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Africa, Madagascar, Andringitra National Park, Tsaranoro Massif, Various Ascents

Tsaranoro Massif, Various Ascents. Just after the departure of the Polish group (see above), the six-member Slovak group of Alexander Buzinkay, Ivan Doskocil, Vladimir Linek, Rado Staruch, Rasto Simko (as a climbing cameraman) and Ivan Stefansky came to the Tsaranoro Massif. Their goals were to try existing routes and to make some first ascents.

The Slovaks spent five weeks in this region from September 11 to October 16, acquainting them selves by climbing established routes on the Lemur Wall. On September 16, the two teams of Simko and Linek and Buzinkay and Staruch climbed Ebola (6b+) onsight, while Doskocil and Stefansky climbed Pectorine (6b A0). The Slovak climbers then decided to put up a new route to the left of Ebola. From September 17-21, working in two teams of three and changing leaders every day, they climbed to the top of the Lemur Wall, placing bolts on lead. They found the rock to be brilliant with many tiny holds and flakes. The route is called Black Magic Woman (6c+, 5 pitches, 250m); the individual pitches go at 6a+, 6a+, 6b, 6c+, 6b. The fourth pitch is the crux, with 60 meters of endurance climbing. The team placed 48 bolts. Descent is made via the belay anchors. For repetition, it is necessary to have 60-meter ropes and 12 quickdraws. They made a film of the route: Madagascar: Vertical Life. On September 22, two rope teams of Doskocil-Linek and Buzinkay-Staruch climbed Black Magic Woman free.

On September 27, the trio of Doskocil, Linek, and Stefansky climbed Out Of Africa (7a+) on Tsaranoro Kely onsight. The next day, Buzinkay and Staruch climbed Norspace (7a, 650m) on Tsaranoro Be onsight. This was the second ascent (a 1999 attempt climbed all but the last few pitches) of this bold and poorly protected route; the route has long runouts, and it is necessary to climb hard moves high above the last bolt. After discussion and considering the lack of time and bolts, five of the team (the cameraman, Simko, had to return to Europe) decided to make a first ascent between Out Of Africa and Cucumber Flying Circus via a pillar on Tsaranoro Kely.

On September 30, Staruch and Linek made the probable second ascent of another Piola route, La Crabe Aux Pinces D ’or (7b+, 320m), on Mitsinjo Arivo. This is the only route on this face; it is a super climb with consistently hard climbing.

From September 29-October 9, the team established Everything Is in Your Mind (7b; 7a obligatory, 14 pitches, 650m) on Tsaranoro Kely. The pitches were as follows: 5+, 6a, 6a+, 6a+, 6b+, 6c+, 7a, 7b, 7a+, 6b+, 6a+, 7a+, 6b+, 6c. They placed 78 bolts in the pitches and 30 at belays. Descent was made by rapping the route. They named the route according to their feelings during the climb: bolts were often widely spaced, and it is necessary to have everything in order in your mind to climb the route. For repetition, you need 60- meter ropes, 12 quickdraws and some nuts, cams and webbing. On the twelfth pitch they established the variation Junk Junction (7a, six bolts), which connects to Out Of Africa.

Vladimir Linek, Slovakia