Mina Leslie-Wujastyk has made the second female ascent of Austrian Oak 8b at Malham Cove. First climbed by John Dunne in 1988, Austrian Oak is a short and bouldery route described in the UKC Logbooks as "A hard and well-travelled line on side-pulls and undercuts."
Mina briefly tried the moves about 4 years ago and had been keen to return to it ever since.
She told UKC: "I had a day or so on it last year but this year put more time in. I found it really hard, I could do all the moves fine but it is a real test of power endurance to link them up. It's a really fun route, no horrible holds, very powerful and bouldery!"
Lucinda Whittaker made the first female ascent of "The Oak" in 2011 (UKC News Report). When asked why so few women have tried or succeeded on the route, Mina replied: "I don't know really. There are certainly lots of women operating at this level, a woman climbing an 8b route is no longer really big news. I guess this one is short and powerful rather than long and endurance based but I know a couple of women that I'm sure could do it. I guess it's a case of those that are strong enough being interested."
Mina found Austrian Oak as hard - if not harder than - Mecca (not the extension) which gets 8b+: "Austrian Oak certainly took me longer. I guess Mecca is more my style, although I prefer Austrian as a route."
Mina has now started to turn her attention towards Bat Route 8c, also at Malham.