"Many years ago, I climbed the mountains, even thought it is forbidden. Things are not as they teach us; the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky."
From a dying Star Trek character.
"One does not climb to attain enlightenment, rather one climbs because he is enlightened."
Zen Master Futomaki.
"Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach."
"Climbing is one of the few sports in which the arena (the cliffs, the mountains and their specific routes) acquire a notoriety that outpopulates, outshines and outlives the actual athletes."
"Climbing is not a spectator sport."
"Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous."
"There is no place comparable to the Diamond [up Colorado's Longs Peak]. It is high, cold, steep, a long way from the parking lot, and most of all, intimidating. Chasm View, or the Flying Buttress can get you acclimated, but nothing can prepare you for the Diamond but the Diamond."
"What one leads on-sight, in good, strong style, safely, is what one's ability is."
"Remember that time spent on a rock climb isn't subtracted from your life span."
"Pucky lads, a wee bit over their heads."
Doug Scott after encountering two climbers on Denali suffering from exposure.
"I send my warmest congratulations to you and to the other members of the Italian team, who have achieved such a splendid mountaineering feat on Mt McKinley."
President Kennedy to Riccardo Cassin in 1961.
"It's a round trip. Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory."
"Take only pictures; leave only footprints."
"It's always further than it looks.
It's always taller than it looks.
And it's always harder than it looks."
The 3 rules of mountaineering.
"In the American Southwest, I began a lifelong love affair with a pile of rock."
"There have been joys too great to be described in words, and there have been griefs upon which I have not dared to dwell, and with these in mind I say, climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are naught without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end."
"In a sense everything that is exists to climb. All evolution is a climbing towards a higher form. Climbing for life as it reaches towards the consciousness, towards the spirit. We have always honored the high places because we sense them to be the homes of gods. In the mountains there is the promise of... something unexplainable. A higher place of awareness, a spirit that soars. So we climb... and in climbing there is more than a metaphor; there is a means of discovery."
"A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can from a mountain top."
"Climbing is as close as we can come to flying."
Margaret Young, aviator and alpinist.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
"How could the adventure seeker of today find satisfaction with the level of performance that was a standard set more than 40 years ago ?"
"Mountains have a way of dealing with overconfidence."
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
"In the mountains there are only two grades: You can either do it, or you can't."
"Many climbers become writers because of the misconceptions about climbing."
"If adventure has a final and all-embracing motive, it is surely this: we go out because it is our nature to go out, to climb mountains, and to paddle rivers, to fly to the planets and plunge into the depths of the oceans... When man ceases to do these things, he is no longer man."
"Eastward the dawn rose, ridge behind ridge into the morning, and vanished out of eyesight into guess; it was no more than a glimmer blending with the hem of the sky, but it spoke to them, out of the memory and old tales, of the high and distant mountains."
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of The Rings.
"One cannot climb at all unless he has sufficient urge to do so. Danger must be met (indeed it must be used) to an extent beyond that incurred to normal life. That is one reason men climb; for only in response to challenge does one man becomes his best."
"To the sober person adventurous conduct often seems insanity."
"When you ride your bike, you're working your legs, but your mind is
on a treadmill. When you play chess, your mind is clicking along, but your body is stagnating. Climbing brings it together in a beautiful, magical way. The adrenaline is flowing, and it's flowing all the time."
"Climbing is the lazy man's way to enlightenment. It forces you to pay attention, because if you don't, you won't succeed, which is minor or you may get hurt, which is major. Instead of years of meditation, you have this activity that forces you to relax and monitor your breathing and tread that line between living and dying. When you climb, you always are confronted with the edge. Hey, if it was just like climbing a ladder, we all would have quit a long time ago."
"Desire is just a part the cracking ice, the splitting rock
Hey, hey I listen to you pray as if some help will come..."
Lyrics from White Coats by New Model Army.
"Heaven sent and hell bent over the mountain tops we go !"
Lyrics from Sweet Bird of Truth by The The.
"We do not deceive ourselves that we are engaging in an activity that is anything but debilitating, dangerous, euphoric, kinesthetic, expensive, frivolously essential, economically useless and totally without redeeming social significance. One should not probe for deeper meanings."
Allen Steck, 1967.
"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."
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as the sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms teir energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
John Muir about Yosemite.
"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.
"But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live. Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom. Only a person who risks is free. The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; and the realist adjusts the sails."
William Arthur Ward.
"The bizarre trend in mountaineers is not the risk they take, but the large degree to which they value life. They are not crazy because they don't dare, they're crazy because they do. These people tend to enjoy life to the fullest, laugh the hardest, travel the most, and work the least."
"The pleasure of risk is in the control needed to ride it with assurance so that what appears dangerous to the outsider is, to the participant, simply a matter of intelligence, skill, intuition, coordination... in a word, experience. Climbing in particular, is a paradoxically intellectual pastime, but with this difference: you have to think with your body. Every move has to be worked out in terms of playing chess with your body. If I make a mistake the consequences are immediate, obvious, embarrassing, and possibly painful. For a brief period I am directly responsible for my actions. In that beautiful, silent, world of mountains, it seems to me worth a little risk."
"If the conquest of a great peak brings moments of exultation and bliss, which in the monotonous, materialistic existence of modern times nothing else can approach, it also presents great dangers. It is not the goal of grand alpinism to face peril, but it is one of the tests one must undergo to deserve the joy of rising for an instant above the state of crawling grubs. But soon we have to start the descent. Suddenly I feel sad and despondent. I am well aware that a mountaineering victory is only a scratch in space But in spite of this, how sad I feel at leaving that crest ! On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
"I believe that the ascent of mountains forms an essential chapter in the complete duty of man, and that it is wrong to leave any district without setting foot on its highest peak."
Sir Leslie Stephen.
"Consider what you want to do in relation to what you are capable of doing. Climbing is, above all, a matter of integrity."
Gaston Rébuffat (19211985).
"Some mountaineers are proud of having done all their climbs without bivouac. How much they have missed ! And the same applies to those who enjoy only rock climbing, or only the ice climbs, onyl the ridges or faces. We should refuse none of the thousands and one joys that the mountains offer us at every turn. We should brush nothing aside, set no restrictions. We should experience hunger and thirst, be able to go fast, but also to go slowly and to contemplate."
Gaston Rébuffat (19211985).
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go."
T. S. Eliot.
"Each fresh peak ascended teaches something."
Sir Martin Convay.
"For us the mountains had been a natural field of activity where, playing on the frontiers of life and death, we had found the freedom for which we were blindly groping and which was as necessary to us as bread."
Maurice Herzog, mountaineer and writer.
"A man does not climb a mountain without bringing some of it away with him and leaving something of himself upon it."
"The world is a better place to live in because it contains human beings who will give up ease and security in order to do what they themselves think worth doing. They do the useless, brave, noble, divinely foolish, and the very wisest things that are done by Man. And what they prove to themselves and to others is that Man is no mere creature of his habits, no automaton in his routine, but that in the dust of which he is made there is also fire, lighted now and then by great winds from the sky."
Walter Lippmann, journalist.
"The events of the past day have proven to me that I am wholly alive, and that no matter what transpires from here on in, I have truly lived."