Past the Summit
Mountaineering narratives are ripe for ecocritical §study. §Climbing books describe feats of daring, often ending§in heroic §success or miserable tragedy. But few have asked §what implications §mountaineering literature may have on our cultural §mindset and §environmental ethics. This thesis explores that §question, §and examines how metaphors in mountaineering §narratives can §reveal §underlying environmental ethics. While predominant §metaphors §visualize the mountains and environment as §objectives, enemies, and arenas for human§competition, more recent mountaineering texts offer §a wider range §of metaphors, including metaphors of goddess and §spirit. §These §metaphors encourage a sustainable environmental§ethics by implying an interconnected relationship §between earth and§humanity, which may in turn have positive §consequences for human §society. By §understanding the inherent assumptions in language,§we can choose §to resist metaphors that allow us to harm the world§and instead §choose metaphors that will help us keep the entire§biotic community §beautiful and stable.