Hubble 9a by Pete Dawson

Pete Dawson has climbed his second 9a with an ascent of the historic Hubble 9a at Raven Tor. Last summer, Pete ticked his first of the grade: of Rainshadow 9a at Malham Cove (UKC news).

Pete Dawson trying hard on Hubble 9a.   © Jonathan Bean
Pete Dawson trying hard on Hubble 9a.
© Jonathan Bean

Hubble was first climbed by Ben Moon back in 1990 and was declared the world's first 8c+ at the time. However, it later became apparent that the route was far harder than originally thought and it is now considered to be the world's first 9a.

Pete told UKC:

'I first tried Hubble in November last year. I did all the moves on my first session but only just. I thought I would be able to link them pretty quickly. I was so wrong. The famous 'English 7B' match on the two undercuts was the hardest move and it was immediately followed by three moves culminating in a hideous slap. It was really unforgiving, if I placed a foot wrong or my hips sagged or my pinky didn't quite settle right I'd fall. Linking it was way beyond anything I'd climbed so far.'

Pete Dawson climbs his second 9a: Hubble.   © Emma Dawson
Pete Dawson climbs his second 9a: Hubble.
© Emma Dawson

Pete kept improving through spring and early summer to the point where he felt it could go any session, until the final move of the crux - a hideous slap - stopped him in his tracks. 'Getting to that move was hard and doing it seemed impossible,' he commented. Despite the warm summer conditions, Pete continued to make progress. His successful attempt, however, was somewhat underwhelming. Pete explained:

'Yesterday I was really nervous because I'd tickled the final crimp the previous Saturday. I knew it was on during my warm up go. I was able to float through the final moves of the boulder. This came as a bit of a surprise as I'd struggled so much previously and thought that maybe it would come easily. I proceeded to fall off the match twice more, like a total beginner who gets overexcited. This calmed me down and I was able to climb smoothly through the crux. Shockingly I didn't struggle, which felt kind of weird. I'd expected it to be an all out battle. This left me wondering if I'd actually done it, but it sunk in that I'd absolutely nailed it when Matt Wright congratulated me from the ground. It was an ace evening!'

Pete has accumulated a number of routes in the high 8s - including 8c+ ticks at Anstey's Cove and in Spain in the last couple of years. Having now made another step in consolidating his level at 9a, Pete plans to get stuck into Mutation 9a, also at Raven Tor, to work towards a third of the grade.


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Pete is a top British sport climber having ticked many hard testpieces including Rainshadow, Hubble and Sea of Tranquillity.

Peter's Athlete Page 8 posts



7 Aug

Well done Pete

7 Aug

Some forearms on this lad!!! (see first pic)

7 Aug

Think it's two arms that look like one at a casual glance. Then again, maybe you need such Popeye type appendages to climb 9a. Top effort though no matter what size his arms actually are!

8 Aug

Thank god for that I was blown away :')

8 Aug

Good effort, now looking at Mutation?

Has this had a second ascent?

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