American Alpine Club hosts Sustainable Summits Conference


The American Alpine Club (AAC), in collaboration with Denali National Park, will present “Sustainable Summits: The International Mountain Conference on Environmental Practices”, a once-in-a-decade gathering of key leaders in mountain management, conservation, and the outdoor industry.

The AAC is hosting the event at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, Colorado from July 20 to 23, offering plenary sessions, panel discussions, vendor booths, and evening lectures, with a working field trip to Rocky Mountain National Park on July 24.

The conference is designed to foster global partnerships and better inform land managers, NGO’s, climbers, and outdoor industry partners on issues related to environmental sustainability, the effects of climate change, access, and management of mountainous regions.

Conference participants represent mountainous areas worldwide, including Antarctica, Nepal, India, Tanzania, Canada, Indonesia, New Zealand, France, Japan, Peru, and Argentina.  Session topics are detailed on the AAC website, including a special panel discussion entitled “The Everest Knot” focusing on current social, economic, and environmental challenges in the Himalaya. A full listing of conference speakers is also on the website, which includes such diverse leaders as:

  • Peter Metcalf, CEO/President of Black Diamond
  • Dawa Steven Sherpa, Everest environmental conservationist
  • Conrad Anker, Climber and Environmental Activist, and co-founder of the Khumbu Climbing Center
  • Dr. Tetsuya Hanamura, VP Japan Workers Alpine Federation
  • Nick Lewis, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions
  • Ben Lawhon, Education Director, Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
  • Peter Whittaker, co-owner of Rainier Mountaineering Incorporated
  • Karen Rollins, Backcountry Energy Environmental Solutions (BEES)
  • Traute Parrie, U.S. Forest Service, Beartooth Ranger District, Greater Yellowstone Area
  • Paul Anderson, retired Superintendent of Denali National Park, search and rescue specialist
  • Blaise Agresti, Petzl Foundation, mountain rescue professional, Chamonix-Mont Blanc
  • Ruben Massarelli, Chief Climbing Warden, Aconcagua Provincial Park
  • Dr. Mike Loso, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, Alaska Pacific University.

The event will culminate in an optional day hike to Gem Lake (8,800 ft elevation) in Rocky Mountain National Park, site of a solar dehydrating toilet, a working example of innovative technology in a remote mountain setting.

Registration for the Sustainable Summits Conference, July 20-24, is open to all individuals interested in mountain sustainability, as well as those seeking training and professional networking opportunities.  Conference capacity is limited to 150 attendees, so advance registration is strongly encouraged.  The conference fee is $200, which includes three lunches.  Affordable lodging during the event has been reserved by the AAC.  For conference information and online registration go to

Conference planners are intending to provide live video streaming of conference presentations, with more information available on the website in upcoming weeks.


Roger Robinson, conference co-director

Remy Rodriguez