Strategic meetings set clear pathway for UIAA

Access, Anti-Doping, Featured, General Assembly, Mountain Medicine, Mountain Protection, Mountaineering, Safety, UIAA

The UIAA – International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation – Management Committee (MC) held its second online meeting of 2021 on 1 May. It was followed, as is now custom, by a meeting of the Executive Board, MC and UIAA Commission Presidents.


Following an opening address by UIAA President Peter Muir, Françoise Jaquet, UIAA Treasurer, detailed the UIAA’s financial result 2020 for General Assembly recommendation before presenting the first 2021 budget forecast.

One of the more significant agenda items was an update on the progress made by working groups (WGs) created by the Executive Board late in 2020. These WGs have been set up to review different areas of the organsiation including external and internal relations, governance, finance, communication and commissions. Highlights of progress to date – establishing a list of all existing UIAA external relationships and defining a hierarchy of contacts; aligning the UIAA organisational structure more closely with its Articles of Association (AoAs); setting the budget planning process for 2022 and standardising financial reporting; supporting Commissions in mapping their goals and contributing to the evolution of the UIAA Strategic Plan; empowering UIAA continental representatives to work even more closely with membership in their respective regions and defining the UIAA Communication Plan for 2021.

UIAA General Secretary Lode Beckers provided a reminder about the guiding objectives of the Strategic Plan 2021-2024 and the next steps which include: ensuring these objectives are both embodied in projects of UIAA Commissions​ and as one of the determinants for the aforementioned WGs; making sure the implementation process will be elaborated on in conjunction with MC members, Commission Presidents, EB WGs and other taskforces; and that the subject remains a recurrent agenda item at various levels​.

Lode Beckers also presented the continued international guidance offered by the UIAA Covid-19 Committee in terms of climbing and the global pandemic. The dedicated UIAA Covid-19 portal offers regular updates on this taskforce’s meetings and statements.

UIAA Communication Manager Peter Bourne provided an overview of the 2020 Annual Report, the final digital edition is expected to be released in mid-May. UIAA members will be given the opportunity to request a printed copy, scheduled for distribution in June 2021.

The MC also voted on a number of Commission elections and agreed to make a decision on the hosting of the 2021 UIAA General Assembly, whether this will be held online or in-person, no later than early July. Any decision will be taken in close collaboration and full agreement with the organising parties. Commission lists will be updated on the relevant UIAA website pages in due course.

Details of a generous donation made by UIAA Honorary Member Dr Injeong Lee (President of the Union of Asian Alpine Association – UAAA) was announced. Dr Lee has offered the UIAA 10,000 USD to help support the recovery of the worldwide climbing community from Covid-19. The UIAA will communicate shortly on how this contribution will be allocated.

Longstanding MC member Greg Moseley provided an update from the Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) where he has recently been succeeded as the federation’s President by Paul Carstensen. The latter joined the MC meeting as a guest. The UIAA congratulates Greg Moseley on the significant accomplishments he has achieved as MCSA President particularly those related to encouraging greater collaboration between climbing and mountaineering organisations in Africa. Equally the UIAA looks forward to working with Paul Carstensen and wishes him every success in the role.


Each of the UIAA Commission Presidents provided a recent recap of ongoing projects.

Anti-Doping, Dr Marija Andjelkovic

In-competition doping controls took place at the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup in Kirov, Russia ensuring that the UIAA, despite the skeleton competition ice climbing season, managed to fulfil its testing obligations. The new World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code has been fully implemented. Dr Andjelkovic was re-elected as Commission President.

Ice Climbing, Carlos Teixeira

The 2020-2021 UIAA Ice Climbing season recently concluded. A number of events, mainly on a regional level, were held. The UIAA also collaborated with the Ouray Ice Festival on the promotion of its January event. One of the focuses of the Commission is developing the sport so it meets IOC targets in relation to entry into the Olympic programme as a fully integrated competition sport. The Commission is also working on recruiting new members with specific skillsets.

Medical, Dr Urs Hefti

MedCom is working hard on updating a number of its recommendation papers, particularly those focused on female climbers. The Commission also recently released its first video recommendation, dedicated to water disinfection.

Mountaineering, Peter Farkas

Much of MountCom’s 2021 focus has been dedicated to the recent creation of a Mountain Worker Initiative (MWI) set up to support improving the treatment and conditions of mountain workers. The MWI group is meeting regularly and a first set of guidelines and recommendations will be further developed in the months ahead.

Access, Juan Jesús Ibáñez Martin

Access is a Working Group (WG) of MountCom. Juan Jesús Ibáñez Martin’s maximum term as WG Chair came to an end this spring. Milosz Jodlowski from Poland (PZA) was renominated as a Commission member by the MC to succeed him as Chair. The WG’s key mission is to advocate for responsible free access. One of the core projects of this WG is the creation of a database of international access restrictions. Ibáñez Martin’s two decades of work for the Access Commission, now WG, are the subject of the latest UIAA volunteer profile.

Training, Steve Long

Likewise Training is a WG of MountCom. Owing to Covid-19 all onsite training courses are on hold. However, the training database after years of development is now active, has been piloted, and will gradually be rolled out for UIAA members to access. An updated digital version of the Alpine Summer Skills Handbook is due for release imminently.

Legal Experts Working Group (LEWG), Klara Dvorakova

The LEWG has committed to offering regular support to different UIAA Commissions and to the EB, MC and Office. Its work and insights were recently captured as part of an article on litigation in Alpinist Magazine (Issue 73).

Mountain Protection, Dr Carolina Adler

The Commission has already held two online meetings this year focusing on updating its project portfolio and more closely assigning different Commission members to supporting core tasks. A reminder that the application deadline for the 2020-2021 UIAA Mountain Protection Award is 31 May.

Safety, Lionel Kiener

SafeCom continues to meet regularly online with its main annual plenary session (held with Safety Label Holding manufacturers and UIAA accredited laboratories) scheduled for the end of May. Ten working groups (including those working on avalanche probes and load sharing devices) are currently active delivering a number of valuable research projects. Its online Q&A series published on the UIAA website continues to offer valuable knowledge to climbers. SafeCom is also collaborating with the Ice Climbing Commission on standards related to safe competition structures and clothing.

Youth, Pavlos Georgiades

Despite the challenges of the current global pandemic, one UIAA Ice Climbing Youth Camp was held in February, and a Youth Climbing Camp is planned for July. Both events were held in France. The Commission is currently focused on improving its collaboration with youth experts in UIAA member federations.

The next online UIAA Management Committee meeting, organized as always with the support of the UIAA Office, will be held in August. Official minutes will be released to MC members in due course.

Main photo: Credit: Pat Morrow. Courtesy of Alpine Club of Canada