27 Beautifully Inspirational Mountain Quotes
I’m a sucker for quotes y’all. If you read a lot of my articles, particularly some of the more personal ones then you will know that I quote things all the time. So I’ve decided to compile 27 of my favorite inspirational mountain quotes of all time into this post. The best part is… I want to add to this list!
If you have a favorite quote and I don’t have it listed here, tell me about it in the comments!
Seriously though… I need more mountain quotes in my life!
I’m sure I will also add more… the more stories I read and books I consume. This is going to be awesome! And next time you need a pick me up, or you are feeling not-so-inspired by life, you can come back to this post and be reminded that we all struggle, and part of life’s big journey is pushing past the challenges that face us.
So here we go… my favorite inspirational mountain quotes!
27 Beautifully Inspirational Mountain Quotes
Some of the quotes below have a story to go along with them, some of them I read in books, some I heard in talks and some I can’t remember where I heard them, but have them written in my notebook of quotes (yes, I keep a notebook of quotes).
I hope you find that one of them touches you as some of them have done for me.
“On life and peaks it is the same. With strength we win the grail, but courage is the thing we need to face the downward trail.”
- Jacob Clifford Moomaw, Recollections of a Rocky Mountain Ranger
A Story: I have this tattoo on my arm that came from this first inspirational mountain quote above. It was early in my adventure story (I haven’t posted my “story”) yet, but it’s coming soon. I had just completed my first year learning about mountaineering with a Climbing Club in Utah I had joined. We had done 2 or 3 trips that year, one of them being Mount Whitney’s Mountaineers Route.
I was so inspired by the mountains and the joy they had brought my life but saw this beautiful parallel between mountains and life in general. Mountains aren’t just beautiful. They are insane struggle, challenge, and sometimes disappointment as well. I read this quote somewhere one night, and I felt it in my core. My life had been this series of achievements, disappointments, struggle, and joy… it was the say feelings I got when I went out into the wilderness. So I got a tattoo inspired from this quote, it says, “On life and mountains, it is the same”.
“Today, climbing has shown me a courageous, strong side of myself, a beautiful bravery. Other days I’ve seen pitiful weakness. I’ve watched myself crawl, belly-flat, across a mountainous landscape of fear. Climbing has shown me that I am all of these things: strong and weak, brave and cowardly, both immune to and at the mercy of the fear of death, all at the same time. Risk is the fee to learn these lessons. The cost is not negotiable. It is a price that, for now, I pay gladly.”
- Steve House
Yesssss! I can’t remember where I first read this quote, but I think it was from Training for the New Alpinism
“Achieving the summit of a mountain was tangible, immutable, concrete. The incumbent hazards lent the activity a seriousness of purpose that was sorely missing from the rest of my life. I thrilled in the fresh perspective that came from the tipping the ordinary plane of existence on end.”
- Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air
“The Mountains are calling and I must go”
- John Muir
I feel like I wouldn’t get away with writing a post about inspirational mountain quotes without dropping the most well known one, and while sometimes its easy to feel like it is overused… I can’t say that I don’t feel this way every time the weekend rolls around. John Muir captured a strong feeling with that short sentence.
“In the mountains, you are sometimes invited, sometimes tolerated, and sometimes told to go home.”
- Fred Beckey, Challenge of the North Cascades
“Never measure the height of a mountain until you reach the top. Then you will see how low it was.”
- Dag Hammerskjold
“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
“Those at the top of the mountain didn't fall there."
- Marcus Washling
I love the simplicity of this, but just goes to remind you. Its easy to look at everyone’s success stories and think it’s all rainbows and unicorns. However, they struggled and had challenges, just like you and me. There are no unicorns.
“Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
- John Muir
“The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark”
- John Muir
“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
“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.”
- Wilfrid Noyce
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“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”
-Sir Edmund Hillary
“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.”
- Greg Child
“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
“Even a bad day of climbing is better than a good day at work”
I have no idea who said this quote, but I love it! It’s so true.
“While mountains provide us with challenge and nourish our spirits, they are also powerful and potentially destructive places that must be respected.”
- Mike Hamill
“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”
- David McCullough Jr.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms”
- Henry David Thoreau
“Although I deeply love oceans, deserts and other wild landscapes, it is only mountains that beckon me with that sort of painful magnetic pull to walk deeper and deeper into their beauty. They keep me continuously wanting to know more, feel more, see more.”
- Victoria Erickson
“My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.”
- Aldous Huxley
I grew up very religious as a child. I don’t really go to church anymore, but I sort of see nature and the outdoors as my new church. It’s where I go to find community (with other climbers and hikers) and it’s where I find my peace.. the deep inner peace. It’s also where I go to confront my greatest challenges, learn humility, and be in awe of beauty.
“I’m a person of the mountains and the open paddocks and the big empty sky, that’s me, and I knew if I spent too long away from all that I’d die; I don’t know what of, I just knew I’d die.”
- John Marsden
“I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit. I will love the light for it shows me the way; Yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars. I will welcome happiness for it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul. I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due; yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.”
“The greatest joy in climbing is to be in charge of one’s own destiny”
– Sir Chris Bonnington
“He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary.”
- Friedrich Neitszche
“How can I claim to a greater importance than these alpine flowers, than anything that lives here, or even than the very rocks which eventually become the nourishing soil from which it all has to start? The existence of souls in men? And who can tell me the souls do not take up residence in plants and animals, and even these waters and rocky peaks? A higher evolution for the souls in men? So does that make us more important? Everything has its place, everything supports everything else, everything is important to itself- to its own development- and to that which it supports. That a humanoid god willed all this into existence simply to glorify himself -a bit too egotistically human- and or for us, his greatest creation, and our pleasure, use or misuse, seems not either to fit with the way I perceive the world while living close to it here at Little Five Lakes. I wish only to be alive and to experience this living to the fullest, to feel deeply about my days, to feel the goodness of life and the beauty of my world … this is my preference. I am human, and experience the emotions of humanity: elation, frustration, loneliness, love. And the greatest of these is love. Love for the world and its creatures. Love for life. It comes easily here. I have loved a thousand alpine meadows and mountain peaks. To be thoroughly aware each day that I am alive, to be deeply sensitive to the world I inhabit and the world that I am , not to roam rough shot of the surface of this planet for achievement but to know where I step and to tread lightly. I would rather my footsteps never be seen and the sound of my voice only be heard by those near and never echo, than leave in my wake the fame of those whom we commonly call great.”
“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.”
- Walter Bonatti
For more inspiring quotes, check out this post on inspirational quotes about travel!
Well, I really hope you liked this list, and like I mentioned above… Leave me any of your favorite ones in the comments below! I’ll be going back and updating this post throughout the year to add in new ones!
Before we part, I’ll leave you with two final quotes that I LOVE.
“Dare to live the dreams you have dreamed for yourself.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Live a life more strongly driven by curiosity than by fear” — Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
If I’m being honest, those two quotes are really what this blog is all about. It’s one thing to dream of beautiful mountains, hiking beautiful places, and traveling all around the world. It’s another thing to LIVE those dreams. Let your curiosity and your dreams drive your life… not your fears.
So if you left with just one thing, dare to live your dreams…
Allison - She Dreams of Alpine