Supporting the Trekking Industry: UIAA to establish a Mountain Worker Initiative

Featured, Membership, Mountain Worker Initiative, Mountaineering, UIAA

In response to the growing issues faced by mountain workers and guides in the expedition and trekking industry, a situation further exacerbated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UIAA – International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation – is establishing a Mountain Worker Initiative (MWI).

The MWI, guided by the UIAA Mountaineering Commission (MountCom), will seek to establish, disseminate and support guidelines for ethical trekking and mountaineering practices worldwide with a focus on the lives of mountain workers. The initiative will begin with general guidelines, followed by a collaboration at Everest and throughout Nepal where the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) and the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) will set to outline and inspire the adoption of national-specific guidelines. The idea to form this initiative is inspired by the agency behind The Porter: The Untold Story at Everest.

General guidelines and national practices will be made available via the MWI website page, along with all future guidelines and updates. Guidelines may be adapted to fit the requirements of different countries and regions and will be communicated as the initiative progresses. The initiative’s long term goal is to help fund improvements using these guidelines.

Recently, the documentary film The Porter: The Untold Story at Everest which follows a young, privileged American who attempts to live and work as a Himalayan Porter set to ascent the world’s highest summit with a group of tourists. The film shows his first-hand experience of the harrowing issues of mountain tourism and highlights the conditions the MWI group hopes to help alleviate globally.


To mark the launch of the MWI, the UIAA will host a special online event, the first in its new Mountain Network Series of webinars. The first event will feature a screening of The Porter: The Untold Story at Everest followed by a Panel Q&A. It is scheduled for Friday 19 March (08:00 – 09:30 EST; 14:00 – 15:00 CET; 18:45 – 20:15 NPT). The event will be free of charge and streamed on both Zoom and the UIAA YouTube channel. Further details here.


The UIAA has created a facility to help raise funds for the MWI project, where all contributions will go directly to the Mountain Worker Initiative cause. 100% of all donations will be committed towards creating guidelines for ethical trekking and social welfare proposals for mountain workers. The MWI, currently defining its objectives and mission, and through MountCom will provide regular updates on where any donation funds will be directed and the progress of its projects.

To support the fundraising of the project and for further details please click here.

Main photo: Stock Library