- 3 September 1979
- Bad Dürkheim (Germany)
- Professional climber
«My passion for climbing and the mountains runs deep, from way before I was born. My early childhood was spent living at the foot of Mount Cook (3754 m), New Zealand’s highest mountain. However, my parents moved away from the mountains when I was seven, and in school I put all my spare time and energy into horseback riding. By the time I turned 16, I couldn't ignore the lure of the mountains anymore, and began alpine climbing. It soon developed into a fascination with rock climbing. I gained invaluable experience competing, first in New Zealand, then in Europe. Competition taught me how to deal with mental pressure, to focus solely on climbing, and to shut everything else out. It also made me realize that my true passion was climbing on rock, seeking my own challenges and inspiring lines in the beauty of nature.»
Climbing as a challenge
«Climbing is my life. I love the feeling of freedom that being out in nature and climbing both provide. Climbing makes me appreciate the moment, and strips away the layers of pretentiousness society imposes on us. I feel like it possesses a raw truth not often seen elsewhere. Climbing has shown me my inner strength and taught me who I really am underneath it all. I love being high above ground, exposed on a striking line. I love the way climbing challenges me both physically and mentally; I love the feeling of having my whole body absolutely "worked" after climbing. Climbing has forced me to develop a strong mind, along with the determination and ability to never give up. It has helped me believe in myself, in my own ability, and find the will to keep getting up each time I fall.»
Running isn't just about training
«I love running, and not just as a workout regimen. I run both for fitness and because I really enjoy it. I do yoga regularly to help keep my body supple and avoid injury, and love the peace of mind it gives me. I also need a creative outlet, be it writing, painting, sculpture, or photography.»
Being in nature
«My favorite places to climb are Yosemite in the US, Ceuse in France, and Siurana in Spain. I love just being in nature and being high up. All of these places make you feel like you're on top of the world! I love watching the birds soar, free and unrestrained, and feeling removed from the everyday world. I've got great like-minded friends in all of these places, and always feel instantly at home.»
«To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard of life is not risking anything.»
Sharing my experience
«I like sharing my knowledge and experience with anyone who wants to learn, particularly youth and women throughout the world; to help them trust themselves, to put themselves out there, and to push their limits. I hope that I can inspire my peers. That being said, I feel like I still have a lot more to learn as well!»
One of my favorite memories
«Early one morning, I was sitting on a broad ledge near the top of El Capitan, on my own, watching the birds soaring around me, the quiet valley slowly coming to life below. I had already been up and about for hours. At moments like this, I feel like I’m stealing time, living and experiencing things most people will never see.»
- New Zealand national bouldering champion in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005.
- Céüse (Gapençais, France) «L’Arcademicien» (8c), 2009.
- Arapiles (Australie), “Punks in the Gym” (8b+), 2012.
- El Capitan, Yosemite, USA, “Freerider” (7c), in 14 hours and 10 minutes, 2011
- El Capitan, Yosemite, USA, “Salathe” (8a), 2011
- The Salathe, My free ascent of the Salathe Wall. Dead Point magazine, May 2012
- What Lies Beneath, A free ascent of the Salathe Wall. New Zealand Alpine Journal, 2012
- Mayan Smith-Gobat, Interview with New Zealand’s finest female climber. Vertical Life, 2012, by Simon Madden and Ross Taylor
- Salathe Free, New Zealand Climber, 2011/12, by Tom Riley