Opening Keynote Speaker – Wally Berg

It all began at Philmont Scout Ranch when a young kid, only 16 years old, was hired off a Kit Carson Man crew to be a Ranger back in 1971. Wally Berg spent eight summers on the Philmont staff, working as a Ranger, Gateway Ranger, conservationist, trail crew foreman on the Rayado trail (“the best job I had at Philmont”), Director of Conservation, and Camp Director at Indian Writings. During that time, he started rock climbing while attending college in Durango. In 1979, he went to work for Colorado Outward Bound and continued his climbing. For 13 years, he worked for the ski patrol at Copper Mountain and honed his skills in the Colorado peaks. Then he began to go higher and farther.

Among the world‘s foremost expedition leaders and climbers, Wally has summited Everest four times, including guiding the International Everest Expedition in 1992 and the American Everest GPS Expedition in 1998. He and Scott Fischer were the first North Americans to climb Lhotse, the world‘s fourth-highest peak. On the GPS ascent he installed a Global Positioning System receiver near the Everest summit. During the 1990‘s, Wally became the foremost ―Seven Summits guide for climbers ascending the highest peak on every continent. His 2000 Embree Glacier Exploratory Expedition surveyed an unvisited region of Antarctica‘s Ellsworth Mountains.

With his wife Leila, Wally operates Berg Adventures International (BAI) from their home in Canmore, Alberta, offering quality learning and adventure trips worldwide and ascents of the Seven Summits. A trademark of BAI is that every journey is undertaken with humility to the landscape and respect for local cultures. Noting Wally’s success as a world-class mountaineer, explorer, and educator, Fort Lewis College granted him an honorary degree of Humane Letters. He is a member of The American Association of Avalanche Professionals, the Canadian Avalanche Association, the Wilderness Medical Society, and the American Alpine Club.

Wally’s dramatic photographs have been published in National Geographic Magazine, GEO, Time, and many other publications.

Colloquium Speakers and Topics

Subject to change.

The Colfax Colloquium is a collection of speakers on a variety of topics concerning Philmont and Philmont country. This collection has been prepared especially for the Philmont Staff Association Reunion at the Philmont Training Center, on July 25-31, 2010. There will be seven speakers in each of the following three categories: Art, History, and Science. The speakers in each category will give their presentations concurrently on Monday and Tuesday. All PSA members, spouses, and current Philmont staffers are welcome to attend.

20100612 Update: Download the latest schedule!


David Witt – How the Wolves of Union County Led Ernest Thompson Seton to Change America
Dawn Chandler – Of the Land & Spirit of a Woman of New Mexico: The Art of Dawn Chandler
Dick Woolheater – Flint-knapping-Replicating Stone Tools
Bill Cass – Ideals and Traditions of Scouting and Philmont as Revealed in Paintings
Father Don Hummel – The Philmont Chaplaincy
Deborah Blanche – If You Believe, They Will Believe: Historical Interpretation in Philmont’s Backcountry
Martin Pavletich – Art, Cimarron Style


Mary Stuever – Philmont Forestry
Doug Palmer – Philmont Backcountry for the Last 22 Years
Bob Ricklefs – Philmont Ranch Department Past and Present: People, Structure and Processes
Warren Lail – Philmont Archeology
Nathan Lay – Wilderness Medicine and the Philmont Health Lodge
Staff Bear Scientist – How Big Are They Really?
Amy Boyle – Dawson, NM – Beyond the Cemetery


Steve Zimmer – Vermejo Park: A History of a New Mexico Ranch
Dave Caffey – The Santa Fe Ring: Gilded Age Politics in Old New Mexico
Nancy Klein – The Phillips Family and Their Villa Philmonte
Henry Ostrander – The Santa Fe Trail – 57 Years of Commerce
Rich Loosbrock – Mining on the Margin: The Struggles of the Baldy Mountain Mining District
Harriet Freiberger – Lucien Maxwell: Villian or Visionary
Warren Smith – Philmont Ranger History

Register for the reunion now: Registered w/BSA | Not registered w/BSA