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Ben Moon's Climbing Diary

Last week we started reprinting on the Moon Blog my old climbing diaries which date back to 1990. These received a very positive response with many people asking for more so here you go.

8th June 1990

 “Ravens Tor. Worked out on Killer Weed into Chimes a few times. Did it once. Fell above lip. Worked top part of Whore. Got tired very quickly. 3 hours. Hard.”

Killer Weed is a fingery boulder problem traverse that Jerry and I used to link into the 8a+ route Chimes of Freedom that gives a great little work out. The top part of Whore, which became Hubble, is about route 7c+ and you should definitely not fall off, however the best-laid plans don’t always go accordingly!

I love the next diary entry.

 9th June 1990

 “Kilnsey Crag-very cold, tried to warm up. Malham – hot. Last Toad 7b. Tried to flash Main Overhang, then fell trying to top rope it!!. Not strong. TR New Dawn twice without rest. Never tell yourself you are fit!!. Hard”

This is classic, go to Kilnsey Crag and it’s too cold, go to Malham and it’s too hot. Then try and flash a 7c route you made the second ascent of 6 years previously, fall off, then fail to top rope it! The last part is good advice though, never tell yourself you are fit, never be complacent, you can always do better.

After two hard days followed by two rest day I am back at Ravens Tor to try the Whore surely with serious thoughts of bagging the first free ascent of the first 8c+ in the world and therefore the hardest route in the world.


12th June 1990

 “R.T Warmed up. Tried R.P (redpoint) Whore. Fell twice on 3, then did 3 but couldn’t move. Rest. Did 3,4,5,6,7,8…fell on easy ground!! Very strong. Rest, fell once on 3. Rest, did 3, fell going for final jug. Very greasy, tired, fingers gone. Dogged whole sequence in one to the top. Next day for sure! Felt strongest ever!”

This was the day before my 23rd birthday and I all but did it. The numbers refer to the moves with the crux being move 3 and the last hard move being move 7. I totally blew it by falling off the 7c+ part which I put down to poor mental preparation. I hadn’t prepared myself mentally for getting through the crux and therefore cracked under pressure and fumbled straightforward moves. It’s a pretty elementary mistake really. However the final comment “Felt strongest ever” suggests that all the hard work I have put in over the previous months is paying dividends.

My 23rd birthday was a non-event and I remember going to the pub and drinking an orange juice. Was I bothered? Not in the slightest.

14th June 1990

 “RT. Warmed up, fell on 3 once. Short rest, did Whore!! Felt tired. Worked out. Tried Mark’s route. Power Band, Blue Band, Chime’s with traverse and without. Failed on Rooster Booster, Sardine 3 times. Hard”

That’s a funny entry. I’ve just climbed the hardest route in the world, complain of being tired and then spend the rest of the day training. As mentioned before Mark’s route later became Make it Funky 8c and Power Band and Blue Band are two classic Peak limestone traverses, throw in the Weed Killer/Chimes of Freedom combination and you have quite a high volume of hard climbing.

After a rest day it was off to North Wales.

16th June 1990

“Lower Pen-Trwyn. Warmed up in the caves. Filmed Statement of Youth several times. Didn’t warm up very much, very pumped. Bouldered in the caves for 1 hour. Sore skin, felt weak. Hard”

17th June 1990

“Bouldered in the Pass. Flashed Jerry’s traverse to last move. Did it twice. Tried Jerry’s traverse on Mot. Tired. Med.”

Lower Pen Trwyn is a beautiful place with some of the best limestone sport routes in the UK. Jerry’s route Liquid Amber that he climbed shortly after my ascent of Hubble is one of the best sport routes I’ve ever done. Statement of Youth is a route I climbed back in 1984 and must be one of the most sought after 8a’s in the country. There is not a lot of good bouldering in the Llanberis Pass but Jerry’s Traverse on the Cromlech boulders is a classic.


After my ascent of Hubble this would have been a lovely couple of days climbing.

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