This thesis presents for consideration six virtues that can be used to determine how adventure sports, outdoor recreation and expeditions can maintain their integrity when their methods are challenged by novel influences. Sports must adapt to social change, such as cultural, technological, or monetary influences. When they do so, mountaineering and adventure sports should be guided by ethical and aesthetic values that I argue can be maintained by adhering to the virtues of collaboration, education, athleticism, stewardship, sport empowerment and temperance. Some methods of pursuing these activities have alienated athletes from the natural component of outdoor sports and have moved toward aiming to control the environment rather than seeking to achieve human excellence in collaboration with nature. Further, using and accessing support and assistance strains the moral integrity of the activity and the unique value of accomplishments. In some cases, athletes have shifted their values toward prioritizing being first or completing an achievement by any means necessary. I examine how this has undermined the value of outdoor pursuits. The implication of a competitive ethos and the acceptance of high levels of assistance is that some past and modern achievements and expeditions have yielded unethical accomplishments that compromise the integrity of the sport.

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (BS)

Department, Program, or Center

Department of Philosophy (CLA)


Evelyn Brister

Advisor/Committee Member

Jack Sanders

Advisor/Committee Member

Lawrence Torcello


Additional committee member: Tom Connelly


RIT – Main Campus