Sustainable Summits Conference

The 4th biennial Sustainable Summit Conference will focus on the problems of human impact on the mountain peaks.

Mountain summits are one of the most, if not the most, impressive places on our planet. Naturally, these magnificent but dangerous formations have always attracted people. In the early times of mountaineering, only the most skilled people undertook this activity. Ascending a mountain peak required years of practice and tons of courage. Without the modern equipment existing nowadays conquering a mountain has been an extremely difficult endeavor.

Date and Location

12 -14 June 2018

Centre de Congrès Le Majestic, 241 Allée du Majestic, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, FRANCE.

The danger

Nowadays, practically anyone can climb any mountain peak, given he has a minimum level of physical preparation and a certain amount of money. The famous mount Everest, for example, can even be climbed from several different countries (Nepal and Tibet), with several mountain camps existing on two of its sides. Despite the still existing dangers of reaching a mountain peak, more and more people want to take part in such an activity. The highest number of Everest summits happened in 2013 with 665. That year it was 541 on the south and 124 on the north. There were 8 deaths that year.

However, the danger is not only for the people – it is also for the mountain. With the increased amount of “tourists” the amount of human waste inevitably increases as well. Unfortunately the mountain peaks became accessible long before the humankind became aware of its environmental impact. Therefore, multiple organizations are now trying to minimize the effect of humans on the most breath-taking places of our planet. Some companies organizing the “guided tours” even offer discounts to those climbers that bring a certain amount of waste back to the camp. Apart from your own waste, you have to bring human-made objects left in the wilderness by a member of a previous party. The camp organizers subsequently weigh your “discoveries”. If the resulting weight exceeds a certain value, you get a financial compensation.

Sustainable mountain climbing

The conference

However, the private attempts to clean up the peaks are not enough to eliminate our impact. Moreover, as more and more participants set their feet on mountain tops, the negative influence increases. To solve the arising environmental problems the American Alpine Club launched the Sustainable Summits conference in 2010. The main goal of the conference is to share solutions for managing human waste in the high mountain peaks around the world.

The following 3 items are in the focus of this year’s conference:

  1. What roles do the high mountains play in today’s societies?
  2. Climate change: the high mountains on the front line.
  3. Human activities in the high mountains: impacts and solutions.

Conference website

The conference web-site provides more detailed information. The conference speakers include world-famous professors and researchers, as well as professional mountaineers and guides. Various important aspects of mountain peaks in modern society will be discussed during the conference. Among other things, the cultural value of mountains will be discussed. Moreover, the role of mountains in the modern political geography will be considered. For a conference program please refer here.


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