New Series: Guide to the world’s most iconic peaks

Featured, Mountain Medicine

A UIAA Medical Commission Working Group is embarking on an ambitious project to provide guidance about climbing some of the world’s most iconic peaks and famous mountain ranges.

In 2023, the Working Group released a revised guide to Denali (6194m), the highest peak in North America as well as a new paper on Fuji (3776m), one of Japan’s most recognisable landmarks. Scheduled for release in the coming weeks is a revision to the paper on Aconcagua (6961m), the highest peak in South America, and a first-time paper on Mount Kosciuszko (2228m), Australia’s tallest mountain.

Across 2024, the Working Group, made up of medical doctors and mountaineers from over 15 countries, plan on creating a paper for each of the Seven Summits. A guide to Everest (8848m), including both a trek to the south side (Nepal) Base Camp and then how best to climb to the summit via the south col route, is being drafted as is an update to the paper on Kilimanjaro (5895m), Africa’s highest point.

The papers provide a range of advice including the pros and cons of different routes, the best time(s) of year to climb, information on access and permits as well providing guidance on the experience required, what to consider and how to prepare. There is significant cross-over with the UIAA Medical Commission’s high-altitude papers. Covering topics including altitude sickness, drinking clean water, preparing for an expedition as well as specific advice for women, children and people with different medical conditions, important and relevant aspects from these papers are referenced.

“In one of its recent meetings, the UIAA Medical Commission decided that it was time not only to revise peak-specific papers but to focus on new peaks and mountain ranges, particularly ones which may attract inexperienced or novice climbers and sometimes where certain tour operators may not be providing complete information on some vital considerations. The Working Group is producing papers at an impressive pace and we also welcome requests from climbers concerning future papers the Commission could work on.”

George Rodway, UIAA Medical Commission, High Peaks Working Group lead

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Main photo: Fuji, stock library