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NEWS: Toby Roberts Climbs Hubble (9a)

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 UKC News 27 Oct 2021

16-year-old Toby Roberts has continued his fine run of form by ticking Hubble (9a) at Raven Tor (Miller's Dale), The Peak District.

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 GrahamD 27 Oct 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Is Hubble a route you just "tick" these days ?

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 Andrew Wells 27 Oct 2021
In reply to GrahamD:

9a is very impressive but also not cutting edge these days. I applaud the youth seeing the sacred cows of the past as something to tick (with great satisfaction in all fairness!) and then exceed; that's how standards get pushed.

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In reply to Andrew Wells:

Well Ondra has tried it and still hasn’t managed to get up it…

Safe to say Hubble is still absolutely nails and doing it at 16 is nothing short of incredible.

In reply to UKC News:

Fantastic effort Toby, congratulations on doing such an important route. Great to see your appreciation of the development of British Sport climbing by doing the old “hardest” routes. 
Time to try the wall to the right,! 

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 Andrew Wells 27 Oct 2021
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

Certainly no argument there, a great achievement!

In reply to Shani:

I missed the grading. When did it go to 9a?

What happened to it being an old school 8c+ (which everyone knows is 9a)?

Talk about grade creep .

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 Olaf Prot 27 Oct 2021
In reply to UKC News:

When 9a is not that hard anymore and 8c+ is approaching a rest...

In reply to Ian Dunn:

Too right!

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In reply to UKC News:

Congrats and well done Toby!

Amazing effort!

I have been told that your ascent was  youngest and the fastest!

Wow!

 UKB Shark 28 Oct 2021
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> I missed the grading. When did it go to 9a?

https://moonclimbing.com/News/post/ben-moons-climbing-diary-from-1990-weeks-10-11 

“This grade of E9+ 7b equated to French 8c+. As the years passed by and the routes reputation grew it finally got confirmed by Adam Ondra as 9a or Font 8b+“

Such a quick repeat and so young! Had a chance to congratulate him in person this morning. 

I think it’s great that even after it’s had a couple of ascents with kneepads Toby chose to do it without. It shows respect and I hope it sets the precedent going forward and signals that these things do matter with historical testpieces.

Scarily he’s in danger of running out of routes to do in the UK and the options of new stuff is limited. 

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 McHeath 28 Oct 2021
In reply to UKB Shark:

>It shows respect and I hope it sets the precedent going forward and signals that these things do matter with historical testpieces.

Well said. 

> Scarily he’s in danger of running out of routes to do in the UK and the options of new stuff is limited. 

There's always trad...  

Post edited at 21:30
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 string arms 28 Oct 2021
In reply to UKB Shark:

Brandenberg gate?

 teddy 28 Oct 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Violent New Breed?

In reply to UKB Shark:

I don't remember hearing that Mutation (9a+) had been repeated yet.

Most of the hardest routes to repeat seem to be Steve's, it's about time some UK buck climbed harder than him, I mean he's going to be pensionable soon 😁

In reply to McHeath:

There is that question people love in the climbing world:

What has he ever done on grit?

Apparently a while ago there was a link to a website with LPGs -Last Great Problems -on grit.

Also there were grit route classic test pieces I grades ranging from E5 to E9/E10.

MS

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 Michael Gordon 29 Oct 2021
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

Never say never, but grit's not the first place I'd expect to appeal to a top sport climber turning their hand to trad. Around a decade (?) ago Pete Whittaker went through a spate of cleaning up (climbing) LGPs in the Peak, so you've got to wonder about just how hard/dangerous the ones he didn't do are. 

 Michael Gordon 29 Oct 2021
In reply to Michael Hood:

>Most of the hardest routes to repeat seem to be Steve's, it's about time some UK buck climbed harder than him

Will Bosi looks a strong candidate for that. But then Steve enjoyed the good fortune of having the run of the routes at Malham, and I'm not sure what new options remain?

 Andrew Wells 29 Oct 2021
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

If he's focused on sport climbing then he wouldn't really be doing a lot of grit I imagine.

In reply to UKB Shark:

How much tape can you have on your knee before you call it a kneepad?

I’m joking - cracking ascent and a great answer.

We’ve chatted before a few times, back when you were working Austrian Oak. Reminds me that I need to get fit and jump back on the lime…

In reply to Andrew Wells:

I agree but my reply was a reply to  'there is always trad' - I should have quoted that in reply.

There is Limestone trad climbing.

 Lankyman 29 Oct 2021
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

> There is Limestone trad climbing.

It seems to be out of fashion right now? You don't seem to hear about folks doing the big, dangerous limestone trad like on Blue Scar

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In reply to Lankyman:

I don't.

A lot of sport climbers have also turned their hands to Limestone bouldering - including a certain friend of mine.

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In reply to Michael Hood:

> Most of the hardest routes to repeat seem to be Steve's, it's about time some UK buck climbed harder than him, I mean he's going to be pensionable soon 😁

Tsk, tsk, sexist statement. I should have said "some UK buck or gal". Although there don't appear to be any UK female climbers at that level yet, I shouldn't have discounted the possibility.

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In reply to Michael Gordon:

>Around a decade (?) ago Pete Whittaker went through a spate of cleaning up (climbing) LGPs in the Peak, so you've got to wonder about just how hard/dangerous the ones he didn't do are. 

I think I remember Pete Whittaker t climbing LGPs in The Peak.

I remember watching a YouTube video of him climbing Headless Horseman Arete and one of him climbing Dynamics of Change.

MS 

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 GDes 30 Oct 2021
In reply to UKB Shark:

Presumably everyone trying westbside story should shun bouldering mats and decent climbing shoes then? 

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 Dave Hewitt 30 Oct 2021
In reply to Lankyman:

Should be complements not compliments in the Rockfax intro for that. Near-by is a bit odd too - nothing wrong with nearby.

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 Si dH 30 Oct 2021
In reply to GDes:

> Presumably everyone trying westbside story should shun bouldering mats and decent climbing shoes then? 

And ladders, of course

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 Cusco 30 Oct 2021
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

"There is that question people love in the climbing world:

What has he ever done on grit?"

Mostly, only people from Derbyshire and Yorkshire. The climbing world is a very much bigger and varied place.

As for Toby doing Hubble at 16, what an incredible achievement!

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In reply to Michael Gordon:

There are a lot more lines around than people think, you just need a good eye.

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In reply to Cusco:

> "There is that question people love in the climbing world:

> What has he ever done on grit?"

> Mostly, only people from Derbyshire and Yorkshire. The climbing world is a very much bigger and varied place.

Too right!

> As for Toby doing Hubble at 16, what an incredible achievement!

Too right!

Post edited at 15:44
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In reply to Ian Dunn:

Too right.

You can also create new routes by linking different parts of existing routes?

Am I correct?

> There are a lot more lines around than people think, you just need a good eye.

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 Michael Gordon 31 Oct 2021
In reply to Mountain Spirit:

You could create a new link-up that way. But if no new ground is covered then whether it counts as a fully fledged new route is debatable.

 Michael Gordon 31 Oct 2021
In reply to Ian Dunn:

> There are a lot more lines around than people think, you just need a good eye.

Well possibly, though I'd have thought that finding a new 9b+ wouldn't necessarily be a simple matter.

 JLS 01 Nov 2021
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Maybe not 9b+ but known hard, just sitting waiting…

Free at Last (9a+)

 Cusco 01 Nov 2021
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Maybe not 9b+ but known hard - freeing the old aid route of Ferocity on Ferocity Wall at Ansteys Cove. There may be one or two other very hard direct routes on the same wall between the existing 8s classics.

 Michael Gordon 01 Nov 2021
In reply to JLS:

> Maybe not 9b+ but known hard, just sitting waiting…

That's an interesting one. Must be pretty hard if MacLeod, Robbie Phillips etc haven't done it; surely both of them must've been on it.

In reply to UKB Shark:

> I think it’s great that even after it’s had a couple of ascents with kneepads Toby chose to do it without. It shows respect and I hope it sets the precedent going forward and signals that these things do matter with historical testpieces.

I am conflicted over this. There's doing things in the original style and then there is eliminate climbing. At what point does this grey line get crossed? Toby used a slightly different sequence to Ben. Is that really much different to using a marginal knee scum as per Mat?

 Will Hunt 01 Nov 2021
In reply to UKB Shark:

> I think it’s great that even after it’s had a couple of ascents with kneepads Toby chose to do it without. It shows respect and I hope it sets the precedent going forward and signals that these things do matter with historical testpieces.

Since only Longleat has challenged this I feel compelled to disagree.

Nobody doubts that it's a fantastic effort by Toby - a very quick repeat. Strong young man, chapeau. But there's two points to make.

The first is that his knee is taped and in the video you can see him quite deliberately get some sort of kneebar/scum in (https://www.instagram.com/p/CViuQMuoT-3/). He might not be using a branded rubber pad, but presumably this isn't something that Ben did. Why only complain about kneebars when rubber is used?

Second, complaining about the use of kneebars on historic testpieces is a nonsense and the sooner that these challenges are binned the better. The history of advancing standards in British climbing is the history of technological advancements. Climbing standards tend to advance relatively slowly until somebody comes up with a new piece of kit, or a new practice, at which point things leap forward. Nuts, cams, chalk, sticky rubber etc - all allowed things to be stepped up and led to a new wave of development. There are lots more things I could mention. What we've seen time and again is that while these advances are laying the foundations for the next wave of development they are also making the testpieces of the past easier. To try and argue against that is to order back the tide. Logically speaking you should also be insisting that people don't use protection on Puttrell's testpieces, that people climb with pebbles in their pockets on the hardest routes put up pre-1950s, that people tie on with a bowline round the waist if doing a route from pre-1960.

When it comes to kneepad use: just get over it, and look forward to what this will do to climbing standards in the future.

Post edited at 10:16
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 JLS 01 Nov 2021
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Yeah, it's been looked at, but only by people that are on the cusp of 9a climbing. It would be a big commitment to try to project something that in the end may simply turn out to be a grade or two above what you'll ever be capable of in your lifetime. I think Steve Mac, ruled out purely on a logistics basis. I don't think he fancied the commute from Sheffield.

 Will Hunt 01 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Also, unpopular opinion, but at some point we will have to move on from viewing Hubble as a significant repeat.

Looking at when they were first done, there's as much time between Hubble and now as there is between Hubble (9a) and Western Front (E3 5c)/The Wall of Horrors (E3 6a).

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 GDes 01 Nov 2021
In reply to Will Hunt:

I challenged it too. I does my head in. If you choose to use bad tactics that's your choice, but not something that needs to be commended! 

In reply to Will Hunt:

Yes, but Western Front/ Wall of horrors are both relative paths that 1000s of people could stroll up.

Hubble, despite its age, is still only attainable by a tiny fraction of UK climbers. A testament to how good Ben was perhaps.

Agree on the kneebar point.

Disagree that this isn’t newsworthy - he’s 16 after all - it’s not quite the same as a 20-something cellar dweller managing it.

If we apply the same logic, no women’s ascents would get reported and we’d only hear about (male) euro-wads redpointing 9b+ sport routes.


Edit: it looks like mutation has just got a repeat and everyone is going wild - surely that’s not cutting edge of Hubble isn’t?

Post edited at 17:20
 Will Hunt 01 Nov 2021
In reply to VSisjustascramble:

His age and the speed of the ascent make it more significant - I'm not trying to diss Toby's accent because it's a great effort. I'm just making the point that a 31-year-old bottom-end 9a which has had quite a few ascents now shouldn't really attract huge fanfare nowadays. It's something that the new generation will do on their way to better things, as I'm sure Toby will.

P.S. As an Allan Austin fanboy I'm compelled to point out that not many people do those routes solo, with no chalk, in whatever un-sticky clogs were available in the late '50s!

 Michael Gordon 01 Nov 2021
In reply to above:

Isn't Shark just commending him for doing it without knee pads? He didn't say anything about avoiding knee bars. So it sounds more like an equipment thing rather than avoiding good climbing techniques.

 Si dH 01 Nov 2021
In reply to Will Hunt:

> Also, unpopular opinion, but at some point we will have to move on from viewing Hubble as a significant repeat.

There are quite a few British ascents of 9as apart from Hubble still get reported in the climbing media I think? I don't think it's wrong in any way that people report it as significant if a 16 yo climbs a 9a. However I do think Hubble gets a bit more press than others just because it's Hubble, it's in the UK and for a long time it had a sort of aura of invincibility about it, which is clearly no longer justified given the number of ascents.

Post edited at 18:20
 Cusco 01 Nov 2021
In reply to Will Hunt:

When do we have to move on from viewing ascents of the very much easier Indian Face and Parthian Shot etc from the mid 80s as significant repeats? Or are those different because they're trad and dangerous?

Hubble is iconic and only a very small number have climbed it. There are only a relatively small number of routes of 9a and above in the UK. To me, it's a significant repeat, particularly given that Toby is 16.

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 GDes 01 Nov 2021
In reply to Michael Gordon:

That's the point we're making really I think. Does it need to be commended? Would you commend someone for doing it with rubbish old bendy shoes? Just seems a bit irrelevant to me. Equipment evolves, ultimately helps to improve standards, and eventually it becomes common place. 

In reply to VSisjustascramble:

> Edit: it looks like mutation has just got a repeat and everyone is going wild - surely that’s not cutting edge of Hubble isn’t?

I actually agree with your post. But on this point... Mutation is f*cking nails. Way harder than Hubble. And probably 9b. And also unrepeated until today despite significant effort. It's a blimmin big deal.

 Michael Gordon 01 Nov 2021
In reply to Cusco:

How many have done Hubble now?

With Parthian Shot you've got to bear in mind that the route has changed significantly, making it considerably harder than before, and it's only had three ascents since the flake broke.

In reply to Michael Gordon:

> With Parthian Shot you've got to bear in mind that the route has changed significantly, making it considerably harder than before, and it's only had three ascents since the flake broke.

Not disputing that it's got harder, but is it just less well protected since the flake broke; i.e. bolder, or is it now physically harder to climb; i.e. a harder sequence of moves or less possible to rest, etc?

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In reply to Michael Hood:

Yes less rest, harder to place the gear and more bold. It's up a French grade from 8a+ to 8b I think.

In reply to Cusco:

> Maybe not 9b+ but known hard - freeing the old aid route of Ferocity on Ferocity Wall at Ansteys Cove. There may be one or two other very hard direct routes on the same wall between the existing 8s classics.


There's also freeing 'The Curse (A3)' at Berry head. Trad-wise, we have a now open project over here that's about f8b and E7 just to get to the first gear apparently....

 Denislejeune 08 Nov 2021
In reply to UKC News:

Well done young man. On a historical side note, could someone tell me why the route is called Hubble? 

 Lankyman 08 Nov 2021
In reply to Denislejeune:

> Well done young man. On a historical side note, could someone tell me why the route is called Hubble? 

Was it the Hubble space telescope that Ben Moon had in mind? It went into orbit in 1990, same year as the FA.

In reply to Cusco:

> When do we have to move on from viewing ascents of the very much easier Indian Face and Parthian Shot etc from the mid 80s as significant repeats? Or are those different because they're trad and dangerous?

> Hubble is iconic and only a very small number have climbed it. There are only a relatively small number of routes of 9a and above in the UK. To me, it's a significant repeat, particularly given that Toby is 16.

Is Indian Face very much easier as an overall proposition? I reckon if a 16 year old climbed Indian Face it would be very newsworthy.

Very well done to Toby for his ascent.

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