Climb Quotes

It's always further than it looks.
It's always taller than it looks.
And it's always harder than it looks."    — The 3 rules of mountaineering.

Funny, Stupid, Witty, Whatever Climbing Quotes

"A climber's day always starts at the crux: getting out of bed."
"There are only 3 real sports: bull-fighting, car racing and mountain climbing. All the others are mere games."    — Hemingway.
"I find that rock climbing is the finest, most healthiest sport in the whole world. It is much healthier than most; look at baseball, where 10 000 sit and watch a handful of players"    — John Salathé, 1974.
"Writing about climbing is boring. I would rather go climbing."    — Chuck Pratt.
"I don't want to write about climbing; I don't want talk about it; I don't want to photograph it; I don't want to think about it; all I want to do is do it."    — Chuck Pratt.
"Leading something that is 50/50 is is not 'my limit'. It's off route."    — Nathan Sweet.
"Where are the holds, Hector ?!?!"    — Paulina.
"There were no holds so I had to use skill."
"What an odd sport we inhabit, where bits of obscure rock in remote locations are recognizeable."    — Richard Pawlowicz.
"I think you love rocks so much that they've replaced your brain."    — Rex Pieper.
"Getting out of this required a 5.11 Beached Whale move combined with a Bloody Scream, something they never teach in the gym."    — Lord Slime.
"Sure, some people pack more stuff(edited for content) than others, but going dumb and naked isn't what 'Fast and light' is about either."    — Nate B.
"I love climbing because it feels so good when I stop..."    — Karl "we're all nuts".
"Climbers seem to forget that we said in our introduction that there were simply '50 classic routes', not 'the 50 classics'. We chose 50 from a list of about 120. Only a torturer will ever pry loose from our lips the names of those other 70 classics..."    — Steve Roper.
"It's all fun and oneness with nature until you realize you can't have diarrhea and vomit at the same time without an extra bucket."    — Nate B.
"Just a reminder — a guidebook is no substitute for skill, experience, judgement and lots of tension."    — Charlie Fowler.
"That was amazing ! Five lead changes to climb 40 feet of rock ! How can they say this route doesn't look good ? This was MORE than a route — this was an EXPERIENCE !"    — Larry D.
"The best climber in the world is the one who's having the most fun."    — Alex Lowe.
"I've climbed with some of the best climbers in the world, more importantly, to me, they are some of the best people in the world. That's another reason why I climb."    — Jim Wickwire.
"Climbing may be hard, but it's easier than growing up."    — Ed Sklar.
"In France, a publicly accessible climbing area without bolted lines is viewed like a publicly accessable swimming pool with sharks in it."    — David Kastrup.
"In most parts of France, they climb 'French Free'. In Chamonix they climb 'French Expensive'."    — Tim.
"There is no difference between religion and politics. Both involve lies and fanatical beliefs that generaly defy logic... Just like rock climbing."    — Dave Schuller.
"My mother used to rock me — and she used big rocks."    — Rodney Dangerfield.
"Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible."    —  Doug Lawson.
"They say you can't do it, but sometimes it doesn't always work."    — Casey Stengel.
"Those who say it can't be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it."   — Unknown
"If you want to climb it badly enough, you will. So... why bother ?"    — Doug Scott.
"Yoga is a system, scientifically proven to boost your climbing ability significantly. Why do you think you always see that Guru figure sitting on the top of the mountain? You think he/she got there by enlightenment ?"    — Lg.
"Breaking into a new area of climbing while remaining safe is probably sort of like practicing religion. There's no best way to do it, and if you screw up, you're going down..."    — Nate Beckwith.
"Hey Brother, You're not fat Dude, you're just bomber !"    — Karl Baba, reassuring Geoff on his % of body fat.
"To qualify for mountain rescue work, you have to pass our test. The doctor holds a flashlight to your ear. If he can see light coming out the other one, you qualify."    — Willi Pfisterer.
"Why ? Why, why, why do I do this ???"    — Chuck Pratt.
"Life is brought down to the basics: if you are warm, regular, healthy, not thirsty or hungry, then you are not on a mountain... Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall — it's great when you stop."    — Chris Darwin.
"The distinguishing mark of true adventures, is that it is often no fun at all while they are actually happening."    — Kim Stanley Robinson.
"You can grunt and heave, sweat and strain, wear yourself out, and unless you simply forget about it and step up, you won't even get off the ground."    — Mike Borghoff.
"There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."    — Sir Rannulph Fiennes.
"The difference between a mountain and a molehill is your perspective."    — Al Neuharth.
"How do you distinguish between being off-route and putting up a first ascent ?"    — Bruce Bindner.
"The only way you can do something in the style of the FA is by climbing something new."    — Patrick.
"As a member of an escorted tour, you don't even have to know the Matterhorn isn't a tuba."    — Temple Fielding.
"I may not be able to pull on the smallest of holds, but those I can pull on I can pull on all day long."    — Jimmy Jewel.
"You can't be here: it's public land !"    — A snowplow driver at the base of Lincoln Falls (Colorado).
"I climb as hard as anyone on earth. I just do it on easier routes."    — Mad Dog.
"Vertigo I can handle alright — It's horizonto that drives me nuts."    — Jim Lubell.
"Real Programmers don't play tennis, or any sport that requires you to change clothes. Mountain climbing is OK, and real programmers always wear their climbing boots to work in case a mountain should suddenly spring up in the middle of a machine room."    — From Real programmers don't write specs.
"No one is completely useless — They can always serve as a bad example."    — Anonymous.
"Q: What's the difference between a large pizza and a mountain guide ?
A: A pizza can feed a family of four !"
"Climb Now, Work Later."    — DMM slogan
"Duct tape is like the Force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together."    — Carl Zwanzig.
"Where does all the white go when the snow melts ?"
"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible."    —George Burns.
"They say that if the Swiss had designed these mountains they'd be rather flatter."    — Paul Theroux (1941- ), US-born writer, referring to the Alps.
"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered."    — G.K. Chesterson.
"If climbers used the word 'beta' the way most software houses do, we'd all be dead."
"Sport climbing is neither."    — Found on a poster at the gendarme in Seneca rocks.
"Maybe true. Maybe not true. Better you believe."    — Sherpa saying.
"Found the following in a local post by someone describing what they look for in a resume when hiring a person for a computer programming job: Flowery action words can't hide a lack of accomplishment in life. I like it when someone lists things like 'mountain climbing' in their resume, because it means he's geeky enough to feel it's necessary to prove that he's not a geek, yet not so geeky that he's anal retentive."    — Paul Hess.
"As far as I'm concerned, if someone eliminates the mental part of climbing, then we might as well all go play miniature golf."    — Greg Opland.
"Snowshoeing is more extreme than rockclimbing. I mean, it would take something pretty extreme to get me to go slog around in the snow like that."    — Karl Baba.
"Snowshoeing is a perfect example of technology gone bad. Just imagine if those companies had applied all that energy and money into products that were fun to use."    — Malcolm.
"rok iz gud."    — Climer.
"C'est pas de l'alpinisme, ça, c'est la guerre."    — Armand Charlet (à propos de la face nord des Grandes Jorasses, 1930)


"Artificial climbing: knack of appearing to climb by talking about it. This technique is best employed far from actual climbing areas, which tend to be hazardous. Small taverns and pizza parlors with an impressionable clientele are excellent sites for artificial climbing."
"Blood /n./ substance commonly used to mark a climbing route."
"El Capitan /prop. n./ expedition leader in a spanish speaking country."
"Mud bat /n./ usually heard from up on El Cap as part of: 'MUD BAT!! MUD BAAAAAT!! INCOMING!!'."
"Foot jam /n./ offensive accumulation between the toes, caused by wearing the same socks for several days."
"Gorp /interj./ mealtime sound made by a hungry alpinist.
Rurp /interj./ sound made by a climber after downing a hasty lunch."
"Layback /n./ what a climber looks forward to at the end of a day."
"Line of weakness: long involved explanation for not attempting a route."
"Matterhorn /n./ trumpetlike musical instrument favored by swiss mountaineers."
"Mountaineering /n./ slow walking uphill while not feeling very well."
"Volcano /n./ A mountain with hiccups."
"Wilderness /n./ archaic word used to refer to the space that once existed between urban areas and which is now used as a proving ground for 4-wheel drive vehicles."
"Wilderness travel /n./ art of avoiding snowmobiles, four wheel drives and oil wells."

Gravity Quotes

"Gravity is a myth, the Earth sucks."
"If gravity warps space-time, do grave thoughts warp your mind ?"
"We can lick gravity, but the paperwork's a bit tougher."    — Werner von Braun.
"Climbing is the only cure for gravity."
"Without gravity you wouldn't have a sport."    — Matthew Ketterling.
"The law of gravity is strictly enforced."
"Climbing is not a battle with the elements, nor against the law of gravity. It's a battle against oneself."    — Walter Bonatti.

Online climbing

"I climb much harder in my posts than I do in real life."    — Geoff Jennings.
"The first in a series of challenging, thrilling and dangerous outdoor adventure games that lets kids experience the realism, excitement and achievement of going Beyond the Limit. Ultimate Climb lets kids experience the thrill and challenge of a real mountain climbing adventure."    — Excerpt from the cover of the Microsoft game 'Beyond the Limit: Ultimate Climb'.
"If you want the big rewards, you gotta tackle the hard problems. If not, well, I hear there's a good climbing game you can play on your computer."    — Lord Slime.
"We wouldn't have this problem if it weren't for the cretins who popularize the classic routes on their web sites !"    — Gary Clark, about overcrowded routes.
"Well in my opinion there are no hard rules for climbing a route, only for talking about it later."    — Peter Boyle.
"Wow, talk about ascending Mt Uberstupid..."    — nafod40.
"Gravity would be softer were its acceleration not as fast."    — Eugene Miya.

Climbing is Hard Work

"The difference between climbers and normal workers is that climbers are glad of the Mondays, so they can rest."    — Me.
"I think climbers should get credit just for remembering what their jobs are on Mondays."    — Gary Clark.
"The next time you curse the fact that it's Monday, just think of it as proof that you made it through another weekend without killing yourself by doing something stupid."    — Phil Garding.
"[Climbing is] more interesting than my other daytime activity, which closely resembles the million monkeys theory applied to software development."    — Amanda Tarr.
"Welcome to the employee rock-climbing seminar. You'll learn valuable teamwork skills by doing dangerous things unrelated to your jobs."    — Dilbert (1997/8/3).

Grades & Ratings

"You can't buy a 5.12."    — Rob Robinson.
"I've seen 5.11 divided into 11 different grades of increasing difficulty, as follows: 5.11a, 5.10d, 5.11-, 5.11b, 5.11, 5.11c, 5.9 squeeze, 5.11+, 5.10 OW, 5.12a, 5.11d"    — Brutus of Wyde.
"Routes rate me, not the other way around."    — Andy Cairns.
"In fact, I think you should add your body fat to the rating of the climb, to get a true measure of your inner climber. So climbing a 5.7 with 22% body fat is way harder than climbing a 5.14 with 3% body fat."    — Mike Yukish.
"The Puking Gecko, Grand Wall, *** S9 5.12d/e 712m
An intimidating and salacious climb. The final pitch is so exposed, tricky, and continuously strenuous that it is impossible to even contact the rock at any point. Superbly magnificent and grimly brilliant."    — Andy Cairns.
"Anyone need advice on making the transition from 5.12 to 5.11 ?"    — Andy Cairns.

Yosemite & Big Wall Climbing Quotes

Note: many of those quotes are from Steve Roper's excellent book Camp 4.

"This valley is the only place that comes up to the brag about it, and exceeds it."    — Ralph Waldo Emerson about Yosemite.
"The tide of visitors will float slowly about the bottom of the valley as harmless scum collecting in hotel and saloon eddies, leaving the rocks and falls eloquent as ever."    —  John Muir< about Yosemite.
"To apply human standards of measurements to this monarch of mountains is sacrilege. To attempt by mere words and figures to convey some idea of its stupendous massiveness, its nobly-defiant impressive individuality, is rankest folly."    — Herbert Earl Wilson, about El Cap, 1926.
"It is a crest of granite... perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden my human foot."    — California Geological Survey report about Half Dome, 1865.
"It's so good and wonderful and so other-earth-other-sky transcendentally different in Yosemite that I could spend a dozen karmic cycles there and not exhaust the place."    — Mike Borghoff.
"I couldn't catch a ball or any of that stuff. I could do only what required brute stupidity."    — Warren Harding (1925-2002).
"I continued with whatever 'qualified climbers' I could con into this rather unpromising venture."    — Warren Harding (1925-2002), about the Nose.
"As I hammered in the last bolt and staggered over the rim, it was not at all clear to me who was the conqueror and who was the conquered. I do recall that El Cap seemed to be in much better condition than I was."    — Warren Harding (1925-2002).
"If mankind doesn't kill himself first (on a mountain or with a bomb) he may just learn how to inhabit the Earth as god planned."    — Editorial in News after the ascent of the Nose.
"Our ascent, of course, does not end the possibility for new accomplishments on El Capitan. The day will probably come when this climb will be done in five days, perhaps less; and a younger generation will make a new route on the west face."    — Royal Robbins, after the 2nd ascent of the Nose, 1960 (the record is now about 4h17).
"If the answer is 13 RURPs and a bat hook, what was the question ?"    — Joel Wiley.
"Actually, we're just glorified flagpole sitters."    — Warren Harding (1925-2002).
"I started climbing when men were men... and we nailed 5.8."   — TM Herbert.
"Anyone who says that they are having fun up here is flat out lying !"    — Russ "The Fish" Walling.
"Even the descent was fraught with sucking."    — Adams, describing his first big wall.
"Being out on lead is like having a loaded gun pointed at your head all day !"    — Russ 'The Fish' Walling.
"Anyone who climbs walls is certifiably insane."    — Russ "The Fish" Walling.
"The reason it was so scary was that there was only one climber capable of rescuing us, and that was Layton Kor, and he was in Colorado."    — Yvon Chouinard, on the first ascent of North American Wall.
"The best part is getting to the top 'cause the pain's all over."    — Dan Osman.
"As we unloaded packs at the parking lot, two young ladies approached us to ask if we were THE Yosemite climbers... They asked if it were true that Yosemite climbers chafe their hands on the granite to enable them to friction up vertical walls. We assured them that the preposterous myth was true."    — Chuck Pratt, 1965.
"The climbing as a whole is not very esthetic or enjoyable; it is merely difficult."    — Yvon Chouinard (1963, on Yosemite).
"Just why is Yosemite climbing so different ? Why does it have techniques, ethics and equipment all of its own ? The basic reason lies in the rock itself. Nowhere else in the world is the rock so exfoliated, so glacier-polished and so devoid of handholds. All of the climbing lines follow vertical crack systems. Every piton crack, every handhold is a vertical one. Special techniques and equipment have evolved through absolute necessity."    — Yvon Chouinard, 1963.
"I strode among giants, friends tell me now, though at the time I felt more like a misfit associating with oddballs."    — Steve Roper, Introduction to Camp 4.
"Many have questioned the quality of this sort of achievement, deploring the use of pitons, tension traverses and expansion bolts, but the record speaks for itself. This is a technical age and climbers will continue in the future to look for new routes. There is nothing more satisfying than being a pioneer."    — Allen Steck, justifying the 1st ascent of Sentinel's north face, 1950.
"Writing this last chapter has been difficult and painful. It involves do's and don'ts, obligations and responsibilities. Most climbers are individuals who love freedom--they climb because it makes them feel free. We may expect then, that having others suggest how they ought to climb will rub wrong. There used to be so few climbers that it didn't matter where one drove a piton, there wasn't a worry about demolishing the rock. Now things are different. There are so many of us, and there will be more. A simple equation exists between freedom and numbers: the more people the less freedom. If we are to retain the beauties of the sport, the fine edge, the challenge, we must consider our style of climbing; and if we are not to mutilate and destroy the routes, we must eliminate the heavy handed use of pitons and bolts."    — Royal Robbins, Basic Rockcraft, 1977.
"I had the unique experience the next day: placing sixteen bolts in a row. It was just blank and there was no way around. But it was a route worth bolting for, and after a time I began to take an almost perverse joy in it, or at least in doing a good job."    — Royal Robbins, Tis-sa-ack ascent, 1970.
"To practice for the Steck-Salathé, crawl across asphalt parking lots in the summer, on your knees and elbows."    — Dingus Milktoast.
"My next climb is going to be a tourist troll in a wheelchair."    — st ascent of the north face of Sentinel Rock.
"Climbers have no sense of smell."    — Conrad Anker's mother.
"John Wayne never wore Lycra."    — Ron Kauk about why he climbs in Blue-Jeans.
"At either end of the social spectrum there lies a leisure class."    — Eric Beck.
"I became so desperate that I considered throwing Eric [Beck] off the ledge. I thought I could get down and then lie about what had happened. To my addled brain, this was plausible. Then I came to my senses and woke Eric up and told him that either he had to retreat or I'd throw him off. We went down and I never climbed again for a quarter of a century."    — Dave Cook about a new route on the Sentinel.
"There was a climber named Bridwell
On grade I's he did well.
But on grade VI, he got into a fix
and rappelled to the talus and hid well."    — Eric Beck.
"It is better to retreat off a good climb than to succeed on an indifferent one."    — Chris Jones, 1971.
"Excluding Royal Robbins (who is in a brilliant class all by himself, a Stirling Moss, an index of perfection) Valley climbers are brooding misfits who know only too well what awaits them down in the San Joaquin Valley and beyond."    — Mike Borghoff.
"In light of the rising frequency of human/grizzly bear conflicts, the Department of Fish and Game is advising hikers, hunters, and fishermen to take extra precautions and keep alert for bears while in the field. We advise that outdoors men wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as not to startle bears that aren't expecting them. We also advise outdoors men to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a bear. It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity. Outdoors men should recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear droppings. Black bear droppings are smaller and contain lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear droppings have little bells in them and smell like pepper."    — Grizzly bear notice.
"I so much enjoy waking up to garbage truck 'back up' beepers in the morning at Yosemite. It makes me feel like I'm in New York city !"    — athayer999.
"My once-keen analytical mind has become so dulled by endless hours of baking in the hot sun, thrashing about in tight chimneys, pulling at impossibly heavy loads.... so that now my mental state is comparable to that of a Peruvian Indian, well stoked on coca leaves..."    — Warren Harding (1925-2002), Reflections on a broken down climber.
"I was once bouldering in solitude in the Needles, when a young female walked up and introduced herself and asked who I was. I told her and continued bouldering. She turned and walked away after a few minutes, saying over her shoulder: 'you can't be John Gill. He climbs much better than that'."    — John Gill, Master of rock by Pat Ament.
"I've tried many sports, but climbing is the best. The beauty of this sport is that no matter how good you get, you can always find a way to challenge yourself."    — Randy Leavitt.
"Gee, in the old days people used aid to make things easier, nowadays they use aid to make things harder."    — Juanita Donini.
"It lasted but a year of two, till all the routes were done. The pace so fast that most forgot that climbing could be fun."    — John Sherman.
"The future of Yosemite climbing lies not in Yosemite, but in using the new techniques in the great granite ranges of the world."    — Yvon Chouinard, 1963.
"Personally, I would rather climb in the high mountains. I have always abhorred the remendous heat, the dirt-filled cracks, the ant-covered foul-smelling trees and bushes which cover the cliffs, the filth and noise of Camp 4 (the climbers' campground), and worst of all, the multitudes of tourists which abound during the weekends and summer months."    — Yvon Chouinard, 1961.
"Climbing for speed records will probably become more popular, a mania which has just begun. Climbers climb not just to see how fast and efficiently they can do it, but far worse, to see how much faster and more efficiently they are than a party which did the same climb a few days before. The climb becomes secondary, no more important than a racetrack. Man is pitted against man."    — Yvon Chouinard.
"Vy can't ve chust climb !"    — John Salathé.

Bouldering Quotes

"Boulder /n./ place close to the ground to practice falling. When climbers aren't climbing, they like to sharpen their skills by bouldering on large rocks located in places frequented by impressionable tourists. Because bouldering is done without protection, the rule is never to climb higher than you'd like to fall. That is why so many climbers stand around discussing boulder problems instead of climbing them."
"If you do spell check on Denali, you come up with denial... Bouldering turns up blundering and piolets becomes piglets !"
"To be a full-fledged boulderer, you need to be able to do two things: climb way harder than I can, and shout 'You got it, dude !' with convincing enthusiasm every time someone leaves the ground, continuing until their return."    — Dawn Alguard.
"Sometimes I'm soloing and then someone calls me 'bro' or tells me to 'go big' and suddenly i'm bouldering."    — Tico.
"The hardest thing about Fontainebleau is spelling it."    — John Black.
"Take your chisled, over-bolted routes and puny boulder problems and go have an epic finding a vegan meal in Thailand."    — Clyde Soles.
"I boulder with a rope. It's for body recovery."    — nafod40.
"Beware the boulder start."    — Sue.

Ice and Alpine climbing quotes

"All ice is dangerous.
Grade 4 pillars are pumpy.
Grade 5 pillars are pumpy and dangerous.
Except for certain rare days of triple-high biorythms and favorable planetary alignments, grade 6 is beyond reach."    — Dougal McDonald.
"As in any alpine region, the weather is changeable, protection questionable, route-finding bewildering, rockfall frequent and descents tedious. In short, it's everything you could ever ask for."    — from the Canadian Alpine Journal, 1993.
"Er, I say, are you going to be able to get me out ?"    — Eric Shipton while inside a Patagonian crevasse.
"Alps /n./ cries for assistance, most commonly heard in alpine areas of Great Britain."
"Snow bridge /n./ card game played on a glacier. As in other alpine endeavors, tricks are common, and there is always a dummy."
"Terminal moraine /n./ the last glacier you'll ever climb."
"1 - High pain threshold
2 - Bad memory
3 - I forget the third."    — The three attributes of a good (mountaineer/ice climber/big waller).
97 Ice Axes,
5 Cases Dynamite,
7 Cans Nitroglycerin
...."    — From Mark Twain's 'A Tramp Abroad' (1880), a snippet of the gear list for the ascent of the Riffleberg.
"One other very important question I have is are there firearms allowed in the park as for protection and does one need to technically climb — ropes and grommets — or can one hike to the summit of Mt. Mckinley ? My last question is, is Mt McKinley usually covered with snow around the first of June ?"    — Prospective climber's letter to Denali National Park.
"Remember: if you take bivouac equipment along, you will bivouac..."    — Yvon Chouinard.
"Bivouac /n./ French for 'mistake'."
"In times like these, it is helpful to remember that there have always been times like these."    — Paul Harvey.
"I have always thought that heroism must be rarer at dawn than in the evening — I often observed the fact in alpine huts: in the evening everyone is praying for fine weather the next day, and when the next day comes they wish that it was raining."    — René Dittert.
"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave 5 minutes longer."    — Ralph Waldo Emerson.
"One thing to remember on the Eiger, never look up, or you may need a plastic surgeon"    — Don Whillans.
"Summits in the Alps go through 3 steps:
• impossible !
• the hardest climb of the Alps
• a lady's walk"    — George Leigh Mallory<.
"You put up with the grind of work or school as long as you can or is required. But then, one day, the phone rings one too many times, or the line at the gas pumps seems unending. The air smells bad. The food foul. 'Enough of this' you cry. You grab your ice tools and are gone."    — Duane Raleigh<.

Solo climbing quotes

"It is a fine thing to be out on the hills alone. A man can hardly be a beast or a fool alone on a great mountain."    — Francis Kilvert (1840-79).
"The moral here is to never trust equipment, but oneself. Hence, free soloing is the best choice for the safety conscious climber."    — Fiona Always.
"In all the splendor of solitude... it is a test of myself, and one thing I loathe is to have to test myself in front of other people."    — Naomi Uemura on why he soloes.
"I wouldn't last 30 minutes climbing solo."    — Bradford Washburn.
"Some people love soloing and are great at it. They can have it."    — Alison Osius.
"In Layton Kor's Beyond the Vertical, you can read about when Galen Rowell got his boot stuck in a wide crack above Hollow Flake Ledge on an early ascent of the Salathé. Kor soloed up to him and hammered the boot out from below."
"Free soloing can be deadly, even if it looks great in the photos."    — From a Climbing Editorial.
"The solitary ascent of the Dru had the immediate effect of expanding the horizons of my ideas about mountaineering. It made me aware of possibilities well in advance of the times, which were characterized by very restricted mothods. This was how the suberb pyramid of K2 surfaced once more in the list of my projects. But I chose K2 as a way for giving concrete form to my new concept of mountaineering: to climb the second highest montain in the world solo, alpine style, and without oxygen."    — Walter Bonatti on contemplating a solo ascent of K2 in 1955.
"I stand undefeated alone in the ring just pacing
The sweat and the blood dried on my hands all wasted
I'm shouting: "come back and fight for I am the king"
But the lights are all out and the people are gone
How come we always burned brightest when no one was watching ?"    — New Model Army, These Words.
"The ground is a harsh spotter"    — Old Man Caballo.
"My success rate is much higher when I'm soloing. It's easier to talk yourself into quitting when you have someone to talk to."    — Amanda Tarr.
"I knew I was in trouble when my farts came out cold."    — Edwin Drummond, recalling his rescue from high on a solo attempt of North America Wall during a 12-day storm.
"The climb will go. Get rid of the rope. It's only distracting you."    — Jeff Lowe's inner voice before soloing Bridalveil falls.

Himalayan Quotes

"I soon learned that Everest wasn't a private affair. It belonged to many men."    — Thomas Hornbein.
"Because it is there."    —  George Mallory (1886-1924), answer to the question 'Why do you want to climb Mt. Everest ?'.
"I have not had to buy lunch since."    —  Stephen Venables about how climbing Everest changed his life.
"During the qualifying round I heard the contestant ahead of me introduced: 'Hardest redpoint: 5.14b, hardest on-sight: 5.13c' (Geoff Weigand). The contestant after me: 'Hardest redpoint: K2' (Greg Child)."    — Andy Cairns.

Women Climber Quotes

"Rocks make no compromise for sex... rock climbing is not like some sports, where it is made easier for women; or sports like, say, softball, which is only baseball for soft people. On a rock, everything is equal."    — Beverly Johnson.
"No, she's the leader of our climb."    — Colin Grissom in response to a german who asked if Kitty Calhoun was the base camp manager on the way up to Dhaulagiri.
"I can't remember a single time that I was prevented from doing what I wanted because I was a female, either on the rock or in the mountains."    — Annie Whitehouse.
"We knew that a failure on the first women's attempt on El Cap would be a fiasco we could never live down."    — Sibylle Hechtel after climbing the Triple Direct with Bev Johnson.
"If someone were to ask me to quit climbing because they love me so much and doesn't want to lose me, I'd be out the door so fast, that someone wouldn't have time to say adios."    — Inez Drixelius.
"Every critter does what feels good, I guess. Pigs roll in mud, Scott climbs, Inez rolls in mud and climbs. I think it is simple Biology."    — Inez Drixelius.
"In common with many women, I felt that the Dolomites were made to suit me with their small but excellent toe- and finger-holds, and pitches where a delicate sense of balance was the key, rather than brute force. While it helps, of course, to have tough muscles, the prizefighter would not necessarily make a fine Dolomite climber. But the ballet dancer might."    — Mirium Underhill.
"I came up to help you with your pack, but it looks like you don't need any help."    — John Roskelley to Deborah Waterman at 17,800 feet on Denali.
"The fact that I'm three months pregnant doesn't change anything."    — Catherine Destivelle preparing to solo the Old Man of Hoy seastack.
"Reaching that windswept perch, I decided, would cleanse my spirit and heal my wounds. More than that, it would send me home with a title: The First American Woman to Climb Everest."    — Stacy Allison.

Quotes about relationships and climbing

"If she spends more time drooling over gear catalogs than you, takes guidebooks into the bathroom to spend some quality time, blows off a friend's wedding or bridal shower to go to the Phoenix Bouldering Contest, then *maybe* she's a climber."    — Rex Pieper, about girlfriends.
"You are a daredevil. You never care for your home. What will happen to me and the children ?"    — Sherpa Tenzing's wife.
"I'd rather die on Everest than in your hut"    — His reply.

Fear and Risk Quotes

"Fear doesn't exist anywhere except in the mind."    — Dale Carnegie.
"If it weren't for egos, some of the greatest accomplishements of climbing would never have happened."    — Michael Kennedy.
"If by protected you mean that it's 10-15 feet above that alien, then yes, yes it is protected."    — Greg Kneser.
"Although one is not inclined to be timid or nervous, it is nevertheless a trifle depressing to receive letters full of expostulation and entreaty: 'If you are determined to commit suicide, why not come home and do so in a quiet lady-like manner ?'"    — Annie Smith Peck (1896).
"Mountain climbing is extended periods of intense boredom, interrupted by occasional moments of sheer terror."
"He who remains calm while those around him panics probably doesn't know what is going on."
"Profanity is about the best pro you'll get until the crack starts to narrow. Include doubles of profanity in the #6 to #8 range on your rack for this lead."    — Bruce Bindner.
"He gets a free ride after 10 rescues..."    — A chopper pilot about Laurent Smagghe, who had the speed record of Mt Blanc but also the record of being rescued most times.
"There is nothing to fear except fear itself."    — F.D. Roosevelt.
"There are old climbers, there are bold climbers, but there are no old bold climbers !"
"Anything I've ever done that ultimately was worthwhile initially scared me to death."
"Learn to jam, learn to bleed, learn when to turn over the lead !"    — Rex Pieper.
"He who seeks fear shall be followed by fear."    — Ancient scottish proverb.
"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see it's path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."    — The Bene Gesserit Litany of Fear, from Frank Herbert's Dune.
"They say miracles are past; and we have our philosophical persons, to make modern and familiar, things supernatural and causeless. Hence is it that we make trifles of terrors, ensconcing ourselves into seeming knowledge, when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear."    — William Shakespeare, All's Well that Ends Well, Act II Scene III.

Falling Quotes

"If you don't let go, you can't fall off !"    — Jerry Moffat.
"Fall (to) /v./ AKA free-solo rappel. A dynamic retreat from a climb. Note: it is never the fall that kills — it's the sudden stop at the end."
"True, terminal velocity in climbing can vary, and be a lot lower than you think. A bit like; 'Any good rope will last you a lifetime, which may not be as long as you'd wish'."    — Stefan Axelsson.
"If you can hit it while falling down, you can use it while climbing up."    — Andy's Rule of thumb for climbing vegetation.
"I suspect that most falls occur because there is a place to stop and momentum is hard to regain. Good luck!"    — Steve Dieckhoff on
"Are you all right ?"    — Herman Bull after taking a 60m lead fall.
"Yes ! Are you alive ?"    — His partner's reply.
"Flying is easy: just throw yourself at the ground and miss."    — Douglas Adams (1952-2001).
"Don't fall now or we'll both go."    — Layton Kor on numerous occasions.
"You know the difference between 'trauma' and 'no big deal' ? 'Trauma' is when it happens to me. 'No big deal' is when it happens to you... This roof is 'no big deal' !"    — William Wright.
"Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom."    — General George S. Patton.
"Sucks to be you, dude."    — An Emergency Room Doctor and climbing partner to Brent Ware after a fall.
"I want painkillers, and none of that Tylenol #3 stuff either. Something with a 'dan' or a 'done' at the end."    — Brent Ware after a fall.
"Place well thy protection lest the Earth rises up and swallow thee."
"I had great times leading at Devil's Lake, where the ground was never too far away, and hard to miss if you should happen to fall to it."    — Andy Cairns.
"I climb way too badly to worry about cholesterol..."    — Brad B.
"Crater (to) /v./ To fall and hit the ground."
"Unzip (to) /v./ simple yet spectacular way to remove protection."
"Walking: uncommon means of mountain locomotion. See fall, glissade, etc."
"Well, you don't see that every day."    — Bev Johnson to her partner after seeing a body fall off El Cap.
"Solo climber: One climber falling.
Alpine style: Lots of climbers falling, tied together.
Bouldering: One climber falling and missing a thick mat.
Trad: One climber falling on another climber."

Dying Quotes

"Backing off a climb is not failure. Not surviving is failure."    — Brutus of Wyde.
"Was that 'on belay' or 'off belay' ?"    — Common climbing last words.
"If you die, we split your gear."    — Seen on a T-shirt.
"That which does not kill you will make you stronger."    — F.N.
"That which does not make you stronger might be lots of fun before it kills you."    — D.U.
"You only die once, but you're maimed forever. So if you're going to fall take a big one."
"Remember not to have a fatal accident, because the community will think climbing is a dangerous thing, your friends will be bummed... and you'll be dead."    — Kitty Calhoun closing remarks at an American Alpine Club lecture.
"Summit or death, either way I win."    — Rob Slater, before dying on K2.
"Death is nature's way of telling you that you failed."    — SAS Commando.
"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."    — Henry David Thoreau.

Climbing Gear and Technique Quotes

"Technique is our protection."    — Chuck Pratt.
"Climbing rule number xxx — Always leave at least a swallow of water in your partners water bottle, even if they say 'kill it'. Trust me on this."    — Dingus Milktoast.
"— What way do most people find works best for racking tri-cams ?
— Rack the pink one on its own biner, rack all the rest together on a single biner. Now clip the pink one to your gear sling and deposit the others in the same place as all the other gear you bought but really never use."    — Stephen Prouty.
"I find what keeps me safest on climbs is a big, gnarly hexcentric. Specifically in the sense that I let my partner know that I'll be aiming it at vital parts of his body if I ever see that hand come off the belay side of the rope..."    — John.

The Rope

"Q: Why do mountain climbers rope themselves together ?
A: To prevent the sensible ones from going home !"
"I saw that ! Grabbing the pro — two meters of penalty slack !"
"I'm going to have to take you off belay for a second... the dog's all tangled up in the rope."    — Said when the leader is on a 5.11 overhang.
"I teach beginners this simple rule: If you are unsure that the rope reaches the ground or the next anchors, let someone else go down first."    — Brutus of Wyde.
"Webbing /n./ rope that has been stepped on so many times it is flat."
"Something was wrong. I couldn't put my finger on it, but something was definitely wrong. Suddenly I knew what it was. In the darkness, in the wind and confusion, I had come unclipped from the rappel line. Just as I realized it, it was already too late. The weight of the pack and the steepness of the wall made it impossible for me to keep my balance. With a despairing cry I pitched over backwards into the night sky."    — Duane Raleigh.
"Nylon rope: one that melts when you fall.
Hemp rope: one that breaks when you fall."    — Tom Patey.
"At the gym they teach this convoluted belay technique where you always keep your hand on the rope."    — Overheard at Williamson (SoCal) by Jay Tanzman.
"When men climb on a great mountain together, the rope between them is more than a mere physical aid to the ascent; it is a symbol of the spirit of the enterprise. It is a symbol of men banded together in a commoneffort of will and strength against their own true enemies: inertia, cowardice, greed, ignorance and all weaknesses of the spirit."    — Psalms 61:2.

Serious, Boring and Pretentious Climbing Quotes

"Many years ago, I climbed the mountains, even thought it is forbidden. Things are not as they teach us; the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky."    — From a dying Star Trek character.
"One does not climb to attain enlightenment, rather one climbs because he is enlightened."    — Zen Master Futomaki.
"Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach."    — John Muir
"Remember that time spent on a rock climb isn't subtracted from your life span."    — Will Niccolls.
"Pucky lads, a wee bit over their heads."    — Doug Scott after encountering two climbers on Denali suffering from exposure.
"It's a round trip. Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory."    —  Ed Viesturs.
"It's always further than it looks.
It's always taller than it looks.
And it's always harder than it looks."    — The 3 rules of mountaineering.
"In the mountains there are only two grades: You can either do it, or you can't."    — Rusty Baille.
"Eastward the dawn rose, ridge behind ridge into the morning, and vanished out of eyesight into guess; it was no more than a glimmer blending with the hem of the sky, but it spoke to them, out of the memory and old tales, of the high and distant mountains."    — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of The Rings.
"But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live. Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom. Only a person who risks is free. The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; and the realist adjusts the sails."    — William Arthur Ward.
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go."    — T. S. Eliot.
"Each fresh peak ascended teaches something."    — Sir Martin Convay.
"A man does not climb a mountain without bringing some of it away with him and leaving something of himself upon it."    — Martin Conway.
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body."    — Tom Muccia.
"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.

Literary Climbing Quotes

"Only through suffering can we find ourselves."    — Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
"Was mich nicht zugrunde richtet, macht mich starker."    — Nietzsche (1844-1900).