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Punks in the Gym 8b+ for Mina Leslie-Wujastyk

© Ross Taylor/Vertical Life

Mina Leslie-Wujastyk has ticked the world-famous Punks in the Gym 8b+/32 at  Arapiles, Australia. First climbed by Wolfgang Güllich in 1985, Punks was the first of the grade in the world and Mina's ascent is only the third by a female, after Mayan Smith-Gobat in 2012 and Andrea Hah in 2013. Mina is currently out in Australia and New Zealand on an extended climbing trip.

Mina Leslie-Wujastyk on Punks in the Gym 8b+  © Ross Taylor/Vertical Life
Mina Leslie-Wujastyk on Punks in the Gym 8b+
© Ross Taylor/Vertical Life

An obvious choice as a project, Mina explained:

'I've known about Punks in the Gym as a route for as long as I can remember really. Made historic by its difficulty at the time it was first climbed and by the well known chipped and glued 'bird bath' hold and some of the controversy that surrounds it. It was bolted by Swiss climber Martin Scheel but climbed in 1985 by Wolfgang Gullich. I loved the look of the rock and the climbing on the route - really technical! Some of the footholds make Malham smears look like ledges!'

Prior to the trip, Mina had dedicated a lot of time to training and fitness work whilst being coached by Alex Barrows and David Mason.

She commented:

'I have some more long term goals which were the focus of that training but knowing I would get to try Punks on this trip was definitely a factor in helping me motivate through really boring aerobic capacity sessions!'

Mina making the third female ascent of Punks in the Gym, Arapiles  © Ross Taylor/Vertical Life
Mina making the third female ascent of Punks in the Gym, Arapiles
© Ross Taylor/Vertical Life

Mina found the route to suit her climbing style quite well, with her strong background in bouldering and power endurance. She told UKC:

'It has a tricky start that isn't too bad once you know what you're doing followed by a boulder problem. Then you move left to a pretty decent rest and from there into the crux section with the infamous bird bath hold in the midst of it! I say in the midst...I think a lot of people find the birdbath hold to be the end of the crux but for me the redpoint crux was the move after! Even after that you can't quite relax, the head wall is a lot easier but very smeary and easy to just pop off!'

How did it feel to tick such a historic line?

'Surreal. As it often goes with routes, it felt very flowy when I actually climbed it, when I was back in the ground it was almost as if it hadn't happened!'

Mina and Dave have another month in Australia, with their sights set on Taipan Wall and doing some bouldering, before heading to New Zealand to check out Castle Hill and Flock Hill.


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Born in 1987, Mina has been climbing since she was 8 years old. She gained fame with some hard bouldering ascents and on the competition scene, but lately has been cutting her teeth as a top level sport climber.

Mina's Athlete Page 32 posts 6 videos



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Nice one Mina, looking pretty casual at the rest in that first pic too!
Nice one Mina!
15 Aug, 2016
Hope AP Melbourne's seen this Tweet -- looks like he helped contribute some of the psyche for working on the route:https://twitter.com/MinaClimbing/status/755771908071776256
16 Aug, 2016
16 Aug, 2016
Ha! thanks slab_happy, Yeah I did and it brightened up my day big time. Am so, so chuffed for the young lady. Well done Mina. Cheers, AP.
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