(View 2016’s conference here.)
The first Sustainable Summit Conference was held in Colorado in 2010 as “Exit Strategies” with a focus on, yes, human waste. The Conference was presented by the American Alpine Club and organised by Roger Robinson and Ellen Lapham. Roger is a 40 year Clean Climbing Expert and Mountaineering Ranger with Denali National Park. Ellen is a Chairperson of the American Alpine Club’s Conservation Committee. The event was well received and was attended by 100 interested participants from throughout the US and ten other countries.
With enthusiasm and commitment by participants and the organisers, another event was held, again in Colorado, in July 2014. The conference was called Sustainable Summits and was held over three days, during which presentations and discussions addressed the broader social, environmental and economic contexts of recreating in the alpine realm. Nearly 100 scientists, climbers, business experts, social entrepreneurs, recreation consultants, land managers and guides from 13 countries and all seven continents attended.
New Zealand was represented at these conferences, with delegates from the Department of Conservation and the New Zealand Alpine club. With support from both these organisations, the two New Zealand representatives at the 2014 conference, John Cocks and Dave Bamford, offered to help organise a similar conference in New Zealand in 2016. Now, we are hosting 100 really interesting, passionate mountain people from around the world at the third conference.
We are delighted with the support that has been provided, particularly by the lead organisations of: the New Zealand Alpine Club, the Department of Conservation, Ngāi Tahu the tangata whenua of the Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana, the Petzl Foundation, and the American Alpine Club. Both the AAC and Petzl have been involved in the previous two conferences. Other organisations have come on board, including the New Zealand Federation of Mountain Clubs (FMC), Adventure Consultants, TRC Tourism, and Earth Sea Sky ‐ thank you all.
We hope the conference is enjoyable and fruitful, and you renew old friendships and create new ones. We do hope you will return home with renewed vigour to assist you sustaining wonderful mountain environments and to continue recreating amongst them.
The Sustainable Summits conference organisation is made up of passionate people, supported by their dedicated organisations. We hope there will be future conferences in other countries, maybe every two years, with a focus on mountain issues pertinent at that location and globally. We are discussing such future conferences with a couple of potential host nations and hope to announce the next conference at the end of this conference. (Update: the next Sustainable Summits Conference will take place in Chamonix in June 2018.)
We would like to promote an approach that encourages countries to seriously look at hosting future conferences. If you have ideas, please talk to the founder of the Sustainable Summits conference, Roger Robinson, or to this year’s coordinators, John or Dave, during the conference. Enjoy Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and the conference.
Dave Bamford and John Cocks