In 2014 he took a break from sport climbing to take a three-week trip to Yosemite where he made a two-day ascent of the Nose (5.9 C2, 31 pitches) and an ascent of the Regular North West Face of Half Dome (5.9 C1, 23 pitches). He also ticked the infamous Astroman (5.11c, 10 pitches, onsight), Rostrum North Face (5.11c) with the Alien Finish (5.12b) and a handful of single-pitch Valley trad test pieces like Separate Reality (5.12a) and Crimson Cringe (5.12b).
In 2016, back in the Frankejura, Thomas climbed another 8c, Odd Fellows. In September 2017 he sent The Last Rights (8c+) and then, two months later, his first 9a, Markus Bock’s fierce 30-move Elder Statesman. In spring the following year Thomas claimed a second 9a, The Essential, on his sixth try of the day.
Shortly before his second 9a, in November 2017, Thomas visited Ulassai, Sardinia, and made the first ascents of several new sport lines, ranging from 7a to 8a, two of which he cleaned and bolted. It was also on this trip that an open project caught Thomas’ attention.
“It looked very blank,” says Thomas, “but the line was simply amazing. I worked on it quite a few days, figuring out the single sequences. Although it soon was clear I would never be able to climb it during this trip, I was so fascinated that I simply kept on figuring out the single moves and to link sequences.”
A year on and no one had claimed the route. Thomas returned to Ulassai in December 2018 and, building on his efforts the previous year, made the first ascent of Un gusto della liberta. He graded the route 9a.
“In the beginning I felt the pressure of my expectations and also everyone watching,” says Thomas, “but soon I simply was enjoying every section I climbed and every serious try I did. I think it was a major part of the success that I did enjoy the process and the climbing a lot and forgot about everything else for a moment. And then everything came together and I was at the anchor and just realized then what I achieved in the whole process.”