Back in the USA / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

America, the land where everything is big... from coffee cups, to soda cans, to cars (trucks), roads and shopping malls, to the landscape itself and most importantly the rocks! In this case I guess it is true - what could possibly be better than a vertical kilometer of bombproof granite. Yes, the time came where my stubbornness had to be put on the back burner, or rather be applied to a different purpose - my time at Arapiles had run out and the weather was not cooperating... The cold got the better of me and I had to walk away from my obsession with Punks, once again. Only for a while though... I will return soon enough with refreshed energy and psych. On my return to NZ, I had just enough time for a weekend with my dad and my first day of work as an ambassador for SPARC (Sport and Recreation NZ). This means that over the next year, through SPARC I will be available to schools throughout NZ to give talks and workshops.

Then within a week I found myself back in the States, on the Salathe Headwall. Hanging out far above Yosemite Valley with only a rope as my partner, reacquainting myself with that stunning piece of climbing... 900m of air under my feet and only one single flared crack splitting the sheer overhung granite wall. It felt so good to back in that environment, alone, exposed and responsible only for my own actions, the granite and my own strength defining my existence.

Unfortunately, I only had a couple days to enjoy freedom of climbing before heading out to Salt Lake city to experience a very different aspect of the size of this country... The summer Outdoor Retailer trade show. Four days inside a massive (several mile long) hall where every manufacturer and retailer of outdoor gear comes to meet, trade and check out the latest creations. It was crazy, a total information overload and yet kind of fun - I do not think I have ever talked so much in my life! Thanks to everyone who helped introduce me to this foreign world, and made this a positive and inspiring experience for me.

My place at the front desk of the 5.10 booth.

Now, only a week later, although it feels as though years have past since I left, I am back in Yosemite, enjoying and readjusting my pace of life to this natural environment. Trying to reacquaint myself with the intricacies of granite climbing and calm my mind. I have been escaping the heat and craziness of mid summer in the Valley for a couple weeks, taking the time to enjoy some of the Tuolumne meadows classic climbs and its alpine beauty.