Alpinist 54

A History of Imaginary Mountains

Posted on: May 9, 2016

[Illustration] Jeremy Collins

For thousands of years, people have dreamed of summits beyond all earthly scale: sky pillars upholding the heavens, rings of stone encircling the earth. The more you read stories of mythic ranges, the more words like real or imaginary can seem to blur: errors on maps reveal hidden political intentions or unexpected emotional truths; measured peaks drift from place to place according to legends of different cultures; fantasies of enchanted mountains lure visitors and impact actual landscapes and local communities. To examine the history of imaginary mountains is to venture deep into the conscious and unconscious heritage of alpinism, the shadows and the light.

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