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"The mountains are not a gym"

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"The mountains are not a gym"

Postby Bob Burd » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:37 pm

I saw this posted recently (or something to the effect), and by others in the past. It seems to come from the belief that the mountains and surrounding wildernesses are a temple at which worship is to be offered. Or that it is a place to recharge the soul and appreciate God's creation. Why can't it be both, or all, at the same time? Are these places we go to so small that there is not room to enjoy the hills in more ways than one or two?

There are a number of outdoor pursuits that don't particularly appeal to me, but I can easily see their appeal to others. So why denigrate one over the other as long as one activity doesn't impinge on another?

Personally, if I were God and wanted to create a place of worship, it would look more like a playground than a church. But that's just me.
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Postby mvs » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:52 pm

I agree Bob. I get this vibe from people grimacing at me as I run by with an mp3 player on a trail. I'm out having fun, exercising hard. I don't think that should ruin a more spiritual or contemplative experience for anyone else.
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Re: "The mountains are not a gym"

Postby dskoon » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:54 pm

Bob Burd wrote:I saw this posted recently (or something to the effect), and by others in the past. It seems to come from the belief that the mountains and surrounding wildernesses are a temple at which worship is to be offered. Or that it is a place to recharge the soul and appreciate God's creation. Why can't it be both, or all, at the same time? Are these places we go to so small that there is not room to enjoy the hills in more ways than one or two?

There are a number of outdoor pursuits that don't particularly appeal to me, but I can easily see their appeal to others. So why denigrate one over the other as long as one activity doesn't impinge on another?

Personally, if I were God and wanted to create a place of worship, it would look more like a playground than a church. But that's just me.


I read that recently and agree with you, they can in fact be both; it's all up to the user. Some people go out(I'm thinking of one friend), and it seems that it's all about the training, ie, how many vertical they can get on this hike, etc.(back to the numbers game!), for the upcoming climbing season. Very important to get that vertical and to carry enough weight, pack has got to be at least 35lbs! Obsessed with those goals.
And, I can get in that mode as well. There is one of my "training" hikes in the gorge, close to Portland, and I often go with the attitude of cardio training, and measure how fit I am by how fast I make it to the top-4mi, 2400 vert. ft. So, I push it on the way up. But, there are some outstanding waterfalls along the trail, and I make sure that on the way down, I stop and admire and meditate a bit on the sound of nature, etc. before returning to the car.

I don't belong to a gym, so I get my exercise outside, mostly, (besides swimming in a pool in winter, etc.). So, when I hike, I value it for the exercise, as well as for the beauty. And, I do get recharged from being out there. So for me, I do look at nature as a temple, but, also as a place to get/stay healthy, doing what I love to do. Best of both worlds. Mind and body.
People denigrate because, as often displayed in these forums, we are a judgemental lot. Hard to be accepting of all. .
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Postby Diggler » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:58 pm

As long as the mountains are there & I can enjoy them, I'm happy. When people denigrate the hills (trash, litter, crap, rampant dogs running wild, noise pollution (excessive yelling, etc.)), that personally affects me & that's when I mind. Other than that, to each their own.
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Postby Day Hiker » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:58 pm

I've never been able to tolerate doing cardio indoors. Weightlifting, yes; cardio, no. Remaining in place on a treadmill or stationary bike -- absolutely hate it. And putting televisions in front just makes it worse for me, since I'm not into that whole television-watching thing.

Outdoors has always been the place where I get cardiovascular exercise, including Michigan winters and Vegas summers. Now mountain hikes are the primary form of that exercise, since I had to quit running in 2006.

So yes, the mountains are a gym. And they're many other things too.
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Postby Bob Sihler » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:00 pm

Bob, is there any more context to this quote? While it could refer to runners, it might refer to rock climbing instead. Or both. Or something else. Without knowing the intent, it's hard to react.

I have to admit I'm more of the "mountains are sacred" bent, but if I'm worried about encountering people or activities that will bother me, I just go elsewhere or go at a time when I'm likely to have the place to myself.
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Re: "The mountains are not a gym"

Postby SoCalHiker » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:00 pm

Bob Burd wrote:I saw this posted recently (or something to the effect), and by others in the past. It seems to come from the belief that the mountains and surrounding wildernesses are a temple at which worship is to be offered. Or that it is a place to recharge the soul and appreciate God's creation. Why can't it be both, or all, at the same time? Are these places we go to so small that there is not room to enjoy the hills in more ways than one or two?

There are a number of outdoor pursuits that don't particularly appeal to me, but I can easily see their appeal to others. So why denigrate one over the other as long as one activity doesn't impinge on another?

Personally, if I were God and wanted to create a place of worship, it would look more like a playground than a church. But that's just me.


Of course, everybody can "use" it as they want and feel. It's everybody's own choice. But that does not mean everybody else has to agree with it. There is enough out there for everybody.
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Postby Alpinist » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:02 pm

What's wrong with training in the mountains? There's no better way to train for higher or harder peaks than to hike/climb up the easier ones. Words like harder or easier are of course relative to each individual's skill level. For those of us that don't live close enough to the mountains to get out every weekend, other forms of training are required to stay in shape. But I definitely take training hikes/climbs in preparation for bigger trips.
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Postby SoCalHiker » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:06 pm

Diggler wrote:As long as the mountains are there & I can enjoy them, I'm happy. When people denigrate the hills (trash, litter, crap, rampant dogs running wild, noise pollution (excessive yelling, etc.)), that personally affects me & that's when I mind. Other than that, to each their own.


I think this is exactly where my my resentment of the outdoors being a "gym" comes from. From my experience, often times the "gym crowd" I encounter in the mountains are noisy, trashy, ... Of course I understand that are many others who are not like that. And I have no problem with them.
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Postby mrchad9 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:21 pm

Bourbon sucks and if you need to cut it with water you shouldn't be drinking it anyway.
You take a pink umbrella to stick in it too?

Fletch has the right idea.
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Postby Bob Burd » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:23 pm

SoCalHiker wrote:I think this is exactly where my my resentment of the outdoors being a "gym" comes from. From my experience, often times the "gym crowd" I encounter in the mountains are noisy, trashy, ... Of course I understand that are many others who are not like that. And I have no problem with them.


We may be talking two different things - I was referring to folks who use the outdoors as a means for strenuous exercise, not to folks who normally hang out at climbing gyms trying their hand at the outdoor version. In the former, I've never noted them to be noisier/trashier than other users. I do very little rock climbing so I can't really comment on the latter.
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Postby rhyang » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:26 pm

We put colored tape on Bear Creek Spire's North Arete, to mark the holds. Was that wrong ? :oops:
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