Mountains are spiritually and culturally significant landscapes that evoke emotions ranging from awe and fear to reverence and wonder.
Towering crags, violent storms, rare flora and fauna, snow-capped peaks, and serrated ridges all contribute to a mystical sense of the sublime.
Throughout the world mountains symbolize the center of the cosmos, abodes of deities, temples, pristine wilderness, communal identity, and the fountain of life (Bernbaum 1997).
American Indians have held the summits to be sacred for millennia, whereas Western thought has evolved from "mountain gloom to mountain glory" over the past three centuries (Nicolson 1997).
Even within the predominantly secular society of the American Southwest, mountains are deeply symbolic, and the traditional sacred associations with some peaks are undiminished.
An increasing awareness of the spiritual qualities of mountains and the landscape projection of their symbolic meaning creates a discourse in which secular and sacred ideals may clash, compete, or meld (Blake 1994).