Sustainable Summits 2016, 1st day, 8th Aug

Many people arrived the evening before the conference and after registration enjoyed a social hour or two at the Dept of Conservation [DOC] Visitor Centre where we were welcomed by organiser John Cocks and Mike Davies the manager of Mt Cook National Park

Aoraki Mt Cook road
Aoraki Mt Cook as seen from the road to the conference venue

The conference kicked off on Monday 8th Aug. with a whakatau / welcome given by Justin Tipa, with support by Takerei Norton, Ngai Tahu, and Sustainable Summits conference Leaders at the Ed Hillary Center in the Hermitage Hotel

Sustainable Summits 2016, The Hermitage Aoraki Mt Cook
Reception of the conference venue, the Hermitage Aoraki Mt Cook

Background [Please scroll down to see the slide show – many thanks to Ross Cullen for supplying the words]:

The first Sustainable Summit Conference was held in Colorado in 2010 as Exit Strategies with a focus on, yes, human waste. The Conference was organised by the American Alpine Club and the American National Park Service under the leadership of Denali Mountaineering Ranger Roger Robinson and Ellen Lapham of the American Alpine Club.  The event was well received and was attended by about 90 interested participants from throughout the US and several 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.

Sustainable Summits 2016, Mt Sefton, Aoraki Mt Cook National Park
Mt Sefton on the left with Footstool to the right, as seen from the conference venue. Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

Support has been gratefully provided, particularly by the lead organisations of: the New Zealand Alpine Club, the Department of Conservation, the Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand, 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 Aoraki Solutions, Adventure Consultants, TRC Tourism, and Earth Sea Sky – thanks to all.

Sustainable Summits 2016 sponsers

The Sustainable Summits conference organisation is made up of passionate people, supported by their dedicated organisations and gives the chance to renew old friendships and create new ones, then return home with renewed vigour to assist in sustaining wonderful mountain environments and to continue recreating amongst them.

It is hoped there will be future conferences in other countries, and it was announced at the end of this 2016 conference that the next, in two years time, will be in Chaminox France, with a focus on mountain issues pertinent at that location and globally.

The approach will continue to be one that encourages other countries to seriously look at hosting future conferences.
Ngā Mihi
Dave Bamford and John Cocks

After the official opening by Senior Government representative DOC Director General the event got underway starting with Ngāi Tahu and sacred New Zealand Mountains
Justin Tipa and Takerei Norton, Ngāi Tahu

Session 1

  • Antarctica to the Southern Alps – an approach to sustainability by Lou Sanson – DOC Director General and previously CEO Antarctica NZ
  • New Zealand Mountains Falling Down by geologist Simon Cox
  • Panel Discussion Q&A
    Speakers and from the floor

Session 2

  • Field Visit – Local Natural Hazards (2 options) and Hermitage recycling
    Don Bogie, Simon Cox, Shirley Slatter and Ray Bellringer

Session 3

  • Mountain Sustainability Issues facing Mont Blanc
    Olivier Moret and Pascal Mao
  • Retreating New Zealand Glaciers
    Brian Anderson
  • Panel Discussion Q&A
    Speakers and from the floor

Then after a social hour and dinner a panel discussion on ‘Commerce in the Mountains’ by Suze Kelly, Peter Rupitsch, Dawa Steven Sherpa, Robin McNeill, Erik Bradshaw and Geoff Gabites. Moderator Hugh Logan

Slides of the various presentations/events in chronological order – click on any one to see a slide show [these images are a free download, they’re 750 px wide and thus good for FaceBook, however they are not right-clickbale, so if you email I’ll temporarily disable this so they can be easily dragged or copied..

Sustainable Summits PODCAST DAY 1 ~ courtesy of Carla Braun-Elwert. Filmmaker, editor and artist


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Aoraki Mt Cook village, Glencoe Stream
Glencoe Stream, Aoraki Mt Cook village