17 Quotes About Mountains to Remind You No Hill Is Too High
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The sea tells you everything will be fine. The mountains tell you it doesn't matter anyway. Here are mountain quotes to inspire you to climb higher.
Climb the mountains in your life
Before becoming the fastest person to hike the Appalachian Trail and the National Geographic 2012 Explorer of the Year, Jennifer Pharr Davis was just a 21-year-old fresh out of college who had never even camped alone, much less climbed a mountain.
“My first outdoors trip was a disaster!” she says. “I didn’t know how to set up my tent and the ground was so cold I couldn’t pound the stakes in. My camp stove failed so I had to eat cold food. Then I got lost.” Other hikers helped her find her way back to the trail. (Check out America’s stunning hiking trails.)
Yet, as soon as she got home, she couldn’t wait to get back to the mountains—and not in spite of getting lost, but because of it.
“I realized that the first trip wasn’t a failure, it was a learning experience and the trail was my teacher,” she says. “After returning, I was a different person. Being in nature transformed me. I was hooked and just kept going back.” (Learn more about the benefits of nature.)
Getting lost just means you get to experience more
Now 37, the outdoors author and certified hiking guide has logged thousands of miles on the trail and climbed more mountains than she can count. Despite all her experience, she still gets lost sometimes—and she’s okay with that. “Getting lost is a part of any important journey, in the mountains or in life,” she says philosophically.
To inspire you to climb the mountains in your life, both literal and figurative, here are 16 more quotes about mountains to help you get moving. (Also, don’t forget the hiking gear essentials you should carry.)
The earth is the one constant
“Clouds come and go, the mountain remains.” — Meeta Ahluwalia, Indian author
There will always be constants in your life, your mountains, that provide the bedrock of your beliefs and support. Sometimes the clouds may obscure your view of the mountains. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t still there watching over you.
The mountains change you
“When you climb up to the highest point of a mountain, the mountain will climb down to your lowest point!” — Mehmet Murat İldan, Turkish mountaineer, author, and playwright
Many people take to the mountains when faced with a life crisis and that’s no accident, Pharr Davis says. “Hiking really helps me clarify my values, what I want in life,” she says. (Check out these self-motivation quotes to help you find inspiration.)
Humans need wildness
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” — John Muir, American explorer and author of Our National Parks
Long ago, we came from the wild and something wild within us resonates when we return.
You always have options
“If you are faced with a mountain, you have several options: You can climb it and cross to the other side. You can go around it. You can dig under it. You can fly over it. You can blow it up. You can ignore it and pretend it’s not there. You can turn around and go back the way you came. Or you can stay on the mountain and make it your home.” — Vera Nazarian, author of The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
Just like there is more than one way to climb a mountain, there’s more than one way to solve your problems. Don’t be myopic. (Follow these habits to improve your mental health.)
The summit is an accomplishment but so is the climb
“Every mountaintop is within reach if you just keep climbing.” — Barry Finlay, mountaineer and author of Kilimanjaro and Beyond
A lot of life happens in the “just do it” phase. You can dream, plan, and prepare. But ultimately the only thing that will get you to your goal is putting one foot in front of the other. And then doing it again. Start with these goal-setting tips from experts.
Are you hiding or seeking?
“Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains.” — Jeffrey Rasley, humanitarian and author of Bringing Progress to Paradise: What I Got from Giving to a Mountain Village in Nepal
You meet a lot of different people along the trail. As in life, some are devils, but others are angels in disguise just waiting for you to ask for help.
The ultimate answer to The Question
“Why climb Mt. Everest? Because it’s there.” — George Mallory, author, speaker, and lead mountaineer in the first three expeditions to Everest
This may perhaps be the most famous mountain quote of all time. Why do we take on great adventures? Because they’re there, calling us. Want to read a wild adventure? Here’s what happened when one man fell into a glacier on Everest.
Mountains can be trials, too
“You don’t need to climb a mountain to know that it’s high.” — Paulo Coelho, Brazilian philosopher, and writer
Sometimes we climb the mountain to prove to ourselves that we can, without ever asking ourselves if it’s the right mountain or if we should be doing it in the first place.
Mountains show us our weaknesses so that we may make them into strengths
“I like the mountains because they make me feel small. They help me sort out what’s important in life.” — Mark Obmascik, author of Halfway to Heaven: My White-knuckled—and Knuckleheaded—Quest for the Rocky Mountain High
“That first night alone in the wilderness it really hit me what I’d gotten myself into. I was scared but I realized it was because I wasn’t prepared,” Pharr Davis says. “Instead of quitting, I resolved to get more prepared.”
Your hill is someone else’s mountain
“Some hills are each only a few centimeters short of being a mountain.” — Mokokoma Mokhonoana, philosopher and author
Comparison is the thief of joy. That’s true in mountain-climbing and in climbing the things in our lives that feel like mountains. (Also, read these funny motivational quotes for a good laugh.)
Patience and prudence
“Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought 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.” — Edward Whymper, mountaineer and author of Scrambles Amongst the Alps
Climbing a mountain too quickly is a recipe for disaster—or worse. Take your time and you’ll not only enjoy it more, but you’ll live to see your goal reached.
Climbing mountains takes strength and courage
“May your dreams be larger than mountains and may you have the courage to scale their summits.” — Harley King, author and poet
Not sure if you’re strong enough to climb your mountains? You don’t need to be, you only need to be strong enough to start. “The experience transformed me and the woman who finished the trail was a completely different person than the girl who started it,” Pharr Davis says.
It’s never just about the mountain
“All mountain landscapes hold stories: the ones we read, the ones we dream, and the ones we create.” — Michael Kennedy, outdoorsman and editor of The Alpinist
Being out in nature eliminates modern distractions, allowing you to focus on your own beautiful story. You can bring your phone for safety, but keep it stored in your pack and turned off, Pharr Davis says. (This is how your cell phone affects your body and mind.
It’s a process
“If you despise the mountains you have climbed, you are not welcomed by the mountains you have not yet climbed!” — Mehmet Murat İldan, Turkish mountaineer, author, and playwright
You don’t have to be a record-breaking athlete like Pharr Davis to be transformed by hiking. In fact, hiking is one of the most accessible forms of recreation for most people as it’s basically just walking, but in prettier surroundings, she says.
Feel the peace in your soul
“The sea tells you everything will be fine. The mountains tell you it doesn’t matter anyway.” — Adeel Ahmed Khan, Pakistani author
Wars happen, people are born and die, civilizations rise and fall—and yet the mountains remain constant. Feeling upset or embarrassed? Tell it to the mountains and recognize how small the matter is in the grand scheme of things. (Here are therapist tips for finding hope in dark times.)
It’ll all be worth it for the view
“Don’t pay attention to the size of the mountain in front of you. Rather, think about what the view from the summit is going to be like.” — Craig D. Lounsbrough, author and licensed professional counselor
- Jennifer Pharr Davis, National Geographic 2012 Explorer of the Year, author, certified hiking guide