Mountain Wilderness was founded in 1987 in Biella, Italy during an international conference convened by Ludovico Sella, scion of a prominent piedmontese family of financiers, statesmen and mountaineers, among which Quintino Sella, the 19th century founder of the Italian Alpine Club. This conference was a follow-up to a similar gathering of mountaineers convened by the Italian Academic Alpine Club on August 8 1986, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the first ascent of the Mont-Blanc. On this occasion, a “manifesto for Mont Blanc” was issued and signed by a number of renowned mountaineers, among which Sir Chris Bonnington, Yvon Chouinard, Reinhold Messner, Doug Scott. This manifesto called for a foundational human right to “open spaces for free adventure”. The Biella conference attracted a larger attendance of mountaineers and intellectuals from all over the world, several of whom were to become founding guarantors and founding members of Mountain Wilderness. Among them were Haroun Tazieff, Kurt Diemberger, Jim Bridwell, John Junt, Wanda Rutkiewicz. The “Biella theses”, on which the above mission statement is based, were written during this meeting.

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