Rainman 9b by Josh Ibbertson (18) Updated!

4 June 2022

Joshua Ibbertson reports on Insta that he has done Rainman 9b in Malham. (c) Marsha Balaeva

"Rainman has inspired me ever since I watched Steve McClure working it many years ago. It looked impossibly hard to me then and was blown away when he redpointed it in 2017, creating the UK’s first 9B! The route takes a super direct line up the centre of Malham cove on an impeccable rock all the way. It starts up the mega classic Raindogs (8a) continuing through the crux roof of Rain Shadow (9a) before heading into the headwall of Batman (9a/+)/Bat route (8C).

I guess my road to climbing Rainman started when I was 11 and first climbed Raindogs. I returned to climb Rainshadow in 2020 and Bat route and Batman in 2021. It was only after climbing Batman that I really started believe I could link it all together. Having redpointed all the others, I haven’t a clue how many sessions I’ve actually spent on the route. Lots! Since March I spent as much time on the route as I could, trying to redpoint. I’m currently sitting my end of school exams so it’s been quite a challenge to manage my time. The route spat me off the final hard boulder, (where it joins Bat Route) numerous times. On my 18th birthday, I hit the hold at the end of the crux but didn’t stick it...I was hoping Rain Man was going to be a birthday present for myself, but it wasn’t to be! I had to wait another week and a few more sessions for the send. I’ve put so much effort into this route, so it feels unreal to have finally ticked it.

To prepare over the winter I worked closely with my Lattice Coach Ella, we put in lots of antagonistic training and general strength work so that I was robust enough to give it my all, while not getting injured. I think this really helped. We also did a lot of work to improve my power-endurance, including the use of replica problems as well leg training for the kneebar rest. The thought of heading back to Rainman in the Spring always kept my training psych high!"

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