Featured, Mountaineering, Safety, UIAA

In recent months the UIAA – International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation – has been inundated with queries from climbers regarding the validity of equipment they have purchased.

It has been drawn to the UIAA’s attention that an increasing number of online retailers are selling products falsely bearing the UIAA Safety Label. A significant portion of these retailers are using popular online shopping sites. Very often products online are advertised as being UIAA-certified meaning they have been tested to the most exacting of international standards.

Beware, when a price seems too good to be true, become suspicious! Just because you see the UIAA name and logo advertised on a product doesn’t mean it is true.

Buying climbing gear over the internet is becoming increasingly complex and risky. And the risks of using counterfeit equipment can have severe and dire consequences.

Many websites do not verify descriptions sellers apply to their ads. And unfortunately, the UIAA does not have the resources to scan every single advertisement. In the near future, the UIAA plans on releasing a database regarding the mis-use of the UIAA Safety Label, a project climbers will be able to contribute to. The UIAA is also investigating establishing a closer relationship with some large online shopping websites to better police how products are advertised.

However, some help is at hand. You are able to verify all products which bear the UIAA Safety Label by visiting the dedicated UIAA database. This is updated every time a new product is approved.

There are also three supporting articles which will assist you when buying climbing gear. These make essential reading.

The first is the UIAA guide to buying climbing gear, the others articles produced by the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) and UK Climbing on the perils of purchasing gear online.

The UIAA Safety Commission is the only developer for international standards for climbing and mountaineering equipment. The Commission unites independent experts, national accredited laboratories and leading manufacturers working together to define a baseline for the performance of climbing equipment, developing and updating standards to minimise accidents caused by equipment failure or unsafe design.

The UIAA Standards were developed by mountaineers and climbers experts in the field of engineering for the global mountaineering community. They remain dynamic and are reviewed annually. The UIAA remains invested in the world of climbing and mountaineering, as a non-profit federation. The money earned from the UIAA Safety Label goes back into the continuing research and development of Standards, including other fields of safety within the UIAA including high-altitude medical advice and training standards.

When manufacturer’s gear conforms to a UIAA Standard, it signals that the company is supporting their mountain community, in more ways than simply providing a safe piece of gear. Look for the UIAA Safety Label when purchasing gear from certified manufacturers, it ultimately helps prevent injuries and save lives!

A full list of brands and manufactures whose products are UIAA Safety Label subscribers can be found here.

For any further questions, please write to:

Main picture: Climbing rope fully UIAA certified