Rock climbing has always been my platform for spending time in the mountains and enjoying them. I would never change this as I love everything about rock climbing and the process of doing routes at my limit. Although I do appreciate my time in the mountains and the recent pandemic year was a powerful reminder just how much life was impoverished by having access to the outdoors removed, I do sometimes sense that such a strong focus on the task at hand, the climb, can mean that I notice less than I could about the mountains around me. What you focus on, is what you see.
As a younger climber I remember frequently visiting the website of a top Italian all-rounder at the time, Mauro ‘Bubu’ Bole. He had a quote under his name on the header bar of his site that said ‘Every once in a while I stop, just to look’. It always struck me that he chose this as the one idea or message he wanted to have alongside his name. Perhaps because it came from a climber I looked up to, this quote remained in my consciousness and I found myself stopping during climbing days, even if for a few moments, for no other reason than to take the time to notice. This did make my climbing days noticeably more enjoyable. I also found that my memories of climbs, places and experiences on hills were stronger and richer.