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Climb Every Mountain for the Fantastic Aerial Views

Updated on November 20, 2012

Spiritual and Physical

There is something undoubtably spiritual about mountain climbing. Is it the subconscious human desire to become closer to God? Or is it simply as Sir Edmund Hillary explained so epically described "Because it's there"?

All we know is that people have been climbing mountains, hiking to higher heights and challenging boundaries for centuries. The journey is worth the destination, and many times, the journey is the most important part.

Let's consider some important mountains, climbers and experiences that seem to bring out the greatness in us mere mortals or flesh and blood.

The best part of climbing the mountain is savoring the view at the end!

Facing the Mountain Peak

Sir Edmund is gazing at Mount Cook in New Zealand,  The statue is a perennial monument to him.
Sir Edmund is gazing at Mount Cook in New Zealand, The statue is a perennial monument to him. | Source

Sir Edmund Hillary

Perhaps the most famous of all mountain climbers is Sir Edmund Hillary. An unlikely hero, he was a professional bookkeeper in New Zealand while training on the weekends as a recreational mountain climber. The New Zealand naturalist, climber and philanthropist evolved into somewhat of a legend. He was famous for saying, “It's not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

He is best known for leading the first successful climb on Mt. Everest in May 1953. Located in the Himalayan mountain range, it's the tallest known mountain on earth. From 1920 until 1953, many attempts had been made but had been unsuccessful due to bad weather, high altitude and the rugged terrain.

Edmund Hillary made it to the peak alongside Nepalese climber Tenzing Norgay. Suffering from exhaustion and lack of oxygen at the extremely high altitude, most of his crew were forced to turn back. Only the two men were able to continue on to the summit at 29,028 feet and then brave the equally treacherous descent downhill, which some say is even more difficult than climbing uphill. Why? Because gravity is pulling you down and there is less control.

Mount Everest is located on the border of China and Nepal

Predecessors to Sir Edmund

George Mallory attempted to climb the face of Mount Everest and died trying. Born in 1886, he was only 38 years old when his attempts to master the mountain failed, and he slid to his death in 1924.

Reinhold Messner was known for climbing the fourteen mountains of the Himalayans which stand over 8000 feet high, known as the "eight thousanders.

... and After...

Nawang Gombu, of Indian descent, was the first to climb Mount Everest twice, in 1963 and 1965.

Mountain Top K2 Near Pakistan

Aerial view of the mountain range near K2 in Pakistan.  K2 is the second highest mountain on earth and more difficult to climb than Mount Everest.
Aerial view of the mountain range near K2 in Pakistan. K2 is the second highest mountain on earth and more difficult to climb than Mount Everest. | Source

Mountain Top Experience

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Courageous Climbers

The K-2 Campaign

Archille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli were another two-man mountain climbing team which succeeded in climbing K2 in July of 1954, a year after Sir Hillary scaled Mount Everest. The second tallest mountain in the world, K2 is considered even more difficult than Mt Everest to climb. See photo above.

John Salathe, a Swiss mountaineer, invented the pithon, a pin and pound technique used by climbers world-wide. This handy tool is the trusted friend of mountaineers and rock climbing enthusiasts wherever there are mountains to climb.

Conrad Kain, an Austrian, was known for his numerous expeditions climbing the North American Canadian Rockies. He made fifty “first ascents” in the Canadian Rockies, which are known to be both icy and treacherous.

Kilimanjaro - Higest Mountain In Africa

Kilimanjaro has less than 20,000 meters to the top, which makes it accessible to those who have the will and are in good physical condition.  It's the highest peak in Africa.
Kilimanjaro has less than 20,000 meters to the top, which makes it accessible to those who have the will and are in good physical condition. It's the highest peak in Africa. | Source

Africa

A true story about Kilimanjaro

Hans Meyer, a German geology professor, was best known for his relentless attempts - and subsequent success - at climbing Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa's highest peak. His expedition was held in the late 19th century. The team was accompanied by an African guide named Yahuni Lauwo, an expert climber in his own right. The story is an interesting one. Lauwo was found in a group photo with Meyer's group. He said he only remembered going 8 days without wearing shoes and that he had climbed the mountain three times before World War I.

Based on the photo, he was estimated at being born around 1871. The world record for longevity was revised upwards when Lauwo passed away at the amazing age of 124 or 125 years old.

Nowadays, many visitors to Tanzania prepare for, and successfully scale Kilimanjero. Some say it is a type of spiritual experience.

Where is Eiger?

... It's located in the Swiss Alps. It has an altitude of 13,000 feet (a little less than 4000 meters).

Modern Mountain Men

Sir Chris Bonington is a modern mountaineer. Born in 1935, he began climbing mountains at age 16 back in 1951. He made the first South West Face of Everest ascent in 1975, known as the Patagonian Climb. At his advanced age, he continues to climb, work, photograph, write books and lecture at universities internationally. Knighted in 1996 for his service to mountaineering, he is now close to 80 years old.

Joe Simpson, born in 1960, is a professional mountaineer, lecturer and author. Known for climbing the Siule Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985 with climbing partner Simon Yates, he has also climbed the north face of Eiger. Riddled with falls and injuries, the doctors claimed he would never walk again, much less ascend his beloved mountains. In spite of this, he fully rehabilitated himself and returned to the rugged mountains only two years later. He has also written several bestselling books, including Touching the Void, which has been reprinted in 23 foreign languages.

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    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image
      Author

      Anastasia Kingsley 6 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Hi, addingsense... I know the map leaves something to be desired, doesn't it? The main point is that it creates a natural border between China and Tibet. I will keep the bold letters - I did it to call attention to the courageous climbers which most of us aren't familiar with. They are certainly brave. Thanks too for your up votes, you made my day!

    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image
      Author

      Anastasia Kingsley 6 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Hi Kalmiya, so that is where Shangri-La was supposed to be, on the western border of China. Great insight. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate the read :)

    • addingsense profile image

      Akhil S Kumar 6 years ago from kerala

      hi friend,

      an inspirational piece you got there. truly outstanding. nice selection of pictures. wow..awesome.As a suggestion it is better if the map is in the last position and reduce some boldness on letters and use it little.

      After all it is great. voted up and beautiful

      good day,

      akhil

    • Kalmiya profile image

      Kalmiya 6 years ago from North America

      What courageous climbers; I would never be able to do this! But I am interested in the western borders of China as there is some historical information that the mythic Shangri-La is possibly located on the northern edges of China (which I did a hub on). Some beautiful country out there.

    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image
      Author

      Anastasia Kingsley 6 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Thanks, Susan, for stopping by and commenting.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This was a very interesting hub. Chris Bonington at 80 years old and still climbing... wow... is amazing. What an inspiration.

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