Category Archives: Books

Slow Mountain & Space for Wonder, two recent books with a new approach to mountaineering

Slow Mountain and Space for Wonder. Two guides to a new philosophy of walking
Slow Mountain and Space for Wonder. Two guides to a new philosophy of walking

I haven’t read it yet, but Juanjo Garbizu’s Slow Mountain is on my Christmas wish list.

“The accelerated rhythm of life today is not just confined to the cities. It has been moving into the mountains, and is making them a focus of competition too. But not everyone sees the peaks in this way. Juanjo Garbizu hikes to slow down, creating moments when time is suspended (he walks without a watch). So he can enjoy everything the landscape has to offer, sharpening his senses by observing nature and immersing himself in the stimuli unique to mountains. This is the Slow Mountain, mountaineering at a leisurely pace, which Garbizu has made his own in this book: a manifesto for a return to the original spirit of mountaineering and hiking.” (Free translation of the synopsis; the book is in Spanish.)

I am reminded of Gordon Wilson’s Space for Wonder, a personal take on trekking in the Pyrenees. A highly readable guide to crossing the Pyrenees combining the three classic trails, it emphasises the importance of taking “the time to stand and stare”. Full of anecdotes, it shows that long-distance walking doesn’t have to be a hard slog.