The latest UIAA Youth Commission Global Youth Summit event, a Climbing Camp, was held in Ariegé, France in early July. The following testimonee has been shared by Christian Biard, UIAA Youth Commission and was written by one of the young climbers from Lithuania.

In all the six-day camp welcomed youngsters aged between 12-19, including climbers from France, Lithuania and Spain.

The mountain camp in Ariegé was a perfect introduction into all possible activities in the mountains during the summer. The main organizer Christian Biard took wonderful care of us. He was friendly, helped us with any problems of information that we needed, for example getting a Covid test or providing detailed information about the camp. He also greeted us and picked us up from the airport in Toulouse. Offered and let us stay in his home for the night as well as prepared dinner and taught us a bit about french cuisine. Drove us to the camp site the next day along with other participants. Overall a gracious host. The camp itself started with basic knowledge of belaying and setting up quickdraws and top rope belays as well as other safety instructions for lead climbing and top rope on 1 pitch. That was followed by climbing of the first routes on limestone. The next day we were introduced into the basics and more in depth details about climbing on granite, both with top rope and lead climbing. The same day we, along with other french and a Spanish colleagues, went to experience Canyoning for the first time. We were guided by a professional guide and it was a wonderful, exciting, and a thrilling experience. The day after that we were taught and practiced multipitch climbing  and abseiling on granite with the help of instructors and other colleagues. After that all the participants of the camp climber multiple pitch routes on granite and thus used their knowledge and training acquired earlier with the help of their instructors. The following days we were also taught and introduced into mountaineering, using the necessary equipment and different climbing, belaying and other safety techniques. Navigated various mountain ridges and performed simple traditional climbs, always accompanied by an instructor. Day prior we were taught how to set up camelots and nuts, how traditional climbing was done and other useful information, knowing the necessary safety precautions and other details. The last day of the camp we applied the same knowledge about using camelots and nuts with the added taught knowledge of setting up pythons, using hooks and other aid climbing techniques which we then applied on granite. Overall the camp experience was an amazing one, especially good for beginners, because everything was taught from the “lowest” level without skipping any necessary or basic training/information. The camp was suited well for both beginner and more experienced climbers. We were always accompanied by skilled and experienced instructors who spoke good english and were very friendly, ensured our safety, treated us as equals in the best way possible and helped us and taught us everything that we asked for and what was possible or necessary. We were introduced to every possible summer climbing/mountaineering activity possible during the whole week, that was the amazing part. Each day we would practice and learn new things as well as apply them, each day on different climbing ways or techniques. The housing was excellent, living conditions – great. There were vegetarian food options and we were very well fed and taken care of in that account. The camp was also organized in a way to encourage communication between participants of different countries and teamwork as we were assigned different household tasks to complete together. Overall it was an amazing experience, we always felt safe and very well taken care of. Every possible opportunity was provided to us. The camp and what we were hoping to learn exceeded our expectations greatly. We are immensely grateful and are hoping to be able to participate in more of such camps and hopefully come back to the camp happening in February. We will miss our French instructors and friends and hope to see them again.

To discover more about the work of the UIAA Youth Commission please click here.

Photos from the camp can be found here: