Lamprecht's Hardest Problem: In His Own Words

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Courtesy of Udini.de

Courtesy of Udini.de

The superb all-arounder Toni Lamprecht has climbed his hardest boulder problem—and perhaps the hardest in Germany—with the first ascent of Assassin, Monkey and Man (ungraded) at Kochel in Bavaria.

Lamprecht, 36, has previously put up 5.14d sport climbs, V14/15 boulder problems, and multipitch traditional and bolted routes from Europe to the Bugaboos, and Greenland to Madagascar. After nearly two years away from bouldering, he set out to “complete” the hardest boulder problem on Kochel’s smooth limestone, his own Bokassa’s Fridge (V15), by adding a sit start and a highball finish.

During the evening of April 9, during a warm, dry foehn wind, Lamprecht succeeded by headlamp. Here’s his description of what became Assassin, Monkey and Man:

“After completing the highball finish, There's Something in My Bedroom (V12), in January, I started to work the lower part. Soon I found out that the crux would be to [arrive] as fresh as possible into the hard part of Bokassa’s Fridge after doing six moves more before. As the weeks passed, I tried the sequences again and again, until I could do the whole boulder problem with two to three rests [at the] beginning of March. Another four weeks of trying and changing methods, after a total of 36 days of trying and working the eight-meter-long prow, I got the big chance. On a perfect day, with a strong wind to improve the grip on the frictionless limestone, I started in the already diminished daylight to make a last try—with success: By the assistance of four headlamps, six crash pads and the dry, stormlike conditions, I finished the climb and did the first ascent of Assassin, Monkey and Man in the evening of April 9.

Courtesy of Udini.de

Courtesy of Udini.de

“Facts: Assassin, Monkey and Man is an eight-meter-long prow on the base of a climbing cliff (Altantiswand) in Kochel. The overhanging and polished limestone allow the climber to show all his skills, from blind dynos over sloper-compression to tricky heel- and toe-hook work. After six “easy” but athletic moves on the sit start, there follows the seven-moves-long crux part. Leaving the hardest moves, you slap up the top part of the prow with another 12 body-eating and desperate moves, until you reach a big jug and easier ground. Twenty-five moves in total combine an 8b+ (V14) with an 8a+ (V12) part to an ultimate body-tension festival, which guarantees a full-body workout and a high-purple head color.

“Gradings from a personal point of view: To describe the effort put into an ascent like [this], there could be used sentences like, ‘This is the hardest climb that I know’ or ‘my hardest boulder,’ with true correctness, but used and heard too many times. So what to do? Grade it 8a, 8b, 8c, or more? No grade at all? Or a description instead like, "Please try it, it’s good, and doesn’t bite at all” or “crazy stuff,” combined with a personal guided tour for good friends? I would call it harder than the other boulders in Kochel, but does that mean it can be measured with all the other hard stuff out there, that I haven’t even seen nor touched? In respect of certain really strong guys that haven’t graded harder than 8c (V15) to stop the inflation of the grades, there would be no way to call it harder than 8c (V15) anyway. To call it less would mean to downgrade other problems I did in the past and frustrate others. I simply take the easiest solution and call it “hard.” The exact number after this four-letter word should be filled by more experienced boulders in the future, that are welcomed to try it anytime!

“More important is that Assassin, Monkey and Man, even without an exact number, marks a new step for me, which I only could reach by copying the desperate motivation of the young generation. So thanks a lot to all the energy-loaded folks out there who made this possible!!!”

Bokassa’s Fridge, by the way, is named after a German independent punk band. Assassin, Monkey and Man is the band’s second album.

See video of Lamprecht attempting Assassin, Monkey and Man on March 20, as well as a nighttime video of him sending the full problem on April 9, at Udini.de.

Date of Ascent: April 9, 2008

Sources: Toni Lamprecht, Udini.de, Arcteryx.com

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