It’s bigger than Christmas, Easter, St Pat’s Day and birthdays (well, yours not mine, of course…).
Today is International Mountain Day, a celebration of those big pointy things that cover around 20% of the Earth’s land and, once loved, are never far from your heart. Here’s a little photographic ode to some of the mountains that I consider family…
Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
Possibly my favourite mountain range in the world, inhabited by the likes of gelada baboons and Ethiopian wolves and with escarpments that drop up to 2000 metres into the heat-hazed lowlands below. Spectacular at every step.
The Eiger, Switzerland
It pretty much spawned the term ‘North Face’ for the epic wall that rises above the Grindelwald valley. I’ve told my kids that if we get a dog we should call it Eiger… they seem less sold on the idea than me.
Ngauruhoe, New Zealand
I’m a sucker for a good volcano, and Ngauruhoe sure fits the bill. The central volcano of a trio across the Central Plateau of New Zealand’s North Island, it’s as classically volcanic as it gets… and a little bit Mordor, as the Lord of the Rings films proved.
Torres del Paine, Chile
Pretty much the prototype for rugged mountains the world over. The trio of towers – the Torres – is just a taster of the greater massif and its cuernos (horns), glaciers and narrow valleys.
Frenchmans Cap, Australia
One of Tasmania’s most prominent mountains, Frenchmans Cap really is like family, after I climbed it with my then 10-year-old daughter a couple of years back. There’s something very special about a shared time like that.
Ama Dablam, Nepal
If I get to climb just one 6000-metre-plus peak in life, I want it to be Ama Dablam, the thumb-shaped mountain that you pass on the way to Everest. It actually makes Everest look a little passé, really.
They’re not high and nobody is scrambling to attain epic first ascents here, but the limestone peaks that angle out from the banks of the Li River are really quite the lookers.
El Capitan & Half Dome, USA
Rock stars in every sense, El Cap and Half Dome dominate everything around the Yosemite Valley and half the world’s climbing stories. If I had the climbing skills, I’d happily call Camp 4 home.