From my years of mountaineering experience, I have encountered different climbers. There are some admirable and some abhorrent. Some keep their trash in their pockets while some leave them anywhere. I experienced being forced to drink liquor in the mountains. I was even offered marijuana on trail. I witnessed untoward and abusive acts against other climbers, porters and guides.
I realized many climbers don't possess a heart of a real mountaineer.
WHAT A RESPONSIBLE MOUNTAINEER IS NOT
(The following points are just my opinion)
1. Just a mere climber, hiker and picnicker.
Mountaineering is a discipline. It is not just climbing mountains for the sake of being there. At every mountain you summit, ask yourself what you can do to help preserve your playground.
2. Bragging about brands.
Climbing requires proper gears and apparels. But it is not a venue to show off what you've got. There's nothing wrong having branded ones. Refusing to climb because you have nothing to show off is what makes it wrong.
3. Stealing belongings of other climbers.
Be contented of what you have. Do not covet your neighbor's goods. Don't keep for yourself precious belongings of other climbers.
4. Collecting species and natural formations.
A mountaineer believes in preserving and conserving natural resources. He does not pick rare plants nor hunt animals to bring home. Species in the mountains do not thrive in lowlands. Plucking natural formations is not a mountaineers way.
5. Selling and taking drugs in the mountains.
Don't make mountains your hideout. Mountaineering is a sport and should not be accompanied with dope.
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6. Getting drunk, making noise and starting a fight in the mountains.
We are not owners of the mountains. We are just visitors who ought to behave properly. Some people bring liquors to combat cold. But mountain is not a bar where everyone drinks. It is neither a boxing ring nor a fighting arena for gladiators.
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7. Committing immoral acts in the mountains.
Remember, mountains are sacred. Don't treat them like motels and short time venues for your EXTRA marital affairs.
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8. Making fires irresponsibly.
As much as possible, we are not supposed to make fire using forest resources. For survival's sake, we may do it with responsibility. Throwing cigarette butts anywhere is being irresponsible.
9. Cutting trees and plants, though unnecessary.
Leave things as they are. Don't cut trees and other plants to blaze your trail. If necessary, we may do it in minimal degree.
10. Disposing personal wastes and throwing trash anywhere.
Spread the good news, not your crap. Answer the call of nature in safe, secluded areas. As basic courtesy, do not shit on trails nor near the camp. Anyone might be victimized of your landmine.
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I'm still wondering why others, especially young ones, just simply throw wrappers where they eat. Aren't they being taught in schools? Bottles and plastics are among common sightings along trails.
11. Vandalizing barks and structures in the mountains.
The mountains are not ours. We just enjoy them being there. We have no right to imprint nor write anything as if we own them. They are not "lapida" where we have to engrave our names. Click here to read Who Will Save the Mountains: A Trekker's Sentiment.
12. Breaking and leaving wine bottles behind.
A full bottle of liquor is so light during climbing. During descent, an empty bottle becomes so heavy that drunkards refuse to bring down.
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13. Going his own way without notifying his company.
It is so disrespectful/unethical for a climber to go his own way without notifying others. If he walks faster than the rest, he must level off with them. Overtaking others on trail even requires very simple courtesy. Everyone should also check everyone's safety.
14. Maltreating guides and porters.
Guides and porters are our guardians and helpers. They ease out our burden and make us secure. They deserve heroes' treatment.
15. Disrespecting local culture.
Most major mountains are home to indigenous people or "lumad". They have their own culture. These mountain stewards consider their place sacred. They have their own ways. A mountaineer should be culturally sensitive and has to abide by the policies set.
16. Bypassing mountain permits and registrations.
As policy, many mountain parks require permit and registration especially protected areas. Registration is also an important security measure. Some hesitant hikers make illegal entry. And some are even very proud they bypassed registration. Proud thieves!
Mountaineers and self-professed mountaineers, let's not just climb mountains. Let's love, respect, nurture, preserve and take good care of them. Be responsible.
Doubtful? Go get yourself a Basic Mountaineering Course and learn about Leave No Trace Policy.
Have a safe, happy and responsible mountaineering!
Below are some of my articles regarding ir/responsible mountaineering:
WHO WILL SAVE THE MOUNTAINS: A Trekker's Sentiment
A HEART FOR THE MOUNTAINS: A Tale of a Fist Time Climber
A FRUSTRATING TREK TO SAN ANTONIO CAVE