climbed the mountains

  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    That sentence sounds fairly odd to me. If you only climbed one mountain, I would expect to hear We went to Denver and climbed a mountain. If you climbed a few mountains near Denver, I would expect to hear We climbed a few mountains.

    We went hiking in the mountains
    would be a normal thing to say.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Hi owlman, hi doji.

    Thanks for your message.
    [...] I would expect to hear We climbed a few mountains.
    Yes, if you had climbed a few mountains or some mountains, then it would be 'We climbed a few mountains' or '... some mountains,' but not 'mountains' on its own, i.e., 'We climbed mountains' if you had climbed more than one mountain, would it?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    When I hear "climb" in the context of mountains, I think of ropes and pitons. Ascending mountains by simply walking or hiking isn't "climbing".
    In Scotland we call it "hillwalking", and it's very popular.
     
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    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    'We climbed mountains' if you had climbed more than one mountain, would it?
    Some mountains sounds far more likely to me. As Edinburgher noted, climbing typically involves ropes and pitons. However, We climbed Pikes Peak is an ordinary thing to say in my part of the world even though people are referring to hiking up Pikes Peak rather than attempting any rock climbing on it.
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    If you want to avoid "how many mountains", use the term for the activity instead.

    We went to Denver and did some mountain-climbing.
    If you say that, then nobody knows if it was 1 mountain or 10, whether it was 2 hours or 200 hours, whether it was climbing up sheer rock walls ("rock climbing") or walking strenuously up a steep slope ("hiking").
     
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    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    HSS dijo:
    We went to Denver and did some mountain-climbing.

    If you say that, then nobody knows if it was 1 mountain or 10, whether it was 2 hours or 200 hours, whether it was climbing up sheer rock walls ("rock climbing") or walking strenuously up a steep slope ("hiking").

    Having done some climbing, I disagree. To me "We did some mountain climbing" unequivocally implies special equipment. "We climbed a mountain/some mountains" is more ambiguous.
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    ...

    Yes, if you had climbed a few mountains or some mountains, then it would be 'We climbed a few mountains' or '... some mountains,' but not 'mountains' on its own, i.e., 'We climbed mountains' if you had climbed more than one mountain, would it?
    HSS, Please can you explain the phrase "i.e., 'We climbed mountains' if you had climbed more than one mountain, would it?". It does not seem to be a complete English utterance, nor does it tie in with the previous text.

    What does "it" refer to, and what would "it" do or be?
     
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    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    We went to Denver and climbed the mountains.
    Actually, there are no mountains in the city of Denver. The mountains are west of the city.:rolleyes:
    Denver, along with many, many big mountains are in the state of Colorado.
    Having done some climbing, I disagree. To me "We did some mountain climbing" unequivocally implies special equipment. "We climbed a mountain/some mountains" is more ambiguous.
    Quite true :tick:.
    In Colorado, for example, you can drive to the summit of 14,000-foot (4,352-meter) Pikes Peak. That might or might not be claimed as a "climb.";)

    In any event, don't use the plural where only one mountain is involved, as advised above.:)
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Further to my earlier question, does the following sentence also cover when you only climbed one mountain in the area?

    We went to Denver and climbed the mountains.

    (This is a spin-off query. If need be, I will merge it to the earlier question)
    Returning to the original question; HSS, why do you want to use plural when discussing a single mountain? It seems a strange thing to ask us.

    What is your objection to "We went to Denver and climbed a mountain."?
     
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    LVRBC

    Senior Member
    English-US, standard and medical
    (No you can't use a plural when you only climbed a single peak.) Usually people, climbers, especially, say what they actually climbed: We went to Denver and then climbed (or hiked up) Mt Evans. We went to Denver and climbed Angel's Way on First Flatiron.
     
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    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    HSS, Please can you explain the phrase "i.e., 'We climbed mountains' if you had climbed more than one mountain, would it?". It does not seem to be a complete English utterance, nor does it tie in with the previous text.

    What does "it" refer to, and what would "it" do or be?
    Hi Chasint.
    The 'it' was a tag referring all the way back in '... then it would be 'We climbed a few mountains' or '... some mountains,' but not 'mountains' on its own, i.e., 'We climbed mountains' if you had climbed more than one mountain, would it?' Sorry I wrote a complex sentence. (A-ha, I just noticed I should have said 'wouldn't it?')

    Returning to the original question; HSS, why do you want to use plural when discussing a single mountain? It seems a strange thing to ask us.

    What is your objection to "We went to Denver and climbed a mountain."?
    No, there is no objection at all, Chasint. I simply wondered if native speakers cognitively use the plural including the singular because this 'the mountains' is used only to mean the mountains in this area with no clear boundary to say which mountain(s).
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Actually, there are no mountains in the city of Denver. The mountains are west of the city.:rolleyes:
    Denver, along with many, many big mountains are in the state of Colorado.
    So it would sound a lot more natural if you said 'I went to Colorado and climbed the mountains,' wouldn't it?
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    To me, yes, although that makes it seem that you climbed all of them, which is highly unlikely since there are so many. For example, there are 58 peaks over 14,000 feet. ;)
    😲 I was always thinking that common sense surpassed maximality; i.e., if you naturally can't climb all the mountains, for example, the utterance only means you climbed what common sense would tell you --- some of the mountains. Here 'the' only conveys the attribute of being located in Colorado --- that's what I thought. Wow! I guess I was wrong.
     
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    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Further to the preceding sentences, how about

    'In Colorado, we went to the mountains'?

    Is this idiomatic? And, you would say this even though you only went to one mountainous area of the State, right?
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's not very natural. Mountains cover a very large part of Colorado. Your sentence makes it sound like a single destination.

    You might say:

    'In Colorado, we spent a day in the mountains'?

    That represents any area of the mountains you went to.
     
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