Shiraz, renowned for its green spaces and vibrant literary scene – earning the sixth-largest city in Iran the interchangeable nicknames the ‘city of gardens’ and ‘city of poets’ -, will provide the setting for the 2017 UIAA General Assembly on Saturday, 21 October. Hosting the event is the I.R Iran Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation (IMSCF), a historic, dynamic institution looking forward to welcoming the UIAA and the international climbing and mountaineering community in a little under two months’ time.

The federation, which today serves 18,000 members in a country with 64,000 insured climbers, first came to being in 1948. A significant membership with a close, patriotic affiliation for Iran’s mountains. Federation President Reza Zarei explains: Iranian culture is intertwined with stories of Iranian mythology, where the role of the mountain is highly valued. 52 percent of Iran’s surface area are mountainous and all of Iran’s provinces have high mountains. More than 280 peaks over 4000 meters are located in the country.”

Image: Ski mountaineering in Alamkuh. Courtesy:

Those discovering Iran will be able to appreciate a magnificent, diverse mountain environment. Foreign visitors, principally coming to ski and trek, are regularly drawn to the alluring Damavand, Alam-kuh and Zardkuh ranges. For its national members, the federation focuses on two principal fields as Zarei explains: “The main approach of the federation is in the development of public hiking and activities related to the professional development of mountaineering through educational courses. We run activities in indoor climbing, ice climbing, dry tooling and skyrunning from amateur level to professional.” 

The three pillars of the UIAA are safety, sport and sustainability, all areas the I.R Iran Mountaineering and Sport Climbing federation is active in. In terms of safety, the IMSCF organizes search and rescue courses extending this support to sports clubs affiliated with the federation. In mountain protection, the federation’s Environmental Committee spearheads educational courses promoting basic mountain protection values and providing environmental strategies based on the guidelines of the country’s Environment Office of the Ministry of Sports and Youth. Affiliated provincial associations each have working groups corresponding to the same goal. In mountain protection, the federation has spearheaded a waste management project which has improved the worrying tourist waste situation in the higher reaches of the Damavand mountains. This project not only had short-term ambitions but long-term goals. More details can be found here.

UIAA Global Youth Summit event, July 2017. Image courtesy:

One of the federation’s core commitments is to the country’s youth, not only in providing courses in mountain safety and protection, but encouraging participation and providing a clear path for development. In mountaineering, the federation has organized a number of UIAA Global Youth Series events, the latest International Summer Camp taking place in July 2017.

Iran is also one of the most active countries in training ice climbers for the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour. Fifteen Iranian athletes competed in the most recent season, with a number making impressive progress in both lead and speed. Among these are Mohammdreza Safdarian in men’s lead (17th overall and World Cup finalist in Saas Fee) and speed (11th overall, the fastest non-Russian athlete). Compatriot Masoud Zeynali finished 13th.

Iranian ice climber Zeinab Kobra Mosavi. Copyright: Patrick Schwienbacher/UIAA

In the women’s competition the most impressive performer was Zeinab Kobra Mosavi, 18th in lead, 11th in speed (finalist in Cheongsong). Iran has also produced the renowned speed climber in sport climbing, Reza Alipour, known as the “Persian Cheetah”.

The IMSCF is proud to have been selected to host the 2017 UIAA General Assembly and is looking forward to welcoming delegates from UIAA member federations to Iran. As part of its commitment to showcasing the country, it has put in place a number of additional programmes for any delegates and guests wishing to discover more about Shiraz or Iran’s mountains areas.

International events are considered very important for Iran in terms of both national and international dimensions,” adds Zarei. “In the international aspect with hosting the foreign representatives we are striving to change the negative stereotype of Iran and in national terms hope to attract the attention of the media and authorities to help the growth of climbing and mountaineering.”


Key Information
UIAA member federations attending the 2017 UIAA General Assembly are reminded that key logistical information related to the event, meetings and additional programmes are available in the UIAA Members’ Portal.

Delegates are informed that there have been some recent updates to accommodation and visa details (explanation and form). Registration for the 2017 UIAA General Assembly closes on 22, September 2017. For further details please contact


Further Reading

I.R Iran Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation