Punky Obsession / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

For the last while I have been living at Arapiles, often claimed as NZ's best crag... However, at the moment I am kind of glad it is not actually in NZ. It is nice being on stable ground once again, and not being scared to walk under any brick buildings. Over the last six months Christchurch, my home town has been ravaged by hundreds of earthquakes, which have demolished countless buildings, destroyed streets and taken many lives. My reason for being here though is not to escape, I have once more become obsessed by the historical test piece "Punks in the Gym," the first 8b+ in the world - First climbed by Wolfgang Gülich, the master of sport climbing himself.

"The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence but by oft falling."  ~Lucretius

This is how I feel about my time spent attempting Punks in the Gym. Never have I felt so close to climbing a route, for so long, without actually being able to climb it. Sometimes I get tired and frustrated with returning to the same route over and over again. However, most of the time I am still loving the climb, because the movements are so tenuous and unrelenting, yet at times they feel effortless and beautiful. For me to climb this route I feel like I need everything to come together at once: conditions, my physical form and that perfect mental state of relaxed focus.

This route has been dominating my life for the last month. I have been living it, breathing it, feeling its intricacies and its reflections of my mood. I have learnt exactly which conditions are the best, yet I have accepted that it is necessary to become stronger than the conditions. I have swung between being excruciatingly close, then feeling as though a send miles out of range. Nevertheless, at the end of every day the same thing rings true:

I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday... and I am holding firm to the belief that, "If  I stubbornly persist, the limits of my stubbornness will prove to go well beyond the stubbornness of my limits," and that eventually I will become greater than the challenges I have chosen.