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Toby Roberts is Strongest Brit You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

His recent send of the famous Hubble puts him at the top of U.K.'s strongest climbers list

Toby Roberts is quickly climbing his way through the hardest climbs of the U.K., and he’s only 16. Last year, he repeated the classic Rainshadow 5.14d, and became the youngest British climber to tick the grade at 15.

His most recent redpoint was of the famous Hubble 5.14d at Raven Tor, which he climbed this week. Hubble was first climbed in 1990 by Ben Moon, 23 at the time, as the world’s first 5.14c. The following year, Wolfgang Gullich made the first ascent of Action Directe at Frankenjura, Germany, and graded it 5.14c/d, but it was later upgraded to 5.14d.

When Aex Megos, 22 at the time, repeated Hubble in 2016, it had only been repeated by Malcolm Smith, John Gaskins, Steve Dunning and Steve McClure. Both Adam Ondra and Sean McColl had attempted it. Ondra was one of the first to suggest it was likely 5.14d.

After his send, Megos said, “Action Directe is 16 hard moves and Hubble is only four. Each of the four moves of Hubble is more difficult than any of Action Directe. I climbed three 5.14cs in Raven Tor: Hubble, Kabaah and Evolution. I had the most difficulty on Kabaah, although I still consider it 5.14c. Hubble is 5.14d for some and not for others.”

Megos was the only climber to send Hubble and Action Directe. Hubble took Megos two days, but he climbed Action Directe in two hours. At the time, Megos had climbed routes like First Round, First Minute 5.15b, Lucid Dreaming V15 and Biographie/Realization 5.15a in three attempts. In 2016, he also climbed Canada’s first 5.15 with Fight Club 5.15b.

In 2016, Will Bosi also repeated Hubble, and said, “In my opinion it’s 9a [5.14d], I don’t have a lot to compare it with but it felt like a 8B+ [V14] boulder at least for the crux so it must be pretty hard.”

In 2019, Pete Dawson repeated Hubble and agreed that it was 5.14d. Matthew Wright became the ninth climber to redpoint Hubble in 2019, shortly before Buster Martin, and suggested 5.14d. Hubble took Wright 25 sessions.

Roberts first tried Hubble in summer 2020, but he was soon dealing with a finger injury that led to comp season where he placed second at the Youth World Championships in Russia. Another big send by Roberts in the past year, includes Batman 5.14d/15a at Malham, which is part of his ongoing project to repeated Rainman 5.15b.

2020 interview with Roberts by Niall Grimes