For the last few weeks a group of us have been going 'round and 'round the email tree on the subject of alpinism, mixed climbing, ethics, etc. I finally wrote this after thinking about it a bunch and probably drinking way too much Red Bull. The idea is that different climbing styles are religions, and attempting to convince someone else of the superiority of your religion isn't very productive for the other party or you. The spark for the debate came from an article Raphael Slawinski wrote for the Canadian Alpine Journal on how mixed climbing is affecting alpine climbing. A leading alpine climber (Steve House) disagreed, everybody wrote a lot, yada yada, "Mountain Divinity was response to it all, including my own writing...1. The more days you spend outside worshipping the holier you are. Doesn't matter what faith or how you worship.
2. The time and love you put into your outdoor experience defines your true closeness to god.
3. The less words you spend on slandering other climbers or styles of mountain experience, even if they deserve it, the holier you are (this is a hard one to live up to).
4. The more you share the joy of the mountains with people at any level, be it clinics, slideshows, articles or in the bar, the holier you are.
5. The more total positive impact you have on the mountains, the holier you are. None of us truly belongs in the alpine environment (we're not goats). Leaving pins on rap is as wrong as leaving bolts. Ditching gear is as bad as ditching garbage. The only way to atone for these sins is to work toward mountain preservation; raise $, pick up garbage on the trail, work for local and international preservation, etc. Realize that we are all sinners, but try to make a positive difference in the long run. This is very hard; I like four-wheeling, jeting to new mountain ranges, rotor crack, etc. All faiths are hypocritical; recognize this and do better with your own faith rather than attacking the hypocrisy we all see in other faiths.
6. Staying alive brings you closer to god; dying does not.
7. Converting disciples through positive energy is allowed; using your position as a prophet to slander other faiths is a sin.
8. Climbing is only one facet of a mountain faith; a hike on a perfect day counts the same (perhaps more because you can actually stop and think) than a hard new route.
9. Arrogance with the supremacy of your sub-faith is one sure way to piss God off.
10. Public posing is allowed (like Jesus' disciples didn't work the propaganda machine), but monotheistic posing at the expense of other faiths is shallow. False posing ("I'm more bad-ass than X because he used two pins and I only used one") is not posing but false proselytizing.
Services to be held every day anywhere outside (failing that, bars will work).
While the above is meant only semi-seriously, it is a credo I'd like to live up to--the climbers I most admire are those who climbed lots, slandered little, and shared the mountains often before they died at a ripe old age. They had faith in what they did, and did it well.