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16-year-old British rock climber Toby Roberts repeating Hubble, the milestone sport climb established by Ben Moon in 1990 at Raven Tor, England.
Photo by Toby Roberts archive
Ben Moon climbing Hubble, his masterpiece at Raven Tor, England first ascended in 1990
Photo by Steve Lewis
Ben Moon making the first ascent of Hubble at Raven Tor, England, in 1990: the world's first 8c+, possibly even the world's first 9a
Photo by Ben Moon archive

Toby Roberts repeats Hubble at Raven Tor in England

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16-year-old British rock climber Toby Roberts has repeated Hubble, the milestone sport climb established by Ben Moon in 1990 at Raven Tor, England.

Beyond the UK borders Toby Roberts isn't currently an international household name but the 16-year-old Brit is fast transforming into one of climbing's rising stars, thanks also to his fast repeat of one of the most important power tests out there, Hubble at Raven Tor.

Freed by Ben Moon in mid-1990 and celebrated as the world's first 8c+, over the years this "boulder on a rope" as it has often been described has seen less than a dozen redpoints, feeding speculation that it may well be 9a instead of 8c+. Which, should this be the case, would certainly rocket Moon's already amazing performance into a completely different realm.

Roberts has been powering his way through the grades at an impressive pace, redpointing his first 8a in 2015 aged just 10, his first 8b in 2016 aged 11, his first 8c in 2020 aged 15 and his first 9a later that year. Earlier this month he sent his first 9a/+, Steve McClure's Batman at Malham Cove and after this 30+ meter line he decided to change the playing field entirely and try his luck once again on Moon's milestone. After two sessions last year had been stopped short due to finger injury,  this autumn only another 3 sessions were needed for the tick.

For those interested in details, Roberts opted against using the recently found kneebar and kneepad, telling planetmountain.com "I thought it’s cool to do it the way it was first done." By Ben Moon, 31 years ago.

TOPO: climbing at the crag Raven Tor, England

Toby Roberts significant ascents
2015 Raindogs 8a, Malham Cove aged 10
2016 Revelations 8b, Raven Tor, aged 11
2020 Make it Funky 8c, Raven Tor, aged 15
2020 Rainshadow 9a, Malham Cove aged 15
2021 Batman 9a/+, Malham Cove aged 16
2021 Hubble 8c+/9a, Raven Tor, aged 16

Hubble, Raven Tor, Peak District, England, UK
First ascent: 
Ben Moon, 14/06/1990
Repeats: 
Malcolm Smith (1992), John Gaskins (1994), Steve Dunning, Richard Simpson (2005, disputed), Steve McClure (2009), Alexander MegosWilliam Bosi (2016), Pete Dawson (2019), Mathew Wright (2020), Buster Martin (2020), Toby Roberts (2021)
Notes: Hailed as the world's first 8c+, it is increasingly considered more difficult than 8c+ and consequently quite possibly the world’s first 9a.

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Two of Britain's most emblematic sport routes, Hubble 8c+ at Raven Tor and Liquid Ambar 8c at Lower Pen Trwyn, have recently been repeated by Steve McClure and Pete Robins respectively. The two climbs in question were established in 1990 by none other than Ben Moon and Jerry Moffatt and in many ways marked the highlight of their careers.

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