A Parting Gift / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

Our time at Ceuse has come to an end, and unfortunately this also marks the end of our time in this wonderful country (France). However, for me the last couple of days here could not have been more perfect. I achieved one of my life goals: to climb 8c (33) before my 30th birthday. It happened at my favourite place, and at one of the most beautiful, atmospheric crags in the world! Locking down the first crux of L'arcademicien 8c

Today (5 Sept) I made the first female ascent of “L’arcademicien”, a real 8c, during a stunning sunset. I clipped the chains with an incredible felling of elation and relief, just as the full moon was rising!

Mincing on the tiny crimpers on real crux of L'arcademicien 8c

“L’arcademicien” is a relatively new route, yet is very typical “Ceuse-style” climbing. It follows a grey streak up 25 meters of very sustained, technical climbing on micro holds, interrupted by the occasional long lock to a reasonable hold. Not only is this the hardest route I have climbed, but also the first time a Kiwi woman has climbed 8c, and the second NZ ascent of an 8c outside of New Zealand.


I have dedicated the last two weeks at Ceuse to this route, carefully considering every attempt, yet always approaching it with passion and commitment. I believe this focus combined with a myriad of other factors, lead to my success on “L’arcademicien”. The route suited my climbing style, I was well rested (two rest days payed off, yet again!), the conditions were finally good. I managed to let go of my expectations and desire for success, which freed me to truly focus on climbing. In addition, I had an unwavering source of support and belief from my partner. This support helped me maintain high, but balanced levels of self-belief and confidence that were necessary for me to give every attempt my absolute best, yet realistic enough so that failures would not result in disappointment or frustration.

Does the crimping ever finish... One of the last hard moves on L'arcademicien 8c

The timing was perfect; I only had one more climbing day at Ceuse before heading back up to Germany and preparing for the next challenge: In mid-September we fly to the USA, where my partner and I intend to spend two months learning to climb cracks in Yosemite Valley.