17th December 2020
5th Form pupil, Toby Roberts, has succeeded in achieving his latest intrepid goal of climbing the extraordinary ‘Rainshadow’ following the 9a route. ‘Rainshadow’ is a huge amphitheatre-shaped limestone natural cliff formation rock rising to 260 feet high in the middle of Malham Cove in North Yorkshire. An excellent feat! Due to the COVID pandemic, all plans had to change this year hence tackling his latest challenge.
Toby started his training in March earlier this year using a home built Moonboard he and his father constructed in the garden at home. A necessary piece of equipment due to limited gym facilities available during lockdown. On reaching his Malham Cove destination it took Toby around 20 sessions working the route before his final, successful attempt. Prior to starting, the weather wasn’t kind – cold, mist, rain and possible snow forecast. However, with some fatherly encouragement at the top of the cliff, a flask of tea and some snacks, the grey clouds started to clear and he set off on his daunting accomplishment.
Once completed, Toby commented “I can’t explain how happy I am with this route being the first of the grade for me. I’ve really appreciated the constant psyche and support from a lot of people and am also glad my dad enjoys belaying so much!”
This latest climb has formed part of his training for next season, he has been invited to train with the GB Senior Team. His ambition now is to compete internationally for the GB Seniors in 2021 and continue further in 2022 with an objective to be ready for the Paris Olympic qualifiers in 2023. Toby’s training regime is currently around three hours a day after School and then travelling to competitions and crags during the holidays. He has achieved much success and last year became the European Youth Boulder Champion and was placed second in the European Youth Lead Championships. Toby’s sights are now focused on the 2024 Olympics. However, in the meantime his next UK goal is ‘Hubble’ followed by the Malham Cove ‘Rainman 9b’, currently the UKs hardest sport route. Exciting times ahead for young Toby and we wish him the very best of luck. We will be watching and await further news.