Tsaranoro Valley, Tsaranoro Be, first ascent of Manara-Potsiny. We spent our summer in Madagacar’s winter, climbing for the month of August in the Tsaranoro Valley. Our gang of four consisted of Felix Frieder, Benno Wagner, and myself from Germany, and Sandra Wielebnowski from Austria. Besides repeating a bunch of routes, we managed to do an incredible, beautiful first ascent, which beat all of our expectations: Manara-Potsiny (600m, 17 pitches, 8a) on the east face of Tsaranoro Be. After spending nine days drilling the bolts, we redpointed all the individual pitches in a three-day effort. After two rest days, Benno, Felix, and I climbed the whole route in an 11-hour day, and I managed to climb all the pitches without falling. The route is a “nonplusultra” [ultimate] when it comes to beauty and quality. In the total length of 600m, we encountered only six meters that wasn’t perfect rock. The other 594m was iron-like granite, made for climbing. About the character of the route: In the lower 400m, a climber has to sneak through climbing of the French 7th grade, losing a lot of skin. The 13th pitch is the crux, with 30m of slightly overhanging climbing on small edges. This incredible pitch starts with a boulder-problem, has athletic moves in the middle, and finishes fingery. And the rest of the route? 200m of beautiful, exposed, and various climbing on spectacular rock, leading to the end of a pillar, from where another 100m of easier climbing leads to the top (the entire route is 700m to the top). Equipped with 160 bolts and abseil-belays, the route is a strong contender to be an extreme-classic in the Tsara-noro-Valley.
Toni Lamprecht, Germany