To bolt or not to bolt, discussed at Mountaineering Commission meeting


UIAA Training Standards and attempts to find a global consensus on bolting were two of the highlights discussed at the meeting in Moscow of the Mountaineering Commission. The following report is from Phil Wickens, commission secretary:

The UIAA Mountaineering Commission met in Moscow, Russia, in November 2010. The meeting was hosted by the Russian Mountaineering Federation (RMF) and was very well attended by 20 delegates from 14 different countries, and the UIAA President, Mike Morrtimer, again highlighting the increasing strength and value of the Commission’s work on a global scale.

The group were welcomed by Andrei Volkov, who also arranged for a number of parallel meetings between the mountaineering federations from countries of the former Soviet Union, all of whom are very interested in strengthening their ties with the UIAA and in developing their own national mountain training systems.

Russian advance
The RMF has re-instated a national training and guiding school, and has put a lot of work into developing a modern mountaineering infrastructure. The Mountaineering Commission is very pleased to be working with the RMF and are excited to be involved with the development of climbing in the former Soviet states.


The Mountaineering Commission is pleased to announce that the UIAA Training Standards Working Group has now come of age, having demonstrated that it provides a service that is highly valued by the member Federations. In order to cope with the increasing demand for its services, three working parties were created to streamline its structure, standardise its procedures and allow for sustainable development. The group also investigated expansion of its programme in order to provide UIAA training standards to non-Federation organizations. Advice on the business aspect of the group was provided by Jean-Jacques Eleouet, General Secretary of the Petzl Foundation charity, whose involvement with the group has added enormous value to the development of mountain leader training in India and Nepal.

To bolt?

The Mountaineering Commission Bolting Working Group is in the process of compiling policies and statements from the member federations regarding the placement of fixed equipment. By understanding the different approaches and views to this emotive issue, the group aims to develop a UIAA Bolting Policy that will be adopted by all member federations. The group then aims to establish guidelines, based on existing policies, to assist federations in developing their own policy and guidelines for the placement of fixed protection.

Accident statistics

At present there is no way of analyzing mountain accident statistics from around the world, even though the results would be of great importance for understanding mountain safety, and would have numerous applications, such as the development of insurance programmes. Chiaki Aoyama (Japan) has been investigating the feasibility of an international system for acquiring mountain accident data and presented this to the Mountaineering Commission. He is now looking at how such a system can be implemented so that accurate and reliable information can be collated and compared.

In partnership with the Petzl Foundation charity, the Mountaineering Commission held courses and meetings in Leh and Manali to help develop mountain leader training in India. These courses were enthusiastically attended, and follow-up work is being carried out to ensure that a training structure and training courses that meet UIAA standards are organized and held in India.

Phil Wickens (BMC), Secretary, UIAA Mountaineering Commission