keepwild! in Val di Mello

Posted on September 16th, 2014

The official opening of the Casera Pioda will take place on the weekend of September 27 and 28. Casera Pioda, a former alpine building today renovated, -also used for servicing mountain pasture – is located in the Val di Mello at an altitude of 1559 meters, in a fantastic rocky amphitheater at the foot of Monte Disgrazia. Mountain Wilderness International has been involved in the renovation of the Casera Pioda. We find, next to the granite walls, countless climbing blocks (Boulder) and a mountain stream with relaxing bathing spots. The objective of Casera Pioda is not only to offer a (green) roof to climbers, but also to raise awareness of durable mountain sports. Future plans include: a fresh vegetables permaculture, a mountain pasture, as well as events such as the « keepwild! » climbing days 2015.

You are cordially invited to visit the Casera Pioda this fall already. Some places are still available (carpooling possible) for the opening on 27 and 28 September. Contact MW Italia

Preserving the Dolomite mountains

Posted on September 16th, 2014

To commemorate the five-year anniversary of the Dolomites being named a World Heritage site, Mountain Wilderness Italy held a hike at Croda Rossa on 2 and 3 August 2014.

At the same time, the initiative aimed to raise public awareness about the need to strengthen the protection of this fragile environment. Mountain Wilderness object… Read more (English) or  also (Italian)

The alpine Line

Posted on September 15th, 2014

Or the Great Alps Crossing.

A Mountain Wilderness International emblematic project

Recently, we had the fortune to join the Mountain Wilderness France board, a dynamic team full of energy and creative ideas. Within this framework, it seemed consistent to us to establish a constructive parallel between our achievements as mountaineers and those of the association which militates to defend the values of the mountain, which is for us a wide land full of means of expression and sharing. For many years we have a dream, a shared idea full of significance; a bet to the size of the wilderness, both unifying and useful.

Today, along with Mountain Wilderness, we introduce to you this story, a story that will be written with you …


Yoann Joly and Yann Borgnet










A unique project born upon the encounter between two young mountaineers, Yoann Joly et Yann Borgnet, both sharing the same passion and values​​.



Together, we are part of a creative mountaineering motivated by discovery whatever the difficulty may be. This led us to imagine a great journey combining exploration and proximity put together. Thus, our desire to live a real adventure in the mountains that have seen us grow and which wants to be at the far opposite of the remote, expensive and high impact fashion expeditions. In this sense, we were largely inspired by Patrick Berhault’s philosophy, giving a secondary importance to pure performance and giving more room to an open practice.

This Great Alps crossing is a long travel route that should lead us, starting on February 2015, from Monte Cinto in Corsica to the Slovenian Triglav. All done, without motorized means. We will explore various options offered by soft mobility to rally the jewels of the Alps. From sailboat to paragliding, skiing or hiking. The various natural elements we will guide us from wall to wall, allowing us to express our mountaineering vision. The unique connections of aesthetic openings and great historical climbing routes will punctuate our journey during 5 months.

Sharing being at the heart of the project, we have the desire to include the highest number of people in this adventure, each one bringing his own stone to the common “kairn”! In essence, the purpose of the trip is to gather as many folks as possible, beyond the the mountaineering world, around common values​. Among these, the protection of natural environment plays a center place. The project is intended to be a platform for reflection and communication about these issues that affect us all.

In this respect, Mountain Wilderness International is a privileged interlocutor and a moral guarantor of this federative  project.

This is a call for participation of all those interested, nature lovers, members (or potential members) of Mountain Wilderness, the experienced,  the discoverers, all those who wish, in any manner whatsoever, to give life to this great collective adventure!



Official Opening of the Mont-Blanc Goûter Hut

Posted on September 12th, 2014

Ségolène Royal and French Alpine Cub President Georges Elzière

Ségolène Royal and French Alpine Club President Georges Elzière

When the Saint Gervais mayor and the president of the French Alpine Club together with several officials and mountain guides returned from the Goûter hut after celebrating its inauguration with a small crew, (the shelter is operational since the 2013 summer), the ”Grand Official Show” could begin at the Espace Mont-Blanc in Saint-Gervais on September 6, featuring the well publicized Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Ségolène Royal in person.

“I’ll have to do some workout before going-up there on my own” did she joke in her speech

The Ministerial Siren, singing a well rounded ecological song introduced to this vibrant parterre the delicate subject of Energy Transition “The “Goûter hut” proves that today in France the technologies to build positive energy buildings are real. If we can make such a building at the altitude of 3,800 meters, we can do the same at lower elevations. Thus, from now on , all new French public buildings should be of positive energy “, said the minister, while the law on energy transition is debated the present week at the National Assembly.

Sensitized by presentations surrounding the delivery of a report on global warming in France given to her during the afternoon at the Nid d’Aigle hut, she sent the convincing message that “France can become the land of environmental excellence and wishes that a smart partnership between the state and the territories is created. The work of the teams who created the new hut and the many technological innovations that make the high environmental quality of this building is a symbol of French capability”

Addressing the overcrowding problem of Mont-Blanc. In the process she announced that a consultation was launched under the mandate of the regional prefect with all stakeholders to review the possible options and to take decisions balancing tourism and preservation constraints of this natural area. “The mountain must remain a place of freedom, but preventive measures are needed,” she said. “We need to find ways to control the attendance of Mont Blanc, prevention actions are thus necessary”
Moreover, in his introduction, the mayor of Saint Gervais, Jean-Marc Peillex, which misses no opportunity to highlight his aspirations for a greater control over “his” royal way, has not failed to remind the incivility and risks taking actions identified and publicized this summer. For him, “awareness, prevention and education have shown their limits. It is becoming urgent that those who do not follow the mountain rules are punished [. . .] and to regulate access to the Mont Blanc”.
As he has become accustomed, the politician proposed several possible tracks, some of them surprising: enforce compulsory reservations at the hut through upstream controls, refurbish the old hut (opposing the obligation to demolish the old shelter as that was a condition for the creation of the new one) to increase (! I must be dreaming!) the sleeping capacity of the site, to fine those who are abusing the usage of rescue means, or assess the physical abilities of those attempting to climb Mont Blanc as it is done in other sports.

On the Royal way to the top… the saga goes on …


A vain gathering in Saint Gervais to save the Alpine Ibex of the Bargy Range

Posted on September 12th, 2014

Taking advantage of Ségolène Royal’s presence at the “Grand Opening” of the Goûter hut, a small crowd of seventy people, representing several environmental associations (including Mountain Wilderness), in support of FRAPNA  gathered in Saint Gervais on Saturday, September 6, to ask the minister to “stop the Alpine Ibex slaughter in the Bargy range »”.

Since the discovery of brucellosis on some ibex, 320 goats over 5 years old were slaughtered on October 2013 in the Bargy range. The, remaining 300, are the ones that the associations have come to defend.
An adviser to the minister had accepted to meet with a representative of the protesters. However according to Ségolène Royal (who did not personally accept meeting the associations): “We must accelerate the sanitation of the massif to preserve pastoral activities », she stressed in her speech at the Espace Mont-Blanc. “Well briefed” she was indeed, by the “nature lovers” who are Bernard Accoyer and Martial Saddier (two right radical French deputies) … so even if the game was not yet over, it was not engaged on the right footing …

But, the associations requests seemed reasonable, they wanted only the sick ibex to be eliminated. They argue that there is no need to kill them all as requested by the prefect because, they said, today there are adequate technical means to distinguish ill ibex from those that are not.
They asked for an arbitration by the minister to preserve healthy animals, also arguing that the ibex, a true symbol of mountain wildlife are a tourist attraction and that their reintroduction has been long and costly.

A quick decision was then expected : it came abruptly on Wednesday, September 10 : the minister had decided the final slaughter of all the Bargy Ibex.

This is a demonstration of what they call democracy in France, a country who continuously gives lessons to others. In this case the minister only paid attention to those who are close to the economy. Whereas the environmentalist movements have requested a meeting with her to present scientific facts, showing that no emergency situation dictated such a rapid and final decision, that this epizootic case was not that critical and could be either cured or selected killing of sick animals was possible and good enough to take care of the whole situation, they have just been ignored.
She did not even agree to have a discussion.

In France, elites only talk to elites, even more so when they are supposed to represent the people.

fabc6c2a3ce85cdff8c997ef40ab0eec (BM)

The Aiguille Rouge Natural reserve is 40 years old

Posted on September 12th, 2014

A haven for wildlife and flora.
rnn18-rn_aig_rouges006The Aiguilles Rouges National Nature Reserve is located in the Aiguilles Rouges mountain range, Haute-Savoie, in southeastern France.

In the reserve, one can find typical mountainous plant and animal species, such as Alpine Ibex, Chamois, Rock Ptarmigan, Golden Eagle, Rhododendron, and heather. Multiple lakes are located within the nature reserve, including Lac Blanc, Lac Noir, Lac Cornu, and Lac du Brévent.

Jean-Jack Queyranne, Rhône-Alpes region Presiden, Chamonix Mayor, Eric Fournier and all the people present on Friday, September 5,  at the “Lac Blanc” celebrated with Dominique Gubler, Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserves Association President,  the 40th anniversary of the reserve.

Eric Fournier, mayor of Chamonix highlighted that when the reserve was created in 1974, nobody was in its favour.

Under the leadership of Jean Eyheralde, pastor of Argentiere, a passionate naturalist, and Yvonne Gubler, geologist, it was originally intended to preserve the Col des Montets, which had become: a real dump.
Since then it it has become a little paradise and a very popular site even with the Chamonix valley inhabitants.
Managed by ASTERS, the Conservatory of Natural Areas of Haute-Savoie, this national reserve has an Advisory Committee in which Mountain Wilderness is represented.
It was the keystone to build the comprehensive nature preservation domain of the “South balcony of Mont Blanc” that we can enjoy today. The whole protection project was completed in 1991 and 1992 with the creation of two other natural reserves, the Carlaveyron National Nature Reserve, located at the bottom of the Diosaz canyon and the Bérard valley National Nature Reserve, whose landscaping are significantly contrasting with the famous ski areas of “La Flégère” and “Brévent” which which they surround.


Opening of the Lac Blanc pico hydro station

Posted on September 12th, 2014

IMG_0244The « Lac Blanc » hut in the Aiguilles Rouges range, near Chamonix is located on the famous (TMB) Mont Blanc trail and on the way to the « Aiguille du Belvedere » and « Col des Dards ». With its easy access from the Flegère cable car or from the Col des Montets it is on one of the most visited sites in the Chamonix valley with up to 37,000 visitors each summer.

For many years Jean-Charles Sage, the hut keeper, wanted to reduce the 2,500 liters of fuel (5307 kg of CO2) annual consumption needed for the hut’s energy, with a more environmental friendly solution.
Situated near a lake with drainage, the idea seemed evident, but was a ​​difficult and very expensive (€ 200,000!) proposition to realize: He had to find financial support. The municipality was finally convinced and found other partners such as the Region, the State, ERDF (the French National Electricity Distributor) and Ticos Beyon-Carbon (making carbon offsets) to complete this “Pico Centrale.” project


The instal1ation seems so insignificant that it will be invisible to most visitors.
Leaving the lake the water is directed to a small pipe for an about 60 meters fall feeding a miniature hydroelectric plant (the famous “Pico -Centrale “) which provides electricity for the hut. The turbine, hidden in a small building of a washing machine size produces 6 KWH to provide unmatched comfort to the Lac Blanc hut.
« It allows us the lighting of the hut and the use of electrical appliances in the kitchen, but also heating dormitories » said Jean-Charles Sage
The President of the Rhône-Alpes region, Jean-Jack Queyranne, showed a great interest in the project and hiked to this inauguration, together with the mayor of Chamonix and sixty participants invited by the municipality. (BM)


At the top! K2 Expedition ‘Women Climbing for Climate Change’ a Success

Posted on August 10th, 2014

07 Aug 2014

Photo courtesy: K2 Expedition Team

Photo courtesy: K2 Expedition Team

As part of the first Nepali Women K2 Expedition 2014, three young women climbers from Nepal – Maya Sherpa, Dawa Yangzum Sherpa and Pasang Lhamu Sherpa – successfully summitted K2 at about 14:45 local time on the afternoon of 26 July 2014. Climbing with the message ‘Women Climbing for Climate Change’, the team has set a new world record as the first women from Nepal to summit the second highest peak in the world. The team set off on their journey from Kathmandu to Pakistan on 17 June 2014.  (read article here)


Mountain Tourism and Sustainability in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan: A Research Review

Posted on August 2nd, 2014

A report produced by the University of Central Asia, Mountain Societies Research Institute has recently been published.

msri_activities_outcome_partnershipsThe paper reviews research on mountain tourism in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, identifies knowledge gaps and analyses the contribution of the literature to more sustainable tourism. Eighty-seven regional and international publications were analyzed using the United Nation’s 12 Aims of Sustainable Tourism Framework. Recommendations are made to broaden the scope and strengthen the quality of applied research to support the development of tourism as a driver of economic and social development in mountain communities and more broadly in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The report is downloadable here

Source: University of Central Asia

Back to a week-end for the Widerness in Mont-Blanc

Posted on July 23rd, 2014

Along with the General Assemblies of Mountain Wilderness International and proMONT-BLANC (the associations umbrella for the Mont Blanc protection ), a little crowd of mountain purists met in Chamonix during the week-end of June 15 in the Chamonix Valley.


Beyond the traditional statutory work of the associations the participants wanted to highlight their continued commitment to the protection of Mont Blanc, and to the preservation of wilderness spaces not only in this Alpine area but also in all the European mountains.


Quoting John Muir:
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

Eight mountaineers of various ages (Christophe Dumarest, Yoann Joly, Amy Bernard, François Labande Carlo Alberto Pinelli, Sébastien de Sainte-Marie, Claude Eckhardt and Carolina North) came together in the Majestic hotel to share with the public the experience of their relationship with the mountain environment and to explain how their practice in these pristine spaces helped them to become the fully living and sensitive human being they are today. These folks, some very young other less, simple climbers or seasoned mountain guides, other dubbed by their peers in prestigious Mountaineering Associations, have explained how much their wilderness experience had affected their lives, often growing them to become more self-confident, or to reconstruct oneself after an accident, to finally find in a “pacified” mountaineering practice the fullness of great scenery and the brotherhood of the climbing rope.

The Wilderness made me

Talking on the Wilderness

They also spoke of the difficulties to sometimes find this wilderness nearby in our overbuilt mountains, which sometimes pushes them to run across the world to find a peaceful or a wild place. Testimony is the story of this freezing bivi in the crude Eiger’s north face, watching the dancing lights and the sound of snow groomers at the foot of the face. One of them went on to described its genuine pleasure of camping atop an easy mountain with his little and marveled son in the heart of a National Park,… And all of them had this dream for future generations to be able to experiment this sense of grace!

Getting these feelings in the Mont-Blanc was the subject of another panel session during the weekend.
The “Citizen Meetings for Mont Blanc” was a time to take stock of the current environmental situation and to enable some pragmatic ways forward for an improved range protection. The debate focused on three themes: “Mont Blanc Nature”, “Can we do everything to Mont Blanc”and “Mont Blanc tomorrow.”
The debate, moderated by François Carrel, a journalist, included some, local and regional politicians, state representatives and some mountain environmentalist leaders.

Citizen meeting on Mont-Blanc protection

The Mont-Blanc protection in action

The first objective of this panel was to make known all the work currently in progress within the « Espace Mont-Blanc » to provide a new tri-national management plan for the range. Best known as”Future Strategy for Mont-Blanc”,its aim is to ensure that a coherent policy is put in place addressing all the major issues across the Mont-Blanc territories. The second was to allow all the stakeholders representatives (community, state, associations) to express their ambitions and wishes for the range, This has been achieved. To illustrate this, all players were in agreement to state that the acceptable boundaries of real estate developments had been crossed over and that we were already moving fast toward a critical threshold marking the end of a good environmental sustainability level.
For all of them, the Mont Blanc is still a major issue and a challenge which deserves to be addressed from multiple perspectives: nature, land management and living space.

Quoting several players :
For the Sub-Prefect :”the current legal structure [of the Future Strategy for Mont-Blanc] is rather soft” and he expressed the desire that the « Espace Mont-Blanc » adopts, “a more advanced legal structure that integrates a participatory democracy.”

Barbara Ehringhaus (proMONT-BLANC President), underlined that “the relationship between elected officials and associations have evolved from a frontal opposition to a constructive cooperation”.

The Regional Commissioner stated that “the Mont -Blanc area should be considered as a major European space of the Alpine Arc for experimentation and innovation.”

Following these debates MW International and proMONT-BLANC have adopted a motion inviting all the territory stakeholders to have greater ambitions and a stronger commitment to preserve this exceptional Mountain Range and in getting really involved in developing and implementing the « Future Strategy » for the environmental goodness of the Mountain, the Valleys and their Inhabitants. ..

>>See the “Motion for the Mont-Blanc Range Future

On the Airspace Management and Touristic Flyovers issue the associations have requested, for the entire Mont-Blanc territory, a similar regulation to the one currently enforced in all the Natural Parks and Natural Reserves of France in order to preserve the quietness of its wild spaces, its inhabitants and its visitors for a better appreciation of this breathtaking scenery and for an improved quality of life.

(VN, BM)

© Mountain Wilderness International