The new route on Madagascar’s Tsaranoro Be. Of the eighteen pitches on the route, twele are graded 7a or higher. [Photo] Courtesty of Simon Carter
A difficult new route has been established on Madagascar’s Tsaranoro Be, the largest face in what has been called “The Yosemite of Africa”–the Tsaranoro massif in Andringitra National Park in the south east of the island. A German/Austrian team comprised of Toni Lamprecht, Felix Frieder, Sandra Wielebnowski and Beno Wagner established the six hundred meter route, with a crux pitch of 8a, over nine days. All pitches were bolted on lead and red-pointed by all the team members before their one day ascent of the 18 pitch route in August.
The lower 400 meters of the route is characterized by multiple sustained pitches in the French 7th grade. The crux thirteenth pitch tackles a slightly overhanging headwall for 30m on small edges. It starts with a boulder-problem, packs some athletic moves in the middle part leading to a fingery finish. The final 200m of the route provides varied climbing, up an exposed pillar, on beautiful rock all the way to the top of the pillar. From there an optional 100m of easy climbing would lead to the summit of the massif. One hundred sixty bolts were placed on the route.
The incredibly compact granite in the Tsaranoro massif requires delicate, technical climbing on tiny and often friable flakes. Despite the difficult grades, most routes in the region have few bolts, sometimes as few as two per pitch.