Name: Ben Moon
Date of birth: 13/06/1966
Living in: Sheffield (UK)
Height: 5'11" or 1.78 cm
Weight: 10stone or 64kg
Began Climbing: Age 7
Best Onsight (sport climbing): 8a+
Best Flash (sport climbing): Don't know!
Hardest Redpoint: 8c+
Best flash (bouldering): 7c+
Hardest boulder: 8b
Favorite climbing style: Face climbing
Favourite sport climbing crag: Buoux (FRA)
Favourite bouldering spot: Fontainebleau (FRA)
Favourite Route: La Rose et La Vampire 8b, Buoux
Favourite Boulder Problem: Cypher 8b, Yorkshire (UK)
Competition Results: Too long ago to remember!
Music: Dance, Alternative
Favourite drink: German beer, Red wine
Alimentation-Favourite meal: Fish
Hobby: Football, Golf
Ben's performances are powered by:
"Climbing is one of the best things to do in life and travelling is another one. Put the two together and you have paradise!"
by Daniel Vecchiato - ©FreakClimbing.com, 28 November 2004
©Freakclimbing.com - All Rights Reserved
>> VIDEO <<
>> PHOTOGALLERY <<
Ciao Ben! Well it's more than 20 years that you are cranking hard! Haven't you worn out of your fingers yet?
Actually no not yet! I am very pleased because the older I am the less injuries I seem to get. Perhaps I need to train harder! Although I do not train as hard as I did back in the nineties I still train pretty hard and very regularly but I think as I have got older I know my body better and what I can and cannot do.
What is different from the beginning? What do you think about "modern" climbing?
I don't think it has changed much in the last few years except perhaps peoples focus is slightly different. Obviously a lot more people are bouldering these days than they were 10 years ago but apart from that I think climbing is much the same.
I think the sport is still growing and they are a lot more people climbing now than there were 10 years ago. The sport has become more popular.
What is special about climbing for you?
That is a very difficult question to answer! I first went climbing back in 1973 when I was 7 and immediately knew that this was what I wanted to do more than anything else. I think moving over rock is a very natural thing for humans to do and I always used to love climbing trees.I think it must have something to do with the movement inherent in climbing and also the sense of achievment you feel when you overcome a certain climb. Once I was into climbing and started doing it regularly then obviously I wanted to become as good as I could and I certainly get a lot of satisfaction from pushing myself to my limit.
Ben Moon - The Swarm, 8B - Butterlmik (USA)
© Ben Moon
How did you start to get "addicted"?
I think if you like climbing and have the motivation to push yourself to become the best you possibly can it's easy to get addicted to climbing!
We know you travelled a lot in the 80's, what motivated you so much?
The same that motivates all of the climbers we see travelling these days. Climbing is one of the best things to do in life and travelling is another one. Put the two together and you have paradise! I can think of lots of good reasons to travel. Back in the 80's when I was young and had climbed all the hardest routes in the UK it was only natural for me to want and going try and climb the hardest routes in foreign countries.
Were you a "pioneer" out of your island or did other people do the same in that period?
I do not think I was a pioneer at all. I was just following in the footsteps of others like Jerry Moffatt, Ron Fawcett, Pete Livesy, Wolfgang Gullich and many many more. I think if you are good at something it is only natural that you want to compare yourself to the other top climbers of the time both in your country and abroad. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not being honest with you.
Ben Moon - The Swarm, 8B - Butterlmik (USA)How did you chose to dedicate yourself to sport climbing in those years? Wasn't it strange for UK climbers, more dedicated to trad? Have You been criticised for that? I was more into sport climbing (and also bouldering) because I was more interested in the difficulty aspect of climbing. How hard a move I could do or how many hard moves I could link together in one go. Obviously it is not possible to push oneself to ones absolute physical limit on a trad route where if you fall you will die, you always have to climb within yourself. At the beginning of the 80's I went on a climbing trip with Jerry to France and we saw sport climbing first hand. In England at that time we already had some routes with bolts or some cliffs where bolts were accepted we just didn't have routes which were 100% protected by bolts. That's all that I did different (Statement of Youth, 8a). I received virtually no criticism for this and afterward everyone was doing it!
© Ben Moon
What is your best climbing trip? Tell us some stories!!
I have had very many good climbing trips. I think my most memorable was when I went bouldering in the Himalaya back in '94. India is such an amazing country to visit and such a culture shock for westerners and the Himalaya mountains are just mind blowing big and beautiful. It's probably not the place to go if you are after a hardcore climbing trip but if you want to go somewhere totally different to anywhere else in the world, have a real experience combined with a bit of climbing I would highly recommend it.
When I went there India was in the grip of a massive plague and the foreign office were advising against travel. I was going with some Norweigian climbers but their flights had been cancelled because of the plague. I decided to go anyway and hoped that my friends would be able to get a different flight. I remember arriving in Delhi airport in the middle of the night, alone with no guide book or foreign currency not knowing if I was going to be stuck in India on my own for the next 6 weeks. There were Indians just lying around sleeping everywhere and it took me about 2 hours to psyche up just to leave the airport. It was an incredible scene. As it turned out I had to wait about 4 days in Delhi until my friends arrived and then everything was good.
We travelled to the source of the Ganges and the base camp of Shiviling which must be one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. We spent about 3 weeks there just bouldering and trekking around.
Jerry Moffat - © Ben Moon
Are you still travelling a lot?
No that I have my own business making climbing clothes, crash pads etc I cannot travel as much as I would like but I still get away about 5 times a year but not for very long periods at a time. A week here, a week there maybe two weeks at the most. I would love to go away on a 6 month climbing trip and spend the winter in the states or Europe! It good getting away for a week here and there but also quite frustrating. I think it is virtually impossible to climb something really hard if you are only in the place for one week.
Do you find different approaches to climbing in different continents?
No not really. Travel (if you have the time and money) is so easy these days that the world has become a smaller place and climbers now seem very cosmopolitain people. I haven't travelled everywhere by any means but I think the European and north American approach to climbing seems very similar. Also, climbing is such a small sport compared to other sports and the climbing scene at the top end so small that everyone knows what everyone else is up to more or less and has adopted the same approach/style of climbing.
Ben Moon - Hubble F8c+, Ravens Tor, Peak District
© Ben Moon
How was it to be the first to push the limits to 8c+ …even if there is a little bit of controversy about it (upgrading of Wall Street, a Wolfgang Güllich route)?
It was great! Actually I think I was originally credited with the first grade 8c but it turned out that Wall Street was in fact 8c therefore Wolfgang was the first to climb 8c. Hubble which I climbed in 1990 was the worlds first 8c+ but I think that maybe if this was done today it might get 9a. I always thought it was a similar grade to Action Direct which was climbed in 1991 and is now accepted as 9a.
What is Ben's suggestion to improve climbing performance? Drink a lot of pints…with nice girls/guys?!?!
I think the best training for climbing is climbing! Bouldering is great for strength. I climb a lot indoors on wall and at the School Room is Sheffield which is wood.Campus board training is very good for fingers. If you want to get very fit then it's all about volume, you need to be out there on the rock for 5 hours a day for 5 days a week. There are no secrets to becoming strong it's all about hard work. Beer and women will be the ruin of you!
Which, among your several performances, do you remember the most? Why?
There have been lots. I guess climbing Statement of Youth, 8a in North Wales was very special because it was the first 8a in the UK, my first hard redpoint and is now regarded as one of the best sport climbs in the UK. Climbing the big three in Buoux in 1988 (La Rage de Vivre, Le Minimum and La Spectra) was also very memorable. I had been out of climbing for about 4 months because of a broken wrist and went to Buoux to get fit. At the end of 6 weeks I was fit as I have ever been and climbed all three routes in one week.
In bouldering I would say The Dominator in the valley was very special because its such a cool problem, still pretty hard and situated in a very beautiful place. It was the first time I had been to the Valley and I spent a month there in November '93 camping in camp 4 on my own. The weather was perfect the whole time but very cold when the sun went down at 5 o clock and it was pretty hardcore and I am not sure I could do that again. You get a bit soft as you get older and I think I would need the comfort of a warm house now!
Cypher (video here) was also a very cool problem and special for me. Again I hadn't really climbed a lot for about a year after I separated my shoulder snowboarding. Just after the accident I thought I might have problems with my shoulder for ever so it was great to get back to full power and to make the first ascent of such a cool problem.
Ben Moon - Dominator, 8a+ Yosemite (USA)
© Ben Moon
Why did You get into dreads? Problems in finding a shower while travelling or something more? Why did you cut them?
Exactly! When I was 15 and 16 and living in London I was really into Punk music a went to a lot of gigs. One of my favourite bands was a band called The Mob. The lead singer had dreadlocks and looked pretty cool. I started twisting the hair a bit and then when I left London to go climbing and was just dosing in caves and never washing it just happened natuarally. I guess I was a dirty climber! That's another thing with getting older, I guess you wash more often!
Well, what about your products, do you develop them in person?
I mostly do all the designing myself but I have had a bit of help for the womens clothing from some women designers. Moon is a very small company of which I am the only employee! I do pretty much everything.
Plans and projects for the future?
I don't really have any plans. Now that I have my business this takes up a lot of time and I don't really have the opportunity to travel as much as I did in the past. Still I am pretty happy and still manage to climb a lot, 4 or 5 days a week, but just cannot get away for really long climbing trips.
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