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Meet Mayan Smith-Gobat, a New Zealand climber.

February 23, 2010 -  Mayan Smith-Gobat    

“Climbing is my passion and the focus of my life. My every action is focused on becoming a better and more inspirational climber. One who can climb everything well, from short intense sport climbs, to big, grueling, multi-day epics.”

Mayan is currently the most internationally prolific and inspiring rock climber from New Zealand and is among the best climbers from Australasia (male or female). She is the only Kiwi woman to have climbed 31 (8a+/5.13d) or above, the only Australasian woman to have climbed 33 (8c/5.14b), and only the third Kiwi to have ever climbed this grade. Over her nine years of full-time climbing, Mayan has also established many first ascents, including short test pieces, (First ascent of The Giving Tree 32 (8b+/5.14a)), and long alpine routes in the Darren Mountains NZ, (First free ascent of Shadowland, 27, 300m; and a first ascent of the Kiapo Wall, 25, 500m). In addition, in her first month at Yosemite, she made several notable ascents including an all onsight ascent of the historic test piece, Astroman, and an almost free-ascent of El Cap.
Mayan was born in the shadow of Mt. Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak, and although she did not really start climbing till she was 21, she has a deep-seated love and appreciation of the mountains and the vertical world. Mayan had played around on the rocks before, but she truly started climbing when a skiing accident left her with two broken feet and a fractured jaw, and she needed an outlet for her boundless passion for life. She became instantly addicted to the sport and has dedicated her life to it ever since.

Mayan now lives on the road, following the best climbing conditions around the world. Over the past five years she has been climbing predominantly in Europe, with brief visits to tick some unfinished projects off in her home land every summer.

One of Mayan’s latest achievements was the first female ascent of Space Boy, 32 (8b+ / 5.14a) at her home crag, the “Cave”, New Zealand.

Excerpt from
“Yesterday the cave was perfect… cold, still and quiet. I sat looking at Space Boy, thinking about every move, how well I know the intricacies of every hold and movement. I have agonized over this contorted sequence of chalked holds through a very steep, vortex like formation to the lip of the cave for what seems like eternity. I have thrown my heart, soul and a huge amount of energy at this stupidly small and rather uninspiring piece of rock. It has been a silent observer to a massive array of emotions, from ecstatic joy, to raging fury, to total and utter despair. I have shed tears of frustration and disappointment on several dozen infuriating occasions.”


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