Toby first climbed at 3 years old on a family day out. He was clipped into a portable climbing wall with an auto belay and ‘rang the bell‘ at the top of the wall. The instructor was a little amused and exclaimed ‘he’s the youngest to ever do that‘.
4 years later, it was a similar story when Toby joined an after-school club for a climbing introduction. The instructor came over a little bemused ‘Most people stop when their skin hurts. He’s tried that climb 100 times’.
Unbeknown at the time, that was the start of a ‘skin management’ obsession – something all climbers can relate with.
From a family with no background in climbing, climbing would subsequently become a huge part of life and around a month later Toby was entered into the ‘Youth Climbing Series’ regionals where he came 12th out of 13.
After his first comp there was only 1 question…
how do i get better?Toby Roberts
Toby’s answer was always to train; but not just to get strong. To train with purpose around a goal of improvement.
Everything has been an opportunity to develop whether it’s strength, movement, footwork, technique, mindset… climbing is the challenge that is impossible to complete, but one he’ll never give up on.
There are very few times that you come off a route or a boulder feeling like you’ve truly given everything and knowing that at that moment you couldn’t of given any more.
But the time to remember that is when you are still climbing or during your training, because in reality you can try harder and you could of got higher. You don’t get that chance again.
try hard nowToby Roberts
If there was one constant used most to describe Toby from coaches and peers, it is determination.
What ‘trying hard‘ has led to, are a few special moments that capture Toby’s never give up approach, like bloc 4 in the Climbing Works International Festival (CWIF), 2023:
There have been some nice accolades in Toby’s fledgling career – which are a nice way of quantifying that all the hard work, determination and execution are coming together:
Youngest Brit to climb:
- 8a, Raindogs at Malham Cove at 10 years old
- 8b, Revelations at Raven Tor at 11 years old
- 9a, Rainshadow at Malham Cove at 15 years old
- 9a/+, Batman, Malham Cove at 16 years old
A breakthrough senior year in 2022 saw Toby win his first senior gold medal and his first World Cup Lead medal:
- First senior World Cup medal coming 3rd (Ratho, 2022)
- First lead finals at his second World Cup (Ratho, 2022)
- Making lead semi finals in his first World Cup (Briancon, 2022)
- Winning all 3 rounds of the European Cup Lead to win his first senior Gold medal (Zilina, 2022)
In competitions, Toby has won multiple international medals in a Covid interrupted youth career, including:
- Vice Youth World Champion in both Boulder and Lead (Dallas, 2022)
- 3 consecutive World Youth Championship lead finals (Arco 2019, Voronezh 2021, Dallas 2022)
- Winning the European Lead Championship in Youth A (Augsburg, 2022)
- Winning the European Bouldering Championship in youth B (Brixen, 2019)
- 1st at the Youth Color Climbing Festival (Imst, 2016)
- 2nd at the Youth Color Climbing Festival (Imst, 2015)
- 3 times National YCS Champion (2016, 2017, 2018)