Welcome to Episode 41 of the Ω Powerband Podcast - a podcast dedicated to rock climbing in Aotearoa New Zealand. In this episode, I speak with the most internationally famous Kiwi rock climber of all time, Mayan Smith-Gobat.
Mayan needs no introduction. In her prime, Mayan was one of world's leading female adventure and big wall climbers. And her sport climbing game wasn't half bad either. From freeing the Salathe on El Capitan, to the first female ascent of Punks In The Gym at Arapiles, to nearly the first full free ascent of Riders On The Storm on Torre Central, to a speed record on The Nose, Mayan's climbing resumé is impressive by any measure. She has been on the cover of Rock & Ice magazine, been fully sponsored by Adidas and she even has her own Wikipedia page. How cool is that?
Mayan grew up in the shadow of Aoraki Mt Cook and climbing and adventure were in her blood. However, it wasn't until Mayan suffered a jaw-shattering accident while extreme skiing that her passion for rock climbing emerged. Mayan was a natural and she had all the attributes necessary to climb at a very high level: she was athletic, adventurous and single-minded.
In our conversation, we cover the formative years that Mayan spent climbing in New Zealand, we talk about the long, winding path to becoming a professional rock climber, we discuss the good, the bad and the ugly sides of being paid to climb, and we go deep as Mayan reflects on what has she learnt along the way - about climbing, about life and about her body and about herself.
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