UIAA Rock Climbing Festival &
Rock Climbers Awards

Encouraging those who embrace rock climbing

The UIAA is proud to reward those who promote responsible rock climbing. Ever since its foundation in 1932, the UIAA has supported and developed mountain sports and rock climbing in parallel with its commitment to protecting the environment in which they are practised. High mountains, big walls, bouldering, ski mountaineering, ice climbing and rock climbing; these are all activities in the DNA of the UIAA and run in parallel to its commitment to sustainable practices.

5,000 CHF in prizes

UIAA Rock Climbing Awards

Rewarding the true spirit of rock climbing

Since 2015 the UIAA has offered two annual Rock Climbing honours – the UIAA Rock Climbers’ Award and the UIAA Rock Climbing Festival Award. These awards – awarded at the same event – are offered to climbing festival organisers, and participants in those festivals, in recognition for meeting the criteria of the UIAA Rock Climbing Working Group.

During the assessment process for the Award, festivals are reviewed and a shortlist is drawn up of those which meet UIAA criteria and support the development of climbing in a particular region. It is an opportunity for the UIAA to offer support in the development of climbing and offer advice to organisers in terms of safety, sustainability and sport. It is also an opportunity to showcase diverse climbing styles and the points of the UIAA Climbers Manifesto.

Festival Selection

Following an initial trial year, one or two festivals are selected in a particular continent or continental region according to the following criteria:

  • The festival is organized or approved by a national member federation of the UIAA.
  • The festival is in accordance with the UIAA values.
  • Contribution is made to sustainable development of rock climbing in their country and/or continent.
  • Recognition of the efforts of climbers during the festival regarding notable ascents and other may be made.
  • UIAA Safety label equipment must be used in any workshop held.
  • Prominent climbers from that country or region participate.

The host events are published on the UIAA website at least two months in advance.

The festival must include a sustainable action plan with, at least, one of the following projects:

Promotion of  ‘Rock Climbing for All’

  • Rock Climbing for Youth
  • Para-Rock Climbing or diversity in climbing
  • Rock Climbing workshops and promoting safe practice in all styles of climbing appropriate to the region or venue
  • Evidence of sustainable climbing initiatives

Preservation of the environment

  • Environmental education around rock climbing
  • Protection of the fauna and the flora
  • Environmental sustainability and good practice

Contributing to economic development

  • Creation or development of Rock Climbing community
  • Promotion of climbing tourism in a sensitive manner
  • Sustainable job creation, support for clubs or rescue organisations

UIAA Rock Climbers’ Award Criteria

Within the framework of this festival, the Award also recognizes the commitment of climbers in the international rock climbing community in one or more of the following aspects: Safety, Sustainability, Sport. Climbers are recognised for their inspiring ascents or performances during the event  and their contributions to the country, region or continent as ambassadors of the climbing community. In doing so meeting UIAA values and displaying a spirit of friendship and fair-play.

Past Award Locations
Africa – South Africa
2016: Europe

Upcoming Award Locations
2018: Central/South America
2019: Asia

Award Allocation

In addition to prize money being allocated, the benefits of winning these Awards are tangible, notably promotion within the UIAA’s international network (see testimonials below). The UIAA will contribute to other prizes at the festival in agreement with the organiser.

Festival organisers: 3,000 CHF
Climbers prizes: 2,000 CHF

For 2018 the UIAA is inviting applications from Central and South American festivals only. The application deadline is 1, April 2018.

UIAA Rock Climbers’ Award – Past Winners

 2017 Season

12-16 July International Climbers’ Festival (United States)

The popular five-day event welcomed over 1,000 participants including a number of recognised international climbers representing some 37 US states and 16 overseas countries from Asia, Australasia, Europe, North and South America. This International Climbers’ Festival was recognised for its status as a rock climbing event for all types of climbers (from experienced to youth to para), a commitment to the preservation of the environment and a contribution to local economic development.

“Recognition by the UIAA affirms for us that we are achieving our goals. We will continue to review our practices and work to keep the ICF inclusive, fun, and focused on educating attendees.” Festival Director Elyse Guarino

 2016 Season

7-9 October Kalymnos Climbing Festival (Greece)

Rewarded for:

  1. Commitment to sustainable practices
  2. Support for the climbing community
  3. Exceptional experience in organizing international climbing festivals

Individual Climber prizes offered to:

  1. Urko Carmona & Simone Salvagnin – Para climbing and inspirational performance
  2. The UIAA also recognized the male, female and mixed team category winners of the open climbing day

“We are honoured to receive this award, the financial support will help us develop the Kalymnos rescue team and will be put towards making an even greater event next year.” Kalymnos Climbing Festival  2016

 2015 Season

13-14 June Original Climbing Festival (South Africa)

The Rock Climbers Award acknowledged the athletes while the support of the UIAA for the event endorsed our principle of celebrating many aspects of rock climbing,” Roger Nattrass, Southern Rock Origin Mountain Festival.

14-16 August Aggtelek Climbing Festival, Hungary

The Aggtelek Climbing Festival was the recipient of the 2nd UIAA Rock Climbers’ Award. The festival is one of Europe’s longest-running as takes place on a UNESCO World Heritage site, with the rock towering over the entrance of the largest stalactite cave in Europe. Climbing is only permitted for two days a year and the festival is a showcase of the exemplary collaboration between the organisers and the local National Park, a true promotion of climbing and respect for the environment.

Award Assessment Team 

Anne Arran

A former British climbing champion, international competitor and junior climbing team coach. Anne has been on expedition to many countries and is familiar with local climbing scenes. She is still a keen climber and runs an accommodation/outdoor activities business mainly in the French Pyrenees.

Peter Farkas

Peter comes from Hungary and is vice President of the UIAA and a civil engineer. He began at the UIAA in 2002 as journal editor. He is an active rock climber and a former member of the Hungarian Youth National Team and was once President of the Hungarian Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation.

James ‘Marc’ Beverly

Marc is a member of the American Alpine Club and part of the UIAA Executive Board. He is an IFMGA Mountain Guide, DiMM, Physician Assistant, and is pursuing a PhD in Exercise Science. He is also a UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup competitor and sits on the International Commission of Alpine Rescue.