/ NEWS: Is Hubble The World's First 9a?

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UKC News - on 13 Jan 2012
Ben Moon on his historic ascent of Hubble 8c+, 4 kbAdam Ondra recently mentioned in an interview that Hubble might be 9a.

Is it the world's first 9a?

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=66038

In reply to UKC News:
Of course it is, everyone knows it, but it's simply the 'Steve The Pro' patented UK grade cruncher in action....And it works like this: it's always better to have done a 7c that's impossible than an 8a that's Ok for the grade.
It's simply not the done thing to admit anythings hard in the UK and especially at the Tor - anything i did at the Tor was always 'easy' (not that i did anything hard - before the comments start LOL).
And if you read between the lines of what Steve says about it being Font 8b and do the Font / Sport maths = Hubble 9a
Ben was at the height of his powers at the time and is simply one of the best climbers ever...#bringithome LOL
jon on 13 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News:

> (...) After that there is a breather before a relatively easy section, still around F7c+ and very drop-able.

Indeed, I watched BM fluff that very move having done the lower sction fine.
Michael Ryan - on 13 Jan 2012
In reply to Richie Patterson, Wild Country:
> (In reply to UKC News)

> Of course it is, everyone knows it.....

You can never know for sure. Such is the nature of climbing grades. We'd all like to think that we can be certain of a grade, but it is not as if they are measured by a stop watch or tape measure.

They are opinions based on comparisons to other climbs we have done, and the grades of those climbs are also opinions. That's what makes climbing grades so interesting and debatable.

Mick
Land and Sky Media - on 13 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News: I nipped up Hubble a couple of days ago, its defo a bit stiff for the grade.
MattDTC on 13 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News:
Well if "it isn't by any means easier than Action Directe" and Action Direct is benchmark 9a.....
Plus Adam is not exactly known for his soft grading.

And lets not forget to take a bow at the 'shrine of Malc';
"I didn't do one move, a match of the underclings where Scottish climber Malcolm Smith could even chalk up for the camera of Heinz Zak!"

Beast.
jacobjlloyd - on 13 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News: Compelling stuff! Got the love the climbing tabloids. Brilliant pub talk fodder : ) So who has done Hubble then? Anybody care to venture a complete list? I didn't realise Dave Graham had been on it. He did it I assume?
Peter Walker on 13 Jan 2012
In reply to jacobjlloyd: He didn't do it. Conditions weren't favourable though, I recall the reports saying.

Done by Moon, Smith, Gaskins, Dunning, McClure and (dare I say it) Simpson.
Wee Davie - on 13 Jan 2012
In reply to Peter Walker:

Was Simpson's ascent ever verified, or does this one get filed under the Action Directe and mile claims?
I liked the kudos Ondra gave to Malcolm Smith for his ability to chalk on the crux. Doesn't surprise me- he's the most impressive climber I've ever seen.
stvey - on 13 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Are there any videos out there of any of the ascentionists doing it ?? Don't think I have ever come across one.
andy farnell - on 13 Jan 2012
In reply to stvey: There's one of Ste Mac doing it. Somewhere.

Andy F
samoflak - on 13 Jan 2012
would love to see a vid
ericinbristol - on 13 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Apparently Dave Graham thought it was F9a:

http://blog.keithsharplesphotography.co.uk/blog/_archives/2009/8/11/4284542.html

"Word on the street from those that have been on both Hubble and Action Direct, Wolfgang Gullich’s infamous Frankenjura test-piece of the same era, is that they are of comparable difficulty. Curiously however, Action Direct has been elevated to F9a whilst Hubble has retained Moon’s original F8c+ grade. Dave Graham, who has been on a hard route or two including Action Direct, thought Hubble to be worth F9a when he tried it last autumn. (Here's a link to my blog entry of Dave's visit to Raven Tor back in the autumn of last year - http://blog.keithsharplesphotography.co.uk/blog/Climbing/_archives/2008/10/16/3932489.html) Only time and more repeats, especially from our overseas cousins, will perhaps tell. Until then, who knows..."
remus - on 13 Jan 2012
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qWyMBmvNYs

Can't imagine there's much difference.
stvey - on 13 Jan 2012
In reply to andy farnell:

After a quick search around on google it appears there was one, filmed by Ben Pritchard I believe. Unfortunately all of the links I tried with the video embedded / linked from said the film had been removed :-( I had a quick look on Ben's vimeo account too but no luck although some other good bits of footage there.

Let me know if you find it out there on the world wide web....anyone...
cha1n on 13 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Not 100% sure and I can't check because I've lent it to someone, but I think 80s the birth of the extreme has Ben climbing hubble on it. Like has been said, it didn't look like three most inspiring line!
Phil Murray - on 13 Jan 2012
I have 80s Birth of Extreme DVD and yes there's Ben doing Hubble on it, but i think it's dubbed in Welsh! they freeze frame what I assume is the notorious UK 7b crux move.... it's a short clip but worth it.

Having also got Welsh Connections on DVD, it's interesting to compare the great struggle (and excellent success) of Pete Robins on Liquid Ambar 8c - but then on the 80s Extreme videoclip, Jerry just cruises up that route approx 20 years earlier! And in garish lycra! Awesome.

I believe Hubble is 9a.
doylo - on 14 Jan 2012
In reply to Phil Murray:

Yes but the Jerry footage is blatantly an edited ascent for the camera. They got the Pete ascent on film. Jerry was defo miles stronger though and didn't need heelhooks ;)
Michael Ryan - on 14 Jan 2012
In reply to doylo:

Great post by Rupert Davies at 8a.nu in answer to Jens' theory that Hubble and Action Direct were 9a because....

"the top old-school climbers spent much more time specializing and optimizing for just one insanely hard red-point project" and that "Most modern top climbers of today, instead, travel around the world doing as many routes in different styles as possible."

Rupert wrote in reply:

"I think you do Ben Moon and other climbers from that period a massive disservice to suggest that the only reason they climbed hard was through being very specialised.

Hubble was done in 1990, the same year as Liquid Ambar, an 8c from Jerry Moffatt that is now thought to be 8c+, that Ben quickly repeated. Prior to doing these, Ben had established Agincourt and Maginot Line, 8cs in different styles in France. He was also placing highly in competitions. He had repeated, up to that date, all the hardest routes in france. Within the next few years he repeated Bronx and Super Plafond stating at the time that they were a grade easier than Hubble.

Jerry, who had just done Liquid Ambar in 1989/1990 was also arguably the worlds best all rounder, winning World Cups, and climbing hard trad routes as well as establishing the hardest sport routes. Jerry had travelled worldwide. He had flashed the hardest trad routes in America.

The other world leader at this time, Wolfgang Gullich, was also extensively travelled. He had established the hardest route in Australia (Punks - repeated by Jerry), soloed Seperate Reality, and went on to establish some of the hardest big wall free routes in Patagonia.

These were all climbers with a traditional climbing background that were, or had been, involved in almost every style of free climbing worldwide. That's not to say that they didn't train specifically for the hardest routes, but that is really no different to Sharma spending years on Realization/Biographie or FRFM."

Brilliant post Rupert.
Michael Ryan - on 14 Jan 2012
To me this opens up even more questions.

If Ondra thinks Hubble and Action Direct are 9a, Liquid Ambar is 8c+ (the first), the Hubers Om 9a from 1992, Weisse Rose 9a in 1994 and Open Air 9a+ done in 1996......and all these routes have had very few repeats.....what are the benchmark routes that the newer 9a's are graded in comparison too?

Or, if a climber establishes a 9a or harder, and give it that grade, should they have not repeated some of the above first: Hubble, Action Direct, Om, Weisse Rose and Open Air first. Ondra being the only climber to have success on 'most' of these.

It also focuses on the nebulous nature of who gets credit for the breakthrough to a particular grade.

Ben has had to wait 20 years!!!!

Mick
Calder - on 14 Jan 2012
In reply to Phil Murray:
>
> ...but then on the 80s Extreme videoclip, Jerry just cruises up that route approx 20 years earlier! And in garish lycra! Awesome.

So where can I get a rope that pink?! I really want one.

conorcussell - on 14 Jan 2012
Calder - on 14 Jan 2012
In reply to conorcussell:

Awesome. Why on earth would anyone buy 'olive drab'?!!!
Al Evans on 15 Jan 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC: Most hard climbs, pre-sport days even, often take quite a few years to get their true status established. A huge number of routes were undergraded for quite a while (as an example, Propeller Wall at Ilkley, given VS and now a serious E4 or something). Eventually most things will get their true status, it just probably takes a bit longer if its vying for hardest route in the world.
dan - on 15 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News: There has been talk of it being 9a for 20 years, back then "9" was almost taboo if you know what i mean, it's just not had enough accents to get a good concensus, it would be great if it was up graded, tle likes of Ben and jerry helped mould modern climbing as it is today
AKD - on 16 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News:
Interestingly enough, in "A life in the vertical", is somehow stated the opposite... By no means I'm trying to spoil anything, but the Wolfgang Güllich biography written by Tilmann Hepp, besides saying that Action Directe was called grade XI (which translated at the time to either hard 8c+ or low 9a), says that it was tried by Ben that (and now I'll be quoting from memory, since I'm in the process of moving and I have all my books in boxes) in "typical english/british sportsmanship said that Action Directe was more difficult" or something like that. It also states that Ben was quite close to repeating it, but that he hurt one of his fingers.
Anyhow, I've read also (many years ago) the opposite from Ben, as him saying that they (AD and H) were both of similar difficulty, but it was already "Internet era" and also egos may play a role in there as well...
I'm not trying to take anything from a huge climber like Ben Moon, but only avoiding the jump into the bandwagon and contributing with more info as well. (excuse my English as it's not my first language)
progrupicola - on 16 Jan 2012
In reply to AKD: Yes in the Gullich's biography you can read that Ben Moon and Jerry Moffat confirmed the extreme difficulty of Action Directe and then it goes to say (supposedly by Moon); ''Surely it's the hardest route in the world,i can imagine it being 9a, i'll rate it 8c+/9a minimum, at this moment i can't valuate exactly this magnificent achievement.'' also saying that Moon was very close to succeed but have to leave it because his finger injuries.
Well, i think Moon was very polite in compliment and easily both routes could be on the same difficulty and going down to the isolated movements this routes still are cutting edge.Respect
Matt250 on 16 Jan 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:

This amused me

'...Ben had established Agincourt and Maginot Line...'
paul__in_sheffield - on 16 Jan 2012
In reply to Peter Walker:
> (In reply to jacobjlloyd) He didn't do it. Conditions weren't favourable though, I recall the reports saying.
>
> Done by Moon, Smith, Gaskins, Dunning, McClure and (dare I say it) Simpson.

Makes you wonder what the consensus grade for Violent New Breed would be if anyone else could get up it?
USBRIT - on 17 Jan 2012
In reply to UKC News: I don't think he took a good running start.
Graham Hoey - on 18 Jan 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:
>
>
> These were all climbers with a traditional climbing background....

I'll vouch for that, I once met Ben on Cloggy when he was a young lad!
Fattboyy - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to Graham Hoey: Hubble will never be the first 9a in the world , it's just REALLY hard for 8c+ , it's a lot nicer that way , in typical fine hard British grade fashion. Why spoil a whole era of sand bags?? Do you want to turn into pack of sorties like the French???

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