Ben Moon climbs second 9a!
- Tuesday 9th June 2015
Congratulations to Ben Moon who has climbed his second 9a, Rainshadow at Malham, twenty-five years after climbing the world's first 9a, Hubble at Raven Tor. Ben broke the news last night on his Twitter account:
Just climbed my 2nd 9a 25 years after my 1st. Rainshadow 4th ascent. Fxxxxxx psyched!!— Ben Moon (@moonclimbing) June 8, 2015
Ben, who celebrates his forty-ninth birthday at the weekend, becomes only the fourth person to climb Rainshadow (after first ascensionist Steve McClure, and Adam Ondra and Jordan Buys) and joins a small group of British climbers who have climbed multiple routes at the grade.
He famously made the first ascent of Hubble, which was originally graded 8c+, on 14 June 1990. Renowned for its difficulty, the route was finally officially upgraded to 9a for the new Peak Limestone guidebook, making it the first of the grade in the world.
Having taken a break from climbing for a few years following the first ascent of Voyager Sit-Start at Burbage in the Peak District, he found the pull of climbing too strong and started ticking away - and training - again.
Here's a short extract from Statement, Ed Douglas's biography of Ben, where Ben talks about Rainshadow:
After finishing the low start to Voyager, Ben had thought he was more or less done with climbing, at least at an elite level. With a business to run and a young child, long periods of travel were no longer possible and there didn’t seem to be a project in the Peak District that inspired him in the same way. Andy [Cave] says Ben would turn up at the wall for a Christmas get-together, having not climbed for months, and still burn everyone off. He followed Jerry’s example and did some surfing, but his attachment to climbing finally proved too strong and he made the decision to take it more seriously again. It’s quite hard to turn your back on something that made sense to you as a seven-year-old. It’s not that Ben necessarily has regrets; it’s more he senses some potential deep inside that he hasn’t yet exploited.
‘What do you want to climb? If you could have one or two routes what would they be?’
He nods up at Mutation. ‘It’s such a beautiful piece of rock,’ he says, and the fierce crux would suit him. ‘Or Rainshadow at Malham. That looks a brilliant route.’ He adds quietly: ‘Steve was the man.’
He says: ‘I want to climb 9a, although I’m starting to doubt a little whether I can. My lifestyle isn’t quite sorted out yet. Nic [Sellars] said I would. Apparently Steve [Lewis] told Zippy I should be climbing 9c, I’m that strong.’ He laughs at this.
‘It seems likely, you did 9a already.’
‘Yeah, maybe,’ he admits, but doesn’t sound totally at ease with that idea.
As Ben himself quoted from Colin Kirkus at his book launch in March, 'once a climber, always a climber'.