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Gaea's Cliff is an unrevisitable location in Final Fantasy VII. From the ground, it seems to be a mountain, but is actually the side of the North Crater. Due to its height and location past the frigid wastes of the Great Glacier, the cliff is so cold few can survive the climb-up. A large cave system penetrates the cliff, which must be explored to reach the top.
Mr. Holzoff and a friend of his once attempted to climb Gaea's Cliff, but the expedition ended when his friend was killed on the task. Holzoff now resides in a cabin at the base of the cliff to help out potential climbers. Cloud Strife and his party climb Gaea's Cliff to reach Sephiroth at the Whirlwind Maze.
When Cloud is not the party leader, the player is prevented from snowboarding at Icicle Inn and cannot enter the Great Glacier from the world map. When Cloud is party leader during Meteorfall, Holzoff will prevent the player from climbing. Before the Raid on Midgar, Holzoff will tell the player it's dangerous because of the barrier, while afterward he only tells the player they shouldn't climb unprepared.
Due to the name of the planet officially being Gaia in certain English promotional materials (see naming of Gaia), Gaea's Cliff may appear as a reference to it. However "Gaia" (ガイア, Gaia?) has never been used to refer to the planet in any Japanese media, and thus the connection may be coincidental.
There's an ice rock that can be pushed.
Water Level Cave
Dropping icicles into this room raises the water level that leads to an exit.
In this area the icicles are fought, cracked, and dropped.
- Left Mountain Path
- Right Mountain Path
Spring heals HP and MP, and despite not saying it removes status effects too.
Schizo fought in here.
Short ascent before an FMV starts.
Keeping body temperature up
At the cliff area, the player can climb the cliff by approaching the red flag and tapping . The player must keep the party's temperature above 30° Celsius by repeatedly tapping . This can only be done while on a platform, and not while climbing. Cloud's body temperature can assume values between 26 and 38 °C, and Cloud will pass out at 26 °C. If Cloud passes out, he will wake up at Holzoff's hut; there is no Game Over. While Cloud's body temperature is above 32 °C, it takes 5.7s for it to drop a degree, but when below 33 °C, it only takes 3.7s to drop.
This segment was more difficult in the original Japanese version, where the player's temperature dropped much faster, making it harder to climb all the way on the first try.
There are three E.Skills the player can learn while on the Gaea's Cliff, and it is best to get all of them while here as Gaea's Cliff is an unrevisitable location.
Malboro on the snowy slopes has Bad Breath. The player should equip Ribbon on the same character who has the Enemy Skill Materia, and then use White Wind after Malboro uses Bad Breath to cleanse the party of the status abnormalities.
Stilva inside the caverns of Gaea's Cliff has Magic Breath and Trine, though it never uses the latter unless Manipulated. This is the last chance to learn Trine if the player already defeated Godo in Wutai Village. Protecting the party against Lightning damage will protect against both Magic Breath and Trine. The player could also use Big Guard to soften the damage.
- Ribbon (found by walking through a wall after crossing ice bridge upon reentering first cave area)
- Fire Armlet
- Megalixir (inconsistently translated as "Last Elixir" when picked up in the PlayStation version)
- Speed Source
- Enhance Sword
|First Ascent, Second Ascent, Mountain Paths, Third Ascent|
|Archway Cave, Boulder Cave, Water Level Cave|
|Healing Spring, Ice Tunnel|
The first group of enemies is fought outdoors (all screens except the last), while the second group is fought indoors (all screens). The third group of enemies is fought in Schizo's lair (both screens). The inescapable battles glitch happens the Ice Tunnel screen after defeating Schizo.
Behind the scenes
Gaia or Gaea was the goddess or personification of Earth in ancient Greek religion, one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia was the mother of all: the heavenly gods, the Titans and the Giants were born from her union with Uranus (the sky), while the sea-gods were born from her union with Pontus (the sea). The Greek word "γαῖα" (transliterated as gaia or gaea) is a collateral form of "γῆ" meaning Earth. Her equivalent in the Roman pantheon was named Gaea (Terra in more ancient documents). This is alluded to in Final Fantasy IX with the existence of Gaia's twin world.
The mythological name Gaia was revived in 1979 by James Lovelock, whose Gaia hypothesis proposes that living organisms and inorganic material are part of a dynamic system that shapes the Earth's biosphere, and maintains the Earth as a fit environment for life. In some Gaia theory approaches the Earth itself is viewed as an organism with self-regulatory functions. This theory is especially alluded to in the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within take on Gaia as the planet's soul.