52-year-old British sports climber Ben Moon is quite possibly in the best shape of his life and yesterday he confirmed this form with a rare repeat of Evolution, an 8c+ put up at Raven Tor in 1995 by climbing partner Jerry Moffatt. Originally graded 8c, throughout the years the climb has been upgraded.
The line, a burst of pure power distilled into 10 meters of crimpy limestone, lost some of its shine three years later when Steve McClure freed the extension in 1998 to produce Mutation. Despite its age, repeats are few and far between, proving just how rock solid this climb is.
Moon described Evolution as “a classic Ravens Tor route, only 10m long but basically sustained bouldering all the way. Probably hard Font 8a into hard route 8b with no rests and a heartbreak dyno to finish.”
Moon knows this piece of rock like the back of his hand: it’s his local crag and it is here, immediately next to Evolution, that he created his masterpiece Hubble. Freed in 1990 and hailed as the world’s first 8c+, many believe this to actually also be the world’s first 9a.
Evolution is obviously an important redpoint for Moon and comes during a year described as and the ascent arrives for a year defined by Moon as “one of the best of the past 35 years climbing.” Moon’s real project though is Northern Lights at Kilnsey, a huge test of power and stamina that Moon first started trying in 1993. Steve McClure freed the route in 2000 and although Moon failed to redpoint it this year, he got extremely close.
In breaking the news on Instagram, he concluded “Still learning about climbing and training even after all these years and most importantly still enjoying myself.” Hats off.