Through the decades
On the 200th anniversary of the first ascent of Mont Blanc, a gathering of mountaineers in Courmayeur issues a statement in favour of establishing an international protected area covering the whole Mont-Blanc range.
The international congress “Mountain Wilderness– mountaineers from around the world take the defence of mountains” draws up the “Biella Theses” and founds Mountain Wilderness, an Italy-based international organisation.
May: cleaning action on Marmolada (Dolomites). August 16th: demonstration at Pointe Hellbronner to denounce the overexploitation of high mountains. Reinhold Messner and Alessandro Gogna climb on the main pylon of the Vallée Blanche cable car. October 22nd: congress in Evian. Mountain Wilderness France was founded, Haroun Tazieff being its President. Creation of Mountain Wilderness Greece.
April 23rd: demonstration on the Chavière glacier calling for respect for the integrity of the Vanoise Park. Patrick Berhault spends the night under the windows of the Mayor’s headquarters. June 9th-11th: first international meeting to protect Mount Olympus, threatened by several tourism projects. Further similar initiatives convince the Greek Government to give up the plan a few years later. June 19th: creation of Mountain Wilderness Catalunya. Italy: 3,500 people participate in the demonstration calling for protection of the Gran Sasso range. A few years later popular protest will lead to the establishment of a National Park (1992). August 16th: mountaineers from France and Italy meet on the Vallée Blanche and form the words “POUR LE PARC”.
August: “FREE K2”, the first cleaning expedition on a Himalayan peak.
June: creation of Mountain Wilderness Italy and of the International Committee of all Associations for the protection of Mont Blanc, which later took the name of “Pro-Mon Blanc”.
February 14th: signature of the Convention on climbing in the Ecrins National Park, which leaves a vast area untouched. March: creation of Mountain Wilderness de Ayllón, Guadarrama y Gredos. Summer 1992: “Transalpedes”, alpine crossing on foot, to arouse interest among elected officials and the public on Alpine issues and problems. François Labande participates on behalf of France and Mountain Wilderness.
Switzerland: first demonstration against heliskiing. August 1st: symbolic ascent of Mont Dolent from the Italian, French and Swiss sides. August 4th: launching of the campaign “Dolomites, World Heritage” 200,000 people sign the petition asking to put the Dolomites on the UNESCO World Heritage List; Mountain Wilderness Italy dismantles a via ferrata on Mount Casale.
Creation of Mountain Wilderness Switzerland. October 22nd-23rd: Mountain Wilderness Catalunya organises the first of three meetings in the mountains of the Mediterranean.
Mountain Wilderness Switzerland launches its campaign against military material abandoned in the mountains. Pakistan: Mountain Wilderness International organises its first Environment-Friendly Mountaineering course for Pakistanis. This course will be followed by similar ones, on a yearly basis, in Pakistan, India and later on in Afghanistan.
“Mont Blanc 2000”. Mountain Wilderness organises a series of demonstrations, in order to arouse public interest on the need to protect Mont Blanc. Some twenty MPs from France, Switzerland and Italy attend this campaign and ask their governments to take action in order to protect Mont Blanc and to promote its inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
National gathering against heliskiing. April: Trikala Congress for the protection of Greek mountains.
October 5th: Sierra de Guadarrama, cleaning action of the Nevero Peak by Mountain Wilderness.
Switzerland: Göschenen – a Model Region. Mountain Wilderness Switzerland involves all activists in the area in a sustainable development plan.
Mountain Wilderness takes part in the preservation of the Sierra Guadarrama water sources. “300,000 steps for the Mountains”: a long march from Turin to the summit of Mont Blanc. July: cleaning action in the Annapurna, organised by Mountain Wilderness Catalunya, and on Broad Peak with the support of Mountain Wilderness France.
February 25th: signature of “Mountains and Mountaineering – a Charta for the Year 2000”, committing mountaineers to respect and preserve mountains. April 14th: creation of Mountain Wilderness Germany in Munich. Madesimo (Italy): national gathering against snowmobiling. In Tyrol, demonstration against the closing of the “Ausserfernbahn” railway line, used by mountaineers and hikers. Everest: cleaning operation of the Mt. Everest South Col by Mountain Wilderness Catalunya.
April 8th: creation of Mountain Wilderness Slovenia. Mountain Wilderness France launches the campaign “Discarded Installations”; cleaning of the Sommeiller Glacier in Maurienne; Mountain Wilderness Switzerland creates a Centre for “Sustainable Mobility”; Mountain Wilderness Germany blocks the access road to Grosser Ahornboden situated in a protected area, asking for its closure to private cars.
International Year of Mountains. Mountain Wilderness Slovenia protests against a wind farm project to be built in an area chosen for the second National Park of the country. Mountain Wilderness Switzerland promotes the use of public means of transport. Mountain Wilderness Germany organises its first demonstration for the protection of the Pitztal Glacier against the building of an intermediate station and a cableway to the Linker Fernerkogl. This action will be repeated in 2004 and 2007, and the demonstration will be held on the Wildspitze, the highest summit of Tyrol. August 10th, Chamonix: launching of the campaign “SILENCE!” with the aim of stopping motorised activities in the mountains. August: first clearing action of abandoned military installations in Mercantour National Park. This action has been repeated every summer since then. In 2007, 73 tons of material have been collected. The campaign “Discarded installations” has been acknowledged by the French Ministry of the Environment.
“Lingering on Mont Blanc”. Mountain Wilderness Switzerland sets up a sustainable tourism network of actors in the Swiss Mont Blanc area. “OXUS – Mountains for Peace “: ascent to Mount Noshaq, the highest peak of Afghanistan, with the aim of symbolically launching a plan to help locals revitalise tourism and protect the environment in the northeastern part of the country. Fausto de Stefani, Irena Mrak, François Carrel and Marco Schenone start their ascent on July 27 and reach the summit, as no one had done in the last 25 years. Mountain Wilderness Italy launches its operation “Tenda Gialla” (Yellow Tent). Ever since this tent is put up in endangered sites. Mountain Wilderness Slovenia takes action against tourist infrastructures threatening the Triglav National Park. Mountain Wilderness Catalunya dismantles an industrial cable car in Vall Fosca.
Mountain Wilderness Switzerland and Germany organize two cleaning expeditions on Mount Kazbek, in Georgia, Caucasus.
January: first of a series of demonstrations against the “White Crossing”, in Champsaur, France where several hundred 4×4 and quads gather just outside the Ecrins National Park. March 27th: demonstration for the protection of French national parks threatened by changes in the law. Mountain Wilderness Italy is officially acknowledged by the Italian Ministry for the Environment as a public benefit organisation. September: a Memorandum for the protection of Triglav National Park is signed by a group of NGOs including Mountain Wilderness Slovenia.
Mountain Wilderness Germany protests against artificial snowmaking plants for the Alpine Ski World Cup in Garmisch-Partenkirchen 2011. August: Mountain Wilderness Slovenia organises a Congress on the protection of mountains. Within the framework of the “Fire in the Alps” campaign, torches are lit on the summit of Triglav, calling for its protection. Switzerland, Pic Chaussy: first demonstration within the “Discarded Installations” campaign. In 2007, the Swiss Federal Transport Office orders the dismantling of abandoned installations. Bauges, Col du Frêne: Regional Nature Park and Mountain Wilderness France dismantle a ski station abandoned 32 years before.
March 4th: demonstration in Sierra de Guadarrama (Spain) calling for the creation of a National Park. Sondalo (Italy): national meeting for the protection of clean mountain water. Mountain Wilderness Switzerland initiates a debate on “clean climbing” by publishing “Keepwild! Climbs”. Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Mountain Wilderness Germany launches its campaign “Back to the Wilderness” (Discarded Installations). June 24th: Mountain Wilderness France, France Nature Environnement and CIPRA France organise a day to draw attention on “sustainable mobility” in the Oisans region. June 25th: a group of mountaineers from Aragon organises a series of symbolic ascents in the Pyrenees, within the framework of “Cumbres Vivas” (Living Peaks). July 27th: Mountain Wilderness France and Frapna denounce the State for granting a permit to connect intermediate stations throughout the Turra range, in the upper Maurienne. September 16th: cleaning action in the Sierra de Guadarrama, which will be repeated in 2007. December 5th: creation of Mountain Wilderness Belgium.
February: a new congress on the protection of Triglav leads the government to include Marjeta Kersic Svetel from Mountain Wilderness Slovenia and Jernej Stritih from CIPRA in the group of experts having the task to submit a draft law on National Parks. Stelvio National Park: Mountain Wilderness Italy holds a rally against the exploitation of the glacier. Mountain Wilderness Switzerland launches the first Prix Wilderness awarded to exemplary initiatives for the protection of wilderness. Mountain Wilderness France launches the competition “Change your Approach!” to promote the use of public transport in mountain areas. August 1st: ascent of Mont Dolent. Mountain Wilderness seizes the opportunity to re-launch the protection of Mont Blanc. August: Mountain Wilderness supports the first trek in Afghanistan since the Soviet invasion in 1978. Participants are assisted by Afghans trained by Mountain Wilderness. September 17th: Mountain Wilderness France is acknowledged by the Council of State as a public benefit organisation.
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