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Routes : Australasia : Australia : Victoria : Arapiles : The Pharos : Uncle Charlies Pinnacle : *** Punks In The Gym (31 or 32)

*** Punks In The Gym (31 or 32) - 5.14a popular

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Bolts, fixed wire, some wigglies at the start
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Where do you begin ?

Originally done in 1985 by Wolfgang Gullich, this route was considered the hardest in the world for quite some time. It was given 32 / 8b+ / 5:14a, although it's grade has probably slid down to "solid 31" with the passage of 18 years.

Switzerland's Martin Scheel "conceived" and worked the route - in the process, breaking a fragile "ear of rock", which was duly replaced by a chipped edge.

Martin Scheel never did the route, he had to leave the country and "gave" it to German Wolfgang Gullich, who yo-yo'ed his way up the route - a tactic that was considered ethical at the time. I'm still not sure whether it was a true yo-yo where no moves were worked above the high point and the climber was lowereed to the ground immediately after falling (nice and ethical), or a dogging yo-yo where basically anything goes - the only difference being that the rope didn't have to be pulled (shonky). I'd like to think it's the former - maybe someone out there can enlighten me.

Either way Gullich ticked the route after some effort (4 days) in April 1985 and gave it the split grade 31/32. German rival Stefan Glowacz ticked it a year later and confirmed it at grade 32. Then many tried and failed until 1991 when Moffat and Miles ticked it in relatively good (and quick) style. They also confirmed it as 8b+.

One Englishman - Andy Pollit - worked the route for 40-odd days, and under siege, he broke the chipped edge. He replaced it with a "glue" replica, which remains to this day, however it seems that it's getting bigger somehow, as it is now generally referred to as "the birdbath". Pollit eventually ticked the route and subsequently quit climbing.

Since then, Punks has seen a LOT of ascents, possibly due to its historical signifcance, possibly due to the fact that it's a great line and the climbing supposed to be pretty good.

Stuart Wyithe was the first Australian to do it and Dave Jones the second, I've lost count since then, but it still hasn't had a one day ascent, and no-one has come close to flashing it (now there's a challenge).

The grade though has slipped, possibly because of the bird bath which is crucial in the two hardest moves of the second crux.

For the technically minded, the route has been likened to a 25 to a V7, another 25 to a V7, then another 25 - nothing too hard, but it's an endurance thing on some fairly slopey stuff up a midly overhanging wall.

It takes the proud campside facing line of Uncle Charlie's pinnacle, and is the easiest way directly up this face (there are two variants that breach the wall, Dave Jones's Punks Obsession (32), and a project Cyberpunk (35-ish ??) that will hopefully go someday straight up next to it on the left.)

Anyway, enjoy !

Submitted by: admin on 2003-11-04
Views: 2497
Route ID: 43997