Facebook Facebook
Sustainable Summits

Screen shot 2012-05-07 at 1.01.26 PM.png


Sustainable Summits Home / Conference DirectorsRegistration 



Sustainable Summits: The International Mountain Conference on Environmental Practices 

Join us for free live streaming of the event: http://new.livestream.com/americanalpineclub

The American Alpine Club is hosting a summit of land managers, climbers, planners and scientists representing the world’s mountainous regions. The conference focus is to shape and share environmentally sustainable solutions in mountain areas along with developing global partnerships. Sustainable Summits builds on the successful July 2010 AAC-hosted conference "Exit Strategies: Managing Human Waste in the Wild."

Presented by an alliance of mountain recreation and conservation organizations, the conference is open to all interested individuals from around the world. To foster connection and collaboration, the conference will have a capacity of 150 attendees

During the conference we will also celebrate 100 years of mountaineering on Denali and showcase some of the Park's successful and innovative practices.

See program overview.

The conference includes FREE public sessions in Golden:

Sunday July 20, 7:00-8:30PM: A Celebration of Denali: The Centennial Climbs 

Tuesday July 22, 7:00-8:30PM Everest Knot Panel: Dawa Steven Sherpa, Conrad Anker, Melissa Arnott, Dr. Markus Hallgren, John Harlin 

Join us to help shape and share environmentally sustainable solutions in mountain areas.

Follow along on Twitter and Facebook. Join the conversation online by using hashtag #summitsolutions.

Conference Hosts:



"We must continue to persevere, to protect, and restore public lands, provide stewardship of the places that inspire us and guarantee responsible access to public lands and water."

- Peter Metcalf, CEO/President of Black Diamond Equipment


"The world's mountains deserve our ultimate respect and care.
Sustainable Summits is our way of ensuring tomorrow's climbers learn new
techniques, utilize the latest systems and we'll leave these mountain
places preserved and protected for future generations. "

— Garry Oye, Chief of Wilderness Stewardship, US National Park Service.



Attendee: $200

Student: $100

Vendor: $400

Lodging will be available at the Colorado School of Mines. The rooms are dormitory style and can be shared with another guest.

The fee for lodging is $60 per person, per night. Buffet breakfast is included.

Thursday, July 24 FIELD TRIP (optional)

A journey to Rocky Mountain National Park for a hike to Gem Lake led by Joe Arnold. Travel by chartered bus to the Park, hike up to Gem Lake (8800’) elevation, and see the solar dehydrating toilet in action. Joe was the Park Engineer who headed development of an innovative, remote location toilet design that can be constructed at minimal cost. This full day field trip is an optional extra cost event and the fee includes transportation and a picnic lunch.

Trip cost is $50 and space is limited. 

*Refunds will be administered with a service charge from RegOnline up to 30 days before the conference.

Register Today



JULY 20-24, 2014 • Sustainable Summits Conference • Golden Colorado

Program current June 17, 2014. Speaker dates & content are subject to change without notice.

Sustainable Summits Program Schedule

Sunday July 20th

7:00-8:30PM: A Celebration of Denali: The Centennial Climbs 

7:00-7:05 Jim McCarthy: Welcome

7:05-7:35 Ken Karstens: 100 Years of Pioneers on Denali

7:35-8:30 Conrad Anker: Denali, The Mountain Decides

Monday July 21st: Sustainable Practices-This Works

8:00-9:00 Late Registration (coffee, tea, hot water, and cut fruit available)

9:00-9:05 Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior: Welcome Video

9:05-9:10 Phil Powers: Welcome from the American Alpine Club

9:10-9:50 Peter Metcalf: From Fringe to Mainstream: Mountaineering’s Transformation in North America

9:50-10:30 Ben Lawhon & Peter Whittaker: The New Leave No Trace Mountaineering Curriculum: Formalizing and Improving on Informal Practice

15 min Break

10:45-11:15 Aukje Van Gervan: Envirotrek – Having Fun with Sustainable Mountain Tourism

11:15-12:00 Karen Rollins: Best Environmental Practices for Managing Energy, Water, and Wastewater at Off Grid Mountain Facilities

60 min Lunch (Box lunch provided)

1:00-1:40 Nick Lewis: Garbage In, Garbage Out – Managing Environmental Impacts on Antarctica's Highest Mountains

1:40-2:20 Dr. Tetsuya Hanamura: Mount Fuji, a Challenge of Numbers: How does Mt. Fuji Deal with Large Numbers of Visitors? What Steps Were Taken to Successfully Reduce User Impact?

10 min Break

2:35-3:15 Traute Parrie: Sustainable Leadership

3:15-3:55 Phunuru Sherpa & Conrad Anker: The Khumbu Climbing School: A Model for Mountaineering Leadership

10 min Break

4:00-4:30 Gonzalo Cisternas: Case Study of Waste Management Steps Taken at Torres del Paine National Park since the 2010 Exit Strategies Conference

4:30-5:00 Zara Sanchez: Importance of Sustainability in Peru's Natural Protected Areas

5:30-6:30PM AAC Hosted Reception at the American Mountaineering Museum

Tuesday July 22nd: Planning and Access

8:00-8:30 (coffee, tea, hot water, and cut fruit available)

8:30-9:10 Dr. Erik Murdock, Ty Tyler & Maura Longden: Climbing Management Plans: Concepts and Case Studies

9:10-9:50 Alex Van Steen: Carstenz Pyramid: A "7 Summits" Peak Presents Challenges and Opportunities for Partnerships Building a Sustainable Tourist Ecosystem in Remote Indonesia

15 min Break

10:05-10:45 Paul Anderson: Denali's Backcountry Management Plan: Lessons Learned from the Challenges, Successes and Failures in Developing and Implementing a Comprehensive Management Plan

10:45-12:00 Panel: How are we Going to Make this Work on the Ground? Citizen Scientists: A Valuable and Renewable Resource for our Mountain Regions Worldwide Maura Longden (moderator), Ellen Lapham, Kenny Wallen, Dr. Mike Loso, Dr. Geoff Hill, Dr. Doug Whittaker, Dr. Carl Schmitt (panelists)

60 min Lunch (Box lunch provided)

1:00-1:40 Dr. Doug Whittaker: How Many is Too Many? Setting Capacities and Allocating Mountain Use

1:40-2:20 Blaise Agresti: Chamonix Mont Blanc: A Study of Safety and Routes in an Era of Increasing Rockfall

15 min Break

2:35-3:00 Hanno Doenz: Varying International Approaches to Sustainable Practices in the Education of Mountain Guides

3:00-3:40 Scott Massey: The Professional Mountain Guide as a Partner for Education and Resource Protection: The American Mountain Guides Association’s Push to Set the Highest Standards in our Mountain Areas

3:40-4:10 Matthew Klick: Sustainable Mountain Development from a Human Population Perspective

10 min Break

4:20-5:00 Stephan Taranto: Addressing Waste Management Barriers and Opportunities through Building Sustainable Partnerships with Community-Based Tourism Initiatives in the Central Andes


7:00-8:30PM Everest Knot Panel: Dawa Steven Sherpa, Conrad Anker, Melissa Arnott, Dr. Markus Hallgren, John Harlin

Wednesday July 23rd: Reducing User Impact

8:00-8:30 (coffee, tea, hot water, and cut fruit available)

8:30-9:20 Dawa Steven Sherpa: New and Novel Ideas to Reduce Impacts on Nepal’s Peaks and Trails

9:20-9:50 Ruben Massarelli: The Challenge of Managing Human Waste in High Altitude: a Case Study of the Aconcagua Provincial Park

9:50-10:20 Erastus Lufungulo: The Status of Solid Waste Management on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

15 min Break

10:35-11:20 John Leffel: Effectively Managing Health and Safety: The Latest on Human Waste, Ecoli and other Pathogens

11:20-12:00 Joe Arnold: Dehydrating Toilets - Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park

60 min Lunch (Box lunch provided)

1:00-1:35 Roger Robinson: Denali National Park’s Clean Climb Program

1:35-2:10 Dr. Michael Loso: The Trajectory and Fate of Crevassed Human Waste on Denali

2:10-2:50 Isabelle Czekajewski: A Presentation of Sanisphere’s Drytoilets Developed for Mountain Areas

15 min Break

3:05-3:50 Dr. Geoff Hill: How Remote Toilets Work (or Fail to Work) and what they Should Really be Doing

3:50-4:30 Garry Porter: A Waste Solution for Everest: The Biogas Project

4:30-5:00 Mehdi Mehrnouch: Iran’s Popular Mountains

Optional Dinner at Sherpa House 6:30 (drinks) 7:00-9:00PM (no-host dinner)

Thursday July 24th

Field Trip to Rocky Mountain National Park 8:30AM-5PM (optional, sign up separately) 


Sustainable Practices and Solutions: THIS WORKS. Education and field-­tested practice for land managers and users. (July 21, Monday)

In a fast changing environment, including climate change impacts, we need research and actions for the long term. We will build on what works...and be willing to seek out and adopt new ideas for capacity, ecosystem management, and backcountry access.

Planning and Access: Can you get it right from the get-­?go? (July 22, Tuesday)

Getting it right from the start often involves many stakeholders including property owners, guides and local indigenous peoples. We will tackle this complex issue since planning is a necessary step for long term backcountry management and is a precursor to implementation. We will review case studies of successful planning – and cover some of the pitfalls.

Reducing User Impact: The Challenge of Managing all types of Waste. (July 23, Wednesday)

We need new research and effective, long lasting solutions to this high impact, universal problem. The conference will showcase the very best practice and research from around the world.


THE EVEREST KNOT: Social and economic issues have emerged at the forefront of mountain areas. What needs to be changed and does the Everest region provide a working example? (Tuesday, July 22, 7pm)

The Everest Knot brings together international thought leaders and activists. They will lay out their ideas and actions taken that can result in effective adaptation to social, economic and environmental challenges and answer the question: What is to be accomplished on high?


• The Everest Knot – Social issues have emerged at the forefront of mountain areas. What needs to be changed and does the Everest region provide a working example?

• Denali Planning – A pioneering national park is managed to plan. How did this come about, what were the planning process challenges, and has the plan worked over time?


Peter Metcalf (Monday AM) From fringe to mainstream: Mountaineering’s transformation in North America. Peter has made hard technical first ascents around the world and was one of the pioneer alpinists of Alaska in the 1970s. The founding CEO/President of Black Diamond Equipment, Peter is a strong advocate for public lands protection and the role of the outdoor industry.

Dawa Steven Sherpa (Everest Knot panel Tues evening and Wed Keynote presentation) New and novel ideas to reduce impacts on Nepal’s peaks and trails.

A noted climber, he chairs the Nepal Mountaineering Association’s Environment Protection Committee. Dawa Steven is currently a board member of the Expedition Operators Association- Nepal and is the co-coordinator for the Mt. Everest Rope fixing works. Dawa Steven leads numerous Eco Everest Expeditions to draw attention to the impact of climate change on the Himalayas and started the successful 'Cash for Trash' cleanup campaign on Everest. Dawa Stephen is a Nepalese Sherpa entrepreneur who has scaled Mt. Everest twice. In 2012, Dawa Steven walked the entire length of Nepal (1000Miles) on the Great Himalaya Trail for 99 days, together with fellow mountaineer and world record holder, Apa Sherpa, to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change on the himalaya. He graduated from Heriot-Watt University Scotland with an Honours Degree in Business Administration. Dawa Steven's achievements include the Everest Expedition to draw attention to the impact of climate change on the Himalayas. He leads numerous Eco Everest Expeditions to draw attention to the impact of climate Dawa Steven is a Nepalese Sherpa entrepreneur who has scaled Mt. Everest twice.

Conrad Anker (Sunday opening program, Everest Knot panel Tuesday evening)

Conrad Anker is American rock climber, mountaineer, author and environmental activist who has made demanding and sustained free ascents from Yosemite to Pakistan. He has international renown for his leadership, championing the protection of Earth’s environment. Conrad is co-founder with Jennifer Lowe-Anker of the Khumbu Climbing School.

Sunday, July 20 PROGRAM

A Celebration of Denali: The Centennial Climbs

Ken Karstens 100 years of Pioneers on Denali

Ken Karstens is the great grandson of Harry Karstens, co-leader of the 1913 first ascent of Denali. Enjoy a collection of historical Denali photos and modern shots from his 2013 Centennial Climb that retraced that original route. Many of the early shots have not been seen in print for a hundred years or ever before.

Ken and his very understanding wife Laura live just outside Boulder, Colorado with son, Charles McGonagall Karstens.

Conrad Anker Denali, The Mountain Decides

In 2013 Conrad and his step-son Max Lowe set out to climb the West Buttress. This would be Max’s first big climb. Conrad wrote: “In the 24 years since I first climbed Denali, my identity as a mountaineer has changed dramatically. My first ascent was under the tutelage of the great Mugs Stump. We were collecting rocks for a scientific study of the peak’s uplift. As we hauled granite from the summit to base camp, he taught me the nuances of alpine climbing and, more important, the art of living comfortably in a harsh climate.” Max: “Making my way into the high mountains of this world alongside my stepdad, Conrad, seemed inevitable, but Denali was admittedly a daunting way to get started.”

Monday, July 21 PROGRAM

Phil Powers • Welcome from the American Alpine Club

The Executive Director of the American Alpine Club, Phil is an accomplished climber and mountain guide. Phil joined the American Alpine Club (AAC) as executive director in May of 2005. His previous experience in the non-profit world includes service as vice president for institutional advancement at Naropa University and seventeen years with the National Outdoor Leadership School as chief mountaineering instructor and development/partnerships director. He remains an owner/guide with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides.

Under his leadership the AAC has more than doubled its membership and revenues, opened a Mountaineering Museum and added three new lodging facilities at key climbing destination. The Club is in the final months of a $5,700,000 funding campaign.

Phil is author of Wilderness Mountaineering and Climbing: Expedition Planning. His essay, “The Importance of Pace,” was aired on NPR’s “This I Believe” in 2006 and was released in book compiling the highlights from that series. He has led dozens of expeditions to South America, Alaska and Pakistan’s Karakoram Range, including ascents of K2 and Gasherbrum II without supplemental oxygen. He made the first ascent of the Washburn Face on Denali, naming it in recognition of the impact longtime AAC member Bradford Washburn’s photos had in the planning and route research of many Alaska climbs. Powers also made the first ascent of Lukpilla Brakk’s Western Edge in Pakistan, and the first winter traverse of the Tetons’ Cathedral Peaks. He continues to be an active climber and skier. He is the recipient of the American Mountain Foundation’s VIIth Grade Award for climbing achievement; the AAC Mountaineering Fellowship Grant; the Mug’s Stump Climbing Grant; and the Wilderness Education Association’s Paul Petzoldt Award for Excellence in Outdoor Education (2007). He received the American Alpine Clubs highest award for service, the Heilprin Award, in 2012. He lives with his wife and children in Denver, Colorado.


Peter Metcalf From fringe to mainstream: Mountaineering’s transformation in North America. Peter has made hard technical first ascents around the world and was one of the pioneer alpinists of Alaska in the 1970s. The founding CEO/President of Black Diamond Equipment, Peter is a strong advocate for public lands protection and the role of the outdoor industry.

THIS WORKS: Sustainable Practices and Solutions:Education and field-­tested practices for land managers and users.

Aukje van Gerven • Envirotrek – having fun with sustainable mountain tourism.

A 100 million tourists visit the European Alps every year, not even including smaller mountains and hills in other regions. The pressure on these precious natural environments, natural resources, flora and fauna is severe. From the lack of awareness, education and direct action in these areas, Respect the Mountains was born (2004).

Envirotrek is the flagship product of Respect the Mountains. This action focused, one-day event brings together the stakeholders that benefit directly from what a beautiful mountain area offers, including local government, local businesses, local tourism operators, local residents and lastly visiting tourists. These combined groups spend the morning getting their hands dirty and cleanup a high traffic area which results in the removal of hundreds of kilograms of waste plastics, old ski equipment, industrial waste and more. Almost every person that cleans up is astounded at the fruits of their labour and witnesses first-hand how severe the problem is. This is an especially powerful realisation for youth. Having worked up a hunger, the group share meal together (BBQ), and special prizes are given for the morning cleanup activity. In the afternoon, under the guidance of local professionals, the group are offered a choice of outdoor adventure activities and enjoy the best the outdoors has to offer. This unique day is packaged with fun and enthusiasm and in 2014 there are nine events in six European countries.

Aukje van Gerven is Director of Dutch based non-profit organization Respect the Mountains. During a sustainability focused cycle-expedition from Tanzania to the Netherlands, she witnessed the unspoiled beauty of the mountains in Ethiopia and observed the full extent of heavy mountain tourism in her own backyard when she cycled across the European Alps. This deeply impacted her and when an opportunity opened at Respect the Mountains in 2010, she committed to this cause.

Ben Lawhon and Peter Whittaker • The New Leave No Trace Mountaineering Curriculum: Formalizing and Improving on Informal Practice.

On the world's highest peaks the mountaineering community has been supporting and practicing Leave No Trace for decades, sharing techniques informally. Despite this Leave No Trace practice, there has been very little written information available: a recognized curriculum had never been created. This, however, changed in 2011. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, in partnership with Rainier Mountaineering, Inc., developed a mountaineering-specific Leave No Trace curriculum. The process took almost a year and has yielded a comprehensive yet succinct set of guidelines that mountaineers can follow to minimize their impacts around the globe.

According to Ben Lawhon, Education Director for the Center, "Just because many mountaineers operate on snow and ice, typically thought of as durable surfaces, doesn’t mean that they can’t create avoidable impacts if they’re not careful. This curriculum will give the mountaineering community the tools necessary to protect they places they cherish.”

As education director for Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, Ben manages Leave No Trace national education and training and international initiatives. He is an outdoor multi-­-sport enthusiast, including fly fishing. Peter, co-owner of RMI, is a veteran international mountain guide who, in reflecting on Mount Rainier, said “As one of the largest users of the resource, it’s our responsibility to reduce the impact on the mountain.”

Karen Rollins Best Environmental Practices for Managing Energy, Water, and Wastewater at Off Grid Mountain Facilities. Karen Rollins is Project Director of Backcountry Energy Environmental Solutions (BEES), a Canadian non-profit that procures and shares information on the best technology and practices available for energy, as well as the technological solutions for managing potable, grey and black water in remote mountain locations.

Nick Lewis Garbage In, Garbage Out – Managing Environmental Impacts on Antarctica's Highest Mountains. Nick heads Mountain Operations, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions LLC. A geologist and environmental scientist by training, he has climbed all over the world and guides in the Arctic and Antarctic. His interests include Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Systems, Risk Assessment, and Remote Logistics.

Tetsuya Hanamura • Environmental Management on Mt. Fuji and Mountains in Japan

Declared a World Cultural Heritage site in 2013, Japan's Mt Fuji has outstanding values as a sacred place for worship with an impressive mountain environment, and is a source of artistic inspiration worldwide. In 2013 some 300,000 mountaineers, including hikers, were up on Mt. Fuji for the period of only two months in July and August, so the scale of impact is a really big challenge. Dr. Hanamura will cover mountain management for large numbers of visitors, including trash minimization, mountain toilet problems. He will also describe the Environmental Practices in the Japanese Mountains in general taken by mountain related bodies, including mountaineering clubs, such as garbage clean up efforts, human waste management, and the protection of alpine flowers and animals.

Dr. Hanamura is Vice President, International Relations and Editor of the monthly magazine of the Japan Workers Alpine Federation (JWAF) which has 20,000 members. He is also a Member of the Coordination Committee for Mountain Conservation, consisting of 7 mountain associations in Japan, and was a member of drafting committee of JWAF Declaration on the Preservation of Nature that came into effect in 2006. He received his MS Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley and his doctorate from Kyoto University and was Professor of Civil Engineering at Okayama (National) University from 2000-2009.

Traute Parrie • Sustainable Leadership.

Traute will describe some of the resources at risk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), and opportunities to make a difference. The GYE, a magnet for visitors from around the globe, spans from the Tetons to the Beartooths, with famed mountain and ice climbs, and is one of the last remaining large, nearly intact ecosystems in Earth's northern temperate zone. The GYE is also one of the world's foremost natural laboratories for landscape ecology and geology.In a unique partnership with the Yellowstone Business Partnership, the Beartooth Ranger District of the US Forest Service is working to promote sustainable operations in businesses and organizations throughout the Greater Yellowstone Area. Traute will describe the Partnership’s UnCommon Sense course, a two year leadership program for businesses and organizations seeking to operate more efficiently and responsibly, using the principles of the “triple bottom line”, that is viewed as a regional certification.

Traute has been the District Ranger of the Beartooth Ranger District of the Custer Gallatin National Forest in Red Lodge Montana since 2007. In her 30 years with the Forest Service, she has worked in the mountains of Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and Washington state. She has always worked at the field level, often in backcountry, and has spent months on firelines as well.

Mehdi Mehrnouch • Iran’s Popular Mountains

Mehdi is a member of the Alpine Club of Iran and is based in Columbia MD. He will review the issues and status of Iran’s key mountain destinations, including recreation and tourist peaks near the capitol Tehran.

Phunuru Sherpa and Conrad AnkerThe Khumbu Climbing School: A Model for Mountaineering Leadership

The Khumbu Climbing School (KCS) is an annual vocational training and instructional program for Nepali climbers. The school is designed to increase the competency of Nepali people who climb and / or work in the high mountains.

Everest is increasingly a crowded mountain. The mass of people detract from the aesthetic of the mountain and pose a very real threat to the health and safety of the climbers. From traffic jams to elevated tensions to waste issues to a fragile environment , Everest reflects many of the challenges humans face in the coming centuries. The big question for Everest is carrying capacity. Once this is agreed upon, the next steps can be implemented. What can we learn from mountain tourism on Denali and how the National Park Service regulates use? 

Phunuru has summited Everest summit 4 times and has been a Khumbu Climbing School Instructor for 5 years. He has also been an exchange Ranger with Denali National Park.

Tuesday, July 22 PROGRAM

Planning and Access: Can you get it right from the get-go?

Alex Van Steen Carstenz Pyramid - a "7 summits" peak - presents challenges and opportunities for partnerships: building a sustainable tourist ecosystem in remote Indonesia.

Puncak Jaya, located in Lorentz National Park, West Papua, Indonesia - the largest land-based national park in Southeast Asia, is the world's highest island peak. Known also as Carstenz Pyramid, it rises 4,884 m (16,024') above lush equatorial rainforests and a large gold and copper mine. Its few tropical glaciers are rapidly receding. It is also the destination of a growing and important tourist economy. In 2011, Alex launched Rainier Mountaineering's (RMI) Carstensz Pyramid program and in doing so recognized that current commercial models for adventures in Papua were not sustainable. Today RMI partners with indigenous Papuans to develop a solid foundation for sustainable adventure tourism, a business model which is currently unprecedented in the area. While this is extremely challenging in the face of numerous societal conditions, the Papuans have expressed a readiness for such a model to exist. As Western tourists (mostly climbers) are travelling more frequently through their lands, the Papuans are anxious to have a role in the burgeoning opportunity. Alex Van Steen will describe the struggles of building relationships, his connection with efforts there, and what RMI has done to date in terms of social responsibility and environmental care.

Since the late 1980's Alex Van Steen has become one of RMI’s most technical and well-travelled guides. When not in the field, he has responsibilities in guide development and training, human resources, and environmental management. Since 2012, he has led RMI’s effort to create a sustainable tourism industry and developed RMI’s position as the only western commercial guide service to partner with an indigenous Papuan outfitter. He has taken his training and education to Papua and spent time with local community leaders building relationships as well as training and educating porters to work with expeditions. Additionally, Alex has spent more than a decade involving himself in community outreach and education. Locally, he works extensively with at-risk youth as a mentor, pastor, and guardian.

Blaise Agresti, Chamonix Mont Blanc, colonel. A Study of Safety and Routes in an era of Increasing Rockfall.

Can the hazards of stone fall encountered during the popular route of Mont Blanc, from the refuge of Tête Rousse to the refuge du Goûter, be understood and dealt with? Each year there are more than 3 dead and 8 injured on average. In France, a popular point of view inside the mountain community is to say "mountain is a space of freedom". On the Mont-Blanc, how to manage risks, freedom and overpopulation on the main routes ? How can we find negotiated solutions?

Blaise, a mountain guide, in charge of the national mountain rescue school and coordinator for all the Peloton de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne (PGHM), has been instrumental in the study conducted on the Couloir de Gouter. PGHM, is a French rescue organization who centralizes alerts, organizes rescues, coordinate large scale disasters and performs accident investigations. The PGHM of Chamonix works on Mont Blanc and in the Haute-Savoie region and, in 2013 alone, rescued 1831 people.

Doug Whittaker, PhD. • How many is too many? Setting capacities and allocating mountain use

Many rivers and other backcountry areas have visitor capacities to keep resource impacts at acceptable levels and maintain the quality of visitors’ experiences. Fewer summits have use limits, even as some alpine areas have infamous crowding, resource, or safety concerns related to use. Examining parallels between river and summit environments, the presentation will explore ways of assessing “how many climbers is too many?” and considerations when allocating use within guided and private sectors. Although the history of use and traditions at different mountains will continue to require case-by-case capacity decisions, applying common concepts and a transparent decision-making process is more likely to set capacities that achieve safety and conservation purposes while gaining support in the climbing community.

Doug is an outdoor recreation planner and researcher with Confluence Research and Consulting, a two-person firm that works with federal, state, and local agencies as well as utilities and non-profits. Much of Doug’s work focuses on crowding, conflict, and capacity in recreation settings – usually on rivers – where he also studies how flows affect recreation in dam licensing, water rights, and navigability cases. His projects span the country, but occur more frequently in the western states and Alaska, where Doug has lived for nearly three decades. Doug is not a climber, preferring to paddle, ski, or bike in air with more oxygen.

Erik Murdock PhD. And Ty Tyler • Climbing Management Plans: Concepts and Case Studies

The exponential growth of climbing in the United States has, in part, resulted in the increased consideration of climbing management plans (CMPs) for both state and federally owned public lands that contain climbing resources. The increase in climbers has focused many land managers on mitigating environmental impacts associated with climbing, but a comprehensive climbing management plan (CMP) can also address liability, fixed anchors, wildlife, cultural resources, trails, water resources, wilderness and social issues. An holistic evaluation of the climbing system (parking, approach, bivouac, climb, descent, etc.) is just the beginning of the development of an effective CMP. An honest assessment of the land manager’s, climbing community’s and climbing resource’s current and future needs should direct the CMP contents. Often, less is more. In addition, a successful CMP is based on what works given the, often site-specific, perceptions and behavior patterns of climbers in particular environments. This presentation will outline the issues that need to be considered during the development of a CMP as well as provide illustrative examples of implementation directed at better climbing resource stewardship.

Erik Murdock is the Policy Director at the Access Fund. An avid climber for over two decades,Erik has a MS in Geology and a PhD in Natural Resource Studies with a minor in Environmental Psychology. He has worked for the University of Arizona, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the USDA Forest Service and the National Park Service on issues related to the human dimension of recreation and resource management. He has especially focused on wilderness management and policy, as well as visitor flow modeling using Geographic Information Systems. Erik lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife, daughter, 2 cats and 3 desert tortoises.

Ty Tyler is the Stewardship Director at the Access Fund. A passionate climber & outdoorsman for more than 15 yrs, Ty has a Bachelor of Science in Foresty; Natural Resource management with an emphasis on environmental tourism. He has worked for the Wintergreen Nature Foundation, West Virginia University and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust in Seattle, WA on issues & projects which encompass collaborative stewardship initiatives, recreational infrastructure management, construction and design and resource management. He is particularly interested in collaborative, long term visioning for sustainable recreational access and management implementation. Ty lives in Boulder, CO where he is able to find an excellent balance of work & play.

Hanno Doenz A professional mountain guide works between the two poles of commercial result and environmental protection. Across countries and continents there are many different approaches to educating guides to sustainable practices.

The foundation, history, and the possibilities that are the mountain guide’s daily work are very different across IFMGA member countries worldwide. Originally the IFMGA started in alpine countries that have almost no mountain regions without paths, cable cars, mountain huts, roads and ski stations. Then the IFMGA expanded to North America where there are very strict structured regulations, especially in the national parks. Now we also cover the very remote mountain ranges in South America and Central Asia. Due to this great variety, the work and the education of mountain guides has to follow completely different approaches to sustainability.

Yet the goal has to be the same all over the world. We have to conserve the mountain areas for future generations, bearing in mind that these regions are also the base for the furtherance professional guiding.

Hanno Doenz, a former teacher and Austrian mountain guide for over 25 years, has been a member of the board of the guides association. In his two years as president of the IFMGA, the international federation of the professional mountain guides associations, his responsibility is to organize and coordinate guide education worldwide.

Paul Anderson Denali's Backcountry Management Plan: Lessons learned from the challenges, successes and failures in developing and implementing a comprehensive management plan.

Denali National Park and Preserve has extremes: almost 6 million acres of wilderness (2 million acres of designated Wilderness); varied ecosystems with elevations ranging from about 1000 feet on the Yentna River to the summit of North America's highest peak at 20,320 feet. Developing and implementing this pioneering backcountry, climbing and wilderness management plan was a complex task. To be successful, managers must evaluate a diverse set of public values, often balancing tradeoffs among multiple and often competing values. The plan process developed a decision-making model that integrates social, resource, and managerial values associated with the Denali wilderness experience. This plan has been the foundation for the ongoing efforts to preserve Denali’s wilderness resources and values.

Paul Anderson was Superintendent of Denali National Park and Preserve for 11 years, responsible for all park operations, including the Mountaineering Program on Mt. McKinley. Retired today, he began his 42-year career as a climbing ranger and ski patroller in Rocky Mountain National Park, and served as a backcountry ranger, and search and rescue specialist in numerous parks. Paul initiated and led the multi-year effort to complete the Denali Backcountry Management Plan. The plan, which set specific objectives, standards and indicators for backcountry and Wilderness resource conditions and visitor experience, was one of the first Backcountry Management Plans in the US to use this approach.

Scott MasseyThe Professional Mountain Guide as a Partner for Education and Resource Protection: The American Mountain Guides Association’s push to set the highest standards in our mountain areas.

Mountain guides in the U.S. have historically been viewed as “commercial users”, working in an industry with few unifying standards that support common best practices with regards to safety protocols. This also extends to a historic lack of best practices for environmental stewardship and wilderness ethics. Since the AMGA’s founding in 1979, its goal has been to unify the guiding profession and set standards for public safety and resource stewardship. Rather than endorse the common view of mountain guides as merely another type of “commercial user”, the AMGA supports the development of 21st century policies and paradigms that reflect the changing nature of how individuals are introduced to the outdoors. The AMGA also works to build the crucial partnership between the professional user and land manager that fosters public safety and public education for conservation and resource stewardship.

A former outdoor educator and AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide, Scott is the Advocacy Director for the AMGA. He works with land managers and public officials alike to promote the value of professionally trained guides as a resource for introducing many members of the public to the vertical wilderness.

Stephen Taranto, MSc.of Sendas Altas (Bolivia) Addressing Waste Management Barriers and Opportunities through Building Sustainable Partnerships with Community-based Tourism Initiatives in the Central Andes

Providing trekking and tour services in sensitive mountain regions requires broad and deep knowledge of cultural and natural landscapes. In Bolivia, where the rights and interests of indigenous populations are increasingly recognized, the development of trustful, horizontal and long term partnerships with local communities where treks and tours take place is of critical importance. In this presentation, Stephen Taranto will share his experiences working on waste management with local communities in remote highland regions in the Central Andes and when and where La Paz on Foot's efforts have succeeded and failed. Opportunities for collaboration with new partners will be presented for discussion.

Stephen Taranto is an Interdisciplinary Ecologist with a Master's degree from the University of Florida´s School for Natural Resources and Conservation. For the past decade he has specialized in conservation and development through responsible eco-tourism in the Central Andes highlands. In 2004 he founded La Paz on Foot, a small trekking and tour company that has grown from a single, four hour "Urban Trek" through the city of La Paz, Bolivia into a full service in-bound operations and logistics provider. In 2010 La Paz on Foot merged with Sendas Altas (High Trails) and now operates in highland regions in southern Peru, all of Bolivia and northern Chile and Argentina.

Sendas Altas provides support for a wide range of natural and cultural history experiences, from remote high mountain treks and ascents to student programs to classic "greatest hits" tours to Cusco, Macchu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and the Uyuni Salt Flats. In addition to its treks, tours and other services, La Paz on Foot also manages Corporate Social Responsibility projects in distinct ecological tiers of the Central Andes, implemented through innovative partnerships between La Paz on Foot, local communities and national and international donors.

Zara Sanchez SERNANP

The Protected Natural Areas ANP are a fundamental part of natural heritage of Peru. Natural areas, besides conserving representative samples of our extraordinary biological diversity-objective par excellence, are of enormous importance for the environmental services they provide.

Zara is a specialist in natural protected areas.

PANEL: How are we going to make this work on the ground?

Citizen Scientists – a valuable and renewable resource for

our mountain regions worldwide

Maura Longden Panel Moderator

Maura Longden first ventured into wilderness while growing up in New England and working along the Appalachian Trail. She started her National Park Service career as a wilderness ranger in Sequoia National Park. In the three decades that followed, Maura remained committed to the protection and enjoyment of wilderness, working as a Ranger or Wilderness Manager in National Parks such as Yosemite, Glacier, Rocky Mountain, Joshua Tree, Grand Teton, Yukon – Charley Rivers and Yellowstone. Maura worked many years as a climbing and search and rescue ranger and specialized in the management of climbing activities in wilderness areas. Today, she continues to serve as a technical assistant to the NPS Wilderness Program Manager in Washington D.C. to develop policy and field guidance and to provide assistance to parks developing wilderness climbing plans and education programs.

Maura is a board member of the Society for Wilderness Stewardship and wrote, “My experience as a wilderness ranger and wilderness manager has provided me with insight into the challenges that the wilderness managing agencies face. I am also deeply aware of the need for stewardship that includes agencies, partner organizations, wilderness visitors and those that value wilderness but may never have the chance to experience it first hand.”

Ellen Lapham and Kenny Wallen Science for Summits: Integrating Science and Conservation through Partnerships between Resource Managers, Scientists and Climbers in Peru's Cordillera Blanca. (e.g. Beyond gut feel, you need the science)

Ellen Co-founded and Co-directs the American Climber Science Program (ACSP), carrying out focused field research and workshops in high mountain regions to build actionable environmental and social data and resilience. Since 2011 she has co-led the ACSP expeditions in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca where she has observed the rapid changes in snow and ice taking place on glaciers.

Kenny Wallen, an ACSP-Peru researcher in 2013, is studying climber and recreationist perceptions of climate change.

Gregg Treinish, Karen Rollins, Doug Whittaker and Mike Loso

Other panelists TBA.

Tuesday, July 22 EVENING PROGRAM

THE EVEREST KNOT: Social and economic issues have emerged at the forefront of mountain areas. What needs to be changed and does the Everest region provide a working example?

Big peaks and their lower flanks inspire us to set lofty goals. Many people build their livelihoods there, and many more come for challenge and adventure. Yet across our globe the changing high elevation climate and increasing human impact now threaten this living and business model. Mount Everest, an icon - and exemplar- of these stresses, can also be our inspiration for global actions to preserve and protect the places we love to climb.

The Everest Knot brings together international thought leaders and activists. They will lay out their ideas and actions taken that can result in effective adaptation to social, economic and environmental challenges and answer the question: What is to be accomplished on high?

If we succeed on Mount Everest, we can take that learning to summits worldwide.

Mike Gauthier, Moderator

Mike Gauthier is the chief of staff at Yosemite National Park. He began his career in 1985 at Olympic National Park and has since worked at Denali, and most notably, Mount Rainier. There, he worked for 19 years and led the climbing program and search and rescue teams. He has summited Mount Rainier nearly 200 times and authored Mount Rainier: A Climbing Guide. Since 2009, Mike has worked in the US Senate and also for the Secretary of the Interior as Bevinetto Fellow. Today, he enjoys living and climbing in Yosemite Valley.

Conrad Anker (bio above)

Melissa Arnot, panelist

Melissa has made her life about exploring the beautiful mountains of the world. In 2012 Melissa launched a non-profit, The Juniper Fund, with fellow mountain guide, Dave Morton, to provide life insurance and cover rescue expenses of mountain workers. She has summited Everest five times as a professional mountain guide and has been working internationally since 2004 on peaks in South America, Africa and Nepal. For over nine years Melissa has worked as a remote site EMT and wilderness medicine instructor, bringing together her desire to care for and teach people, with safety as the driving ethic.

John Harlin, panelist

John is an author, editor, lecturer, and educator. He is currently a program officer for the High Mountains Adaptation Partnership (co-managed by The Mountain Institute), and manages the GLOBE Program and the International Award for the Leysin American School in Switzerland. HiMAP works in Nepal’s Everest region, where John is researching the establishment of an Everest Alliance to help preserve the local environment. Following a degree in Environmental Biology (1978) from the University of California, Santa Barbara, John pursued a career as a mountain guide, writer, and editor at various mountain-related publications. He has edited the American Alpine Journal, Backpacker magazine, and Summit: The Mountain Journal. His books include three volumes of The Climber’s Guide to North America, The Eiger Obsession: Facing the Mountain That Killed My Father (published in five languages), and Lost Lhasa: Heinrich Harrer’s Tibet. Awards include “Best Book on Mountaineering History” from the Banff Mountain Book Festival, the Literary Award from the American Alpine Club, and Honorary Membership in the AAC. He has also starred in the IMAX movie The Alps and guest-hosted the PBS series, Anyplace Wild.

Dawa Steven Sherpa (bio above)

Markus Hällgren,THE RULES OF THE GAME: The interplay between routines and capabilities on an Everest expedition 

Surprisingly, an expedition to Mount Everest is all about routines, even boredom. In this paper we explore the difference in how and why events that jeopardize the scheduled routine of a mountaineering expedition are enacted in a detailed and processual unpacking of organizational routines. We do so based on a detailed in-situ ethnographic account of a guided expedition to Mount Everest in the spring of 2013. Maybe not that surprisingly we find that the ability to manage the time through the organisational routines are integral to a working organisation. This would however suggest that operators that are not, are putting people at danger. The paper is based on a larger project where we study everyday decision- making in extreme environments, including this Everest expedition, but also the events on K2 in 2008, and two cases of emergency room daily operations. 

Markus Hällgren is a professor in business administration, specialised in management at Umeå School of Business and Economics, Umeå University, Sweden. Hällgren does research on the everyday practice within temporary organisations (projects) with a particular interest in decisions, goals and team dynamics. He has studied mountaineering expeditions since 2007, and climbed Lobuche East in 2013 (6110 meter) - earlier in that expedition he had the unpleasant experience of high altitude sickness. Hällgren manages the research programme Extreme Environments - Everyday Decision-making.

Wednesday, July 23 PROGRAM


Dawa Steven Sherpa New and novel ideas to reduce impacts on Nepal’s peaks and trails.

A noted climber, he chairs the Nepal Mountaineering Association’s Environment Protection Committee. Dawa Steven leads numerous Eco Everest Expeditions to draw attention to the impact of climate change on the Himalayas and started the successful 'Cash for Trash' cleanup campaign on Everest. Dawa Stephen is a Nepalese Sherpa entrepreneur who has scaled Mt. Everest twice. He graduated from Heriot-Watt University Scotland with an Honours Degree in Business Administration. Dawa Steven's achievements include the Everest Expedition to draw attention to the impact of climate change on the Himalayas.

Reducing User Impact: The Challenge of Managing

All Types of Waste – a Universal Problem

Erastus Lufungulo • Trash in-Trash Out: Waste removal on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mr. Lufungulo is the Chief Park Warden, Kilimanjaro National Park,Tanzania. The summit of and approaches to Africa’s highest peak are overwhelmed by thousands of people, threatening its ecological balance. Over 50,000 foreign tourists climb Mount Kilimanjaro every year, accompanied by a support staff exceeding 200,000 people. As the number of visitors grows each year, mountain facilities are increasingly strained.

Geoff Hill, PhD How remote toilets work (or fail to work) and what they should really be doing.

Geoff will delve into the practicalities of waste management and focus on the benefits of urine diversion at remote sites. Highlights from his five publications will be woven together in an intriguing story including the misnomer of composting toilets. Geoff takes a fundamentally different approach to remote toilets from other North American technology providers: "lets drop the unrealistic dream of making compost at the most difficult sites on the planet and manage the waste with well designed, low cost, low hazard, mass minimizing, public utility systems".

Recently after completing his PhD on remote site toilet systems, Geoff was hired by Harvest Power to General Manage one of the largest composting facilities in North America. He has developed two mechanical urine diversion systems and has a number of toilets at various stages of demonstration, commissioning and procurement. Geoff has 5 peer reviewed publications on waterless toilet systems. Prior to his PhD Geoff was an aspirant mountain guide, has a Master of Science in plant ecology, and a entrepreneurial background in biofuels.

Garry Porter • A Waste Solution for Everest: The Biogas Project

Every year, 12,000 Kg. of solid human waste is carried from the base camps of Mt. Everest and surrounding peaks and dumped into unlined pits in the vicinity of Gorak Shep, elevation 17,000’. Garry and a team of volunteer engineers from the Seattle area have spent 4 years designing a biogas system to operate in the extreme environment and remote location of Gorak Shep. The design is based on utilizing an off the shelf biogas digester design and modifying it to function in the colder environment of Gorak Shep. There are thousands of biogas digesters functioning in Nepal, India and China at lower elevations and warmer climates but none in the cold environment of Gorak Shep. They are used to convert human, animal and kitchen waste into methane gas for cooking or lighting and fertilizer for crops.

Garry is the project leader for the biogas system. He is a retired Boeing Company Program manager with over 34 years of engineering/program management experience. Garry holds a MS degree in engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology and an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of Nebraska. Garry has climbed major mountains in North and South America as well as Nepal and Tibet. His other outdoor activities include biking, running and rock climbing. He just completed the 6 day, 500 mile bike ride in Colorado called Ride the Rockies.

Gonzalo CisternasCase Study of Waste Management Steps Taken Since the 2010 Exit Strategies Conference

Gonzalo is Chief of Public Use and Visitors Management, Torres del Paine National Park Patagonia, Chile. Gonzalo has worked for the last 14 years in Torres del Paine and, as a very dedicated ranger, cares deeply about the resource. He is committed to providing opportunities for people to experience wild nature.

Isabelle Czekajewski A presentation of Sanisphere’s drytoilets developed for mountain areas

Managing human waste in mountain areas is a challenge growing with touristic and mountain ‘sports development. Sanisphere is a French company which designs, builds and installs drytoilets. It has worked since more than 20 years on human waste management issue. Sanisphere currently invests a lot to improve its technologies and its knowledge on urine and feces management. Isabelle will describe the last product generation working by gravity separation of urine from liquid-solid waste coupled with vermicomposting process and she will give an overview of research assessment.

An R&D engineer, Isabelle participates to the development and the improvement of the technological bricks of Sanisphere’s product: biological, mechanical and natural airflow. She joined Sanisphere less than a year ago after working for two French research centers in biotechnologies and chemical processes. She is a beginner but she throws herself into climbing.

Joe Arnold • Solar Dehydrating Toilets: a Case Study in Rocky Mountain National Park

The solar dehydrating toilets on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park have been in successful operation since 1983. It is estimated that each toilet can handle up to 5,000 uses during the peak climbing season of July and August. Nearly all liquid waste is disposed of in a tray evaporator and about 50% of the solid waste weight is removed by dehydrating. The remaining waste is removed and hauled by llamas to a sewage transfer station for further treatment. The toilets were completely custom built to withstand high altitude and winter conditions, extreme winds, high ultraviolet degradation and animal damage. The key to the success of the Longs Peak solar toilet program has been a long term commitment to maintenance. Winter winds damage components that need replacing and. during the summer months, weekly servicing trips must be made. Managers considering the use of this system in other locations are advised to assess the ability of maintenance workers to perform repairs in remote locations, the commitment to remove dried waste on a regular basis, and the availability of a place to dispose of dried end product before committing to this system.

Joe Arnold began his career with the National Park Service in 1975 and has worked in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. He was Park Engineer at Rocky Mountain National Park from 1981 to 2011 when he retired. He was involved in a 1982-83 US Public Health Service study that funded his design for the first generation of experimental solar dehydrating toilets on Longs Peak. Since that time the solar toilets have been upgraded and refined several times and are used in four remote locations in the Park. They have been in continuous operation for 32 years now.

Capt. John Leffel • Effectively Managing Health and Safety: The latest on human waste, Ecoli and other pathogens.

John, a US Public Health Service Officer, consults for for the National Park Service providing guidance and expertise on all aspects of public health. He is directly responsible for ensuring compliance with regulations for drinking water and wastewater treatment for NPS units in seven Western states. Capt Leffel has extensive experience with remote systems: he spent 8 years working in rural Alaskan villages, and 4 years training tribal operators in Oregon, Idaho and Washington.

Dr. Michael Loso • The Trajectory and Fate of Crevassed Human Waste on Denali (note revised title)

Each year, over 1,000 climbers attempt to climb Mt. McKinley via the West Buttress, located on the 77 km long Kahiltna Glacier in Denali National Park, Alaska. Climbers generate over two metric tons of human waste annually, the majority of which is disposed of in crevasses. We conducted field studies, performed laboratory experiments, and simulated glacier dynamics to document the trajectory and fate of buried waste in a variety of glacial microclimates. Our results show fecal microorganisms are persistent in a glacial environment, that these pathogens pose a minor threat to human health, and that buried human waste can be expected to emerge at the glacier surface within decades. The implications of these findings for management practices are unclear, however, and I will discuss the pros and cons of a more intensive waste management program, including an assessment of its dollar and carbon costs.

Mike is an Associate Professor of Earth Sciences at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage. He also directs APU’s Master of Science in Environmental Sciences program, and teaches their annual expeditionary Glaciology and Glacier Travel course. Mike, along with his students, conducts research to understand the recent climatic history of Alaska, and its impact on glaciers, glacial landscapes, and the communities that depend on them. Earlier in his career, Mike worked as a climbing guide and ranger for the American Alpine Institute, St. Elias Alpine Guides, and Denali National Park.

Roger Robinson • Denali National Park’s Clean Climb Program

An historical review of mountaineering education, climber management and removal of all kinds of waste over the past 50 years. Lessons learned and the final outcome of what is working well including the Clean Mountain Can project. All climber human waste is transported safely with these unique containers. In addition, new research on vermicomposting climbers’ waste will also be discussed.

Roger Robinson has been a Mountaineering Ranger with Denali National Park since 1980. He began in earnest on self-supported cleanup climbs on Denali starting in 1975. He has led Denali’s Clean Climb efforts and continues this passion to the present.

Ruben MassarelliThe Challenge of Managing Human Waste in High Altitude, a Case study of the Aconcagua Provincial Park.

Rubén Massarelli, Chief of Park Rangers of Aconcagua Provincial Park and Associate Professor of Sustainable Tourism Development in Congreso University, Mendoza, Argentina. Ruben has worked for the last 12 years in Aconcagua and has extensive experience in management of highlands with great impact.



Bart JordansPoster: Everest Kangshung Face Trek-heavy Pollution

(article courtesy The Japanese Alpine News, Vol. 15, 2014)

Trekking parties travelling through any mountain area carry a great responsibility and opportunity to correctly deal with environmental issues. “Pack it in – pack it out” is practiced more and more on popular destinations like Kilimanjaro or the Nepal Everest trek.

However, Tibet’s Everest Kangshung trek is on its way to become heavily polluted. There are an increasing number of trekkers (some of them badly polluting) and, as a consequence, polluting locals are copying the trekkers’ bad habits. This is simply demanding action by any organisation, such as starting to educate trekkers visiting the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve as well as the locals. Some years ago when entering the Preserve, garbage bags were handed out and visitors were asked to pack their rubbish and bring it out. Not now.

Bart is from Holland, lives in Denmark, and guides internationally. For the last 30 years Bart has been guiding treks and trekking peaks for a US- and three European-based companies throughout the Himalayas, Karakoram, Alps and on the African continent. He writes articles and chapters on Himalayas and finished a trekking guide book on Bhutan where he lived for 4½ years with his family. Being out in the field as much as possible is very rewarding where he can tackle environmental issues on the spot.

DR: Carl Schmitt Poster: The American Climber Science Program: High quality scientific research with broad impacts.

Contributors: Dr. John All, Dr. Rebecca Cole, Ellen Lapham

The American Climber Science Program (ACSP) has been conducting scientific research expeditions for four years. During expeditions, volunteer climbers work closely with scientists to collect data on high mountains and surrounding regions. Our longest running project, ACSP-Peru began in 2011 and the fourth expedition is currently underway. More than 50 volunteers and scientists have participated in Peru expedition. Scientific participants, though mostly self funded in the beginning, are making substantial contributions to the science. The National Science Foundation (NSF), the United States International Agency for Development (USAID), and the Pollution and its Impacts on the South American Cryosphere initiative (PISAC) have all provided funds for ACSP research. Several research articles have been submitted to high quality peer reviewed journals.

Dr. Carl Schmitt is a Project Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. His resume includes more than 30 peer reviewed articles. Dr. Schmitt has worked with ACSP since its inception and currently serves as the chair of the scientific advisory committee of ACSP. Dr. Schmitt has also led the black carbon and dust on glaciers project for the ACSP expeditions.

Cindi Squire Poster: The Snowbird Hut Toilet Project in Alaska: a volunteer-­?led experiment in solar/wind drying tests new concepts in an alpine environment

Background/Obstacles: The Alaska Section built a new hut at the edge of the Snowbird Glacier in the Talkeetna Mountains to replace the original hut that was built in the early 1980’s. The original outhouse (pit toilet) was not functional and the pack-it-out requests were falling on deaf ears. We needed to update the pit outhouse at the Snowbird Hut with an environmentally responsible replacement.

The new design will incorporate features that overcome remoteness, lack of power and elevation (4,680 ft). This area of the Talkeetna Mountains experiences long stretches of cool, wet, windy weather in the summer and frozen windy conditions all winter. Composting and/or worms not the best option for this type of environment. Wind and maximization of available solar were the focus in this design, with the hope of dehydrating the solid material and removing it from the mountain for proper disposal.

Various features were incorporated into this outhouse. A urine separating toilet seat removes urine to evaporate outside. An airfoil vent cap uses the wind to move air through the lower unit. Black tubing, black back-wall to reflect heat and southerly positioning contribute toward passive heating and dehydration of the solid waste matter. August 2014 will complete 2 years of use with successful dehydration of the solid waste. Estimates are 250-300 users per year staying between 1-4 days (very hard to calculate from the hut log). Dehydration has allowed more material to be stored on-site and less frequent removal (low maintenance).

This is a low cost, low tech outhouse that was designed for a specific area and use. We will be continuing to experiment with various ways to improve this design. Construction by Harry Hunt and design by Cindi Squire (AK Section Co-Chairs), with hands-on help from our Volunteers!

Harry Hunt came to Alaska on a climbing vacation 25 years ago and moved to the state shortly thereafter. He is currently involved in several huts in Alaska, including building the Serenity Hut at Eklutna Glacier, the Manitoba Hut in the Summit Lake area and the Snowbird Hut in the Talkeetna Mountains. Contact: hohunt@gci.net

Cindi Squire has lived in Alaska since she was 8 years old and explores and plays in many areas of the state. She was part of the Snowbird Hut fundraising and construction team and is excited that her first outhouse actually works! Contact: cindiinalaska@gmail.com

Dave Bamford and John Cocks Poster: SUSTAINABLE MOUNTAIN recreation and TOURISM in NEW ZEALAND

They will present a perspective of New Zealand’s mountains – opportunities and issues. Opportunities include mountaineer challenges and wilderness experience. Issues relate to tourism and infrastructure impacts such as future tunnels, roads and helicopters, lodges and resorts in Protected Mountain Areas; implications of Indigenous (Maori) rights to the mountain lands; sustainable waste management, and safety of those in the mountains.

Dave Bamford is a 'kiwi' who has spent his life in the mountains and remote countries in the Southern Hemisphere. Dave has over 40 years of mountaineering in New Zealand, South America, Antarctica and the Himalaya. His career started in the New Zealand National Parks Service and over the last thirty years he has worked as a sustainable tourism consultant. He is a past president of the New Zealand Alpine Club.

John Cocks is a kiwi who has climbed and explored throughout New Zealand, South America, Central Asia and Africa. He works as an environmental engineer, specializing in waste and wastewater management, and for over 20 years has been involved assisting NZ’s Department of Conservation with human waste management solutions. He is president of the New Zealand Alpine Club

Kenny WallenPoster: Perceptions of environmental change in high-altitude mountain regions

As part of the 2013 American Climber Science Program (ACSP) Peru Expedition in the Cordillera Blanca this study sought to understand the mountaineer’s perceptions and observations of climate change. The Cordillera Blanca (partially located in Huascarán National Park) serves as precedent for the consequences of accelerated climate change (30% loss of glacial ice mass in the past three decades) and mountaineers may have direct experience with accelerated environmental changes while also accessing areas not fully accessible to scientists interested in the effects of climate change in high-altitude mountain regions. Given their unique expertise and experience, mountaineers can provide valuable insight and increase scientific understanding of climate change in mountain regions. Utilizing semi-structured interviews, this study provides a descriptive account of mountaineer’s perceptions, observations, and definitions of climate change while also revealing their spectrum of attitudes and behaviors associated with environmental, recreational, political, scientific, and social issues. Additional analysis compared mountaineer’s perceptions, observations, and definitions with current scientific consensus and differing backgrounds.

Kenny is a PhD student at the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Laboratory at Texas A&M University. In 2013 he was a member of the American Climber Science Program (ACSP) expedition to Peru’s Cordillera Blanca. His dissertation research focuses on normative behavior, social influences, and social networks related to natural resource management and policy.

Kristine Route Poster: The Pooster

The POOSTER is an educational tool designed to instruct individuals on proper sanitation practices used in the backcountry. These trailhead posters are especially suited to high-use public wildlands and areas designated as wilderness. They are also great as pre-trip reminders in outdoor equipment stores; fly-fishing shops; tourist information centers; canoe, ski, and bike rental establishments; and those many convenience stops that offer last-minute camping supplies. Digital files for printing the 11" X 17" POOSTERS are free. Request either the Woodsy or Southwest version from www.thepooster.com. Inquire about customizing or adding official regional logos.

Kristine Route lives in Alaska and is serving her third year with AmeriCorps. She graduated from Colorado State University’s Warner College of Natural Resources and enjoys exploring the great outdoors. Kathleen Meyer is the author of the international best-selling outdoor guide How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art that’s been widely embraced by the outdoor community, with more than 2.5 million copies sold, in eight languages.

Mary Jackson Poster: Components of Nepalese Tourism that Lead to Empowerment and Sustainability

Tourism in Nepal is a complex topic. Western tourists looking for spiritual discovery, mountain trekking, cultural experiences, and mountaineering in the highest mountains in the world descend on the country each year. Images and stories of Nepal and the Himalaya permeate the outdoor media. Likewise, current events on Mount Everest highlight the shifting perceptions of the mountain and climber’s motivations. This research investigated traveler perceptions of Nepal and motivations to travel from those who have been to Nepal and those who desire to go. Overarching themes such as mountains, culture/people, and spirituality/religion reflected the researcher’s assumptions and personal perceptions and motivations to travel and trek in Nepal. This research further examines empowerment within the context of tourism and sustainability. Presenting two contexts of tourism in Nepal, western adventure tourists and Nepali women trekking guides, this research explores components of understanding tourism that contribute towards sustainability. Three Sisters Adventure trekking, and NGO Empowering Women of Nepal, train and employ Nepali women as trekking guides, supporting their educational and economic empowerment. Treks involve reciprocal empowerment between Nepali guides and western clients. Tourism experiences such as this contribute to greater understanding of Nepali culture, customs, and ways of life while simultaneously supporting Nepali women’s sustainability.

Mary Jackson is a PhD student in Sustainability Education at Prescott College. Her focus in on sustainability and social-ecological systems of the global south, specifically in the context of gender and women’s empowerment. She works as a climbing instructor and experiential educator and runs a start-up adventure tourism organization, Tuttaré Adventures. She will not be in attendance at the Sustainable Summits conference due to field work in Southeast Asia.

Scott Guenther (invited) Poster: Packout case study for Grand Teton National Park: From climbers to campers.

The Jenny Lake Subdistrict Lead Ranger, Scott manages the park’s search and rescue operations as well as the backcountry and climbing program. A Human Waste packout program, initiated by AAC-member climbers and taken on by the Park, works to sustain the watershed and the user experience.

Dr. Tomio Suzuki Poster: Groundwater and soil pollution with nitrate nitrogen by land disposal of wastewater, and a trial measure against the issues

Wastewater such as human waste has been dumped into the ground at most of remote areas. In these areas, both groundwater and soil pollution are impacted. This presentation is focused on these issues especially the pollution with nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N) with a case study on the removing method of NO3-N, “the Lauric-Acid-Soil system” (LAS system).

Dr. Tomio Suzuki was a wastewater treatment specialist in the Nagano Environmental Conservation Research Institute, Japan. One of his special fields is research on land disposal of wastewater. Since 2008 he has been voluntarily developing the method for removing NO3-N at Shinshu University, leading students and graduate students. An experimental result of the method developed for removing NO3-N, the Lauric-Acid-Soil system (LAS), will be shown at the conference. Dr. Suzuki also developed the SAT method for human waste treatment in alpine zones that has been used at lodges in the Japan Alps.

Thursday, July 24 FIELD TRIP (optional)

A journey to Rocky Mountain National Park for a hike to Gem Lake led by Joe Arnold.

Travel by chartered bus to the Park, hike up to Gem Lake (8800’) elevation, and see the solar dehydrating toilet in action. Joe was the Park Engineer who headed development of an innovative, remote location toilet design that can be constructed at minimal cost. This full day field trip is an optional extra cost event and the fee includes transportation and a picnic lunch.




Mount Fuji Huts


Sustainable Summit leadership team (acknowledged in the program with bio’s)

Ellen Lapham, Co-chair

Roger Robinson, Co-chair

(Bio posted on Wednesday July 22 program page)

John Leonard, NPS liaison

Jay Katzen, NPS liaison and Paddy Katzen, lodging hosts

Volunteers Jay Katzen and his wife, Paddy, will be greeting participants at Maple Hall and providing whatever assistance desired by conference attendees. Jay is an Alaskan resident and a seasonal Park Ranger at the Walter Harper Ranger Station in Talkeetna. He is a retired Foreign Service Officer and served four terms in the Virginia state legislature. Subsequently, he was CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, then chief of staff of the Peace Corps.

Volunteer Paddy Katzen grew up on a sheep station in western Victoria, Australia. She is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and a certified Landscape Design Consultant. As former Assistant Secretary of Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Paddy continues to apply her experience in promoting voluntary stewardship, environmental education, innovative technology, and joint ventures.

Phil Powers, AAC champion

Executive Director, American Alpine Club

(bio posted on Monday July 20 program page)

Remy Rodriguez, American Alpine Club Conservation and Volunteer Coordinator

Remy has dedicated years learning about global environmental issues in universities. She recently earned her M.A. in environmental leadership from Naropa University in Boulder, CO. She came to the American Alpine Club for her master's thesis project, and was hired to the staff a few months later, utilizing her education about people and planet. Sustainable Summits was the focus of the thesis, and is now part of her job. She has seen the conference grow from conversations and planning, to materializing. Remy plays a support role from the Golden office and works closely with the conference directors.

Pam Robinson (Conference Volunteer Food Coordinator)

Pam works seasonally for Denali National Park and one of her main passions is good food. Pam and Roger met in 1983 while participating on a remote Sierra Club Service Project in Denali where she was the food guru for 16 hungry volunteers. They live in a log house they built near Talkeetna, Alaska.

Christina Rinas, Conference Intern

Sustainable Summits student scholarship awardee

Christina Rinas is a graduate student at the Alaska Pacific University, and is interested in making scientific information more accessible to the public. Rinas, along with other students and Dr. Roman Dial are researching recent vegetation changes in wetlands, subalpine, and alpine areas located near Anchorage, Alaska. Prior to graduate school she worked for the National Park Service in Alaska and Texas.

Brad Rassler, Conference Intern

Freelance writer and graduate student at the Reynolds School of Journalism, University of Nevada, Reno; Sustainable Summits environmental media scholarship awardee

As a former organizational development consultant, Brad applied the paradigm of healthy ecosystems to his work with corporations and NGOs. Now as a student of journalism, he's fitting those natural principles to environmental storytelling intended to compel reflexive questioning of the choices we make in the outdoors. He's written about snowmaking impacts on the Lake Tahoe Basin and the implications of diminishing snowpacks on winter sports. Brad is a contributing editor at Tahoe Quarterly, and his stories have appeared in Ascent,Climbingand other outdoor publications. He has presented at the Oregon Sustainability Conference, the Society for Organizational Learning and Business for Social Responsibility. This summer Brad is serving as the oldest editorial intern in Alpinist Magazine'shistory.

THANK YOU to our volunteer team members from

Denali National Park and Preserve, the AAC, The Rockies Section of the AAC, The Colorado Mountain Club 


Conference Sponsors:


                                                                                                                                                 nps logo.jpg

Mt. Foraker

logo-foundation-petzl-noir large.jpg


Mt. Hunter

Block Expeditions Rainier Blue.jpgshield_color.jpg


Conference Supporters:

   LNT-logo.jpg  amga-logo-(4-color).jpeg  ASC_logo.jpg



Photo courtesy Menno Boermans.