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So from my Rainshadow Blog a couple of days ago we are jumping back a quarter of a century to 14th June 1990 when I climbed Hubble, my first 9a. To be honest I can't believe how it's all worked out because I couldn't have planned it better if I tried and I can't believe I am writing this.
As you will see from my diary entry on the 12th June (the day before my 24th birthday) I actually got through the whole crux sequence and fluffed my lines on the easy 7c+ finish. I don't remember being upset but just embarrassed at my stupidity. After taking a rest day on my birthday (I remember going to the pub and drinking an orange juice) I returned to Raven's Tor to finish the job. After falling off the crux move on my first try I redpointed the route. I must have been pretty excited because I used 2 exclamation marks in my diary but not that excited because I spent the rest of the day training at Raven's Tor.
I knew Hubble was a step up from the other hard routes I had done before such as Agincourt, Maginot Line, Le Minimum and since these were generally regarded as the hardest in the world at the time it stood to reason that Hubble was now the hardest route in the world. In the UK we were still using the UK traditional grading system which used an E grade for the overall difficulty and a technical grade for the hardest move. At the time the hardest technical grade was 7a on a route to the left of Hubble called Revelations. Hubble was at a totally different level and I had no hesitation in giving Hubble a 7b tech grade. The E grade seemed kind of meaningless for such a short safe route but I decided on E9+. This grade of E9+ 7b equated to French 8c+. As the years passed by and the routes reputation grew it finally got confirmed by Adam Ondra as 9a or Font 8b+.
[caption id="attachment_17744" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Ben Moon's diary entry for the 1st ascent of the worlds first 9a from 1990.[/caption]