BD athlete Toni Lamprecht makes an 8a multi-pitch first ascent in France's Verdon Gorge
During August/September 2009, Black Diamond athlete Toni Lamprecht teamed up with Uli Strunz and Benno Wagner and spent several weeks in the Gorge du Verdon with the target to establish a first ascent on one of the amazing limestone walls in this area in the south of France. The result is Le Vieux et la Mer ("Old Man and the Sea"), with seven pitches up to 8a. Le Vieux et la Mer is one of the nicest and most beautiful first ascents of Toni, the "old" German pioneer, who had this project in his mind for several years, but finally caught the "big fish" this summer. Here is what Toni had to say about the climb:
"If you ever climb a route in the Sektotr Ula in the Gorge du Verdon there's no way not to
look at the beautiful, blank looking pillar to the right. And so did I, and got soon involved in
finding a climbable line in the sea of grey rock. I rappelled several times into the overhanging
maze of unclimbable looking stone, until I finally found the only free-climable line: a serpent-
like-creeping-way up on little, tiny edges and pockets. A present, which waited for the one to
pick it the first. That was in summer 2008, and I swore to myself to come back one year later.
And so it happened that exactly a year after seeing the crucial way, we started to boulder in the hard pitches to find the solution. We, a team of different climbers: Uli Strunz, the dreadlook-wapponed skiny mover, Benno Wagner, the Young Gun and myself, Toni, the "Old Fox". A good mixture of different skills from jumar-power, drinking and partying skills (not to forget the fanatic climbing abilities) that promised success – and so it happened that a few weeks later we redpointed the last missing pitch of our new route Le Vieux et le Mer (6b, 7a+, 8a/b, 8a, 6a, 7a, 7c+, 7a)... the nicest fish I've ever caught out of the grey-blue sea of rock."