Congratulations to Mayan Gobat-Smith from New Zealand who yesterday climbed her long-term project Punks in the Gym (32) at Mount Arapiles, Australia. A superb personal achievement, hers also happens to be the first female ascent of the route.
“Punks” is a famous Australian test-piece with a colourful history. The beautiful line was first climbed by Wolfgang Gullich in 1985 and originally graded 31/32 by Wolfgang. The second ascent was by Stefan Glowacz and the third by Jerry Moffat who confirmed the 8b+ (32) grade. Despite that, for a while there the route was graded 31 whilst it was the subject of the NSW/Victoria grading wars in the early 1990s. Since then the route has seen numerous ascents and some years ago the grade firmly settled back at 32. So the route is not only the first 32 in Australia but it is often said may well be the first 32 (5.14a/8b+) climbed anywhere in the world. When Andy Pollitt was attempting the route in the early 1990’s a key crux hold disintergrated and so Andy recreated the hold out of sika. Some claimed that the recreated hold, since dubbed “the birdbath” (a harsh term given it’s only a 15mm incut edge), was bigger than the original but I think there are few people, if anyone, apart from Andy who actually know the truth of the matter. Andy eventually suceeded on the route in 1992 after three trips to Australia from the UK and a total 70 days on the route. If you think 70 days is a lot of time to spend on the route then spare a thought for Australian woman Jarmila Tyrril who moved to the area in part to be close to Punks; the route has been the main focus of her climbing for the last three years. With Jarmila spending a lot of time on the route and with Mayan making four trips to Australia with the route the main focus of those, there has been a lot of speculation who would snag the first female ascent. Recently someone was putting up posters around town hamming it up as a competition — “who will be first”? And so Mayan’s send has at last put an end to all the speculation. Successful punters are advised to make their way to the nearest TAB office to collect their winnings ASAP.
Last year I took some photos of Mayan on Punks when she was out here trying it for a few weeks. No doubt largely because of the reach factor Mayan’s sequence into the crux is entirely different to everyone elses. She links directly from the lower hard climbing straight up into the crux, entirely avoiding a really good rest just before the crux — the only good rest on the route. I’ve no doubt whatsoever that Mayan’s sequence is a really hard way to do the route but obviously sticking to her sequence has finally paid off for her. Congratulations again!
Here’s one of my shots of Mayan on Punks that I will show you now. I hate to have to mention this but I ask that people respect my work and my copyright. I say this because recently someone who runs a very popular and somewhat commercial site on Facebook recently took one of my photos from my site without permission and sprayed it widely around the internet. If people like to help support my work by purchasing a calendar or book then I really appreciate the support. If businesses want to help promote my work and my publications then I am very open to proposals and I certainly like to support people who are doing good and valuable work where I can. But Apparently I need to point out to some that I do retain the rights to my work and say in where and when my photos are used. In short, you need my written permission before taking my photographs from this web site and using them anywhere else. Thanks to everyone for your support and understanding!