THE AMAZING ROUTE: TOUGH ENOUGH: Karambony, Madagascar

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Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 8, 2009 - 09:59pm PT
So here is a really unique climbing situation. Notice the tombstone-like 1300 ft tall formation in the background, right of center, behind Sylvain Millet. It is Karambony, located in the Tsaranoro Massif on Madagascar. For four years now it has been the focus of at least four expeditions to establish its first route, Tough Enough at 10 pitches, 8b+. Four years ago the first party of Gebel, Steinel, Beer, Seitz climbed 2/3 of it, one member fell sick and the route remained incomplete. Then in 2007 Legrand, Quirici, Sobzack Wendebaum appeared and again were unable to finish the line. And in April 2008, the Brits McCaffie and Pickford toiled as well on this incredible formation. Shortly thereafter a French crew arrived of Stephanie Bodet, Arnaud Petit, Sylvain Millet with Laurent Triay set up shop and filmed extensively their attempt to do a full free ascent. They freed the hardest pitch #9 for the first time and the last pitch as well over two visits with Yann Ghesquiers onsighting that last problematic lead thus providing a 50 minute film produced by Laurent and his Worklessclimbmore Productions. Go here to get incredible pictures and more detail: http://triaylaurent.com/page301.html

You can see a trailer for their DVD here: http://triaylaurent.com/page200.html


great further detail:

http://www.planetmountain.com/english/News/shownews.lasso?l=2&keyid=36429#

A continuous ascent has not been achieved on this route.

Studly

Trad climber
WA
Jun 8, 2009 - 10:01pm PT
Looks like these guys are bringing it on. That one photo looks similar to the recent photo of Tommy Caldwell attempting to free Mescalito, both the climbers out in space.
An epic trip just getting to this place, its out in the sticks.
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
North of the Owyhees
Jun 8, 2009 - 10:18pm PT
Just wonderin' why they keep their shark fins up all the time?
Seems curious.......Wild lookin' wall.
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 8, 2009 - 11:17pm PT
How did they get the bolts in?

Tourist question....
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 8, 2009 - 11:21pm PT
Johno, it looked like they staged it. All of these parties. Check out the links for closer photos. It doesn't look stanceable.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 9, 2009 - 12:28am PT
Warb, That is what I am thinking too. Battery powered units. Hell, they are in the sticks far from the NPS and that is what is going on in most places now lamely enough.
GDavis

Trad climber
Jun 9, 2009 - 12:54am PT
BUNCHA FRENCHIES PROLEE RAP BOWLTED IT HUH GUYZ
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 9, 2009 - 01:23am PT
Style?
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
North of the Owyhees
Jun 9, 2009 - 08:23am PT
Frog-style......or a lack thereof.
For rap bolting, maybe a little "growing up" is in order?
Haha.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Jun 9, 2009 - 10:06am PT
Skully, thats harsh. Some people never "grow up"...
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Jun 9, 2009 - 11:14am PT



QQ
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Jun 9, 2009 - 12:11pm PT
Loloks like a 1,200 foot boulder problem - and a hard one, too!

JL
TKingsbury

Trad climber
MT
Jun 9, 2009 - 12:22pm PT
very cool
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 9, 2009 - 12:33pm PT
Looks wicked hard, and thin. Those guys should come to Yosemite next and tick some of our thin lines that haven't seen much action.

as for style, here's something from the first paragraph linked.

"In 2005 a German expedition comprised of Daniel Gebel, Ari Steinel, Uschi Beer and Joachim Seitz carried out the first ascent of a new route up the East Face of Karambony, located in the Tsaranoro massif in Madagascar. At the time Daniel Gebel managed to open the route from the ground up and climb 2/3 of the pitches up to French 8b and A3 aid. Unfortunatly Gebel fell ill and the team abandoned the mountain, leaving the complete redpoint open for others. "

Devil may be in the details but nothing there for us to get righteous about in advance.

Still a good question about how the bolts go in cause those holds look so tiny. Since A3 aid is mentioned, perhaps some dicey hooking was on the plate.

That is one wild looking wall and at least it ain't cold there.

peace

Karl

Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Jun 9, 2009 - 12:35pm PT
Looks damn hard in those photos, and a long ways from home.

Thanks for bringing ST occasionally back to climbing stories, Peter.
bachar

Gym climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jun 9, 2009 - 01:16pm PT
Ground up? Rap job?
goatboy smellz

climber
groove tube hell
Jun 9, 2009 - 01:38pm PT
Thanks for the story Peter, some really amazing pictures of the route.
http://www.portfolio.planetmountain.com/portfolio/news/slide/slideeng.lasso?idnews=x551




OMG 8b slab!!!111



socalbolter

Sport climber
Silverado, CA
Jun 9, 2009 - 01:58pm PT
JB -

If you follow and read the link, it says that the route was "opened" (read: equipped/bolted in Euro speak) ground up. There was also some reference to A3 aiding, so I assume some hooking was involved?

The photos of the route make me highly doubtful that stance drilling could have been achieved on many of the harder pitches.

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 9, 2009 - 02:18pm PT
Thanks tons Goatboy for unfolding the links for the impressive photos!

Yeah, this is a "climbing situation" as I put it in the beginning of the thread. Here we are, 11,000 miles from San Francisco, climbing a gorgeous 1300 ft cenotaph-like totally unique wall of superb rock dotted with yellow lichen, and after four or five expeditions the route still has not been done in a continuous ascent but all the pitches have been worked out, some by coming from above. Parts of it were originally aided but are now free as well. The final line is the result of modifications to the original efforts. The rating is at least 8b+ and has attracted some of the best climbers currently working. It appears that at least some of the bolting evident in the photos was performed from aid, either top-down or other methods. A giant sport route, in their own words. How times have changed. The various Euro sites leave unstated, I think, how this phenomenal line was "opened".
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jun 9, 2009 - 02:20pm PT
Ah yes, how times have changed!
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