Collection Automne Hiver / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

Since being back in Europe, I have spent six weeks at St. Leger Du Ventoux (France), where I have managed to make quick work of many climbs around 8a/29. A highlight and surprise was succeeding to climb the newest ‘trade route’ “Collection Automne Hiver” 8b+/32, which takes a fantastically proud, 40m line though the massive cave at a newly developed sector, called “La Baline”.


Aside from being one of the hardest routes I have ever climbed, Collection Automne Hiver is also one of the most amazing! It is a beautiful line, with two sections of pure resistance climbing with fantastic moves, separated by a huge rest. Many thanks to the locals for their winter bolting efforts and support!


Prior to returning to Europe I have just spent five months in the New Zealand summer rehabilitating a knee injury. I am pleased that during this time I managed to maintain a positive outlook on these potentially limiting circumstances, and focused on training my weaknesses (patience and power). To do so, I chose to turn my attention to “Space Boy Extension” 8b+/32 a short, powerful route, which seemed to have been created to work all my weaknesses. It was extremely frustrating at times (especially since there was no tick, grrr!). In hindsight this feels like it has been a valuable investment since returning to Europe with new and refreshed energy for climbing, a more patient attitude, and more physical strength and power.


Mayan on the top crux of Collection Automne Hiver 8b+/32


I believe that my relatively quick ascent of Collection Automne Hiver is a result of my summer training in NZ, followed by six weeks here in St. Leger, where I have been focusing on building up my resistance and enjoying life.


One of the final moves on

Resistance is a concept little known in NZ. It is something I have learned about since climbing in Europe, and a concept that has opened new doors for my climbing ability. Resistance lies between endurance and power/endurance. Where the climbing intensity is to high to be endurance, but the number of moves are too great to fall into the power/endurance category. The reason for this is simple; we have very few long, sustained routes in NZ.