Climbing & Mountaineering Quotes

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings: Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine into flowers, the winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms, their energy and cares will drop off like autumn leaves. — John Muir

He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary. — Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spake Zarathustra

We took risks. We knew we took them. Things have come out against us. We have no cause for complaint. — Scott, found in his diary after the party froze in Antarctica

To the sober person adventurous conduct often seems insanity. — Georg Simmel, On Individuality and Social Forms

Many years ago, I climbed the mountains, even though it is forbidden. Things are not as they teach us; the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky. — Unknown

You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know. — Rene Daumal

You cannot learn to fly by flying. First you must learn to walk, and to run, and to climb, and to dance. — Friedrich Nietzsche

To put yourself into a situation where a mistake cannot necessarily be recouped, where the life you lose may be your own, clears the head wonderfully. It puts domestic problems back into proportion and adds an element of seriousness to your drab, routine life. Perhaps this is one reason why climbing has become increasingly hard as society has become increasingly, disproportionately, coddling. — A. Alvarez, The Games Climbers Play

Climbing is a joyous, instinctive activity; unless restrained, most children will scurry up trees, garden walls, building facades, and anything else steep and enticing. While society, in the form of parents, teachers and the law, discourages these activities, some determined individuals persist and eventually find their way back to the peaks. [They follow the suggestion of one climber “to remember our arboreal ancestors, retreat intellecutually a couple of million years and make like monkeys, defying gravity with our own impetus.” — Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills

Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit. — W. Somerset Maugham

Up the airy mountain Down the rushy glen. — William Allingham

Round the cape of a sudden came the sea, And the sun looked over the mountain’s rim: And straight was a path of gold for him, And the need of a world of men for me. — Robert Browning, “Parting at Morning”

And in keeping with Japhy’s habit of always getting down on one knee and delivering a little prayer to the camp we left, to the one in the Sierra, and the others in Marin, and the little prayer of gratitude he had delivered to Sean’s shack the day he sailed away, as I was hiking down the mountain with my pack I turned and knelt on the trail and said “Thank you, shack.” Then I added “Blah,” with a little grin, because I knew that shack and that mountain would understand what that meant, and turned and went down the trail back to this world.” — Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

To qualify for mountain rescue work, you have to pass our test. The doctor holds a flashlight to your ear. If he can see light coming out the other one, you qualify. — Willi Pfisterer

Oh, sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise, By mountains pil’d on mountains to the skies? Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys, And buries madmen in the heaps they raise. — Pope

The lonely sunsets flare forlorn Down valleys dreadly desolate; The lordly mountains soar in scorn As still as death, as stern as fate. — Robert Service, “The Land God Forgot”

There is an intense but simple thrill in setting off in the morning on a mountain trail, knowing that everything you need is on your back. It is a confidence in having left the inessentials behind and of entering a world of natural beauty that has not been violated, where money has no value, and possessions are a deadweight. The person with the fewest possessions is the freest. Thoreau was right. — Paul Theroux, “The Happy Isles of Oceana: Paddling the Pacific” Backpacker

Well could I curse away a winter’s night, Though standing naked on a mountain top, Where biting cold would never let grass grow, And think it but a minute spent in sport. — William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Act III, Scene II

What are you That fly me thus? some villain mountaineers? I have heard of such. What slave art thou? — William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Act IV, Scene II

Do you not educate youth at the charge-house on the top of the mountain? — William Shakespeare, Love’s Labours Lost, Act V, Scene I

Live with me, and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove That hills and valleys, dales and fields, And all the craggy mountains yields. — William Shakespeare, Sonnet XX

Ay, to the proof; as mountains are for winds, That shake not, though they blow perpetually. — William Shakespeare, Taming of the Shrew, Act II, Scene I

‘Double, double, toil and trouble.’ — William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Talkers are no good doers. — William Shakespeare, Henry VI

They say miracles are past; and we have our philosophical persons, to make modern and familiar, things supernatural and causeless. Hence is it that we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge, when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear. — William Shakespeare, All’s Well that Ends Well, Act II Scene III __________________________________________________

“Great things happen when men and mountains meet; These are not done by jostling in the street”  —William Blake

“When you reach the top, keep climbing”  —Zen proverb

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