Space Girl / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

Finally my dear friend and nemesis "Space Boy" has been put to rest... This is the first time a female has climbed this route (with or without the extension), and the fifth ascent of the Space Boy extension since it was first climbed in 1995.


Yesterday the cave was perfect... cold, still and quiet, at first there was only Max and I there. I sat looking at Space Boy, thinking about every move, how well I know the intricacies of every hold and movement. I have agonized over this contorted sequence of chalked holds through a very steep, vortex like formation to the lip of the cave for what seems like eternity. I have thrown my heart, soul and a huge amount of energy at this stupidly small and rather uninspiring piece of rock. It has been a silent observer to a massive array of emotions, from ecstatic joy, to raging fury, to total and utter despair. I have shed tears of frustration and disappointment on several dozen infuriating occasions.


I have been trying Space Boy (Extension) 8b+ (32) solidly for 10 months over a period of two years now. With an average of three attempts per day and three days on per  week, that equals 360 attempts all up (and in truth, it is probably more like 400)! It is the single thing that I have dedicated the most time to in my life. According to it's grade, Space Boy is not the hardest thing I have climbed, but it's style is the total opposite of my strengths. It is a very bouldery route, with several very long moves (for me).... The crux for me is a horizontal, iron-cross span. It is a dynamic move from a half pad crimp to a finger slot, most people can reach with their  feet on a good ledge, but because of my height I have to do the move with my feet on two bad smears. It took me weeks to even be able to do this move at all!


For me climbing Space Boy has been a feat of sheer dedication, determination, and perseverance. It forced me to confront my weaknesses and really focus on very small, intricate improvements, to try to keep a positive mind frame. For months I was incredibly close to climbing this route, I would have never thought that I could be so close so many times and still take so long to actually send Space Boy. My desire to succeed was excruciating, and yet in order to get the success I so desperately craved, again I had to learn to let go, and just approach each attempt with pure good energy.


Yesterday, when I clipped the chains I forced out a cry of joy. However, I felt as though I should be ecstatic, yet there was very little real emotion, it felt just like every other time I had climbed almost the whole route (starting from just below the crux sequence) and I just felt empty. It was only half an hour later as I was wading into the icy cold sea water, which was being blown straight up from the Antarctic, that it really sunk in. I suddenly felt a flood of joy and an overwhelming sense of release and freedom.