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  • Nothing puts things in perspective as quickly as a mountain.

  • ... when the horrors that men and women make for themselves come into my mind, I go out and look at the solitary peak that towers above the long receding range of mountains at the head of the lake.

  • The low-lying mountains sleep at the edge of the world. / The forests cover them like mantles ...

  • Like a human being, the mountain is a composite creature, only to be known after many a view from many a different point, and repaying this loving study, if it is anything of a mountain at all, by a gradual revelation of personality, an increase of significance ...

  • When life gets tangled there's something so reassuring about climbing a mountain. The challenge is unambiguous.

  • For those moments when it's just you and the rock and the ice and the snow, life always makes sense.

  • ... Everest wasn't like any other mountain. Only one of ten climbers who attempt the mountain stands on the summit. And for every three climbers who do scale the mountain, one dies trying. The facts aren't welcoming. But you don't plan a trip to Everest believing those facts will apply to you.

  • ... that's exactly what climbing is to me. ... Expression. What a painter does on a canvas, what a writer can do with the twenty-six letters in the alphabet. It's the key that unlocks my spirit, the clearest representation of who I am. When I'm focused, climbing is almost an unconscious act for me. I don't have to drive myself, I'm already driven.

  • ... the deepest part of me is, and will always be, a climber. ... No matter where I go, I always feel like a climber.

  • Mountains define you. You cannot define / Them.

    • May Sarton,
    • "Colorado Mountains," The Lion and the Rose ()
  • Mountains are nature's testimonials of anguish. They are the sharp cry of a groaning and travailing creation. Nature's stern agony writes itself on these furrowed brows of gloomy stone. These reft and splintered crags stand, the dreary images of patient sorrow, existing verdureless and stern because exist they must.

  • When God gave men tongues, he never dreamed that they would want to talk about the Himalayas; there are consequently no words in the world to do it with.

  • To rise above treeline is to go above thought, and after, the descent back into bird song, bog orchids, willows, and firs is to sink into the preliterate parts of ourselves.

  • The heights of granite and the grassy steep / My spirit in a magic fortrees keep / Where in the silence, singing waters start ...

  • ... mountains had taken the place of religion, had satisfied her religious sense, her need for adoration and worship as no service in any Cathedral, however sublime, had been able to do ...

  • All mountain streets have streams to thread them, or deep grooves where a stream might run. You would do well to avoid that range uncomforted by singing floods. You will find it forsaken of most things but beauty and madness and death and God.

  • Its sharp towers shoot up out of the rock like scissors, cutting the sky into ribbons.

  • ... mountains are the altars of the gods.

  • The mountain comes and goes / Like a watermark / On celestial paper.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "Rainier" (1960), in Ruth Limmer, ed., What the Woman Lived ()
  • You never conquer a mountain. / You stand on the summit a few moments, / Then the wind blows your footprints away.

  • Mountains are where heaven meets earth.

  • The mountains were getting ready for winter, too. They were very sly about it and tried to look summery and casual but I could tell by their contours that they had slipped on an extra layer of snow — that the misty scarf blowing about that one's head would soon by lying whitely around her neck.

  • If you grow up where a snow mountain lifts its proud crown on the home horizon, in some strange way it becomes a member of the family.

  • When I come down from the mountain, I feel like I can battle in the valley again.

    • Hulda Crooks,
    • interview (1991), in Saint Paul Pioneer Press ()
  • If I could have a place to die, it would be in the mountains.

  • When you are a child of the mountains yourself, you really belong to them. You need them. They become the faithful guardians of your life. If you cannot dwell on their lofty heights all your life, if you are in trouble, you want at least to look at them.

  • Extreme climbers want to live intensely. They spend more time on the edge, living at a higher level of vitality than most any other of life's sojourners. For them, Everest is a symbol of excellence, of the barely attainable. It is the mightiest challenge: a brutal struggle with rock, ice, altitude, and self. The satisfaction, as I have experienced it on lesser climbs, comes from enduring the struggle, from doing more than you thought you could do, from rising — however briefly — above your everyday world, and from coming, momentarily, closer to the stars.

  • From the moment my eyes rested on the snow-clad alps I worshipped their beauty and was filled with a passionate longing to touch those shining snows, to climb to their heights of silence and solitude, and feel myself one with the mighty forces around me. The great peaks towering into the sky before me touched a chord that all the wonders of my own land had never set vibrating, and filled a blank of whose very existence I had been unconscious.

  • Sun spills over the mountains like gold from a miner's pan.

  • Nothing to mountaineering, just a little physical endurance, a good deal of brains, lots of practice, and plenty of warm clothing.

  • My help is in the mountain / Where I take myself to heal / The earthly wounds / That people give to me.

    • Nancy Wood,
    • "My Help Is in the Mountain," Hollering Sun ()
  • Since I have lost the mountains, I / Look for them in the waste of sky, / And think to see at the street's close / The lovely line of blue and rose ...