International Mountain Day: Why Mountains Matter To Us

International Mountain Day is marked on the 11th December every year by the UN, to raise awareness of the damage that climate change is doing to our mountains and push it to the top of political agendas worldwide. Mountains are a natural wonder which truly embody the spirit of adventure, but they don’t just provide us with challenges to conquer and some of the best views in the world. Almost one billion people live in mountain areas worldwide, and over half of the human population relies on mountains for water, food and energy. Only by highlighting the threat of climate change can we protect our beloved mountains. At Cotswold Outdoor, we’re celebrating International Mountain Day 2018 by asking our staff why #MountainsMatter to them. Here are some of our favourite stories…

 “As my first high altitude challenge, Mount Toubkal really pushed me to my limits! One day I was trekking in glorious sunshine surrounded by the sublime ochre hues of the Atlas Mountains, the next I was donning crampons and an ice axe to battle through a blizzard with altitude sickness. It was a tough trek for sure, but was it worth it? Absolutely. At the time it was exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure, but the achievement of overcoming my fear and self-doubt on that mountain continues to fuel my passion for the outdoors today.” 

 

- Natasha Preston, Peak Bagger


“On a photoshoot in Les Arcs, we were the first to arrive by helicopter at the summit of Grande Aiguille Rousse. The feeling of being alone at the top of a mountain was extremely eerie and incredibly humbling as we took in the view of neighbouring Mont Blanc. The experience was heightened by the fact that wolves had been recently reintroduced to the mountain, and we often came across their footprints walking between locations. The threat of having to spend the night on the mountain if we couldn’t get back out due to poor visibility added drama! Being so close to both the mountain and the animals it was home to was truly special.”

 

- Jez Baxter, Wolf Watcher


“The mountain that took my breath away most was Haleakalā (“house of the sun”), when hiking its sliding sands trail in Maui, Hawaii. The reason I loved this one so much was that it felt like my eyes were deceiving me. This amazing mountain makes you feel like you are walking on Mars with colours I hadn’t encountered on any other hike. Most of all, I loved the feeling of being on top of the world, looking down at the clouds below. It’s a feeling I’ll never forget” 

 

- Cat Williams, Hawaii Hiker


 “Les Deux Alpes will always be a favourite of mine having served as my home for 6 months when doing a ski season. I was lucky enough to explore the glacier towards the summit, the vast ski areas (including some backcountry routes with a local guide) and the lively town at the base. I witnessed the mountains transition from green mountain bike routes, to snowy slopes and back again – a true playground all year round.”

 

- Jack Austin, Slopes Explorer


To find out more about International Mountain Day, visit http://www.un.org/en/events/mountainday/