Mountains

“The majesty of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas made his heart beat faster and, for one long moment, took his breath away.  He felt a oneness with his surroundings, a kind of kinship that two old friends might enjoy after many years spent listening to each other’s innermost thoughts and laughing at each other’s jokes.  The fresh mountain air cleared his mind and energized his spirit.  Having travelled the world many times over, [he] had thought he had seen it all.  But he had never seen beauty like this.  The wonders of which he drank at that magical time were an exquisite tribute to the symphony of nature.  At once he felt joyous, exhilarated and carefree.  It was here, high above the humanity below, that [he] slowly ventured out of the cocoon of the ordinary and began to explore the realm of the extraordinary.” ~ Robin S. Sharma, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

“After what seemed like an eternity, we finally reached the summit just as the sun was rising. I couldn’t believe that we had actually done it. We were standing at the highest point in all of Africa, looking down at the clouds below us, with the sun directly in front of us, its rays welcoming us to the beginning of a new day. It didn’t seem like this was something that humans were meant to experience, yet here we were” ~ Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness

“For life–which is in any way worthy, is like ascending a mountain. When you have climbed to the first shoulder of the hill, you find another rise above you, and yet another peak, and the height to be achieved seems infinity: but you find as you ascend that the air becomes purer and more bracing, that the clouds gather more frequently below than above, that the sun is warmer than before and that you not only get a clearer view of Heaven, but that you gain a wider view of earth, and that your horizon is perpetually growing larger.” ~ Endicott Peabody

“The first question which you will ask and which I must try to answer is this, “What is the use of climbing Mount Everest?” and my answer must at once be, “It is no use.” There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behavior of the human body at high altitudes, and possibly medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It’s no use. So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life. That is what life means and what life is for.” ~ George Leigh Mallory

“Mountains seem to answer an increasing imaginative need in the West. More and more people are discovering a desire for them, and a powerful solace in them. At bottom, mountains, like all wildernesses, challenge our complacent conviction – so easy to lapse into – that the world has been made for humans by humans. Most of us exist for most of the time in worlds which are humanly arranged, themed and controlled. One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence. Mountains correct this amnesia. By speaking of greater forces than we can possibly invoke, and by confronting us with greater spans of time than we can possibly envisage, mountains refute our excessive trust in the man-made. They pose profound questions about our durability and the importance of our schemes. They induce, I suppose, a modesty in us.” ~ Robert Macfarlane, Mountains of the Mind: Adventures in Reaching the Summit

 “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” ~ John Muir

“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.” ~ A. Alvarez

 

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