Changing seasons... / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

And motivations... It has been a long, cold and  difficult winter. However, although it was often very hard it has actually been a very positive experience and rewarding time - A winter of challenge, learning and change in my approach to life and climbing. I believe I have not only learned a huge amount about how to further myself as a climber, but have also discovered much more of who I really am and what I want from life...

Desert towers at sunset...

I am currently in the final weeks of my second training cycle, and over the last month I have seen huge improvements in all of my weaknesses - I have been permanently tired from trying to climb and keep up with my heavy training load, and yet my strength, power and dynamic movement have been increasing in leaps and bounds.

At the end of last year I tried Just Do It at Smith Rocks, in Baltic conditions and I had the feeling that, though it was a long way off, it was something I could do with time, effort and training... Therefore, throughout the last 3 months of training I have kept that in my mind as a goal and motivator during those long hard training sessions.

On my way to the Monkey Face, Smith Rocks. Photo: Dana Bartus

Now, that the time has come to leave and test how much I really have gained where it really counts, I am finding that I do not really want to... That, because of a particularly cold winter I have barely even seen the desert climbing around here, which was a large reason why I chose to spend the Winter here. The sun has finally come out and temperatures are perfect in the desert right now, it seems a shame to leave when there is so much to do right here!

Getting Ben scared again... Descending from the Ivory Tower, Castleton

Also, over the last few months I have spent any half-reasonable day climbing at the Puoux, where my main climbing partner Ben Rueck, has been trying Gutless, a 5.14b/8c. This climb is up the hill from the majority of the routes, so out of convenience I ended playing on Fault Line 5.13d/8b - A relatively long climb with two distinct sections; the lower part which is totally anti-me, all jumps and big powerful moves between good holds. Then an amazing rest, leading to an extremely technical headwall with tiny holds. Until last week I could not even come close to doing the moves on the lower section, but the top was fun climbing and it was good training, so I kept playing on it, but never even thought I had a chance of doing it...

Fault Line, the Puoux. Photo: Peter Rueck

In my brain it was just training, until a few days ago, when I finally managed to do the moves on the lower section, and get good linkage on the top part! Suddenly my mindset changed and now I really want to do this route, that I have unknowingly invested a lot of time into...

Pulling onto the headwall of Fault Line...Photo: Peter Rueck

After stressing about what to do for the last little while, I realized that Smith Rocks is not going anywhere, and so, even if I do not make it up there now, I will in Fall. My plans for April are still a little flexible, but regards what happens - It will be something good! Bring on Spring!!!

The Fault wall... A nice winter sun trap