Ben Moon hardest climb “Rainshadow 9a” since Hubble in 1990 + Interview

 

Ben9A

El llegendari Ben Moon encadena Rainshadow 9a a Malham Cave. Aquesta es la 4ª ascenció desprès de Steve McClure equipes la linia l’any 2003. Des d’aleshores la via ha sigut repetida per Adam Ondra el 2011 i Jordan Buys el 2012. La via s’ha convertit un clàssic de l’escola, una obra mestra que creua tota la cova per la seva part més desplomada. Ben Moon, amb 48 anys ens explica l’ascenció detallada al seu blog Moon climbing blog

La via comença en la ja clàssica Raindogs 8a, continua per una extensió que ens porta directament a un boulder de 8a Font a la part més desplomada i a continuació una part final de 8a+. Ben ha estat treballant la via durant 6 setmanes avans d’encadenar-la. Ens explica ” Em vaig donar un plaç de 6 setmanes per encadenar la via i si no ho aconseguia marxava cap a casa i ja tornaría més endavant. Però just avans de finalitzar les 6 setmnaes, 2 dies avans mes concretament l’aconsegueixo encadenar!”

Desprès d’un altre intent sense èxit, caient passat el bloc, Ben es va centrar. “Em vaig estirar al sol, vaig tancar els ulls i vaig recòrrer lentaments els 60 moviments que em portarien a cadena. Prop de la cadena em notaría inflat però amb la capacitat de encadenarla. 1 hora més tard, vaig tornar a peu de via i la vaig encadenar. Em sentia fort, fluid, una mica inflat a la part superior de la via però sempre sota control. No m’ho podia creure. La millor i més dura que he fet mai, definitivament.”

La “Millor” i la més “Dura” són paraules que venint de Ben Moon es tornen molt potents…Els anys 80 i 90, Moon estava al capdavant de l’escalada de dificultat al regne unit i a nivell global. Les seves linies de 8c a França, Maginot Line a Volx i Agincourt a Buoux eren referents mundials de la dificultat.

Una breu entrevista a continuació:

Ben és més conegut per la seva ascenció de Hubble a Raven Tor, UK. Quan la va encadenar l’any 1990, la va graduar de 8c+. Era la primera via d’aquesta dificultat al món. Des d’aleshores la via de boulder amb corda ha rebut molt poques repeticions. Per Adam Ondra i molts altres que l’han provat, la via podría ser fàcilment graduada com a 9a! Això la convertiría en el primer 9a del món, un any avans que Wolfgang Güllich encadenès la mítica Action Directe.

ben moon hubble

Ben Moon on Hubble. Photo by Steve Lewis. © Steve Lewis

En Boulder, Ben va ser un referent realitzant ascencions molt dures per tot el món. Les seves ascencions més conegudes són a America com Black Lung (V13/8b) at Joe’s Valley, Utah. També ha sigut un pioner en aspectes com l’entrenament, desenvolupant el seu sistema Moon Board.

Ben Moon amb 48 anys, seguiex demostrant que està al capdavant de l’èlit d’escaladors de dificultat amb l’ascenció de Rainshadow.

UK legend Ben Moon has climbed Rainshadow (5.14d) at Malham Cove. This is the route’s 4th ascent after Steve McClure opened the line in 2003. It’s since been repeated by Adam Ondra in 2011 and by Jordan Buys the following year. By all accounts, the route is a classic test-piece that ascends the steepest part of the imposing overhang at Malham Cove.

48-year-old Moon has an excellent account of his ascent on the Moon climbing blog. He describes the line as starting with the classic 5.13bRaindogs. The extension beyond the first anchor continues through a short section leading to the steepest part of the route, a V11 boulder problem that goes right into a 5.13c head wall.

Ben worked the route for nearly six weeks before sending the line. He writes, “I gave myself 6 weeks to complete the route and if it didn’t happen I would walk away and come back another time. My 6 weeks were almost up and I had just 2 more redpoint days before the walk away.”

After another failed effort, falling just after the crux boulder problem, Ben focused in for a send. “I lay down in the sun, closed my eyes and went slowly through the 60-move sequence that would take me to the top. Near the top of the route I could feel myself drifting off but managed to bring myself back to clip the chains before letting myself go completely. 1 hour later I awoke from my sleep, walked back down the hill, tied in and redpointed Rainshadow. I felt great, strong through the crux, slightly pumped on the top section but always in control. I really couldn’t believe it. The best and hardest route I’ve ever done? Yes definitely.”

ben moon rainshadow

Ben Moon on Rainshadow (9a) at Malham Cove
© Rob Greenwood – UKC

“Best” and “hardest” are strong words coming from the legendary Ben Moon. Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, Moon was at the forefront of difficult sport climbing and bouldering both in the UK and around the world. His 5.14b routes in France, Maginot Line at Volx and Agincourt at Buoux were cutting edge at the time.

But Ben is most widely known for his first ascent of Hubble at Raven Tor in the UK. When he clipped the chains in 1990, he graded it 5.14c. It was the first of the grade in the world. Since then, the fierce boulder problem on a rope has seen very few repeats. Due to some comments made by Adam Ondra— “could be easily even 9a in my opinion” and “I believe that it isn’t by any means easier than Action Directe, the world’s first 9a established a year later.”—as well as opinions from others that have tried the route, there’s been much recent speculation that Hubble was actually the world’s first 9a/5.14d.

In bouldering, Moon was at the forefront as well, ticking hard first ascents around the world. His most widely-known first ascent for Americans is probably Black Lung (V13) at Joe’s Valley, Utah. He’s been a pioneer in training, devising specialized techniques in the UK’s famous “School Room” like his innovative Moon Board, a standardized grid climbing wall that allows climbers around the world to set the same problems on their home wall as the ones designed by Ben in the UK. His company Moon Climbing, an offshoot of the old S7 brand, makes climbing apparel, bouldering, and training equipment.

For the 48-year-old that’s built a life around climbing, his ascent ofRainshadow proves that he’s still a top notch climber. It’s been 25 years since Ben sent Hubble, a route that stood as his hardest sport climb until now. “I also feel incredibly lucky to have found climbing,” he writes, “and as I get older I can see and appreciate this more than ever. Life is very precious, live healthy, train hard, climb harder.” 

Read Ben’s full account of the climb at the Moon blog.

Here’s a clip of Steve McClure climbing Rainshadow (5.14d) at Malham Cove.

Text: DPM Climbing

 

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