Go back to Mali.
Go back to Eperon Nord.
Voie Guy Abert.
Salvador’s goal was for us was to be done with Main De Fatma area before the next weekly market rolled into Hombori below – we did not want the word of our presence to spread too widely through the area despite the relative safety offered by our backcountry camp. This left us two days. The past few days of climbing in the dry wind had left our fingers cracked and painful with some finger nails separated from the pads. And so we decided to take a rest day after the North Ridge (sorry Salvador – we are soft). The three of us went for a hike, this time around Suri Tondo – a complex “mountain” consisting of several tributary towers. Salvador pointed out a few great looking moderates that made us itch for a return trip. I have to mention here that our high-castle life style was made possible only through the hard work of Isa and Musa (and Souleiman who was watching Salvador’s car down below). The men did regular water resupply runs from the villages below including some extra for us to wash every three or four days. Salvador too had gone down to his car a time or two and returned with more supplies. As I said before: on so many levels, this trip would’ve been impossible without him.
On our final day, we packed up our camp after breakfast and while we headed off to climb, Isa and Musa carried our stuff back down to the car. The three of us once again scrambled up to the Voie Guy Abert on Suri Tondo except this time in nearly windless conditions. The usual way to do this route now is to start at its midpoint which is accessible by some 3rd class scrambling and – according to Salvador – leaves only the high quality pitches to climb (all eight of them – though most are short). With this approach, the opening pitch is the crux – bird shit covered chimney/crack leading to a tricky exit onto a face – 7a or 6a with some A0. We started up the route while Salvador shot some photos and soon hiked down to get the car readied for our departure. The climbing was excellent – on black, varnished rock following a continuous crack system (much of it hand sized). The two minor draw backs were the fresh (wet) bird shit with the culprits screaming at us from deep within the cracks and the rising temperature on this southeast facing route. We topped out on the route, shot a few photos and quickly rapped back down into what felt like an oven. It’s either too windy to climb or too hot – maybe we should harden the fuck up.
Later that afternoon we said good-bye to Isa and Musa and left the Main De Fatma area once again heading out on dirt roads through the Sahel. That night we slept in the village of Fetendoti where Salvador delivered more school supplies (in fact, he has – with partners – built the school in that village).
Shirley and Salvador enjoying breakfast – coffee and some trimmings…happy glow from previous day’s success (Dec. 2015).
Sunrise and shadows of towers as seen from camp – not a bad view to wake up to on 7 or 8 mornings (Dec. 2015).
Day after Kaga Tondo’s North Ridge climb, we took a rest day. Here we’re going for a hike around Suri Tondo with Salvador (Dec. 2015).
The hike provided some nice views of Kaga Tondo (Dec. 2015).
Rainy season provides much more opportunity for animal encounters (like snakes). During the dry winters, all we saw were countless dead millipedes – better than croutons in salads!
Prepping a veggie stew in camp.
Cooking dinner in our high perch camp (Dec. 2015).
Shirley admiring Suri Tondo from our camp. Voie Guy Abert climbs near the prow facing the camp, just right from the rightmost cave and up the black streak. After looking at it for nearly a week, we had to climb it (Dec. 2015).
Hiking up to the (midpoint variation) start of Voie Guy Abert. The route follows the black streaks just right of the prow (Dec. 2015).
Leading pitch 1 of Voie Guy Abert – some bird shit coated crack/chimney to a hard exit (7a or A0) onto the face on the right. Photo by Salvador (Dec. 2015).
Aiding the 7a moves of pitch 1. Photo by Salvador (Dec. 2015).
Final moves to the first belay. Photo by Salvador (Dec. 2015).
More great photos from Salvador – still pitch 1 (Dec. 2015).
Shirley almost done with the short aid section on pitch 1 (A0 or 7a) of Voie Guy Abert. Salvador is at the base taking some cool shots (Dec. 2015).
Leading pitch 2 of Voie Guy Abert (Dec. 2015).
Pitch 2 of Voie Guy Abert…a short one. I think we’re both at the belay stations. Photo by Salvador (Dec. 2015).
Shirley on the pitch 2 wideness of Voie Guy Abert (Dec. 2015).
Shirley topping out on pitch 2 (Dec. 2015).
Leading pitch 3. Photo by Salvador (Dec. 2015).
Leading pitch 3 (Dec. 2015).
Wider angle view of pitch 3 of Voie Guy Abert. Photo by Salvador (Dec. 2015).
Pitch 3. I actually stopped about 6 meters too low. Photo by Salvador who was hiking back down to the car at this point (Dec. 2015).
Pitch 3 of Voie Guy Abert (Dec. 2015).
Shirley on Voie Guy Abert – pitch 3 with a pano of Kaga Tondo (Dec. 2015).
Pitch 3 top-out on Voie Guy Abert (Dec. 2015).
Pitch 5 (Dec. 2015).
Shirley enjoying a nice hand section on pitch 6 (Dec. 2015).
Shirley at the 6th belay (Dec. 2015).
Shirley on pitch 7 of Voie Guy Abert with Hombori Tondo and the gendarmerie base visible in background (Dec. 2015).
Shirley on pitch 8 with Kaga Tondo in the background (Dec. 2015).
View of the north ridge of Kaga Tondo (Dec. 2015).
Pitch 8 belay – just some 4th class scrambling left to reach the summit (Dec. 2015).
Shirley rapping back down and into a sandstone oven (Dec. 2015).
On the hike down after the climb (Dec. 2015).
The east face of Wamderdou. La Raison starts on the small buttress at the base (center of photo) and tops out via the left facing dihedral high above (Dec. 2015).
Kaga Tondo (left; its north ridge is visible almost head-on) and Wamgel Debridou (Dec. 2015).
Shirley hiking out and back to the car with Suri Tondo in the background (Dec. 2015).
One last look, left to right: Kaga Pamari, Kaga Tondo, and Wamgel Debridou (Dec. 2015).
Main De Fatma. Click photo for formation names.
Leaving Main De Fatma area. A brief stretch on national road number 15…about 60% paved (Dec. 2015).
But first a quick stop in Garmi to refill the water containers at the village well. Isa is at the center of photo (Dec. 2015).
Many hands make quick work…no shortage of help! Also, see how I cropped the bottom of photo? You’re welcome.
On the road again (Dec. 2015).
Main De Fatma and a Peul camp in the Sahel (Dec. 2015).
Looking back at Main De Fatma (left) and Hombori Tondo neighborhood (right) as they fade into the distance (Dec. 2015).
Driving towards the village of Fetendoti where we’ll spend the night (Dec. 2015).
Fetendoti (Dec. 2015).
Donkeys in the village of Fetendoti (occupying the school building).
We enjoyed some traditional tea after our dinner (Dec. 2015).
And tried to decide on what to climb the next day (Dec. 2015).
Go to Aiguille Panoramix.
Go back to Mali.