Favorite/best climbing literature quotes


Original Post
Brassmonkey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 115

Did a search and couldn't find an already existing thread on this which kind of surprised me. There is lots of climbing related literature out there, some awesome, some well, full of choss lets just say. What has been a quote or passage that you really liked or made an impact on you? Can be anything in print really.

I'll start it with a well known line from Scrambles Amongst the Alps

“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.”

Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,695
Brassmonkey wrote: “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.”
That has been one of my favorites as well. I wish more mountaineering writers could write like Whymper.
jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 10

"Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion."
Anatoli Boukreev

"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."
René Daumal

Mark Dalen · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 935

What was it Hillary said? ... It only counts if you make it down alive ...

Nolan Huther · · Clarkson University · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 582

Not from climbing specifically, but this always struck me as one of my favorite passages, it has come to mind a few times in the mountains

"It is not the way of the Wild to like movement. Life is an offence to it, for life is movement, and the Wild aims always to destroy movement. It freezes the water to prevent it from running to the sea; it drives the sap out of trees till they are frozen to their mighty hearts; and most ferociously and terribly of all does the Wild harry and crush into submission man- man who is the most restless of life, ever in revolt against the dictum that all movement must in the end come to the cessation of movement
...
But under it all they were men, penetrating the land of desolation and mockery and silence, puny adventurers bent on colossal adventure, pitting themselves against the might of a world as remote and alien and pulseless as the abysses of space."
-Jack London, White Fang

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 230

"Because it’s there" -George Mallory

BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 340

Anderl Meier: You’re very good. I have really enjoyed climbing with you.

Dr. Jonathan Hemlock: We’ll make it.

Anderl Meier: I don’t think so. But we shall continue with style.

"Are you healthy?”,
“Shall I turn my head and cough?”
“No known infections?!?”
“Only the usual: syphilis, running sores and clap. :D

DrApnea · · Wenatchee, WA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 255

I actually started making a list of quotesblike these a few months ago. In no particular order from my list:

Climbing was all about spirit, being in nature, walking away from the comforts of society based on consuming the earth and plundering its resources... Alpinist#53 p58.

The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning you didn't even think to ask. 180* South. Jeff Johnson

I’m a slow walker, but I never walk back. Abraham Lincoln

Discovery of "virgin" islands was mostly just European ignorance exposed. Jeff Long, Alpinist #54

CTB · · Cave Creek, AZ · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 180

"you can't rape the willing"

It may not be in any climbing literature but it should be

Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470

"Twight wanted desperately to climb the Eiger, while I wanted to have climbed it."

Jon Krakauer

Matthias Holladay · · Shiprock, Navajolands · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 5,620

Regarding the passion and allure of travelling virgin paths up into the unknown:

I, too, throbbed with emotion as I gazed at Beauty and the mystery...of Beauty...

Emile Javelle, after his FA of the Tour Noir, Aiguilles Dorées, about 1870

Jordan Marvel · · Tempe, AZ · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 5

"You can't belay a man who's falling in love."

Ed Abbey

Josh Lipko · · Charlotte · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 10

I believe it is Royal Robbins who says it in Valley Uprising:

"The beautiful thing to me about climbing is that you can't justify it. It doesn't pretend to be anything useful."

timinthehouse · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

There are times in life, you can count them in minutes, when you expereince an awareness far greater than you usually find in a whole year.
~ F.M. Dostoevsky

Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,695

Anyone have some good Warren Harding quotes?

I recall enjoying his "Downward Bound" book, but don't have a copy.

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 350

I'm partial to Robbin's "fail falling"

Teaching kids to toprope they inevitably say "I can't do it!" My response is always, "prove it."

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 440

I seem to be able to relate to "feeding The rat"

DMarti Marti · · custer,sd · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 0

Prove the impossible

beensandbagged · · R.I. · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 10

This quote runs through my head often "It is not an adventure until something goes wrong"....yvon chouinard

Chad Miller · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 150

'5.8 my ass!'

As said by my buddy Conrad as he squirmed his way through an off-with section.

B.S. Luther · · Yorba Linda, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 65

Love threads like these. I'll try to limit myself.. I have a list going that's a few pages long by now. An entire page devoted to Twight.. hahah. Man can write.

"There are a dozen reasons for climbing, some bad, and I've used most of them myself. The worst are fame and money. Commonly people cite exploration or discovery, but that's rarely relevant in today's world. The only good reason to climb is to improve yourself."
-Yvon Chouinard

"Confidence in your abilities is earned."
-Mark Twight

"Some people see no more in climbing than an escape from the harsh realities of modern times. This is not only uninformed but unfair...there can be an element of escapism in mountaineering, but this should never overshadow its real essence, which is not escape but victory over your own human frailty."
-Walter Bonatti

“Hardship is inevitable."
-Tommy Caldwell

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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