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Jonathan Stull | 03.08.2017

The mountains are a place for thinkers, for dreamers, for doers, and in this week’s edition of the #52WeekAdventureChallenge, they challenge us to push ourselves beyond the limit of what we believe is possible.

The mountains have long provoked the human imagination and challenged our resilience. They are meditative places, retreats, somewhere to go to contemplate the world and one’s place in it. When Moses was delivered the Ten Commandments, he climbed Mount Sinai to receive the word of God. The prophet Muhammad was secluded in a mountain cave when the angel Gabriel came to him and delivered his first revelation. To this day, Japanese monks venture into the inland mountains to escape the machinations of modern life. Called the Yamabushi, which translates as “one who prostrates upon mountains,” they retreat into the mountains in search of enlightenment.

Above tree line, the mountains tell a different story. They are rugged, testing our will against the forces of nature, and here, the forces of nature are hostile. Through the couloirs and around summit pyramids whip mercurial and unforgiving winds. Snow and ice fall unpredictably, building layer over layer on steep slopes until the tug of gravity peels them away.

Ascending these silent giants is a task reserved for the bold, and the mountaineers who ascend the most dangerous slopes risk much for the greatest rewards—especially those pioneers of the sport who achieved their temporary conquest without the aid of modern equipment. Many have been lost near the vertical limits of our world, Lord Francis Douglas among them, whose life was lost on the first ascent of Matterhorn in 1865. His and others' deaths sparked a controversy that fractured the sport and marked the end of alpinism’s golden age. "We were not what we are,” the Reverend Arthur G. Butler wrote in the aftermath, “without that other fiery element—the love, the thirst for venture, and the scorn that aught should be too great for mortal powers."

So loud is the call of the mountains. All require courage to summit, but few of them ask for more. Adventure into thin air with one of these.




Sierra Nevada Mountains

Southern California


Front Range

Western Colorado



Vancouver, BC


  • Granite Peak

East Coast Ranges


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