Quotes to Climb By

On this page you will find quotes about mountains, mountain climbing, challenge, life philosophy and more.

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Anatole France

Do not try to satisfy your vanity by teaching a great many things. Awaken people’s curiosity. It is enough to open minds, do not overload them. Put there just a spark. If there is some good inflammable stuff, it will catch fire.

Anatole France


John Steinbeck

A journey is a person in itself, no two are alike. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip, a trip takes us.

John Steinbeck


W. H. Murray

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in ones favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: ‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.”

W.H. Murray, of the Scottish Himalayan Expedition


Lionel Terray

“…the mission of a mountain guide is not to perform formidable activities, but to enable normal people to achieve climbing targets, they would not be able to accomplish without his help. Mountain guide, walking at the head of his group, is almost like the first person next to God, as he has the life of people who fully trust him in his hands. He makes decisions. He accepts responsibility. To make decisions concerning human life is usually considered to be God´s privilege. The mountain guide is separated from all the dirt, dishonesty, greed and treachery, which rule the world down below. It happens very exceptionally, that the beauty surrounding him, does not touch his soul. He is not a saint, as some legends tend to tell, but he never becomes servile. His vocation, if performed faithfuly, requires more of high moral and intellectual competencies than physical force. And it is this superiority of spirit over matter his courage and endurance results from…”

Lionel Terray, mountain guide from Chamonix


Edmund Hillary

Hillary´s 10 steps to the summit of the World

1 Nothing ventured, nothing gained
2 Challenge, uncertainity, excitement
3 Fear makes you focus
4 Passion gives you confidence
5 Fun makes for a great team
6 Make sure you have more than one thing to live for
7 Resist the flock factor
8 You are all you have
9 Great challenges result in powerfull experiences
10 A view from the summit – to new horizons


Dead Poet's Society

“Gather the rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today, to-morrow will be dying.”

“Why does the poet write these lines?” Keating asks “Because we are food for worms, lads! Because we’re only going to experience a limited number of springs, summers, and falls. One day, hard as it is to believe, each and every one of us is going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die!”

[now looking at old photographs of former Welton students in a trophy case]
“They are not that different than any of you, are they? There’s hope in their eyes, just like in yours. They believe themselves destined for wonderful things, just like many of you. Well, where are those smiles now, boys? What of that hope?”

“Did most of them not wait until it was too late before making their lives into even one iota of what they were capable? In chasing the almighty deity of success did they not squander their boyhood dreams? Most of those gentlemen are fertilizing daffodils now. However, if you get very close, boys, you can hear them whisper. Go ahead, lean in. Hear it?

“Carpe Diem, lads. Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary!”

The Dead Poets Society


garrison keillor

If you don’t get your pants wet it means you haven’t gone fishing.

garrison keillor, prairie home campanions july 5 2008


Kim Stanley Robinson

“ Their teeth were going to get sunburned they were loving it so much. Meanwhile I was gasping for air, and worrying about that summit banner … it was one of the greatest climbing days of my life.

How’s that, you ask? Well. … it’s hard to explain. But it’s something like this: when you get on a mountain wall with a few thousand feet of empty air below you, it catches your attention. Of course part of you says oh my God, it’s all over. Why did you ever do this? But another part of you sees that in order not to die you must pretend you are quite calm, and engaged in a semi-theoretical gymnastics exercise intended to move you higher. You pay attention to the exercise like no one has ever paid attention before. Eventually you find yourself on a flat spot of some sort – three feet by five feet will do. You look around and realize that you did not die, that you are still alive. And at this point this fact becomes quite exhilarating. You really appreciate being alive. It’s a sort of power, or a privilege granted you, in any case it feels quite special, like a flash of higher consciousness. Just to be alive! And in retrospect, that paying attention when you were climbing –you remember that as a higher consciousness too.

You can get hooked on feelings like those: they are the ultimate altered state. Drugs can’t touch them I’m not saying this is a real healthy behaviour, you understand. I’m just saying that it happens.”

One Step in the Clouds p312 from ” Mother Goddess of the World” by Kim Stanley Robinson


Edith Hamilton

“Life for him was an adventure, perilous indeed, but men are not made for safe havens. The fullness of life is in the hazards of life. And, at the worst, there is that in us which can turn defeat into victory.”
Edith Hamilton, The Greek Way


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