Featured, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, UIAA

First launched in 2015, the annual UIAA Rock Climbing Festival Award is a celebration of rock climbing in its purest form, placing an emphasis on events which put the climber and the sustainable development of rock climbing at its very core.

The Award recognises festivals which meet, or excel, in some or all of the criteria of the UIAA Award. In more specific terms, this refers to festivals which inspire the development of climbing in their region notably among youth groups, present a robust sustainability programme, promote safe climbing, foster a sense of community among climbers and the local population, and are organized or approved by a national member federation of the UIAA. Development festival projects may also be recognised where there is no UIAA member federation present in the country.

The 2018 Award, the fourth of its kind, focused specifically on attracting festivals from Central and South America. Following a selection progress made by the UIAA Award Assessment Team, the three nominated festivals come from Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. The Festival de Boulder de Mar del Plata in Argentina and the Capixaba Climbing Festival held in the Espírito Santo region of Brazil are both recognised by UIAA member federations. The third event – BLOQUEando in Bolivia – is held in a country where there is currently no UIAA member federation. The event is though supported by AGMTB (Asociacion De Guias De Montaña Y Trekking De Bolivia), part of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations.

2018 Candidates
ArgentinaFestival de Boulder de Mar del Plata
Bolivia: BLOQUEando
Brazil: Capixaba Climbing Festival

The UIAA will support all three festivals by sharing its best practices and providing expertise for use in dedicated workshops held during the events and designed to support climber development. This will include information about the importance of the UIAA Safety Label, high-altitude medical advice, training standards together with the UIAA’s work in mountain protection. The Rock Climbing Festival Award team is happy to discuss any sport, youth or tourism development aspect of a festival that the UIAA may be able to help with. This could also include funding of sport or other regional development initiatives that could partner the festival in the future. The UIAA can learn more about the situation and the specific needs of the climbing community in your country. A member of the Award team will be on hand to meet with organisers and provide feedback to the winners.

Reflecting on the 2018 Award, Award Assessment Team member Anne Arran (BMC, UK) commented: “We are excited to be get to know better and benefit more climbing communities in Central and South America. Working closely with event organisers and their federations, we want to support rock climbing development and the UIAA rock climbing’s objectives in your region. We are also looking forward to making contact with those countries who didn’t apply this time due to time constraints or for any other reason. Every situation is very different for organisers in different countries and we look to inspire and welcome you to the UIAA family.”

As well as benefitting from the expertise of UIAA Commissions and projects, all three festivals will receive a nomination logo to confirm their event meets the criteria for the UIAA Award and will be promoted through the UIAA’s international communication channels including the recently launched Rock & Ice climbing calendar platform. The winning festival will be announced later this summer and receive up to 2,500 USD in prize money to support future development.

Application for the 2019 Award opens in the autumn and is reserved for festivals held on the Asian continent.

Past Winners:

International Climbers’ Festival (United States)

Kalymnos Climbing Festival (Greece)

Original Climbing Festival (South Africa)
Aggtelek Climbing Festival, Hungary

Further Information:
About the UIAA Rock Climbing Festival Award