In 1987, Ludovico Sella, scion of an outstanding piedmontese family of financiers, statesmen and mountaineers, including Quintino Sella, founder of the Italian Alpine Club, convened an international conference, a follow-up to a similar meeting that had been held by the Italian Academic Alpine Club the year before, on the 200th anniversary of the first ascent of Mont Blanc, ended with the drawing up of a “Manifesto for Mont Blanc”. The Biella conference attracted a larger number of mountaineers and intellectuals from all over the world, many of whom became the founding fathers and mothers of Mountain Wilderness, such as Haroun Tazieff, Kurt Diemberger, Jim Bridwell, John Junt, Wanda Rutkiewicz. The conference and the “Biella theses”, our manifesto, drawn up at that conference, marked the birth of our organisation.
At that conference, twenty-one International Guarantors were elected among world’s most renowned mountaineers. Their purpose was to ensure that the new organisation would continue to stand by the principles laid down in the Biella Theses. Sir Edmund Hillary was appointed Honorary President. Among the first International Guarantors were Kurt Diemberger, Chris Bonington, Jim Bridwell, John Hunt, Wanda Rutkiewicz, Bernard Amy, Francois Labande, Michel Piola, Harun Tazieff, as well as the Italians Reinold Messner, Roberto Osio, Carlo Alberto Pinelli and Alessandro Gogna.
Over the years, MW has gradually opened up to anyone who loves mountains, wishes to protect them and shares the principles of our organisation.