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Punks in the Gym - The First Female Ascent! - Mayan Smith-Gobat

 
Punks in the Gym - The First Female Ascent! - Mayan Smith-Gobat
Punks in the Gym - The First Female Ascent! - Mayan Smith-Gobat
Punks in the Gym - The First Female Ascent! - Mayan Smith-Gobat
Punks in the Gym - The First Female Ascent! - Mayan Smith-Gobat
Punks in the Gym - The First Female Ascent! - Mayan Smith-Gobat
Punks in the Gym - The First Female Ascent! - Mayan Smith-Gobat
Punks in the Gym - The First Female Ascent! - Mayan Smith-Gobat
 
November 07, 2012 - 
 

Punks in the Gym was first climbed by Wolfgang Güllich... It was the first 8b+ in the world and still known as a world-class test-piece. Sometimes referred to as the "ultimate examination in climbing" because of the intriguing mixture of power and delicate technique required to climb this route. 

My first climbing trip ever was to Mt Arapiles - Many of my first memories and climbing lessons occurred and therefore this place will always have a special significance to me. I always used to walk past Punks in the Gym and stare up at the smooth orange bulges... And of course I always dreamed of climbing this route, but never thought I would be able to, and never actually dared to try. Until a couple years ago....

At first I still thought it would be impossible, it was only when I discovered a more direct sequence to what people usually do, that I began to feel like I might have a chance - It eliminated an, almost hands free, rest mid-way up the climb, turning Punks into a very sustained crimp-fest, rather than two boulder problems. However, it made every individual move feel achievable for me, and I began to think that maybe, just maybe I could climb this beautiful and historic route. At this point I started to invest some serious energy into the route... I was not just dabbling anymore, and I also began to care about climbing this piece of rock.

Since then I have dedicated a lot of time, energy and resources into Punks. I came extremely close to linking this sequence of moves together, countless times and then either ran out of time, had bad luck with weather or simply was not quite able to pull it off. Like any other hard climb that I have worked on, Punks in the Gym put me through a full range of emotions. It caused me a huge amount of frustration, forced me to examine myself and my motivations for climbing. Before heading down to Australia on this last trip, I seriously debated the amount of effort I have invested, and whether it was really worth it... Eventually, I came to the realization that this route does hold a special importance to me. Therefore, I chose to sacrifice other goals and put a month into training specifically for this route. As a result, I felt much stronger this year. However, it was still a struggle... both mentally and physically.

All the effort payed off, when I finally managed to make the first female ascent of this historic route... Clipping the chains on this route felt amazing - It meant more to me than I ever thought it would. I had almost expected this moment to be an anti-climax, because I had spent so much time on this route. But it was the opposite - I was in disbelief, totally ecstatic and could not sleep at all that night because I was still so excited...  I just kept staring at the full moon repeating to myself “I just climbed Punks! - Its done...”

Now, slowly the reality is starting to sink in, this journey has come to an end... It is time to move on. I feel incredibly relieved that it is over, yet at the same time, lost and a little unsure what the future holds... It is exciting though, and I am excited to begin again.

Thanks to all my sponsors, who have helped me achieve this dream of mine, and to my friends who held my rope for countless hours and put up with my frustrated rants... I could not have done it without all of you!!!

 
Photo credit: Rich Crowder
 

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