Outdoor PRO Julian not only tests products for us on a regular basis, he is also our hiking and climbing expert. In the fourth of our “Why I…” posts he describes his passion for the outdoors. Hiking may sound a bit boring compared to trendy sports, but it actually gives me a great feeling of freedom. I like hiking in the mountains and being out in the open; I usually look for trails that are a little out of the way and not frequented often. I have also covered some classic routes that are a must for all hikers. Over the last year I have completed the Via Ferrata climb, the Glockner and the Grossvenediger. In the mountains I feel more connected to nature than anywhere else and at heights of up to 4,000 metres I can enjoy the beauty of glaciers or even just mountain meadows. Being subject to the weather, different temperatures and sunset times make these trips an exciting challenge. Not long ago I went for a hike that lasted 16 hours. I finished at 1am in the dark because I had underestimated the duration of the trip. Sometimes the planned trip and the actual hike are worlds apart, so it is often the case that I overestimate my physical abilities a bit and end up pushing my limits. When hiking, you can’t just stop, you have to continue and get back safe and sound – it is exactly this challenge that makes the trip so exciting. You push your limits time and again and must calculate how to pace yourself. Hiking and mountain climbing allow you to experience the passing seasons better than most other sports. My favourite hiking region is Eng, in the Karwendel area. It is particularly beautiful in autumn in the Big Maple Plain, where you see the maple trees shed their leaves. Another exciting thing to do is hiking in the summer, and then skiing that same route in winter, when it all looks completely different and offers other dangers and sights. A key aspect of mountaineering is having the perfect partner. I think long and hard about who I want to go on a trip with. It is particularly fun when my partner is in a similar physical condition as me and is ready to take risks as much as I am. Stamina is more important in mountaineering than in most other sports because you can’t just stop; and I’m not just referring to physical stamina, mental stamina is just as important, that is to say, willpower.