Climbing related quotes

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This page comes from Quang-Tuan Luong's mountaineering site :

Quotes - the first seems particularly relevant.

We took risks. We knew we took them. Things have come out against us. We have no cause for complaint. Scott, found in his diary after the party froze in Antarctica

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, 1922

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. Rene Daumal

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." Greg Child

Life is brought down to the basics: if you are warm, regular, healthy, not thirsty or hungry, then you are not on a mountain. . . . Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall - it's great when you stop. Chris Darwin ,The Social Climbers

You've climbed the highest mountain in the world. What's left ? It's all downhill from there. You've got to set your sights on something higher than Everest. Willi Unsoeld

We commenced plugging up in foot deep steps with a thin wind crust on top and precious little belay for the ice-axe. It was altogether most unsatisfactory and whenever I felt feelings of fear regarding it I'd say to myself, 'Forget it!  This is Everest and you've got to take a few risks.' Edmund Hillary

I told him of my concern about avalanche danger on the route but Peter was full of confidence. He had watched the face on many occasions, he told me, and had never seen an avalanche sweep down.  I argued no longer. I too had never actually seen an avalanche falling down the face, although they must come down sometimes, I felt, judging from the debris at the bottom. [...] I don't think there is anything very clever about killing yourself off, or even about having a fall and surviving. Edmund Hillary advising his son Peter on intended ascent of the West Face of Ama Dablam, which ended with an avalanche

Mountains are not fair or unfair - they are just dangerous. Reinhold Messner

The mountains will always be there, the trick is to make sure you are too. Hervey Voge

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. Geoffrey Winthrop Young

If you don't let go, you can't fall off! Jerry Moffat

It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you don't stop. Confucius

Height has nothing to do with it, it is your strength that counts. Lynn Hill

The rules of the game must be constantly updated to keep up with the expanding technology. Otherwise we overkill the classic climbs and delude ourselves into thinking we are better climbers than the pioneers. Yvon Chouinard

Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain-tops are within reach John Muir

I want to know the thoughts of God. All the rest are details. Albert Einstein

My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing. Aldous Huxley

Unusual travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God. Kurt Vonnegut I hammered in the last bolt and staggered over the rim, it was not at all clear to me who was the conqueror and who was the conquered. I do recall that El Cap seemed to be in much better condition that I was. Warren Harding

Short is the little time which remains to thee of life. Live as on a mountain. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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. T.E. Lawrence

He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary. Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

Living with the immediacy of death helps you sort out your priorities in life. It helps you to live a less trivial life. Sogyal Rinpoche

The devotion of the greatest is to encounter risk and danger, and play dice for death. Friedrich Nietzsche

To the sober person adventurous conduct often seems insanity. Georg Simmel , On Individuality and Social Forms

It's not advisable to drink too much strong liquors while climbing in the Alps. If, however, you are going to fall over a cliff, it's advisable to be thoroughly intoxicated when you do so. English alpinist

Many years ago, I climbed the mountains, even though it is forbidden. Things are not as they teach us; the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky. from Startrek

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

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 you 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

To qualify for mountain rescue work, you have to pass our test. The doctor holds a flashlight to your ear. If he can see light coming out the other one, you qualify. Willi Pfisterer

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. 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. Lionel Terray

Climbing is, above all, a matter of integrity Gaston Rebufat

Fear... the right and necessary counterweights to that courage which urges men skyward, and protects them from self-destruction Heinrich Harrer

I have never turned back in my life ; I shall not do so today. Emile Rey

" - You guys going up ? - Yes, yes, we go up - You may be going a lot higher than you think!" Don Whillans, to a Japanese party, while descending Eiger

"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." "Although the injury would add character to my immediate post-climb appearance, it was not serious." "As in any alpine region, the weather is changeable, protection questionable, routefinding bewildering, rockfall frequent and descents tedious. In short, it's everything you could ever ask for." from the Canadian Alpine Journal 1993, selected by Peter Green

Pain Is Only Weakness Leaving The Body Tom Muccia

If you're ever killed mountain climbing, then all that you've worked for is gone Jim Whittaker

I hope I die before I get old. The Who

...writing about climbing is boring. I would rather go climbing. Chuck Pratt

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountains yields.
-- Christopher Marlowe 

Well could I curse away a winter's night,
Though 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
2 King 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
               Cymbeline, Act IV, Scene II

Do you not educate youth at the
charge-house on the top of the mountain?
           -- William Shakespeare
               Love's Labours Lost, Act V, Scene I

    Ay, to the proof; as mountains are for winds,
That shake not, though they blow perpetually.
           -- William Shakespeare
               Taming of the Shrew, Act II, Scene I

'Double, double, toil and trouble.'
            -- William Shakespeare

Talkers are no good doers.
           -- William Shakespeare
	       Richard III

They say miracles are past; and we have our
philosophical persons, to make modern and familiar,
things supernatural and causeless. Hence is it that
we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves
into seeming knowledge, when we should submit
ourselves to an unknown fear.
            -- William Shakespeare
                All's Well that Ends Well, Act II Scene III

They that stand high have many blasts to shake them; 
And if they fall they dash themselves to pieces.
              --  William Shakespeare
                           Richard III