Exploring the Wild Edges of Our dangerous, Changing Planet




About John

Professional Bio

Dr. John All is a Research Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Huxley College of the Environment, at Western Washington University and the author of ICEFALL: Adventures at the Wild Edges of Our Dangerous, Changing World.  He is a geoscientist whose life has been devoted to exploration around the world as he examines how climate change and resource management interact to impact communities and the biosphere in mountainous regions. Dr. All did his undergraduate work at Duke University.  He has a JD in International Environmental Law and a Master’s Certificate in Environmental Ethics from the University of Georgia, and a PhD in Geography, Applied Anthropology, and Global Environmental Change from the University of Arizona.  Dr. All worked with the United Nations for 6 years as a Program Officer for the Climate Change and Human Health Initiative, has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Arizona, Tribhuvan University in Nepal, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Peru, and was most recently at Western Kentucky University. He has over forty scholarly works and has received over $2,000,000 in research funding and exploration grants. He is a member of the IUCN Mountain Protected Areas Network, and on the Geology and Geography Committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


John is a Lifetime Fellow of the Explorers Club in New York City. Dr. John All has climbed Mt. Everest (via the North Col/Northeast Ridge) without crampons, as well as Denali, Artesonraju, Mt. Blanc de Tacul, Alpamayo, El Capitan in Yosemite, and hundreds of other mountains around the world.  He has led dozens of expeditions on five continents in extreme locations from deep caves to tropical rain forest, deserts to the world’s highest mountains – including expeditions to Mt. Everest. He has a paraglider pilot’s license, is a certified SCUBA rescue diver, and spent several years with search and rescue teams.  He has been part of several rugby championship teams, was a semi-pro volleyball player in graduate school, and won two national championship awards in his division at the United States American Decathlon in high school.  He is a snowboarder, skier, mountain biker, long distance sea kayaker, and caver who has mapped caves all over the world.  He has traveled to over fifty countries and lived for more than a month in 16 of them.  He has hiked large sections of the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Inca Trail. During all of these adventures, he has studied how humans adapt to their local environments in order to find commonalities that can inform societies as they adapt to our changing planet.



Favorite Rock climb

Snake Dike, Yosemite, USA

Favorite Alpine Climb

Artesonraju, North Face, Peru

Favorite Paragliding

Pokara, Nepal

Life is a crooked road. No matter the pain or heartache, if you are happy where you are now, then you took the right path.




Dr. All is interested in expanding our understanding of climate change impacts on the biosphere in remote locations, and identifying ways in which resource management can inform climate change adaptation more broadly.  He also uses his law degree to examine policy responses and inform local conservation decision-making.  His work combines remote sensing change detection techniques with local stakeholder interviews and mixed methods data generation and analysis to examine adaptation strategies in areas undergoing environmental change.  He began his career with a focus on exploring the Colorado River Delta and Sierra Madre of northern Mexico as part of his PhD research.  It was here he created the first published map and description of the Laguna Salada.  He found similar environmental issues in southern Africa in the Okavango Delta, and helped map the poorly understood greater Chobe River system in Botswana and Namibia.

While he found these remote regions compelling, his heart has always been in the mountains.  This led him to slowly shift his interests into the Himalaya and Andes.  He spent a year in Nepal on a Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship studying alpine climate change and adaptation and that led to his current research.  

Current Activities

Dr. All is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the American Climber Science Program (ACSP); This group of volunteers is able to further the goals of exploration by bringing scientists, students, and climbers into the mountains of the world to conduct environmental research and engage in conservation activities.  Through the ACSP, experienced volunteer climbers assist in conducting research while also helping scientists and students learn to survive and work productively in these hostile environments.

While climbing in Nepal in 2014, Dr. All was struck by two life changing experiences.  First, part of his team was killed on Mt. Everest by an avalanche.  Then, mere weeks later, he fell into a 70-foot deep crevasse and broke 15 bones - including 6 vertebrae, severely dislocated his shoulder, and was bleeding internally. He had to climb free while completely alone.  Through these experiences and others, he has been able to serve as a keynote and motivational speaker, inspiring groups of up to 6500 people.  Dr. All has also made nearly 150 public appearances at conferences, invited talks, and seminars.  He has been quoted on these experiences and as a climate scientist by major media outlets globally – most recently in National Geographic and the Washington Post.