ELEVEN-year-old Toby Roberts from Elsted is currently British Champion and most recently European Champion of his age group after competing in the Youth Color Climbing Festival in Imst, Austria, – an international competition for 10 to 13 year olds from across the globe.

Toby who became the first British person to ever win at the Youth Colour Climbing Festival, began climbing three-and-a-half-years ago at an after-school club at Edgeborough School in Farnham. He now climbs with the Craggy Island Youth Climbing Team in Guildford.

Last year Toby came second during his first competition in the lower half of the two year age category, and was determined to do better second time round.

The competition was held over two days with climbers taking on eight different routes, while competing against more than 220 of the best climbers in Europe, who were born between 2003 and 2006.

In Toby’s category, Youth D Boy, there was 50 other participants all born between 2005 or 2006. “There were six routes on the Saturday and the top 20 climbers would climb a final two routes on the Sunday” said Toby who found the first six routes quite straight-forward.

“I put a lot of effort into reading the routes before hand with my coach, Graeme Harwood, and there were a few harder moves. I concentrated and climbed them all quite well and I knew that by flashing all six routes I would be heading to the finals on Sunday.

“There were a total of 17 people tied for first place after Saturday so I knew it was going to be a difficult final.”

Early on the Sunday morning the anxious climbers arrived at the Imst climbing wall where they were able to begin planning their routes. Toby added: “I was last to climb so I looked at the others as I went through my warm up. Most of the climbers came off in the middle section and about five of the others made it to the third hold from the finish.

“I started my first climb knowing no-one else had topped and was determined to climb the route well.

“I made it to the high point of the route and quickly found the best feet position to make the move.

“I was very happy to be the only person to top the route and immediately knew that I was now clearly in the lead. Before I knew it I was being lowered to the floor and was immediately trying to work out in my head whether I had done enough.

“I had a three-point lead after the first route and I got 38 points out of 40 for the second route so I quickly knew that no-one could catch me and I had won.”

In October 2015, Toby was the youngest Brit in history to climb the grade of 8a (Extremely Severe) at Malham Cover in Yorkshire, however he has recently been beaten by someone just a couple of months younger then him.