Great Quotations About Hiking, Walking, Mountaineering

Prayer flags in the Himalayas lead the way to Mt. Everest in Nepal (Image: Jonathan Irish |

Prayer flags in the Himalayas lead the way to Mt. Everest in Nepal (Image: Jonathan Irish |

“Climbing is as close as we can come to flying.” — Margaret Young

“If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking.  Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.” — Raymond Inmon

“Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains.” — Jeffrey Rasley

“It’s always further than it looks. It’s always taller than it looks. And it’s always harder than it looks.”  — The Three Rules of Mountaineering

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” — John Muir

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” — John Muir

“Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings.” — John Muir

“Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach.” — John Muir

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…” — John Muir

“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

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” — John Muir

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” — John Muir

“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!” — John Muir


Clearly I have a tiny crush on John Muir… 


“Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it.” — Sir Edmund Hillary

It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” — Sir Edmund Hillary

“Good planning is important. I’ve also regarded a sense of humor as one of the most important things on a big expedition. When you’re in a difficult or dangerous situation, or when you’re depressed about the chances of success, someone who can make you laugh eases the tension.”  — Sir Edmund Hillary

I think it all comes down to motivation. If you really want to do something, you will work hard for it.” — Sir Edmund Hillary

“I’m sure the feeling of fear, as long as you can take advantage of it and not be rendered useless by it, can make you extend yourself beyond what you would regard as your capacity. If you’re afraid, the blood seems to flow freely through the veins, and you really do feel a sense of stimulation.” — Sir Edmund Hillary


And Sir Edmund… 


“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ― Lao Tzu

“Some nomads are at home everywhere. Others are at home nowhere, and I was one of those.” —Robyn Davidson

“The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance, 1841

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The first wealth is health.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

❤ “When you have worn out your shoes, the strength of the shoe leather has passed into the fiber of your body.  I measure your health by the number of shoes and hats and clothes you have worn out.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


And also, Ralph Waldo Emerson! 


“Remember that time spent on a rock climb isn’t subtracted from your life span.” — Will Niccolls

“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

“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see.” — John Burroughs

“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.” — Greg Child

“In a flat country a hillock thinks itself a mountain.” — Turkish proverb

“Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.” — Dag Hammarskjold

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” — Ed Viesturs, No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World’s 14 Highest Peaks

“Climbing is not a spectator sport.” — Mark Wellman

“Great things are done when [wo]men and mountains meet; This is not done by jostling in the street.” — William Blake

“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.” — Barry Finlay

“In the mountains there are only two grades: You can either do it, or you can’t.” — Rusty Baille

“Many climbers become writers because of the misconceptions about climbing.” — Jonathan Waterman

“Mountains have a way of dealing with overconfidence.” — Nemann Buhl

“No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied – it speaks in silence to the very core of your being.” — Ansel Adams

“When the wind calls, you know, that somewhere in the mountains, it has found the answers that you were looking for. The pull of the horizon overcomes the inertia of reason…And you just have to go.” — Vikram Oberoi

“The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.”  — Tennessee Williams

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”  — Edward Abbey

“…By bringing myself over the edge and back, I discovered a passion to live my days fully, a conviction that will sustain me like sweet water on the periodically barren plain of our short lives.” — Jonathan Waterman

“The mountains, the forest, and the sea, render men savage; they develop the fierce, but yet do not destroy the human.” — Victor Hugo

“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

“A lone peak of high point is a natural focal point in the landscape, something by which both travelers and local orient themselves. In the continuum of landscape, mountains are discontinuity – culminating in high points, natural barriers, unearthly earth.” — Rebecca Solnit

“Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks. Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything – even mountains, rivers, plants and trees – should be your teacher.” — Morihei Ueshiba

“Mountains are the beginning and the end of all natural scenery.” — John Ruskin

“This mountain, the arched back of the earth risen before us, it made me feel humble, like a beggar, just lucky to be here at all, even briefly.”— Bridget Asher

“I like geography best, he said, because your mountains & rivers know the secret. Pay no attention to boundaries.”  — Brian Andreas

“The higher you climb on the mountain, the harder the wind blows.” — Sam Cummings

  “He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary.” — Friedrich Neitszche

❤  “Any coward can sit at home and criticize a pilot for flying into a mountain in a fog. But I would rather by far die on a mountainside than in bed.”  — Charles Lindbergh 

“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 

“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 

“It’s a wonderful feeling to push even a tiny piece of the planet down beneath one’s feet. If it’s overhanging plastic, it’s going to pump your arms like bloated sausages; if it’s a steep snow-slope at 27000 feet it’s going to deaden the legs and make the lungs like overworked bellows. Either way, the challenges are obvious.” — Adrian Burgess

“One does not climb to attain enlightenment, rather one climbs because he is enlightened.” — Zen Master Futomaki

“Climbing is the lazy man’s way to enlightenment. It forces you to pay attention, because if you don’t, you won’t succeed, which is minor — or you may get hurt, which is major. Instead of years of meditation, you have this activity that forces you to relax and monitor your breathing and tread that line between living and dying. When you climb, you always are confronted with the edge. Hey, if it was just like climbing a ladder, we all would have quit a long time ago.” — Duncan Ferguson

“In the American Southwest, I began a lifelong love affair with a pile of rock.” — Edward Abbey

“In a sense everything that is exists to climb. All evolution is a climbing towards a higher form. Climbing for life as it reaches towards the consciousness, towards the spirit. We have always honored the high places because we sense them to be the homes of gods. In the mountains there is the promise of… something unexplainable. A higher place of awareness, a spirit that soars. So we climb… and in climbing there is more than a metaphor; there is a means of discovery.” — Rob Parker

“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

“I believe that the ascent of mountains forms an essential chapter in the complete duty of man, and that it is wrong to leave any district without setting foot on its highest peak.” — Sir Leslie Stephen

“Some mountaineers are proud of having done all their climbs without bivouac. How much they have missed! And the same applies to those who enjoy only rock climbing, or only the ice climbs, only the ridges or faces. We should refuse none of the thousands and one joys that the mountains offer us at every turn. We should brush nothing aside, set no restrictions. We should experience hunger and thirst, be able to go fast, but also to go slowly and to contemplate.” —  Gaston Rebuffat

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” — T.S. Eliot

“Me think that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” — Henry David Thoreau

“Hiking alone lets me have some time to myself.” — Jamie Luner


“After a day’s walk everything has twice its usual value.” — George Macauley Trevelyan

“I have two doctors, my left leg and my right.” — G.M. Trevelyan

“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.”— Paul Dudley White

“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.”— Steven Wright

“We live in a fast-paced society.  Walking slows us down.” — Robert Sweetgall

“The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk.” — Jacqueline Schiff

“Make your feet your friend.” — J.M. Barrie


“Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.” — Cindy Ross

“The experienced mountain climber is not intimidated by a mountain — he is inspired by it.”  — William Artur Ward

“Mountain hikes instilled in me a life-long urge to get to the top of any inviting summit or peak.” — Paul D. Boyer

“Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley. ” — Theodore Roethk

“There may be more to learn from climbing the same mountain a hundred times than by climbing a hundred different mountains.” — Richard Nelson

“Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried.”  — Frank Tyger

“It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” — Robert W. Service

“There are two kinds of climbers, those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.” — Alex Lowe

“The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up.” — Robert Persin

“The place where you lose the trail is not necessarily the place where it ends.” — Tom Brown, Jr.

“The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key.  That’s the best thing about a walking, the journey itself.  It doesn’t much matter whether you get where your going or not.  You’ll get there anyway.  Every good hike brings you eventually back home.  Right were you started.” — Edward Abbey

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” — Frank A. Clark

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk.  Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness.  I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.” — Soren Kierkegaard

❤ “You need special shoes for hiking – and a bit of a special soul as well.” — Emme Woodhull-Bäche

“This Way to Everest”, near base camp, Nepal | Image: Jonathan Irish

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Categories: Adventure + Exploration, Lists, Quotations

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