(Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme)

The Articles of Association (AoA) define the purpose of the UIAA and the principles its activities are based on. They explain the rights and responsibilities of its member associations and describe the powers and duties of its organisational bodies: the General Assembly, Executive Board, Management Committee, Auditors, Court and Commissions.

The annual General Assembly makes the decisions concerning the UIAA’s role, its activities and its budget. It also elects the President, the Executive Board and members of the Management Committee. The work of the UIAA is supported by a secretariat located in Bern, Switzerland.


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UIAA Organisation


The Board is elected for a four-year period and consists of the President, Vice-President, Secretary General, Treasurer and four other members. Together they carry out the decisions made by the General Assembly, control finances and support both the commissions and office staff.


Frits Vrijlandt

Frits Vrijlandt has climbed the seven highest peaks in the world’s seven continents. All at the first attempt. He was the second Dutchman to do so and the first from his country to successfully scale the north side of Mount Everest. He has been President of the UIAA since 2012.

Despite hailing from the one of the ‘low countries’, Frits fostered a love of the mountains at a young age, a relationship he defines as ‘friendship, beauty and fulfillment’. Frits reached 4,000m for the first time in 1987 when ascending Weissmies, Switzerland, before negotiating some of the world’s tallest peaks, culminating in the highest of all, Mount Everest in 2001.

With the close support of the Executive Board, Management Committee and the UIAA office staff, Frits spearheads the federation’s climbing and mountaineering movement which comprises wide-ranging responsibilities from sport competition, medical issues, safety standards, through to sustainability and mountain protection.

Thomas Kähr
Vice President, EB Link for Anti-Doping, Ice Climbing, Mountaineering & Youth Commissions

UIAA Vice President Thomas Kähr is a Swiss national and trained lawyer. Thomas has been a UIAA Board member since 2013 and previously spent seven years as President of a local section of the Swiss Alpine Club. He works as a consultant in strategic management, branding and communication.

His interest in the alpine world was born some 25 years ago when his future father-in-law aroused an enthusiasm for mountaineering. It was a passion which led Thomas to set some ambitious goals, notably the scaling of various 6,000m peaks in Nepal and 4,000m peaks across the Alps. Furthermore, Thomas scaled Mt Elbrus on skis and has competed in numerous trail events and mountain marathons. Thomas enjoys transmitting his passion for climbing and mountaineering to others, working with partners to fund activities and developing ice climbing in its quest to be part of the Olympic programme.

Peter Muir
General Secretary, Treasurer & EB Link for Safety & Medical Commissions

 A born and bred Canadian, Peter Muir has travelled and climbed extensively throughout the world. Having practised as a lawyer for over 30 years, Muir’s passion is for the outdoors; whether that be rock climbing, mountaineering, hiking, canoeing or biking.

Having served on the national board of The Alpine Club of Canada for 16 years including as President between 2010 to 2015, Muir successfully oversaw a change in the structure of the Club’s Board of Directors, resulting in substantially improved management and decision making efficiency.

Muir was recognised for his contribution to the Club, having received the highest honour bestowed by the ACC to its members for outstanding contribution; the 2015 A.O. Wheeler Legacy Award.  In 2013, he was elected to the UIAA Management Committee as the representative for North America.  Peter has the highest regard for the community of the UIAA and its role in promoting safe and responsible climbing and as the challenges facing climbers increase, so the UIAA’s role must meet these challenges to reflect that.


Helène Denis
EB Link for Mountain Protection Commission

Helène Denis is a retired lecturer in Economics and Economic History. She used to climb in the Massif des Ecrins (South Alps) and in the Fontainebleau forest. Helène loves hiking and ski mountaineering, especially ski tours and treks across a massif. She is closely involved in mountain protection in NGOs like IUCN (French Committee) and CIPRA (International Commission for the Protection of the Alps).

Yongfeng Wang
EB Link for Asian Development

Yongfeng Wang, Vice President of the Chinese Mountaineering Association (CMA), became a member of the UIAA Executive Board in 2016.

His experience with the CMA stretches back to the mid 1980s when he worked in the Technical Department as an athlete and trainer. He also served periods as the Deputy Director of the Huairou Training Center and Director of the Alpine Exploration Department before becoming Vice President of both the CMA and UAAA (Association of Asian Alpine Federations) in 2008.

Scaling major peaks on all continents, Yongfeng has a significant background as a mountaineer. He was team leader of the Mt. Qomolangma Torch Relay Expedition ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He was also recognised with the “National Sport Honorable Medal” – the highest accolade bestowed on a Chinese athlete.

UIAA Management Committee

Members are elected for a four-year period and consist of the Executive Board, representatives from the five largest member associations, one representative from each continent and three to five representatives elected by the General Assembly. They make recommendations to the General Assembly on matters such as budget and admission/expulsion of member associations. In addition, the Management Committee creates projects, oversees the work of commissions, assigns responsibilities and has the power to dissolve commissions.

The Management Committee came into being with the new Articles of Association on 1 January, 2008. Its functions are described in the Articles of Association.

The Management Committee is responsible for implementing all the policy directives and decisions made by the General Assembly. This includes preparing the agenda for the General Assembly and the preparation of the annual accounts.

The Management Committee also makes recommendations to the General Assembly about long-term strategies for the UIAA, rules and regulations that are voted on by the General Assembly. This includes the admission of new members, the creation and dissolution and the tasks of Commissions, the appointments of a President of each Commission upon recommendation of the Commission itself, recommendations for any proposed changes to these Articles of Association, recommendations on the terms and conditions of contracts to be concluded with third parties, membership issue and to decide the official means of information of the UIAA.


The work of the UIAA is conducted through the work of its commissions which consist of members who volunteer their expertise in a particular field of mountaineering. The commissions are: Access, Anti-DopingIce ClimbingMedical, Mountain Protection, Mountaineering, Safety and Youth. Their work includes managing the Mountain Qualification Label, the Safety Label, the Mountain Protection Award, the global youth event series, the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup Tour and issues relating to access, mountain medicine and anti-doping.

Continental Organisations

The UIAA recognises continental organisations in Asia, Europe and Latin America.

Asia: Union of Asian Alpine Associations, (UAAA)

Europe: EUMA (European Union of Mountaineering Associations)

Latin America: Pan-American Union of Mountaineering and Climbing (UPAME)

Management Committee Membership

As confirmed by the UIAA General Assembly (October, 2018)


Executive Board
Frits Vrijlandt, (President), Netherlands
Hélène Denis, France
Thomas Kähr, Switzerland
Peter Muir, Canada
Yongfeng Wang, China

Largest Federation Representatives
Juan Garrigos i Toro, Spain
Francoise Jaquet, Switzerland
Josef Klenner, Germany

Continental Representatives
Africa: Greg Moseley, Republic of South Africa
Asia: Christine Pae, Korea
Central and South America: Martin Lascano, Argentina
Europe: Anne Arran, United Kingdom
Oceania: Stuart Gray, New Zealand
North America: TBC

Representative Members
Jochem Driessen, Netherlands
Georges Elziere, France
Yagihara Kuniaki, Japan
Zumba Zangbu Sherpa, Nepal
Reza Zarei, Iran


About the UIAA


The staff working in the UIAA Office in Bern, Switzerland are responsible for running the daily operations of the UIAA.

The UIAA Court

The UIAA Court comprises President Pierre Humblet and three other elected members.

According to its Statutes, the UIAA Court decides about:

a) conflicts of competence and other possible disputes between the UIAA, UIAA members and bodies;

b) disputes between UIAA member associations;

c) conflicts between a UIAA-related party and a non-UIAA-related party (e.g. a potential UIAA member association), if the regulations of the non-UIAA-related party or a specific agreement provide for.

Pierre Humblet

Pierre Humblet, President of the UIAA Court, joined the UIAA in 1992 as a Council member (equivalent to the current Management Committee). At the time he was President of the Belgian Alpine Club, a position he had occupied for 13 years. He has since been re-elected several times as a Council member in the experts’ category. Among other positions he chaired a working party reporting on insurance issues (he is a lawyer specialized in liability and insurance matters). Pierre was one of the founders of the Legal Experts Working Group and later he became the chair of that Group within the Mountaineering Commission and represented the UIAA at several European authorities. Furthermore, he was a member of the Discipline and Appeal UIAA body (having been Belgium arbitrator with the Olympic Committee). At the beginning of the 2000s he was elected vice-president of the Mountaineering Commission. In 2004 he became the UIAA vice-president and when the President resigned at the 2005 UIAA General Assembly in Singapore, the Assembly asked him to be President during the coming year with the task of presenting a reform project at the next General Assembly meeting. At the end of that difficult time he went back to the Mountaineering Commission where he was elected as President,  a position he held for nearly a decade. Pierre is now a UIAA Court President, an organ he initiated in his reform project.

 Denis Poncelin

Denis Poncelin’s passion for the alpine word begun with bouldering in Fontainebleau. He then began spending his summers in Chamonix, climbing  nearly all of the major routes on the Mont-Blanc range, and then scaling numerous hard routes on the 4000m Alpine summits. Travelling overseas, he has rock climbed in North America and  various 6000m peaks in South America and the Himalayas.

Joigning the Club Alpin Français in 1974, he improved his technical skills and became a «mountain leader». He is serving a second term as Président of the CAF Grenoble Isère. Graduating from the « Institut d’Études Politiques » de Paris, Denis was a civil servant in the French Ministry of Sports, head of regional agencies, notably the famous « École Nationale de Ski et d’Alpinisme » de Chamonix. He is now retired, but still advises the regional prefect of Grenoble as a « Technical Counsellor » in mountain safety and regional economy regarding climate change.

Marco del zotto

Marco del Zotto’s professional background is in judicial and extrajudicial consulting activities in civil and criminal law, mainly in the areas of business law, corporate, banking and industrial sectors and in the areas of civil and criminal liability. He spent seven years as a member of the supervisory board of a multinational company in Italy, has worked as Professor at the medical facility of the University of Padua in legal subjects for the Masters of Medicine in the Mountains and since 2009, Marco has been Professor in legal subjects at the National School of Alpine Rescue. A member of the Club Alpino Italiano and a lover of being outdoors, he has worked in both the mountains and sea as a ski and sailing instructor since the early 1990s.

Franz Stämpfli

Franz Stämpfli works as a lawyer and public notary at his own office in Bern. He was President of the Swiss Alpine Club from 1999 to 2005. During that period, he was a member of the UIAA Council. Between 2006 and 2016 he was a member of the Executive Council of the National Olympic Committee of Switzerland. He is currently President of the Swiss Alpine Rescue, member of the council of the REGA, the Swiss Air Rescue, and President of  ICAR, the International Commission of Alpine Rescue.

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