« Return to this article

for people who care about the West

Respect for the mountains


I was away from the mountains for the past two years with injuries (“Death in the Alpine,” HCN, 5/14/18). As a member of the 14ers.com site, I was dismayed to watch the number of inexperienced climbers with cavalier attitudes grow both on the site and in other social media.

When I came to Colorado in 2005, I joined the Colorado Mountain Club and took classes and even then proceeded cautiously. I agree that social media downplays the reality and the dangers of mountaineering, but I also think that there is something missing among those who don’t take it seriously, feed wildlife, and act as if every climb is another 15 minutes of fame: respect for the mountains. Sure, we’ve all bragged about “bagging” a peak — but the ones who will stay safe and survive to climb another day understand these truths: The mountain doesn’t care about you. It’s up to you to decide if it’s welcoming you that day. If it’s not, it’s not up to you to try to defeat it. You will lose every time. Come back another day. It will always be there.

Lee Grillo
Arvada, Colorado