These last few weeks in the Aran Valley have been magnificent. Bike rides and sweat. Snow and mountains. Peace and Silence. Fresh air and pure air. Beauty and more beauty. A clear mind and lucid ideas. Reflection and conviction. Solitude and intensity…I have been training for several days and I can safely say that it is the best way of recharging your batteries. There are projects just around the corner, and I have to be ready.

 I feel somewhat anxious. I can feel the buzz that you get from the mountains. This must be because I haven’t lost that excitement you get when you are young. I am honestly convinced that I still have it. And I like it. I love feeling this invisible attraction every day that I put my boots on, grab my gear and head upwards. The steeper the terrain, the more I enjoy the route.

The year is coming to an end and the conclusion that I have reached is that I am still excited about doing what I do. I want to carry on mountaineering. The temptation is still very much there. I like the idea that I am still up for it and raring to go. It hasn’t been an easy year. I have thought about a lot of things and I have reached the most basic conclusion. I’m going to carry on doing what I am doing and I am still in love with the mountains. I am also really enthusiastic about things. When Christmas is over I will step up my preparation because I want to be on top form.

This year I have given a lot of conferences and I have actually felt people’s excitement. This is another good way of topping up your enthusiasm. When people tell you to carry on, when they urge you to take on new challenges it means a lot to me, because you are never alone in the mountains. I have been to many cities and various mountaineering clubs and I have witnessed a healthy and enthusiastic interest in our sport. It is a delight to see so many people ready to pack up their rucksacks and put on their mountain boots! I am really happy that we are continuing to promote a sport which dignifies a series of values which are necessary in order for our society to grow.