Setting Thesaurus Entry: Mountains


Stone, crags, cliffs, shale, scree, granite, moss, treeline, clouds, mist, jagged, crooked, uneven, slope, face, ravines, waterfall, snow, snow melt, tracks, hawks, eagles, ravens, falcons, owls, mice, deer, foxes, bighorn sheep, rock slides, avalanche paths, scat, pine cones, pine needles, twigs, downed trees, streams, wild flowers, witch grass, frost, boulders, outcroppings, cracks, fissures, slate, pebbles, clay, tufts of grass, bird nests on top of trees, beetles, mice, spiders, shale, bedrock, crags, ledge, wild berry bushes (cranberry, Saskatoons, raspberry, gooseberry, etc), alps, peak, pinnacle, sunsets/sunrises, range, foothills, gaps, crown, pass, brook, trickles of water, rock humps, wind-worn rock faces, wild onions, wolves, bears, summit, rabbits


wind whistling along the slopes, animal howls, rustling leaves, frothing waterfalls, water trickling into snow melt, scree shifting underfoot, rockfalls, birds calling/hooting, animals pattering through the underbrush, branches snapping, the crunch of pine needles underfoot, labored breathing from those climbing


Pine needles, fresh/crisp air, clean water, earthy moss, rotting logs/trees, vegetation, an ozone-like tang of cold or wet rock, sunshine, wildflower blossoms


Wild plants (berry bushes, wild onions, tubers, nuts, seeds) tea made from edible leaves, bark, dandelions; captured animals or birds (gamy, strong flavors, tough meat), spring waters


Cold unyielding stone, sharp finger holds, dust, grit, spongy moss, prickling pine needles caught in the boot, slippery shale underfoot, gripping a rock face, wedging boots into toeholds, rope burns while climbing, wet sleeves from plunging hands into a freshwater stream, sweat tricking down neck and on face, chapped skin and lips from the cold, dry air, raw throat from the thin air, exposed to the winds and weather (shivering, numbness, icy fingers, frozen cheeks, disorientation, hunger, strength depletion), cuts & bruises from slips, falls or misjudged body placements while climbing

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

Wind sawed at my clothes and froze my sweat, battering at me on the rock face. I jammed a foot almost past feeling into a crack, praying it would hold me. Another few minutes and my fingers would be too numb to grip the rock, much less contain the strength to fight the bitter crosswinds. I had to find a rock ledge, an indented shelf--something, and quick.

Example 2:

I planted my foot carefully on the mossy boulder and leaned forward, very aware of the deep crevasse below me. Despite the danger, I couldn't help but stop and take in the wonder of the plunging waterfall, crashing against the bedrock as it fought its way down the mountain.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

In the distance, jagged mountain peaks rose above the early morning cloud cover like headstones in a mist-clotted graveyard.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

The rumbling wall of snow barrelled down the mountain, uprooting decades-old pine trees with the ease of a broom sweeping leaves off a stoop.


Marian said...

Very evocative post. It made me want to go hiking, to hear the waterfalls and pick berries.

I'm really looking forward to your setting thesaurus entry on rainforests.

Kate said...

You're making it very easy for us not to have to think much. Thank you - from a tired brain!

Angela said...

Me too, Marian! I'm blessed to live about 45 minutes from the Rocky Mountains, and have spent much time in the Kananaskis/Banff/Jasper areas. Rainforests will be a fun one to do as well.

Kate, this is just a bit of language to choose from...what you do with it is up to you! Glad it helps. :-)

Mary Witzl said...

I feel like getting out into the mountains after reading this -- though admittedly, not when it's frigidly cold! I like the smells best -- there's nothing like the smell of wet rock. I am always amazed when some people insist that rock has no smell.

Angie Frazier said...

This post is amazing! Thank you so much. I have revisions to do and can definitely glean from what you've offered up here :-)

Janet said...

I know this is an old post. But, I've just checked it out. My manuscript has a setting in the hills, which is close enough to a mountain! Thanks, I've copied this for future reference.


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