Madagascar / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

Sorry for my long period of neglect for my blog over the last while... The last six months have been full of beautiful highlights, yet always furrowed by deep terrible lows. These times have caused me to reflect on myself lot and changed my out look on life. There is a positive side to each situation or event and though I am definitely not always able to see it, in retrospect this time has been enlightening. I have been struggling to keep up - to adjust, and unfortunately my blog has suffered, but life continues, a lot has happened... 

Madagascar, Yosemite, New Zealand, Colorado, shoulder surgery, rehab and trying to get fit again... 

Where to start?

Madagascar!

Madagascar!

Boarding the plane to Madagascar was exciting, a step into  the unknown, a time to be away from all the normal parts of life - no internet, cell phone, electricity or connection to the world we knew. Yet, I was also hesitant, unsure how my shoulder would hold up to big wall abuse - long days of climbing, hauling and jugging. his was soon forgotten in the craziness of African life and new experiences. 

Everyday life in Madagascar...

Everyday life in Madagascar...

Transport...

Transport...

Even on the wall my shoulder help up fine and did not hold me back as Ben Rueck and I forged our way up a line of bolts disappearing into the unknown. We swung leads, taking turns to cautiously head up into unchartered territory. Delicately moving up the gradually steepening holdless slabs. To our surprise as the wall became vertical and then slightly overhanging the size of micro edges covering the wall increased, just enough to make the climbing possible - As if this line was made to climb!

The wall!

The wall!

Lemurs... Showing us how to climb

Lemurs... Showing us how to climb

We spent days fixing rope, hauling supplies. water and a portaledge up the wall, then finally committed to the wall. Staying up there until we reached the top! It was stunning hanging 800 feet above the barren African landscape, watching the clouds drifting in the valley far below us, hearing lemurs calling in the early morning hours. Our world narrowed - this vertical wall was all that existed for us.

Climbing out of our home on the wall. Photo: Andrew Burr

Climbing out of our home on the wall. Photo: Andrew Burr

This time, climbing our route Solar Fusion was a wonderful time when all the tough times were forgotten. Now looking back, it brings me inspiration to get fit again, to stay motivated when the road ahead seems too long and difficult. To remember what it is that I am striving for - The adventure of going places no human has touched before, the freedom of body and mind climbing brings when everything comes together! 

Ben looking thoughtful... 

Ben looking thoughtful... 

Thanks to my sponsors for their support, for making it possible for me to live with this freedom. I am looking forward to the next adventure!

Heading down... Happy to be back on the ground!

Heading down... Happy to be back on the ground!