The 4th Sustainable Summits Conference – Chamonix 2018

This conference is, first and foremost, an opportunity to get together, a desire to work together for our high mountains, one of the last areas on the planet where human presence is merely transient: a place of fascination that transforms a person, offering the possibility of otherworldliness.

JUNE 2017

Visuel de la conférence Sustainable Summits Conference

The Sustainable Summits Conference was born in the USA in 2010 to raise awareness of the impacts of human behavior on the Denali glaciers in Alaska. In 2014, it moved to Colorado, then to Mount Cook in New Zealand in 2016. The fourth edition in 2018 aims to continue on from the founders' original concept, while introducing new themes. For three days, managers of high mountain sites, mountaineers, researchers and representatives from charity organizations and innovative companies from around the world will be getting together in Chamonix. They will be sharing their experiences and proposing solutions for the future of our high mountains according to three themes.
3 days / 3 themes - 35 speakers - 250 participants

3 days / 3 themes

Tuesday 12 June
What role do high altitude areas play in today's societies?
The high mountain regions are among the last remaining areas on the planet where we can confront alterity, experience otherness. Such areas fascinate and transform us, opening new horizons. How useful are the mountains socially speaking? How can we ensure respect of the local populations? How to find the middle ground between strict regulations and free access for everyone for the management of these high mountain regions, etc.

Wednesday 13 June
Climate change: the high mountains on the front line
Rock falls, shrinking glaciers, melting permafrost, changes in high altitude biodiversity: the high mountains are at the forefront of climate change. What can be done in the field to cope with the consequences of climate change? How will climate change affect mountaineering and skiing activities? How can we limit the carbon footprint of our leisure activities?

Thursday 14 June
Human activities in the high mountains: impacts and solutions
The growing number of visitors to the legendary summits represents a threat to their environment and actually ruins the experience sought by these same visitors. How to manage waste and toilets at high altitude?  To what extent should the mountain regions be equipped? How to reduce accidents on the legendary summits? How to behave responsibly to minimize our impact?

Our ambitions

  • To help this conference to become a fundamental international meeting place to discuss the future of our high mountain regions
  • To boost awareness of the vulnerability of the high mountains, a common good for humanity
  • To define firm commitments to protect these exceptional areas

Refuge de l'Aigle

Conference team

Various representatives of the mountain community have worked together to organize this fourth edition of the Sustainable Summits Conference. Headed by the Petzl Foundation, the team has used its network connections to build and develop the conference program.

  • Chamonix, the birthplace of European mountaineering, is hosting the conference. The town is making its facilities available for the event: congress center, organizational and communication resources, etc.
    logo de la ville de Chamonix
  • Espace Mont Blanc, founded in 1991, is the trans-border cooperation initiative (France, Aosta Valley, Canton of Valais) for the protection and enhancement of the Mont Blanc region. It must reconcile the need to protect an exceptional natural site with the demands of development, ensuring respect of natural resources and the mountain culture.
    logo Espace Mont Blanc
  • The French national parks of Ecrins, Vanoise and Mercantour have been protecting and managing high mountain regions for more than 50 years. The French mountain parks enjoy an international reputation as exceptional regions, offering a remarkable variety of natural high altitude habitat.
    logo du Parc National des Écrinslogo du Parc National des Vanoiselogo du Parc National des Mercantour
  • Mountain Wilderness France / International promotes an approach to our mountain territories that combines environmental preservation, social fairness and economic development.
    logo Mountain Wilderness Francelogo Mountain Wilderness
  • FFCAM, the French federation of alpine and mountain clubs has set itself the objective of making autonomous and responsible activities in the mountain and high mountain regions accessible to as wide a population as possible. It promotes free access to nature, subject to compliance with the rules defined for its protection. This mission is headed by the national commission for mountain protection, which is opposed to excessive installations and the trivialization of high altitude regions.
    logo de la Fédération française des clubs alpins et de montagne (FFCAM)
  • UIAA, the international climbing and mountaineering federation is an umbrella organization for alpine clubs throughout the world. Since 1969, the mountain protection commission has been active in the preservation of one of the last remaining wilderness areas of the planet and promoting freedom of access to these mountain areas.
    logo de l’Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme (UIAA)
  • Labex ITEM (mountain territories and innovation laboratory) is a network of researchers from research institutions in Isère and Savoie. It aims to provide the mountain territories with the analysis tools and expertise needed to face the changes they are confronted with.
    logo Labex ITEM
  • The Bayard–Milan Group has a nature and territories division, making it France's leading publisher of nature and regional press. Journals such as Alpes Magazine, Pyrénées Magazine, Terre Sauvage and Montagnes du Monde explore the relationships forged between man and mountains, with a desire for active preservation of this natural heritage.
    logo Groupe Bayard–Milan
  • The Petzl Foundation supports projects of general interest that strive to establish a balance between the impacts of human activities on our natural, cultural and economic environments in the mountains and the vertical world. It provides financial grants, equipment and human resources to not-for-profit organizations.
    logo Fondation Petzl


Our speakers are managers of high mountain sites, mountaineers, researchers, ecologists, representatives of charity associations or innovative companies. Over the three days, they will be sharing their experiences and discussing solutions to preserve and protect the high mountain regions of the world.

Speaker list at

Program, registration and practical information

Find out more about the program, registration and practical information at:

  • Opening of the registration process and publication of prices in October 2017
  • Opening of accommodation bookings in October 2017

To assist the discussions and debates, four simultaneous interpreters will be translating all interventions and round tables into English, French, Italian and German.

Couverture du dossier de presentation Sustainable Summits Conference

Download the presentation document


logo de la ville de Chamonixlogo Fondation Irislogo Fondation Lemarchandlogo NZAClogo Fondation Petzl

Previous editions of the Sustainable Summits Conference

The Sustainable Summits Conference was born in the USA in 2010 to raise awareness of the impacts of human behavior on the Denali glaciers in Alaska. In 2014, it was held in Colorado, then at the foot of Mount Cook in New Zealand in 2016.

Find out more about the programs and contents of previous editions at

Uploaded in June 2017


Vignette du projet conférence sur les pratiques responsables en montagneCOLORADO - ENCOURAGING SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES ON MOUNTAINS EVERYWHERE

Supported by the Petzl Foundation, the 2014 Sustainable Summits conference was led by American Alpine Club members and Denali National Park staff who brought people together (...)

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