Is Hubble The World's First 9a?

© Ben Moon
Ben Moon on his historic ascent of Hubble 9a
Planet Mountain have a fantastic interview with Adam Ondra about the routes he has failed on. One of those routes is the Raven Tor test-piece Hubble, first climbed by Ben Moon back in 1990 and graded 8c+.

The route has seen only a handful of repeats in the last 22 years, and despite a couple of visits, Adam Ondra hasn't managed a clean ascent.

Adam commented on Planet mountain:

"The world's first 8c+, which could be easily even 9a in my opinion. It is not the most inspiring line, it seems more like a boulder problem with a rope and easier topout, but one must admit that it is of revolutionary difficulty for its time and I believe that it isn't by any means easier than Action Directe, the world's first 9a established a year later..."

Steve McClure, one of the UK's top climbers repeated Hubble in the summer of 2009 and commented to UKC:

"If it was a boulder problem it would be Font 8B. It is a boulder problem really, it just needs a rope. It's only about 7 hand movements, 9 if you're short. After that there is a breather before a relatively easy section, still around F7c+ and very drop-able."

More Hubble photos - including Niall Grimes (But did he do it!? ;-)

Steve McClure climbing Hubble F8c+  © Keith Sharples
Steve McClure climbing Hubble F8c+
© Keith Sharples
Dave Graham on Hubble 8c+, Raven Tor, The Peak District  © Keith Sharples
Dave Graham on Hubble 8c+, Raven Tor, The Peak District
© Keith Sharples and Ben doing Hubble....  © JM, BM, NG and Ben doing Hubble....
© JM, BM, NG
The line of Hubble (8c+) at Raven Tor.  © Alan James
The line of Hubble (8c+) at Raven Tor.
© Alan James

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13 Jan, 2012
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
13 Jan, 2012
Indeed, I watched BM fluff that very move having done the lower sction fine.
13 Jan, 2012
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
13 Jan, 2012
) 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?
13 Jan, 2012
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.
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