Place of Happiness / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

In April Ben Rueck and I embarked on an amazing trip through Brazil to climb Stefan Glowacz's route "The Place of Happiness" on Pedra Riscada, an 850 meter granite dome. 

"Fear surged through my veins, my muscles tense as coiled springs, ready to explode at the slightest touch, yet relaxing was vital - I desperately fought to slow my breathing and calm my mind. Tenuously clinging to the dead vertical face, like one of the many small succulents which covered the wall, obscuring the holds. I was six hundred meters above the ground, with the last bolt out of sight, at least ten meters below my feet, and still unable see anything above. Scenarios flashed through my mind - We had just heard that a member of the only other party to repeat this route had broken his leg during a fall.

I kept climbing, yet there was still no trace of the next bolt and I was nearly out of rope..."

Ben and I were a perfect team, working together to crush a stunning route in a surreal landscape - seven hundred meters of rock stretching out below us, cactuses growing on the vertical wall all around and countless domes rising up far below. These were moments of true happiness.

On our second attempt at climbing this route in a single day push we made to the black low angle slab at the very top of the route, before getting lost in the dark. We were both extremely happy with our day, having climbed every pitch in the best style possible and did not want to ruin this or risk potential injury or death by trying to force our way to the anchor. Even though we had not clipped the chains, we felt content that we had climbed the route, finding flow and happiness in the process.

Here is a small glimpse into our journey:

Thanks to everyone who made this trip possible, especially my sponsors for their support, Frank, Hans and Franz (film crew) and Ben for being a amazing partner!