Toni Lamprecht, the man who has given us so many hard routes and boulder problems over the years, many of which, for example Bokassa's fridge - Assassin, monkey or man, ~8C+, remain unrepeated, has now, aged 43, tied in again and made the first ascent of Black flag, 8c/9a, at Kochel in southern Germany.
A new heavy route on the Rocky-Wand in Kochel. Many days of work. So long and so hard, the crux after so many meters... .
Does one not know already those phrases too well?
However, what does that route make so special? The name? The degree of difficulty? Maybe it is only something special for first ascentionist?
Quite possible, because the route "Black Flag" could be seen almost as some sort of nearly romantic relationship between a piece of rock and its "coming into midlife- age"-equipper.
Still a good 5 years ago nobody would have even thought about one more worthwhile new
route on the wall. Never mind 35 m long!
And also nobody would have supposed, that Toni would exchange his beloved bouldering-pad permanently for a rope – to try some abstract sequences at 30-m height. But things can change and it comes often differently than one thinks.
Timewarp into the past: In 2012 Toni stands actually already somewhere before his retirement as the leading climber of Kochel and is about to leave the local hemispheres after more than 25 years of successful bolting.
Exactly at that time "Black Flag" comes into play:
Inspired by the younger generation of climbers Toni is suddenly as hungry as 20 years before and has a vision of a route in the central and upper part of the wall. The first bolts were placed and the moves explored - however, every move appeared to be at the limit, because after nearly 2 years of constant non-severe-bouldering the "Bull of Kochel" seemed double time handicaped, wearing not only less hair on the head, but also having considerably less power than lard in the arms than before.
But "Black Flag" seemed, at least for Kochel, an absolute unique route, giving Toni the important boost of motivation. The upper central part of the route requires the whole repertoire of modern climber's art: from the fully outstretched move, rapidly thrown out dynos, wild compression, up to sensitive indurance climbing at the top. Everything is found here.
After many months and endless climbing days the rock does not pay attention properly, and the "Black flag" is finally conquered by Toni in a dramatic showdown.
Nice route, nice name, everything well? At the end only the question is left whether the route would become even better and more difficult with a harder direct start. The entire combination is still a project, and therefore this riddle remains unsolved. Unless one of the youngsters solves it. Or Toni by himself – if he wants to!
Climbing wise he seems to keep it like the pirates and their sign of the black flag. Everybody knows what they want ...