Another free ascent of Bravo les Filles
While watching the sun set over the vast desert highlands of the Andringitra mountains, we all felt great sense of peace and satisfaction at having climbed such a superb route, Bravo Les Filles (5.13c/A0, 13 pitches), probably the most difficult rock climb ever put up by a team of women.
Harald Berger from Austria and Ondra Beneš from Czech Republic have made respectively the second and third all free ascents of Bravo les Filles on the East Face of Avaratra in the Tsaranoro Group (Madagascar).
The 13-pitch route, following the line of the prominent pillar to the right of 1998 Out of Africa, was established in 1999 by an all-female North Face team comprising Lynn Hill, Nancy Feagin, Beth Rodden and Kath Pyke. The crew was accompanied by a camera team and a well-known photographer, Greg Epperson. The line was done ground up, while placing all the protection bolts on lead, but the massive time and energy required to equip the route denied the team a complete redpoint ascent. Although Hill managed to climb all the moves on the crux eight pitch, time ran out and her best effort resulted in one rest point (5.13a/A0). The grade of the crux pitch done all free was estimated to be 8b. It was confirmed in 2004, when The Basque brothers Iker and Eneko Pou freed the whole route. The brothers were impressed by the athletic, minimally bolted and adventurous nature of the route, on which long and dangerous falls were potentially often possible.
Both Berger and Beneš have already had big multi-pitch free routes to their credits this year. In July the Austrian made the first free ascent of Antihydral 8b, an old Rochus Mathis project to the left of the famous Silbergeier in Rätikon and Beneš, also in July, repeated Silbergeier.