MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS INITIATIVES IN THE MONT BLANC
In its early phase following its creation, Mountain Wilderness had chosen to organize provocative initiatives having highly symbolic reach and offering the possibility for its members of a direct experience with the mountain environment reality. We have always been mountaineers/environmentalists and our defense of mountains has always been active, correct, and exemplary .
The first important spectacular initiative MW was the epic occupancy of of the Gigante Glacier cableway pole in the Vallée Blanche carried out by Reinhold Messner and other famous Italian climbers in 1988 when they unfolded a banner with the words:” Non à la télécabine. Mountain Wilderness”. There were many journalists, a crew of the Italian TV. The images of the banner, the ropes, the mountaineers, have been seen around the world. This was just after MW was born, the on-going battle to free the massif from that horrible installation started on that day, August 16th.
The Mountain Human Footprint Ratio project (or just Mountain Footprint, to use a short name) aims to measure the impact of the human activity on high mountains.
It was born after an expedition carried out by members of Mountain Wilderness Catalunya to Bolivia in 2010, where a first trial to evaluate human impact on these environments was done, ascending and studying three very different peaks. Since the results seamed to be quite interesting, it was decided to extend this kind of evaluation to other mountains all around the world, using a common and established methodology.
The project is based on the collaboration of volunteers that must provide the necessary data using a form, either online or in a file. The project is managed through a dedicated website, that explains how the project works, collects the data by means of the online form, and shows the collected data in a graphical way.
THE WAKHI PROJECT
The main purpose of the project is to support the development of adventure and outdoor tourism in western areas of the Great Himalayan mountain range (including Karakorum and Hindu Kush), which are rarely visited by foreigners. The aim is to create the infrastructure for a gentle and respectful kind of tourism that will improve the economic conditions of the communities living there without damaging the environment or harming the local cultural heritage.
For historical and environmental reasons, the Shimshal Valley (upper-Hunz -Gojal) enjoys a long well-established tradition of mountaineering. A number of local men have been hired by foreign mountaineering expeditions as high altitude porters. Some of them have summited 8000 m. peaks, including K2.