Safety standard for braking devices published

The UIAA Safety Commission has published the first-ever safety standard for braking devices. It lays out performance parameters and testing procedures for belaying and abseiling devices. The purpose of the new standard is to give climbers and mountaineers confidence that these critical pieces of gear meet the UIAA’s strict safety criteria. Manufacturers meeting the standard can now apply for the new label, and if certified, can display it on rope braking devices from September 30, 2009. “The...

New code lays out ethics and best practices

The UIAA is updating a mountain code, putting into ink mountaineering’s longstanding values of good sportsmanship, respect for cultures and care for the environment. The draft code is intended to reach all who love mountain sport, from the hut-to-hut hiker to the expedition alpinist. It also addresses some of the biggest debates in mountaineering today, such as the use of bottled oxygen on 8,000-meter-peak attempts. The intent, say mountaineers involved in the process, is to create a document...

New partnership between UIAA and AISTS

The world’s largest climbing and mountaineering organisation and a leading sport academic centre are joining forces to collaborate on education programmes, research and personnel training. On Wednesday, July 15, the UIAA signed a cooperation agreement with the International Academy of Sports Science and Technology (AISTS), a centre of sport education and research based in Lausanne, Switzerland. The UIAA is the first world sport governing body to enter such an agreement with the AISTS. The UIAA has a longstanding...

Latest advice on neurological disorders and medical contracts

he documents on the disorders and contracts for expedition doctors are the latest in a series of recommendation papers published by the UIAA Medical Commission. The “Travel to Altitude with Neurological Disorders” paper looks at different neurological conditions and the problems they may cause at altitude. It assesses the affects altitude may have on the conditions and provides advice on whether or not they are likely to worsen. Migraines, transient ischemia of the brain, multiple sclerosis, neuromuscular disorders and...

Pit Schubert receives UIAA honour at OutDoor trade fair

Engineer and mountaineer Pit Schubert was honoured by the UIAA and DAV (German Alpine Club) on July 16 at the OutDoor trade fair in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The international federation and German club chose to put the spotlight on Schubert for his lifetime contributions to making mountaineering and climbing safer. The German climber played a major role in establishing the UIAA Safety Label, recognised as the world's leading standard for mountaineering equipment. "When I started my work on safety...

First-ever safety standard for braking devices

For the first time, the UIAA has developed a series of tests for braking devices designed to give climbers and mountaineers confidence that these critical pieces of gear meet the federation’s strict safety criteria. The UIAA Safety Commission adopted a draft of the first-ever safety standard for braking devices at its May meeting in Golden, Colorado. The standard, which will be published and available from September 30, 2009, lays out performance parameters and testing procedures for...

Exemplary eco-efficiency shown again on Mt. Everest

The UIAA Mountain Protection Commission has praised the efforts of the members of the Eco Everest Expedition 2009 for highlighting environmentally friendly practices in mountaineering. For the second year in a row, the expedition - lead by Dawa Steven Sherpa - displayed eco-sensitive, cost-effective ways of climbing the mountain last month. The team’s aim was also to raise awareness of the threat global warming poses to the Himalayas. Linda McMillan, president of the UIAA Mountain Protection Commission, congratulated the...

Urgent action needed to prevent deaths among Himalayan pilgrims

The UIAA Medical Commission says better education is urgently required to prevent the deaths of pilgrims going to high altitudes in the Himalayas. High-altitude sickness may have been responsible for the deaths of at least eight Indian pilgrims over the past couple of weeks during the pilgrimage to the Kailash Manasarovar area, located at 4,560 metres above sea level near the Nepal-Tibet border. “Because pilgrims typically ascend very rapidly by helicopter, planes or vehicles, they are unable...

Executive tackles reform and new Mountain Code

The UIAA is moving forward on issues of key concern to the world’s mountaineering community. At the recent meeting in Plas Y Brenin in Wales, the Management Committee took action on the reform of UIAA commissions, drafting a “Mountain Code” on ethics and best practices, and examining the role of the UIAA in the Olympic Movement. The Management Committee (executive level responsible for policy implementation) agreed to merge the Access and Expeditions commissions to improve effectiveness. Clare...

Medical Commission gives advice on contraception at altitude

The document, the latest part of a series of recommendation papers by the commission, is a valuable source of information for women going on expeditions, especially to altitude. It provides the most up-to-date information on the topic. (see "Advice and Recommendations" page). A lot of women using contraceptives on expeditions, or at altitude, are doing so in order to control or regulate their menstruation cycle, and not just for contraceptive reasons. This document has been produced...