Reports / Big-Wall Climbing in Madagascar

Francois Lebeau

Climbers Sasha DiGiulian and Edu Marin went to Madagascar to attempt one of the world’s most challenging big-walls climbs. The route, Mora Mora, had only been climbed once before (by prolific climber Adam Ondra). If successful, Sasha would make the first female ascent by climbing 2,300 feet—or 6.5 football fields of vertical rock—using granite holds the size of “shelled peanuts.” It took the duo three days to free climb the 12-pitch route rated 5.14b (8c), relying on protective gear only in the case of a fall, for the second ascent ever.

Footage courtesy Francois Lebeau, Red Bull

Free Climbing Mora Mora, Tsaranoro, East Africa, Madagascar

The feat:
On July 20, 2017, Sasha DiGiulian and Edu Marin made the second free climbing ascent of la Mora Mora. Sasha claimed the first female ascent. Mora Mora is a phrase indicative to way of life in Madagascar, signifying “take it easy,” or “pasito pasito.”

Number of days in a single push:

In 2010, Adam Ondra did the first Ascent of this route. It had gone unrepeated since. The route was bolted by Spanish team Francisco Vales and Toti Vales in 1999.

The 700-meter sport multi-pitch route rated 5.14b (8c) is one of the hardest big-wall climbs in the world.

Pounds of gear and food on the portaledge:
12 liters of water, and approximately 15 pounds of food

Critters they encountered:

In the sun it was warm but on the wall, after 12 o’clock, it would actually be cool enough to need light down jackets and windbreakers.

Mora Mora is similar to…
The style of climbing is similar to technical granite climbing in Yosemite. The line follows a slab to vertical to slightly overhanging pitch (the 8c) and then the wall changes a bit; geologically the composition is very different on the top half. A water runnel has created this tube like formation that requires very physical climbing—compression and stemming.


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