Screenshot NYT article
Cerro Torre: New York Times Plucking Legs of Dolomite Spider

Posted: Mar 03, 2015 09:23 am EST

(Newsdesk) Last month the New York Times published an unusual piece about Italian Cesare Maestri's Cerro Torre summit. The article is noteworthy for two reasons: 1, NYT rarely expose climbing cheats and 2, the funny picture illustrating the story.


The spider has been featured at Explorersweb before and there have been climbs trying to solve the matter.


85-years-old Cesare today is probably happy to remember if he took the pink or the blue pill; much less details of a bygone climb. Check in at top Italian mountaineering website Montagna who obviously have lots to say on the matter such as mentioning that there may have been a photo caps mixup.  


Cesare Maestri, dubbed The Dolomite Spider, was a bold pioneer of solo climbing. He attempted Torres walls for the first time in 1957. Defeated, he swore to return. In 1959 he climbed the North Face of the mountain with Tony Egger, one of the greatest climbers of his time. It's not clear how far they got. When Maestri came back he claimed to have reached the summit with Egger, who had the camera with the summit pictures. Tony was killed by an avalanche on descent, and the camera was never recovered. Controversy was served: Maestri couldn't provide proof, and many doubted his word. 

Cerro Torre became an obsession for Maestri, who came back for it once again, full force. Setting off in the Patagonian winter, he would open the famous Compressor route. This time, critics rejected Maestri's style.

One who did stand by Maestri was Casimiro Ferrari, another Italian bound for Patagonia. "Why would he lie?" he asked. "Are we going to doubt every single mountaineering feat, or what?"

To this day the aging Cesare Maestri sticks to his claim that he reached the summit of Torre.