- from Mountains
For some folks, it’s enough to admire mountains from afar. Others like their mountain scenery up close. But for the truly fearless, climbing is the only way to really experience a mountain. It’s a difficult sport, but its popularity is on the rise.
The risks include sudden storms, avalanches, freezing temperatures, deep crevasses on ice surfaces, and air too thin to breathe, to name just a few. So why attempt something so difficult? Sir George Mallory, an early-twentieth-century climber, gave an answer that became legendary: “Because it’s there.” Mallory would later die on Mount Everest.
For the less thrill-seeking, there’s hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Sadly, there’s a high price to pay for all this up-close appreciation. Mountains may seem strong, but they are in fact quite fragile. Tourists can scare away mountain animals or crowd their territories. Walking on delicate plants destroys them. Car pollution and litter are growing. Whole mountain forests have been chopped down for fuel or building material. This raises the risk of dangerous erosion. In western states, many wildfires happen because homes are built right next to forested mountains.
Will future generations get to see the beauty of mountains? People are starting to understand that there is a lot of work to do to preserve our peaks.