Serious & Literary Climbing Quotes

"The summit is just a halfway point."    — Buy at Amazon.comEd Viesturs.

The following are humorous (and sometimes serious too) quotes gathered from the Web, Usenet's personal .sig, the rec.climbing FAQ, rec.climbing itself, books (like Waterman's Buy at Amazon.comThe Quotable Climber), Dawn's selection and other sources. Since it's all a big rip-off, I assume no copyright whatsoever. I don't even guarantee that they are accurate. Now that you've been warned, enjoy.

On this page:

Serious, Boring and Pretentious Climbing Quotes

"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comJohn Muir.
"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comJonathan Waterman.
"I don't think I would become a climber if I were young man now [...] What is freedom to a bird if it is in the middle of a flock ?"    — John Gill.
"Climbing is not a spectator sport."    — Buy at Amazon.comMark Wellman.
"Montani semper liberi."    — Motto for the state of West Virginia.
"Mountains are not fair or unfair, they are just dangerous."    — Buy at Amazon.comReinhold Messner.
"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."    — Malcolm Daly.

Summit of Chamechaude in winter.
"What one leads on-sight, in good, strong style, safely, is what one's ability is."    — Buy at Amazon.comPat Ament.
"Remember that time spent on a rock climb isn't subtracted from your life span."    — Will Niccolls.
"Climbing is hard to give up, it's just as hard to give up as cigarettes."    — Layton Kor.
"Pucky lads, a wee bit over their heads."    — Buy at Amazon.comDoug 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 Buy at Amazon.comRiccardo Cassin in 1961.
"It's a round trip. Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory."    — Buy at Amazon.comEd Viesturs.
"Take only pictures; leave only footprints."
"It's a wonderful feeling to push even a tiny piece of the planet down beneath one's feet. If it's overhanging plastic, it's going to pump your arms like bloated sausages; if it's a steep snow-slope at 27000 feet it's going to deaden the legs and make the lungs like overworked bellows. Either way, the challenges are obvious."    — Adrian Burgess.
"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comEdward Abbey.
"You never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountain, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves."    — Lito Tejada-Flores.
"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comEdward Whymper.
"The aim of the mountaineer, if he wishes to be an artist in the full sense of word, is neither escape nor "the search for the absolute" as some have claimed, but rather seek that place where "the mystic remains silent and the poets start to speak towards men."    — Bernard Amy.
"Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb."    — Greg Child.
"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."    — Rob Parker.
"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comLionel Terray.
"How could the adventure seeker of today find satisfaction with the level of performance that was a standard set more than 40 years ago ?"    — Buy at Amazon.comAnatoli Boukreev.
"Mountains have a way of dealing with overconfidence."    — Buy at Amazon.comHermann Buhl.
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."    — Evan Hardin.
"In the mountains there are only two grades: You can either do it, or you can't."    — Rusty Baille.
"Many climbers become writers because of the misconceptions about climbing."    — Buy at Amazon.comJonathan Waterman.
"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comWilfrid Noyce.
"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, Buy at Amazon.comThe 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."    — Ax Nelson.
"To the sober person adventurous conduct often seems insanity."    — Buy at Amazon.comGeorg Simmel.
"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comPat Ament.
"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."    — Duncan Ferguson.
"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 Buy at Amazon.comNew Model Army.
"Heaven sent and hell bent over the mountain tops we go !"    — Lyrics from Buy at Amazon.comSweet 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."    — Buy at Amazon.comAllen 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."    — Buy at Amazon.comRené Daumal.
"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comJohn 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, Buy at Amazon.comThe 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."    — Buy at Amazon.comWilliam 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."    — Lisa Morgan.
"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comA. Alvarez.

The east side of the Vercors with Mt Aiguille in the distance.
"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comLionel Terray.
"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comSir 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."    — Buy at Amazon.comGaston Rébuffat (1921—1985).
"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comGaston Rébuffat (1921—1985).
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go."    — Buy at Amazon.comT. 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."    — Buy at Amazon.comMaurice 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."    — Martin Conway.
"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."    — Buy at Amazon.comWalter 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."    — Anonymous climber.
"Like a drop of water falls from the summit, that's the line I shall take."    — E. Comici.
"What is hard to endure is sweet to remember."
"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."    — Old saying.
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body."    — Tom Muccia.
"One can't take a breath large enough to last a lifetime ; one can't eat a meal big enough so that one never needs to eat again. Similarly, I don't think any climb can make you content never to climb again."    — Buy at Amazon.comWoodrow Wilson Sayre.
"Be careful down there on Earth. It's close to the ground and somebody could get hurt."    — Mir Crew.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out where the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood. At best, he knows the triumph of high achievement; if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."    — Buy at Amazon.comTheodore Roosevelt.
"Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out — it's the grain of sand in your shoe."    — Buy at Amazon.comRobert Service (1874—1958).
"I feel that my enemy is anyone who would, given the power to do so, restrict individual liberty, and this includes all officials, law officers, army sergeants, communists, catholics and the house of Un-American Activities Committee. Of course I'm prejudiced, but I cannot imagine a sport other than climbing which offers such a complete and fulfilling expression of individuality. And I will not give it up nor even slow down, not for man, nor woman, nor wife, nor God."    — Chuck Pratt, 1965.
"I refuse to believe in a risk free society where the thrill of living is traded for the safety of existence."
"If in normal conditions it is skill, which counts, in such extreme situations, it is the spirit, which saves."    — Buy at Amazon.comWalter Bonatti.
"Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent."    — Buy at Amazon.comMarilyn vos Savant.
"The breakfast of champions is not cereal, it's the opposition."    — Nick Seitz.
"A sport is advanced by the handful of people who do it brilliantly, but it is kept sweet and sane by the great numbers of the mediocre, who do it for fun."    — Elizabeth Coxhead.
"I have noticed that youngsters given to the climbing habit usually do something when they grow up"    — Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), American editor, publisher and writer.
"Tomorrow ? Probably back on the ground involved in other struggles more dangerous than loose flakes, more demanding than commitment to a desert wall. Dealing with man can be less than beautiful. Climbing is beautiful."    — Bill Forrest, the secret passage route.
"Today is your day ! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way."    — Buy at Amazon.comDr. Seuss (1904—1991)
"To live for some future goal is shallow. It is the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top."    — Buy at Amazon.comRobert Pirsig.
"The mountain is nothing without people on it. Often you part expedition exasperated, but a year or two later you go back with the same partners knowing there's potential in this human relationship."    — Buy at Amazon.comGreg Child.
"The true object, as always, is not simply to get up things and check them off in our guidebook — it is to challenge ourselves."    — Buy at Amazon.comDoug Robinson.
"In climbing you are always faced with new problems in which you must perform using intuitive movements, and then later analyze them to figure out why they work, and then learn from them."    — Buy at Amazon.comWolfgang Gullich.

Climbing overhangs at Ceuse.
"The mountains have rules. they are harsh rules, but they are there, and if you keep to them you are safe. A mountain is not like men. A mountain is sincere. The weapons to conquer it exist inside you, inside your soul."    — Buy at Amazon.comWalter Bonatti.
"Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day-to-day existence — the lapses of conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison of your genes — all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose by the seriousness of the task at hand."    — Jon Krakauer, Buy at Amazon.comInto the Wild.
"Near the foot of the mountain we visited a yogi who dwelled in a hollow tunneled beneath a boulder. He pondered our notion of climbing Shivling and said: 'First travel, then struggle, finally calm'."    — Buy at Amazon.comGreg Child.
"To those who have struggled with them, the mountains reveal beauties that they will not disclose to those who make no effort. That is the reward the mountains give to effort. And it is because they have so much to give and give it so lavishly to those who will wrestle with them that men love the mountains and go back to them again and again. The mountains reserve their choice gifts for those who stand upon their summits."    — Buy at Amazon.comSir Francis Younghusband.
"In this short span between my fingertips and the smooth edge and these tense feet cramped to a crystal ledge, I hold the life of a man."    — Buy at Amazon.comGeoffrey Winthrop Young.
"Only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone and hospitalized a brick."    — Buy at Amazon.comMuhammad Ali.
"One who's poised on the edge of a cliff is wise to define progress as a step backward."    — The fate of all life on Earth.
"Tell them I'm making Roosevelt's glasses out of the most precious thing on Earth: Imagination."    — Buy at Amazon.comGutzon Borglum, sculptor of Mt Rushmore.
"The thought of approaching action aroused strange and contradictory emotions in me. I felt an immense pity for all the little men who toiled on in the prison which society has succeeded in building against the open sky, who knew nothing and felt nothing of what I knew and felt at that moment. Yesterday I was like them, and in another few days I would be like them again. But today I was a prisoner set free; and tomorrow I would be a lord and master, and commander of life and death, of the stars and the elements."    — Buy at Amazon.comGiusto Gervasutti.
"Niente fremiti di gioia. Niente ebbrezza della vittoria.
La mèta raggiunta è già superata.
Direi quasi un senso di amarezza per il sogno diventato realtà.
Credo che sarebbe molto più bello poter desiderare per tutta la vita qualcosa, lottare continuamente per raggiungerla e non ottenerla mai...
L'uomo felice non dovrebbe avere più nulla da dire, più nulla da fare.
Per mio conto preferisco una felicità irragiungibile, sempre vicina e sempre fuggente."    — Buy at Amazon.comGiusto Gervasutti.
"Trop de gens l'oublient mais le plus important c'est la souplesse du bassin."    — Patrick Edlinger (1960-2012).
"Si on ne fait pas des choses folles à 20 ans, ce n'est pas à 50 qu'on va s'y mettre."    — Marco Siffredi (1979—2002).

Literary Climbing Quotes

"Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery."    — John Ruskin (1819—1900), British art critic and writer, in Buy at Amazon.comModern Painters.
"If thy heart fails thee, climb not at all."    — Buy at Amazon.comQueen Elisabeth I.
"Only through suffering can we find ourselves."    — Buy at Amazon.comFyodor Dostoyevsky.
"Was mich nicht zugrunde richtet, macht mich starker."    — Buy at Amazon.comNietzsche (1844—1900).
"He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary."    — Buy at Amazon.comFriedrich Nietzsche.
"You cannot learn to fly by flying. First you must learn to walk, and to run, and to climb, and to dance."    — Buy at Amazon.comFriedrich Nietzsche.
"I piss on you all from a considerable height."    — Buy at Amazon.comLouis-Ferdinand Céline.
"Never measure the height of a mountain until you reach the top. Then you will see how low it was."    — Buy at Amazon.comDag Hammerskjold.
"After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb."    — Nelson Mandela (1918-).
"I live not in myself, but I become portion of that around me; and to me high mountains are a feeling, but the hum of human cities torture."    — Buy at Amazon.comLord Byron.
"Ever since a small boy, I have loved just to look at the mountains, to see them in different lights and from different angles, to feel their rough rock under my fingers and the breath of the winds against my feet... I am in love with the mountains."    — Buy at Amazon.comWilfrid Noyce.

Climbers on the Priest as seen from the Rectory. Moab, Utah.
"Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, and disregard of all the rules."    — George Orwell, Buy at Amazon.comShooting an Elephant (1950).
"My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing."    — Buy at Amazon.comAldous Huxley.
"The mountain is not something eternally sublime; it has a great historic and spiritual meaning to us. It stands for us as the ladder of life. Nay, more; it is the ladder of the soul and in a curious way the source of religion. From it came the Law, from it came the Gospel in the Sermon of the Mount. We may trul say that the highest religion is the Religion of the Mountain."    — Jan Smuts, South African prime minister, 1919.
"Unusual travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God."    — Buy at Amazon.comKurt Vonnegut.
"In his laborious efforts to attain mountaintops, where the air is lighter and purer, the climber gains new strength of limb. In the endeavor to over come obstacles of the way, the soul trains itself to conquer difficulties; and the spectacle of the vast horizon, which from the highest crest offers itself on all sides to the eyes, raises his spirit to the Divine Author and Soverign of Nature."    — Pope Pius XI.
"And the ark rested in the 7th month, on the 17th day of the month, upon the mountain of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually until the 10th month: in the 10th month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen."    — Genesis 8:1-5.
"The mountains have done the spiritual side of me more good religiously, as well as in my body physically, than anything else in the world. No one knows who and what God is until he has seen some real mountaineering and climbing in the Alps."    — Rev F. T. Wethered, 1919.
"Mountains are Earth's undecaying monuments."    — Buy at Amazon.comNathaniel Hawthorne.
"Great things are done when men and mountains meet; This is not done by jostling in the street."    — Buy at Amazon.comWilliam Blake, Gnomic Verses.
"La lutte elle-même vers les sommets suffit à remplir un coeur d'homme. Il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux."    — Buy at Amazon.comAlbert Camus.
"Short is the little time which remains to you of life. Live as on a mountain."    — Marcus Aurelius (121-180), Buy at Amazon.comMeditations.
"True greatness comes not when things go always good for you; but true greatness comes when you are really tested, when you have taken some knocks, faced some disappointments, when sadness comes. Because only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be atop the highest mountain."    — Buy at Amazon.comRichard Nixon.
"I looked back at the summit of the mountain, which seemed but a cubit high in comparison with the height of human contemplation, were in not too often merged in the corruptions of the earth."    — Buy at Amazon.comPetrarch, Italian Poet, on the summit of Mt Ventoux in 1335.
"Courage is grace under pressure."    — Buy at Amazon.comErnest Hemingway (1898—1961).
"You climb to reach the summit, but once there, discover that all roads lead down."    — Stanislaw Lem, Buy at Amazon.comThe Cyberiad.
"Mahomet made the people believe that he would call a hill to him... When the hill stood still, he was never a whit abashed, but said, 'If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill'."    — Buy at Amazon.comFrancis Bacon (1561—1626), English philosopher. Often misquoted as 'If the mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain'.
"Don't attack a hill from the very bottom — it's bigger than you are !"    — Harry Groves, Penn State Coach.
"Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."    — Psalms 61:2.
"Climb high
Climb far
Your goal the sky
Your aim the star."    — Inscription on steps, Williams College.

After Dancing with Wolves: Climbing with Seagulls

Right: After Dancing with Wolves: Climbing with Seagulls

"Success is not counted by how high you have climbed but by how many people you brought with you."    — Will Rose.
"For we are known for being at once most adventurous in action and yet most reflective beforehand; other men are bold in their ignorance whilst reflection would stop their onset. But, the bravest are surely those that have the clearest vision of what lies before them, danger and glory alike and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it. For whole Earth is a sepulchre of famous men and their story is not only graven in stone over their native land, but, lives on far away without visible symbol, woven into the stuff of other men's lives."    — Buy at Amazon.comThucydides (460-404BCE).
"Exemplum de simia, quae, quanto plus ascendit, tanto plus apparent posteriora eius."    — Buy at Amazon.comSaint Bonaventure (1217—1274).
"Security is mostly a superstition. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run that outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."    — Buy at Amazon.comHelen Keller.
"You go up to the mountain top and you look out across the sea,
There's a whole lot of places where a young man could be.
You jump down to the rooftops and look out across the town,
You know there's a lot of strange things been circulating round."    — Gary Davis.
"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds, awake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it reality."    — Buy at Amazon.comT.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia).
"Although love dwells in gorgeous palaces, and sumptuous apartments, more willingly than in miserable and desolate cottages, it cannot be denied but that he sometimes causes his power to be felt in the gloomy recesses of forests, among the most bleak and rugged mountains, and in the dreary caves of a desert."    — Giovanni Boccaccio (1313—1375), Buy at Amazon.comDecameron, The Third Day, X.
"On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow."    — Friedrich Nietzsche (1844—1900).
"Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero."    — Buy at Amazon.comHorace (65-8 BC)
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious."    — Buy at Amazon.comAlbert Einstein.
"There is probably no pleasure equal to the pleasure of climbing a dangerous Alp; but it is a pleasure which is confined strictly to people who can find pleasure in it."    — Mark Twain quotes (1835-1910).
"No one can have a peaceful life who thinks too much about lengthening it."    — Buy at Amazon.comSeneca.
"Traveler's will cross many rivers and climb many mountains. Plainsmen may always live within a valley. But only those seeking truth will ever reach the summit."    — 11th century Indian saying.
"There's something ever egotistical in mountain tops and towers, and all things grand and lofty."    — Herman Melville, Buy at Amazon.comMoby Dick.
"Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess."    — Buy at Amazon.comOscar Wilde.
"Never was anything achieved without danger."    — Buy at Amazon.comNiccolo Machiavelli.
"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."    — Buy at Amazon.comGoethe.
"A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions."    — Buy at Amazon.comOliver Wendell Holmes.
"Faith can move mountains."    — Matthew, Apostle.
"Faith can move mountains; true: mountains of stupidity."    — Buy at Amazon.comAndré Gide, French writer (Nobel prize 1947).
"Faith can move mountains; it's true.
Reason leaves them where they are; it's better."    — Buy at Amazon.comPierre Bourgault, Bourgault doux-amer.
"Faith can move mountains but let them happily fall down on the heads of other people. What's the point in moving mountains when it's so simple to climb over them ?"    — Buy at Amazon.comBoris Vian, surrealist French writer and singer, En verve.
"Lord, don't move my mountain, just give me the strength to climb."    — From a church hymn.
A very early Dilbert Strip
"When you get to the summit of the mountain, keep climbing."    — Buy at Amazon.comTibetan saying.
"Mountains and water will eventually meet."    — Chinese saying.
"Who need be craving a world beyond this one ? Here among men are the Purple Hills."    — Chinese poem.
"No matter how high the mountain, there will always be a way up."    — Anonymous.
"To climb a mountain one must start at the base."    — Chinese saying.
"Once drunk, we'll sleep on the bare mountain with the sky as a blanket and the Earth as a pillow."    — Buy at Amazon.comLi Po, Chinese poet.
"We never grow tired of each other, the mountain and I."    — Buy at Amazon.comLi Po (AD 762), Chinese poet.
"One who can move mountains start with the little stones."    — Buy at Amazon.comConfucius, chinese philosopher.
"When men work together, mountains turn to gold."    — Chinese saying
"There is no place in the world, in the air, in the middle of the ocean or the depth of the mountains, where one can unburden the evil already done."    — Buy at Amazon.comDhammapada.
"Will allow you to climb summits; without will you stay at the base of the mountain."    — Chinese saying.
"The deepest sea has a bottom, the highest mountain has a summit."    — Chinese saying.
"The higher the mountain, the deeper the valley."    — Alsacian saying.
"It's not in the mountains that one stumbles, but on tiny pebbles."    — Anonymous.
"Man of the plains, why do you climb the mountain ? So I can see the plain better..."    — Chinese saying.
"One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak."    — Buy at Amazon.comG.K. Chesterton.
"The silence of the mountain is even more beautiful once the birds are quiet."    — Buy at Amazon.comTaisen Deshimaru, Japanese zen master.
"The only zen thoughts you can find on a mountain summit are those you brought yourself."    — Buy at Amazon.comRobert Pirsig, American writer.
"What we call strategy is mainly just crossing rivers on bridges and passing mountains though cols."    — Buy at Amazon.comAnatole France, French writer.
"The watchword of side-issue specialists is 'Look after the molehills and the mountains will take care of themselves'."    — Raymond Hull.
"Switzerland is not that great: remove the mountains and what's left ?"    — Anonymous.
"One doesn't need to climb a mountain to know if it's high."    — Paulo Coelho, Brasilian writer, Buy at Amazon.comThe Pilgrimage.
"A dwarf can stand on a mountain, he's no taller."    — Seneca, Latin philosopher, Buy at Amazon.comLetter to Lucilius.
"May our five senses be pure, and may the weather on the honorable mountain be fine."    — Japanese pilgrim's motto.
"Only mountains can never meet."    — French saying.
"A man without defaults is like a mountain without crevasses. Not interesting."    — Ren´ Char, French poet, Buy at Amazon.comFeuillets d'Hypnos.
"Between the shores of the oceans and the summit of the highest mountain is a secret route that you must absolutely take before being one with the sons of the Earth."    — Buy at Amazon.comKhalil Gibran, Libanese poet.
"It is those who get lost, who find the new ways."    — Nils Kjaer.
"Everyone praises the views you get from mountain tops, but no one talks about the views that they block."    — Nils Kjaer, Letter from the Alps.
"If someone tells you that a mountain has changed place, you are free to believe it; but if you are told that a man has changed character, don't believe it."    — Arab saying.
"After you've walked two hours in the mountains, you are more intelligent."    — Coline Serreau, French film director, La belle verte.
"If you don't like the sea, if you don't like the mountains, if you don't like the city... fuck you !"    — Jean-Luc Godard, French film director, Buy at Amazon.comA bout de souffle.
"One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am — a reluctant enthusiast ... a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it's still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotised by desk calculators. I promise you this; you will outlive the bastards."    — Buy at Amazon.comEdward Abbey.
"If I have learned one thing in my 54 years, it is that it is very good for the character to engage in sports which put your life in danger from time to time. It breeds a saneness in dealing with day to day trivialities which probably cannot be got in any other way, and a habit of quick decisions."    — Neville Shute.
"In nature there are no rewards or punishments, there are consequences."    — Mick Halligan.
"Being old is like climbing a mountain. The higher you get, the more tired and breathless, but your view becomes much more extensive."    — Buy at Amazon.comIngmar Bergman, Swedish film director
"For an old man, any hill is a mountain."    — Jewish saying.

Jenny jugging up the pitch above Long Ledge, Salathé Wall, Yosemite.
"O for a life of sensations rather than of thoughts!"    — Buy at Amazon.comJohn Keats (1795—1821).
"Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings,
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."    — Magee, John Gillespie (1922—1941), Canadian fighter pilot.
"O cold ! O shivery ! It was your ambrosial beauty. Forget, forgive. Kismet. Let me off this once."    — James Joyce (1882—1941), Buy at Amazon.comUlysses, Circe.
"God put us on this earth to read Buy at Amazon.comUlysses and to try to find the time to get started on Buy at Amazon.comFinnegan's Wake... He did not intend us to pole-vault or bungy-jump, do aerobics or go white-water rafting."    — Buy at Amazon.comMalcolm Bradbury, 1993.
"Well could I curse away a winter's night,
Thought 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 (1564—1616), Buy at Amazon.comKing 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, Buy at Amazon.comCymbeline, Act IV, Scene II.
"Do you not educate youth at the charge-house on the top of the mountain ?"    — William Shakespeare, Buy at Amazon.comLove's Labours Lost, Act V, Scene I.
"Ay, to the proof; as mountains are for winds,
That shake not, thought they blow perpetually."    — William Shakespeare, Buy at Amazon.comTaming of the Shrew, Act II, Scene I.
"Talkers are no good doers."    — William Shakespeare, Henry VI.
"O femme dangereuse, ô séduisants climats !
Adorerai-je aussi ta neige et vos frimas,
Et saurai-je tirer de l'implacable hiver
Des plaisirs plus aigus que la glace et le fer ?"    — Buy at Amazon.comCharles Baudelaire.
And I will dedicate the last one to Jennifer (yeah, that's sweet, ain't it ?):
"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."    — Christopher Marlowe (1564—1593), Buy at Amazon.comThe Passionate Shepherd to His Love.

More climbing humor at the 'You might be a mountain climber' page.