If you are looking for some mountaineering inspiration, then you have come to the right place. Some of what is said here is practical and inspirational while other quotes are just downright ridiculous. If these quotes have taught me anything, it is you cannot generalize all mountain climbers. These quotes drill down to the why of mountaineering, the reason people slug through days of struggle to get to the top. In this article, 10 Inspirational Mountain Climbing Quotes, Sayings, & Photos, you will be treated to some spectacular pictures coupled with wise words.
I hope you enjoy this article as much I enjoyed creating it. Let’s get started.
1. It’s a Struggle to Get to the Top
“Those who travel to mountain-tops are half in love with themselves and half in love with oblivion.” ―Robert Macfarlane
When you come back home after mountaineering, your ego rises. If you can mountaineer a big summit, then you can just about do anything. Everything else seems smaller and more trivial by comparison. At the same time though, mountaineering skirts, dances, and jives with death. At any moment, a wrong move or an incorrect step can cause a fall into the unknown, the abyss below. The duality is real.
2. For a Time, You Exist Next to the Abyss
“…by bringing myself over the edge and back, I discovered a passion to live my days fully, a conviction that will sustain me like sweet water on the periodically barren plain of our short lives.” ―Jonathan Waterman
Life is, well, short. As far as you and I know, there is only one shot, so you have to make every second count. You won’t find a wishing well to give you a second chance. Instead, you have to fully embrace life in all its trials, joys, obstacles, and challenges, a bear hug of life if you will.
When you attempt to summit a mountain, you do just that and the feeling could not be more satisfying.
3. Mountains Have a Way of Obliterating Egos
“When you scale a mountain, you have to leave your ego at home.” ―Anthony T. Hincks
To get to the top of a mountain, you have to slug through days of struggle, risking frostbite, skirting the cliff’s edge, and touching the void all along the way to the top. You have to approach each situation with a level headedness and calm you have never thought possible before. In short, you have to be fully present, watching where you take your next step and envisioning the path you will follow to get to the next part on the trail.
4. Mountains Will Go on Existing without You
“I assure you it’s harder to battle human stupidity than to do battle with mountains. Mountains, after all, have holds.” ―Erhard Loretan
Mountains have existed for millions of years before us and they will continue to exist long after we are gone. A mountain does not care about you. It will exist and be whether you like it or not. A mountain cannot be anthropomorphized. It does not speak, but only exists as a mountain. As a result, you have to take each breath and step with care. You are not even in the mountain’s weight class.
5. Size Matters When it Comes to Mountains
“I like the mountains because they make me feel small,’ Jeff says. ‘They help me sort out what’s important in life.” ―Mark Obmascik
When you are outdoors and in nature, the trivialities and tribulations of life seem a lot smaller by comparison. The feud at work feels child-like when you compare it to the giant mountain. A mountain formed over the course of millions of years to become what it is today. A man does not even exist for 1% of that time. Your life will be over in a blink before you even knew what hit you, so you need to make the seconds count.
6. Mountaineering Makes You Return to the Basics
“Climbing a mountain represents a chance to be briefly free oneself of the small concerns of our common lives, to strip off non essentials, to come down to the core of life itself. Food, shelter, and friends – these are the essentials, these plus faith and purpose and a deep and unrelenting determination.” ―Mateo Cabello
On the note of returning to what really matters, mountaineering teaches you about how little you actually need. When climbing a mountain, you have to carry everything on your back, tent, food, water, ice pick, clothes, boots, sunglasses, gloves, wool socks, strapping, beanie all loaded up and onto your body. You cannot carry a house on you, so you tend to trim down on what you really need.
7. You Feel Free from Constraints
“All my life, I have never felt as happy on Earth as when I’m getting closer to the sky.” ―Erhard Loretan
When I studied abroad in Kenya, my professor said, “I can go a whole year in America without staring up at the sky. In Kenya, I do it every day.” If you look up at the sky each and every day, the whole of humanity seems a lot smaller by comparison. You slow down and appreciate your little fingers and toes, the heart which beats and gives you breath.
When you go mountaineering, you get more opportunity to gasp in awe, to appreciate the life you have.
If you want to feel free from constraints, never have gone mountaineering before, and/or need a refresher, then I suggest you check out one of my previous articles, How to Start Mountaineering – a Beginner’s Guide. It is a sure fire way for you to enjoy the outdoors, no matter your skill level.
8. The Top is Nice, but You Do Have to Get Down
“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” ―Ed Viesturs
It is alright if you do not end up making it to the top. You can bet someone else has done the same. They put their heart and soul into striving for the summit just like you, only to have to go down. They still became a better person because of it. You will have to come down at one point or another. If I can speak frankly between you, me, and the mountain in front of us, I prefer going up to heading down.
When you mountaineer towards the summit, your eyes, at least, look upwards. From what I have learned of surfing and race car driving (I haven’t actually done this), you go where your eyes go. People crash their cars in the middle of the desert because they were going too fast and staring at a tree. They were thinking, “I really don’t want to hit that tree. I really don’t want to hit that tree. I really don’t want to hit that tree.” And then they went and did it.
In other words, when you start the descent, your eyes face downwards, so you have to be extra careful.
9. Fuel Your Wanderlust
“Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains.” ―Jeffrey Rasley
If you are in your 20s (like me) or older, you feel an itch, an urge to get out and escape and be who you were to meant to be. A mountaineering expedition offers the chance to reflect and grow as a person. You slow down for a time and appreciate this thing called life. We do not get that enough in our daily lives, the opportunity to slow down that is. On a mountain, you see the bigger picture.
10. Mountaineering is a Challenge Like No Other
“Because it’s there.” ―George Mallory
This is the most famous quote in all mountaineering. George Mallory said it in response to a reporter’s question, “why climb Mount Everest?” You don’t have to climb Mount Everest, but it would be super cool if you did. On a mountain, you get a challenge, a chance to go beyond yourself and what you thought was possible. You discover your bounds, often realizing they were just artificial and coming to know who you really are.
Are You Going to Get Outside this Week?
Well, that was a wonderful article. I do have a small request before you go though. If you want to fuel your ambition, wanderlust, or anything else of the sort, then I suggest you check out AllTrails.com. It is my go to site for finding trails near me to hike. If you want to summit Everest, then you start with a trail in your own backyard. So what do you say? Are you going to get outside this week?
If you have any thoughts, questions, or think I missed anything, do not hesitate to comment below and please share the article. Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!