Name a climber who has made:
- the FA of (at least) two 8C's, one of which in Fontainebleau
- the 2nd ascents of Trip-hop, 8C, and Dune, 8B+, at Fontainebleau
- repeats of problems like DreamtimeThe Island and Khéops assis
- FA of Rim Rave in the Hollow Mountain Cave, Grampians, Australia.
And if I tell you he made the first ascent [repeated by Mike Adams who used better beta. Thomas used the original jump method for some reason] of the not entirely unknown Brad Pitt sds, a problem that has remained unrepeated for more than a decade by now?
The man is of course Thomas Willenberg.
I first heard rumours about this mysterious German back in the fall of 1999. It was this Indian contact I had back then who told me about a guy who had spent a couple of seasons at Hampi and Badami, putting up several 8B's (this was cutting edge in 1999) and also a 9a+ route (which turned out to be more like 8b/c).
Naturally I got a bit excited about this, although it sounded a little bit too good to be true, so I contacted Martin Joisten at the website climbing.de. He didn't know anything about this, but made some inquires and managed to find out who this guy was.
After a couple of years when Thomas both repeated and made FA:s of some of the hardest problems all over the world, including Rocklands, Ticino and Sachsen, things went quiet.
What happened? Did he quit?
Turned out he didn't.
Five years or so later he starred in Hannes Huch's Made in Germany pulling on some ridiculously shallow monos in a roof, and then he appeared on Bleau.info
Finally, after several attempts over the years, much thanks to Hannes Huch, I've managed to get in touch with Thomas who agreed to an interview which will be published here shortly.
Until then, here's a video:
Thomas Willenberg is sponsored by: Monkee clothing