The annual UIAA Global Youth Series ice climbing camp in Guillestre, France was held from 5-11 February, 2017.

The camp comprised:

  • Instructor training for eight adults
  • Youth UIAA camp, 6 youngsters
  • Camp for youngsters from the Club Alpine Français, Toulouse, 8 youngsters (12-17 years)
  • Camp for eight youngsters from the regional Pyrenees alpine team
  • About 35 people including staff

The perfect location of this camp, in the French paradise of ice climbing, with many different sites, different types, one school pitch and several pitch, facilitated the organization of different groups and different places.  The six UIAA foreign participants came from South Africa, Japan and four climbers from Slovenia. The group comprised the presence of 12 female climbers.

The staff comprised myself, Bruno Colla, Charles Noiraud Mountain Guides, Philippe, Ericn Théo, Romain, Pierre, Coralie my daughter, all alpinism and ice climbing instructors.

There were two levels of participant, beginners and non-beginners. Beginners were managed by future instructors completing their training course, staffed by myself, Bruno, Charles and also other instructors of staff.

We spent several days on the site in Aiguilles, a small village in Queyras with an artificial school ice structure, as well as in Ceillac, Les Orres, Crevoux, Cervieres, Freissinieres.

During the week’s training camp, we explained:
– the use of different sorts of equipment (ice screw, crampons, ice axe)
– ways to climb safely on ice , on several pitches, to make a safe belay, and several absails
– the appreciation of the ice and its quality, a first approach on how to climb “dry tooling” and also how to manage an ice training school for inexperienced climbers.

Almost all of the UIAA participants attained the level of ice instructor.


Next year’s camp will take place from 18-24 February.

Report by Christian Biard, UIAA Youth Commission.