The Best Walter Bonatti Quotes


What Are Your Favorite Walter Bonatti Quotes?

Walter Bonatti (22 June 1930 – 13 September 2011) was an Italian mountaineer, mountain guide, and explorer who lived an exciting life doing amazing things. Bonatti started his climbing career in Europe, where he earned the nickname “King Of The Alps.”

Walter Bonatti On Gasherbrum IV | By Carlo Mauri [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Walter Bonatti On Gasherbrum IV | By Carlo Mauri [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bonatti is well known for climbing in less accessible parts of the globe too; such as the Himalaya, Karakoram, Patagonian Andes, and beyond. Learn more about his climbs here. After a successful climbing career, Bonatti switched his efforts from climbing to exploring and reporting.

Whether descending rivers in the Yukon, exploring Tanzania and Uganda, or contacting indigenous tribes in the Amazon, his journeys always took him to far flung destinations. His adventures are well documented in an assortment of books and via his reporting for Epoca. We encourage you to learn more about this real life adventurer, but in the meantime, take a moment to read some of his insightful mountain quotes.

Below you’ll find a selection of the best Walter Bonatti quotes:

  • 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.
  • The reality is five percent of life. Man must dream to save himself.
  • The mountains – like sport, work and art – should serve only as a means to grow the man in us.
  • I’ve always been incapable of accepting fate, and I’ve always refused to die, and that has helped me to survive.
  • Climbing is not a battle with the elements, nor against the law of gravity. It’s a battle against oneself.
  • The mountains taught me not to cheat, to be honest with myself and with what I was doing.
  • It is to conquer fear that one becomes a climber. The climber experiences life to its extreme. A climber is not crazy. He is not out to get himself killed. He knows what life is worth. He is in love with living.
  • When you are very young, you do not know who you are and what you want from life . Undoubtedly, however, we all have a mysterious thread that sooner or later will end up making us choose what by nature is already latent in us, and will serve to build our personality.
  • If in normal conditions it is skill, which counts, in such extreme situations, it is the spirit, which saves.
  • For me, the value of a climb is the sum of three inseparable elements, all equally important: aesthetics, history, and ethics. Together they form the whole basis of my concept of alpinism. Some people see no more in climbing mountains than an escape from the harsh realities of modern times. This is not only uninformed but unfair.
  • I don’t deny that there can be an element of escapism in mountaineering, but this should never overshadow its real essence, which is not escape but victory over your own human frailty.
  • The great mountains have the value of the men who climb them, otherwise they would be nothing but a pile of stones.
  • Now more than ever I am convinced that the life of a man has meaning only if lived in everything that is inside.
  • We [climbers] demonstrate in the most stunning way of all – at the risk of our lives – that there is no limit to the effort man can demand of himself. This quality is the basis of all human achievement it can never be proved enough. I consider that we climbers – that I – serve all humanity. We prove that there is no limit to what man can do.

Which of these Walter Bonatti quotes is your favorite? Did we miss any quotes that we should add to the list? Tell us in the comments below.

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