Darrans / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

Back in the Darrans, Homer Hut has become my home once again… It is a beautiful place; where the weather rules your life. Being removed from our societal comforts makes one acknowledge the force of nature’s raw power once again. This is a place of extremes, the conditions change within minutes, from the most beautiful sunshine to crazy violent storms. Almost daily, over the last week, I have witnessed the peaceful, life-bringing water droplets we generally associate with the word “rain” transform into raging, deathly torrents of water, which start to charge off the mountains instantaneously. At times like this, it feels as though one can witness the elements shaping this world that we live in, and it seems amazing that nature has allowed humanity to survive here for this long... It truly has ultimate power!

I have been down here for just over a week, and already the rest of the world has ceased to exist… The looming granite mountains dominate me and it feels as though they have blocked the world out of my mind as well. This last week feels as though it has been the wettest week of my life! There have been intense storms hitting Fiordland every couple days… we had two heavy-rain warnings for the region with four days! However, every climbable day, in the last ten days has been spent at possibly the best crag in New Zealand “Little Babylon”. A steep, orange cliff of glacially worn granite, containing some of the most beautiful sport climbs in the world, and the highest concentration of the hardest routes in this country. Additionally, this crag is located in the middle of an ancient, entanglement of New Zealand rain forest, which emanates an aura of vibrant, yet incredibly beautifully peaceful life… Stunning arrays of luminous green ferns, mosses and birds live amongst the huge native trees, which cling precariously to the near vertical granite mountainsides.

I seem to function my best in this serene environment, and the few good days I have had over the last week have been charged with positive energy and I have seen incredible progress on one of the most difficult climbs I have ever tried. I have been working on “Colossus” one of the three 33’s (8c/5.14b) in NZ. It is a steep, powerful route, taking the most striking line at the crag, up an overhung and bulbus prow, with incredible moves. It is a pleasure to climb and I am enjoying the climbing so much, that I do not mind spending my entire time down here working on this route.