep in front of them.
P.S. I have all the gear I removed from the route, don't hesitate to contact me and I'll work out how to give it back to its rightful owner. All I left was the abseil chain for practical reasons (I didn't have the spanner to remove the nuts on the 12mm bolts), but also to facilitate the "re-bolting". The belay can easily be reached from the second chain of L' ombra del lupo, but it does not have a maillon rapide (C E).
This article first appeared in the Italian version of Planetmountain.com on 20/12/2012