Tsaranoro Atsimo, Soava Dia; Chameleon, Les Vazahamateurs
Madagascar, Tsaranoro Massif
From June 5 to 25, a group of six young climbers of the Fédération Française de la Montagne et de l’Escalade (FFME) opened two new routes in the Tsaranoro range. Our team from the “Roc Aventure Programme,” with an average age of 20, consisted of Manon Barnier, Tom Durel, Julien Forgue, Tristan Roguiez, Dora Sulinger, and Robin Valet, and was coached by Arnaud Petit and me.
The team first opened Les Vazahamateurs (250m, 6c) on the east face of the Chameleon formation. The route is shady in the afternoon and has a short approach. Next, we focused on our main goal, the Tsaranoro Atsimo, where we established Soava Dia (“bon voyage” in Malagasy; 600m, 7c+), a long effort which we finished bolting the day before most of us had to depart. Both lines are completely bolted, as Tasanaroro’s rock faces don’t have many cracks.
Soava Dia is to the right of Fire in the Belly and left of Toakagasy, and the routes never cross. Our route can be climbed in a long day, but a good strategy for free climbing is to sleep at the base of the enormous notch splitting the face—it’s a five-star bivy! This route is equipped for rappels. It’s also possible to descend via the traverse to Tsaranoro Be and descend the normal route of Tsanaroro Be.
Roguiez and Valet stayed for another two weeks to attempt a free ascent of Soava Dia. One week after we equipped the route, they completed the first free ascent, with one bivouac, with Robin climbing all pitches free and Tristan falling once.
During our time in the area, expedition photographer Gaël Bouquet des Chaux and some members of the team completed a traverse from Tsaranoro Be to Tsaranoro Atsimo, with two 30m pitches (6a) and two rappels, adding some bolts for anchors and protection. The traverse can be done in either direction.
– Jonathan Crison, France