Mayan Smith-Gobat, first female ascent of Punks in the Gym at Arapiles
On 28/10/2012 New Zeland's Mayan Smith-Gobat succeeded in the first female ascent of Punks in the Gym (32/8b+) at Arapiles, Australia.
What's the most famous rock climb in Australia? Kachoong, that stupendous, 3m horizontal jutting roof immortalised in the '80's by German climber Stefan Glowacz who climbed it free solo? Or, at the same beautiful Arapiles crag, the sport climb Punks in the Gym, a route projected by Swissman Martin Scheel and then freed by Wolfgang Güllich in 1985? At the time of the first free ascent "Punks" marked not only an important step in young Güllich's personal progression it was also - seeing its 32/8b+ grade - the total limit and thus the hardest route in the world.
Punks in the Gym presents four intense boulder sections and even today only a handful of climbers have successfully linked them all including, hot off the press, one of the world's foremost climbers Mayan Smith-Gobat. After two years of attempts, on 28 October the Kiwi climber finally redpointed the line and, in making the first female ascent, she has also crowned a personal dream on a route which has few rivals in the history of sport climbing.
"When I first tried Punks in the Gym, nearly 2 years ago" explained Smith-Gobat "I thought that it was a climb that I would never be able to achieve because of its long reaches... To avoid the powerful shoulder presses I came up with a new sequence. This made the moves possible for me, but changed the route into an unrelenting crimp-fest! Since then I have invested a huge amount of time and effort into climbing this route - it feels incredible to have finally achieved this goal and lifelong dream of mine! Thanks to everyone who has supported me throughout this process."
Mayan Smith-Gobat began climbing aged 16. She became the first climber in New Zealand to climb 8a, then 8b, 8b+ and in 2009 8c with her redpoint of L’arcademicien ar Ceuse in France. She is known above all for her big wall ascents which include the second female ascent of the legendary Salathé Wall up El Capitan in Yosemite.