Raindogs (8a) at Malham Cove – ticked! Youngest Ever Ascent at 10 years 7 months!

So psyched to tick the classic Raindogs 8a at Malham Cove on Sunday the 25th October 2015…

Why I wanted to climb Raindogs…

Craggy Island Youth Team

Craggy Island Youth Team

I always want to climb hard and never give up if I know it can be done and I wanted to climb an outdoor 8a – my first serious outdoor project. There are lots in the UK but most of them have big spans and reaches – possibly too big for me at the moment but I knew Raindogs was a very famous route and a very hard 8a but knew it was also within my reach. I asked my Dad if we could go there for me to have a look and we did for a weekend in August.

When I got there I just stood there looking at the big rock in front of me. It was fantastic. It made everybody up there seem so small, Β I knew I just wanted to get on it and feel it.

Having tried the route over a weekend I knew it would take a lot of effort and I knew I would need to know every move which I would only be able to do with time on the wall. I persuaded Dad to find somewhere to stay in Malham for my October half-term and we set off to a small cottage in the centre of Malham for a week.

1 Week in Malham

At the beginning of the weekΒ the holds didn’t feel that good and every move was hard. I knew this was going to be a fight and I was right. As the week went on I could do all the moves and by Wednesday on I had the route down to 3 sections; – the ground to bolt 2, bolt 2 to 4, and bolt 4 to the chains.

Me with Ian Dunne

Me with Ian Dunne

I had a rest day on Thursday and by Friday felt I was ready for my first attempt and Ian Dunn was on hand to belay me and give me some excellent advice as I continued to work the route.Β It was very sustained with no rests anywhere and as I climbed up the holds felt worse as I was getting more pumped. At some points it felt like I had an anchor on my back pulling me away from the wall until my hands had to let go.

Last Day

We had the cottage for a week and on the last Saturday I was so close to the chains but I didn’t have anything left for that day. I knew I could do it so begged Dad to find somewhere else to stay – I didn’t want to go home until I grabbed those chains! We drove around and eventually found a Travelodge in Skipton, not exactly 5* but it had a burger king πŸ™‚

Emergency Accommodation Needed!

Emergency Accommodation Needed!

On Sunday Ian Dunn was there again to belay me and on my first attempt I hit the chains but couldn’t quite hold them – I was gutted as I thought I had the route finished. However on my second redpoint attempt of the day I finally grabbed the chains and I knew I’d completed the hardest climb and challenge of my life so far!

I was relieved to tick the route and so excited at the same time – it was also a great feeling to know I am the youngest British person to date to climb an 8a and the youngest ascent ever of Raindogs following some great climbers to previously tick the route.

I got a big cheer from people who stopped to watch and I just thought β€˜Yes, job done!’ and down I came. I immediately put my coat on packed up my bag and said to Dad “we can go home now”. I knew I was exhausted from climbing relentlessly for 7 days out of 8 and we had a 6 hour drive home!

Malham Cove just after my ascent

Malham Cove just after my ascent

However I totally forgot about the gear that had to be brought back down – but luckily a kind man offered to go and get it for me – phew! thank you kind man.

Chocolate Orange Trophy!

Chocolate Orange Trophy!

When we were ready to leave the crag, another very kind lady (think she is called Anna) gave me a chocolate orange as a present as she had seen me having a battle with the route all week and I offered her some of my chocolate orange earlier in the week. It was such a nice gesture and as soon as I got to the car I ate it all – it felt like it was a trophy!

I now want my next challenge to be an 8a+/8b but possibly closer to home – maybe in the Peak District once I have had a chat with Mark Croxall (one of my coaches) who knows the area well.

I’m not sure yet what it will be – but I already can’t wait for my next challenge although I know the weather is bad now so maybe I can get Dad to take me to Spain or Greece πŸ™‚

Thank you to everybody who made this possible for me especially my Dad x

10 thoughts on “Raindogs (8a) at Malham Cove – ticked! Youngest Ever Ascent at 10 years 7 months!

  1. Karl

    Just brilliant Toby. I’ll be showing my son when he gets home from school here in Australia. I bet it inspires him. Good onya! (as they say down here)

    Reply
  2. Nana and grumps

    Well done Toby! It’s through you’re strength and determination that you’ve been able to achieve this goal, we are you’re biggest fans! Love always, Nana and Grumps. x x x

    Reply
  3. Granny Val

    Toby, you are a super trouper who never gives up. Well done and huge congratulations on your massive achievement. We’re all so proud of you. Love granny Val x

    Reply

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