Opening 2024 UIAA youth camp held in Guillestre

New Zealand, Notices member countries, Youth
Image credit: Quitterie Casagrande

The opening event of a busy calendar of UIAA youth events took place in the Hautes-Alpes, France in February.

Organised by the French national federation (FFCAM) and members of the UIAA Youth Commission, the Ice Climbing Camp in Guillestre has been a staple of the UIAA youth calendar for over a decade.

The camp brought together a number of different entities including a boot camp for inspiring ice climbing instructors, a course for a local adventure school in Toulouse (for 12-17 years olds), a camp for mixed Alpine teams of France’s Occitanie region, a camp for the female Alpinist team of the Pyrenees and the UIAA-specific where 25 young climbers from 11 countries took part.

Credit: Quitterie Casagrande

The camp was supported by expert coaches including Christophe Moulin, the FFCAM national technical director of Alpinism and a professional mountain guide.

Below are some testimonials from the young climbers:
“We spent seven days with great people: instructors, guides and international teams, sharing knowledge, experiences, and learning a lot. We came with different levels of knowledge about ice climbing, and we all feel that we enjoyed ourselves and could say that we improved our autonomy in the mountains.”
Team Catalonia

“We came to the camp as absolute beginners and by the end we were capable of climbing a multi-pitch icefall on our own. The organisation was perfect, we felt safe the whole time and progressed really quickly. It is a great camp for beginners and more experienced ice climbers.”
Team Croatia

“Every day we climbed in a new place, always with the close presence of instructors. Their assistance was really flexible; when they saw we needed support, they were there for us, but when they could see we had enough knowledge/experience, they left us climbing by ourselves (always with supervision). I am thankful for this camp as it has built up my knowledge, has expanded my experiences, has permitted me to meet new people from around the world with my same passion for ice climbing. Thanks to the instructors for organising this camp, for supporting us every single day and to be available and kind to all of us. I would definitely recommend this camp to anyone!”
Team Italy 

“Despite the suboptimal ice conditions this year, there were still plentiful well-selected ice falls that offered a range of climbing options. These ranged from easy routes on an artificial ice tower to long multi-pitch routes and challenging mixed climbs. Legendary guides and skilled instructors who accompanied climbers made the climbing experience feel safe and shared lots of valuable theoretical and practical knowledge. Thanks to that, I now feel much more confident and secure on the ice falls.”
Team Latvia

“We really enjoyed this camp. All of us learned something new, from ice climbing techniques to rope management. We especially liked it from a social point of view. We connected with many different teams from different countries and made new friends. The conditions weren’t always good as it was too warm, but we still climbed some cool lines.”
Team Slovenia

Any young climbers interested in joining a UIAA-endorsed youth event are invited to consult the calendar of events for 2024.

Report and images supplied by Cristian Biard, UIAA Youth Commission