Yes, Ryan is the kind a man who refuses to use crampons for fear, testosterone-fueled fear, that the name invokes images of a woman undergoing her unclean time. He's the kind of man who'd rather spend time tugging on a brother's rope than engaging in the pastimes of not-men.
For that reason, alone, Andrews declares that Ryan deserves our very masculine vote:
Why does it matter that Paul Ryan is a mountain man, at home above timberline on the fourteeners? Because there is no better index of character. It tells of someone's backbone under pressure, resourcefulness in facing adversity, and trustworthiness for power. Conservative or liberal isn't the point. The high peaks simply test your mettle. Declinists and defeatists need not apply. Excuses are for flatlanders.
Can you imagine Vice President Joe Biden even wanting, let alone being able, to stroll the Capitol knife edge? Or forging to the top of a "very rough and steep" Pyramid, with its "precariously poised rocks" warned of in the same guidebook?
I can't — and it's not just that Biden always has one foot in his mouth. Nor is it merely differing leisure preferences: golf greens for the presidential incumbent, boulder fields for the would-be veep. Rather the contrast goes to the core of what the men on these two tickets expect of themselves and what they believe free Americans are capable of.
Self-discipline, surefootedness, stamina, grit, gumption, vision, daring, toughness, prudence, drive, the will to rise, the refusal to quit, team thinking, practical intelligence, joie de vivre, a zest for the difficult and a disdain for the allegedly impossible — these are the mountain-conquering qualities we see literally in Ryan and figuratively in Romney.
Between the incumbents running on fear ("They'll push you off the cliff") and the challengers running on solutions ("This way to the top"), we face a choice as sharp as the Continental Divide itself.
A tip of the ol' helmet to Dracula Puppet.
Update: Goddamn Freeway Blogger and his goddamn facts about Ryan's mountain climbing.