Psyched for change / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

Time flies... and not just when you are having fun. It simply seems to just keep flying faster and faster with each passing second - It is a vicious spiral, I notice time passing quickly so I try to fit more into every day, which in turn makes time pass even quicker. I find it hard to believe that another year has almost slipped away. But somehow, life seems to keep getting better as well! After five weeks in New Zealand, it felt like high time to leave... The weather had changed to a nasty Easterly flow, causing low-lying cloud roll in continuously in off the sea, leaving Christchurch damp and miserable. "The Cave" is worst of all - It is the one place left to climb, and faces due east, therefore immediately becoming a nasty spooge bowl! A week before I left I came very close to climbing one of the few climbs which I have not climbed in the Cave, but the Easterly made a send impossible. This was a little frustrating, yet it made leaving NZ easy... And it seems that I left just in time to miss yet another big earthquake. My heart goes out to all those living in Christchurch at the moment!

A couple weeks ago I found myself back on a plane, headed to San Francisco! I went from a wet miserable NZ summer to a sunny perfect winter in California - Although long distance flying is one of my least favorite things, the freedom it provides is pretty amazing! I spent a few days hanging out with a friend in San Fran, and finally summoned up the courage to join the locals at Jailhouse. It was a pleasant surprise, not at all the dirty steep cave, full of desperate slopers and crazy knee-bars that I expected! Well, ok... there were plenty of crazy knee-bars - I have never seen so many pads in one place, nor experienced the super technical, gluing and taping techniques used there. I thought I knew about knee-bars, but jailhouse definitely takes knee-barring to a new level!

The climbing was really fun. I had a great couple days sampling several of the crag classics and re-learning to climb a little more dynamic. However after a couple of days, it was time to move on... Though, after avoiding the place for a couple of years, I do look forward to coming back to Jailhouse soon! It has been a surprisingly dry early Winter here in California, and for the first time since the 70's, Tioga Pass was still open until late December! There is no snow anywhere, and the conditions at the Buttermilks are amazing - Almost too hot at times!

After not really bouldering for almost four years, it is pure joy to be here, playing on boulders with nothing other shoes and a chalk bag! Before arriving, I was a little apprehensive and unsure how I would enjoy focusing solely on bouldering. But, maybe it is true that change is good for psych - I have barely been able to contain my excitement to climb everything here! After a week here, with only one full rest day, my fingers are suffering, but my mind is still unable to rest. There is something incredibly beautiful about this harsh dry environment. The vast spaces and unrestricted openness of the desert, and tall majestic boulders with striking lines. I am instantly drawn to these boulders which are almost of route length, and require total commitment high off the ground. I am excited to still be at the beginning of my time here, and that I am already feeling much more comfortable than I expected. Bring on another year of fun and climbing!