Go back to Mali.
Go back to Vuelva Usted Manana (Attempt).
Voie Normal on Wamgel Debridou.
A repeat of the previous night followed – windy night and an even more windy morning with that perpetual howling high above us. After a slow breakfast, the three of us headed for the Voie Normale on the “backside” (short side) of Wamgel Debridou. Quick five pitches of climbing on some blocky rock with difficulties up to French 5 put us on the large summit where we were once again being blasted by hurricane force winds. We wanted to take a look at the North Ridge route on the next door Kaga Tondo but the only way to do that was to crawl on our bellies to the edge of the summit plateau or risk being blown off into the void (paragliding in Mali sans paraglider according to Salvador). We were back in camp early and so had plenty of time for a hike around the towers with Salvador. We got an overview of the various hard test piece routes established on the towers with poetic names such Harmattan Rodeo and Primer Té. At this point we were beginning to wonder whether we’d get a shot at the classic lines we had come for. Salvador however was optimistic that the wind would die down after a couple of days and so we had to be patient…climbing 16 pitches on an exposed ridge in those conditions did not seem like an appetizing option anyway.
Next morning we convinced ourselves that, although things were windy, they were improving. And so we headed up, scrambling towards one of our goal routes – Voie Guy Abert near the south prow of Suri Tondo that had dominated the view from our camp. Things in fact were not improving and were quite possibly getting worse. The exposed 3rd/4th class approach seemed a bit much in the extreme wind and so we found a sheltered ledge and sat there waiting for a weather miracle. The miracle never materialized but Salvador suggested a viable “plan B” and so we headed down and back to the east face of Wamderdou to climb the 8 pitch (280 meter) La Raison route well left of Mariage Traditionnel and mostly trad (5b). Windy but with flow oriented so that we were mostly being pushed into the rock. When we got back to camp, we got a surprise from Salvador (not having realized it was Christmas Eve). Musa and Isa had brought a goat up into our camp and were preparing to slaughter it for a feast. Our westernized and urbanized minds were instinctively repulsed by the idea …but of course unless you’re a vegetarian… Besides, the barbequed goat was delicious and the feast was supplemented with some special Christmas treats (polvorones) that Salvador had very thoughtfully brought along from Aragon. The festive mood lifted our spirits and we actually starting thinking that maybe we’ll get a shot at the route we came for the next day. Salvador drew us a hyper-accurate topo (from memory – we were impressed) and we went to sleep in an optimistic mood.
Shirley, Salvador, and Wamgel Debridou. Voie Normal climbs this face to the summit (Photo was actually taken later in the day when the weather got nice).
Hiking up to Voie Normal on Wamgel Debridou (Dec. 2015).
Leading pitch 1 of Voie Normal on Wamgel Debridou (Dec. 2015).
Shirley and Salvador on pitch 2 of Voie Normal on Wamgel Debridou (Dec. 2015).
Shirley on the summit of Wamgel Debridou. Click photo for a quick video – check out how beautiful that North Ridge is (Dec. 2015).
Salvador trying not to get blown off the summit of Wamgel Debridou while checking out the North Ridge of Kaga Tondo (Dec. 2015).
Rapping off Wamgel Debridou in high wind conditions (Dec. 2015).
Hiking back down to the car and then around the towers. The east face of Kaga Tondo and its north ridge with both gendarmes clearly visible. Also visible is the east face of Wamgel Debridou (Dec. 2015).
Salvador hiking back down to the Garmi encampment (Dec. 2015).
Village kids in the Garmi village encampment (Dec. 2015).
Salvador and Shirley on our hike around Kaga Tondo and Kaga Pamari. That’s the village of Garmi down below (Dec. 2015).
More views of from our hike (Dec. 2015).
Shirley and Salvador admiring the west face of Kaga Tondo (not visible). Right to left: Wamgel Debridou (Voie Normal climbs this face), Wamderdou, and Suri Tondo (Dec. 2015).
Shirley tearing into another watermelon in our camp like there is no tomorrow…I guess technically you never know (Dec. 2015).
Salvador cooking another great meal in our high camp (Dec. 2015).
Shirley and Salvador waiting out the wind (next day) on the approach to Voie Guy Abert on Suri Tondo. The wind won and we did (the relatively sheltered) La Raison on Wamderdou instead (Dec. 2015).
Wamderdou and Kaga Tondo (Dec. 2015).
The only occasional visitors we got in the area of our high camp were the village kids grazing their goats (Dec. 2015).
Leading pitch 2 (maybe) of La Raison (Dec. 2015).
Shirley somewhere low on La Raison route on Wamderdou (Dec. 2015).
Leading pitch 3 (?) of La Raison (Dec. 2015).
Shirley nearing the top of pitch 3 of La Raison (Dec. 2015).
Shirley on pitch 4 or 5 of La Raison (Dec. 2015).
The village of Daari as seen from high on La Raison (Dec. 2015).
La Raison – pitch 5 (perhaps).
Shirley on La Raison (Dec. 2015).
Belay atop of pitch 5 of La Raison. We linked pitches 6 and 7. The route tops out by following the left facing dihedral visible in photo on its 8th pitch. Photo by Salvador (Dec. 2015).
Close-up of the same belay on La Raison. Another great photo by Salvador (Dec. 2015).
Linking pitches 6 and 7 of La Raison (Dec. 2015).
Nearing the top of pitch 7 (Dec. 2015).
Shirley a bit higher (Dec. 2015).
Views of Suri Tondo from a belay high on La Raison (Dec. 2015).
Pitch 7 top out (Dec. 2015).
Shirley on pitch 8 (final) of La Raison (Dec. 2015).
Shirley atop La Raison with Hombori Tondo off in the dusty distance (Dec. 2015).
Shirley hiking along the top of Wamderdou to the rap station. Suri Tondo dominates your world here (Dec. 2015).
Musa and Isa preparing our Christmas Eve feast back in camp (Dec. 2015).
The clean-up crew gathering (Dec. 2015).
Musa preparing the traditional (sweet!) tea (Dec. 2015).
Another evening in camp (Dec. 2015).
Go to Eperon Nord.
Go back to Mali.