Youngest Ascent of Raindogs 8a for 10 year-old Toby Roberts

10 year-old Toby Roberts from Guildford has become the youngest Brit to climb 8a in the UK by making the youngest ascent to date of the classic Raindogs at Malham Cove​.

Toby setting off on Raindogs with Ian Dunne giving guidance, 217 kb
Toby setting off on Raindogs with Ian Dunne giving guidance
© Tristian Roberts

Writing in his blog, Toby described his motivation for the project:

"I always want to climb hard and never give up if I know it can be done and I wanted to climb an outdoor 8a – my first serious outdoor project. There are lots in the UK but most of them have big spans and reaches – possibly too big for me at the moment but I knew Raindogs was a very famous route and a very hard 8a but knew it was also within my reach. I asked my Dad if we could go there for me to have a look and we did for a weekend in August."

Having tried the route, Toby was keen to devote more time to Raindogs and his father Tristian booked accomodation for Toby's half-term October holiday:

"We had the cottage for a week and on the last Saturday I was so close to the chains but I didn’t have anything left for that day. I knew I could do it so begged Dad to find somewhere else to stay – I didn’t want to go home until I grabbed those chains! We drove around and eventually found a Travelodge in Skipton, not exactly 5* but it had a Burger King!"

The following day, after tickling the chains on his first attempt Toby finally managed to grab them  - as it is customary to do so on Raindogs to earn the tick - on his second go to the sound of applause from onlookers and supporters at the crag.

Toby with a celebratory Chocolate Orange given to him by an onlooker at the crag!, 191 kb
Toby with a celebratory Chocolate Orange given to him by an onlooker at the crag!
© Tristian Roberts

Pondering his next big goal of 8a+/b, Toby wrote:

"I’m not sure yet what it will be – but I already can’t wait for my next challenge although I know the weather is bad now so maybe I can get Dad to take me to Spain or Greece. Thank you to everybody who made this possible for me especially my Dad."

In June this year, Toby came 2nd in the international Youth Color Climbing Festival in Imst, Austria (UKC News Report.)

Toby's coach and belayer on Raindogs Ian Dunne told UKC:

"Toby is a potential star in the future, with his second place in Imst despite being in the bottom of his category and now an 8a at 10 - a great year for him. I was so impressed by his cool, calm approach to hard redpointing and how he dealt with the stress and nerves. A cool kid in more ways than one!"

11 year-old Josh Ibbertson held the previous record on Raindogs, and also climbed three 8a's in Spain at age 10. (UKC News Report).

Watch a video of Toby's time on Raindogs below:

Read more on Toby's blog.

Toby is a member of the Craggy Island Youth Climbing Team.

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