The Wiz Kid at Mt Arapiles 

Visiting New Zealand climber Wiz Fineron established the hardest climb at Mt Arapiles on Monday.

The long-standing problem, dubbed Somalia by Natimuk climbers, is one of the hardest in Australia.

The climb is prominently located on the front of the Uncle Charlie rock pinnacle and ascends an unlikely bulging wall before finishing up another difficult climb called Ethiopia.

Somalia has been graded 33, although experts consider it slightly harder than the two existing routes at Arapiles already given this grade.

Having just celebrated his 17th birthday, Wiz arrived at Mt Arapiles with only one major goal which was to repeat the world-class test piece Punks in the Gym, grade 32.

After a few days' effort, Wiz successfully climbed Punks the youngest person to do it.

Celebrated climber Wolfgang Gullich pioneered Punks in the Gym in 1986.

It was the hardest climb in the world at the time.

After succeeding on Punks, Wiz was encouraged to have a go at the unclimbed line of Somalia by NSW hardman Zac Vertrees.

Zac, who was also vying for the first ascent of Somalia, expected the young hot-shot to have little chance but was surprised to see Wiz manage all the moves with just a few falls.

Happy to forgo his own opportunity to claim the prized first ascent, Zac helped Wiz complete the climb just the day before he was due to fly back home to NZ.

Somalia is a super-desperate climb up a smooth, bulging wall of yellow-orange rock.

The crux involves pulling around a steep bulge with one fingertip in a small natural hole in the rock.

One climber who has watched Wiz climbing on the testing Taipan Wall at Mt Stapylton in the Grampians, Tim Lockwood, said he 'just floats up the cliff'.

Climbers conceived the possibility of climbing Somalia in the early 1990s before Wiz was born. It resisted all efforts until now.

Another New Zealander Mayan Gobat-Smith claimed the first female ascent of Punks in the Gym on October 28.

Her successful ascent followed about two years of attempts.

Both Somalia and Punks are on the same pinnacle on the eastern face of Mt Arapiles.


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