Yosemite Valley / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

Finally I have arrived back in Yosemite.... My first experience in this amazing valley of granite, was when I was three years old, with my parents. Ever since then I have dreamed of spending some time learning to climb these incredible walls with endless splitter cracks. As expected, my first week here has been a humbling (and at times humiliating) experience. Nearly everyday I have come back frustrated, with my tail between my legs, cursing the cracks and the crazy amount of gear necessary for trad climbing. Yet, I am also amazingly psyched to learn, improve and broaden my skills.  Dagmar (my mother) and I under El Capitan

This trip here has also been enriched by returning here with my Mother, cooking wonderful meals and telling stories of Yosemite in the the 1960's. In addition I have enjoyed the presence of a great crew of fellow Kiwis, who have provided endless amounts of support, inspiration, beta and laughs.

Matt Everad on the incredible finger crack "Butter Balls" 5.11c

The last few days have been divided between cragging with my friends and familiarizing myself with the lower part of El Capitan, trying to get my head around the mammoth task of free climbing this huge face, learning the necessary skills and building up my fitness for this style of climbing. The temperatures are dropping and it feels as though winter is on its way, therefore our time is limited and El Capitan is calling my name.