To gather objective information, you need to actively focus attention using your senses. The main sense you use is sight. You “look” into a situation from your current stance. You can also use your sense of touch (feeling) by probing the initial moves.
In the Warrior’s Way® courses, we use a memory aid called the MAP process to help students organize and remember the tasks to do at rest stances. During coaching, I often will refer to this as “Doing the Lookings.”
The base of a route, a well-protected stance on the route, or even a more subtle stance with no protection, are decision points—places to stop and prepare. To prepare for the risk, there are only three pieces of information you need to collect: the END, the DAO, and the POLR. First, identify the END, the next stance. Determine when the stress will be over or diminished and where you will have protection again. Second, scan the rock above and below you to understand the falling consequences, the DAO. Determine the distance (D) of the fall, the angle (A) of the rock, and what obstacles (O) there may be. Third, find the POLR—the Path Of Least Resistance—the easiest way through, not around, the stress to the END.
During this preparation, don’t let your mind use you, or you will tend to skirt the stress. Signs that the mind is using you include beginning to climb before identifying the next END, avoiding looking down at the DAO, and being drawn in by what looks to be the most secure climbing, which may not be the POLR.