The Beginning

Climbing has been part of Mayan’s life from before she was born. Her first five years were spent living in the shadow of Mt Cook (NZ’s highest mountain), until her parents moved to the North Island, where she attended school, and devoted all her free time to horse ridding. At 16 Mayan could ignore the lure of the mountains no longer, and began dabbling in both alpine and rock climbing.

After finishing High School Mayan devoted herself to skiing and spent the next few years chasing winters around the world. She began competing in Big Mountain Extreme skiing competitions and was soon a semi-professional skier, at the top of her field in NZ. Consequently she barely touched rock during that time.

Mayan’s focus returned to climbing in 2001 when a skiing accident forced her to spend the next 6 months on crutches. To maintain her sanity during that time, Mayan focused on training her upper body and in the process rediscovered her love for climbing. This was the true beginning of Mayan’s climbing career, since then she has dedicated her life to this vertical world.

Mayan soon established herself as the strongest female climber in the NZ climbing scene, and is currently one of the most accomplished climbers (male or female) in the country. Mayan’s desire to seek out new challenges soon led her to leave NZ, in search of new routes and bigger rock faces.

Several injuries have forced Mayan to move away from climbing for long periods of time, but these absences have only made Mayan’s love and addiction to this vertical game (Rock Climbing) grow stronger. Mayan now lives on the road most of the time, traveling around the world in search of new challenges and inspiring lines to climb.

Salathe Headwall. Photographer: Ben Ditto


2009: First NZ woman to climb 8c (Grade 33) ~ L’arcademicien, Ceuse, France.

On-sight ascent of Astroman, Washington Column, Yosemite, USA

2008: First ascent of 8b and 8b+ routes (Grade 32), Heaven/ Little Babylon, Milford,  NZ.2008

2007: First NZ woman to onsight 8a (Grade 29) – Collisium 8a, Rodellar, Spain.

First NZ woman to climb 8b+ (Grade 32) ~ Geminis 8b+, Rodellar, Spain.

2006: First Free ascent of Shadowland 7c (300m) Darrans, NZ.

First ascents on several of the biggest rock faces in NZ.

2005: First Woman to climb 8a+ (Grade 30) in NZ.

Won the Christchurch Indoor Bouldering Series.

Third Place, Oceania Sport Climbing Championships, Australia

2003: First Woman to Boulder V8 in NZ.

First Woman to climb 8a (Grade 29) in NZ.

Achieved first Female assent of many hard routes and boulder problems around NZ.

2002: Won the NZ National Bouldering Series, consecutively for the next three years.

2000: Won the Chill Series, Extreme Skiing, NZ and was ranked as the best Female Big Mountain Free-Skier in NZ.

Jon Sedon

Mayan on the first ascent of Prowess 8b, NZ. Photo: Jon Sedon