This seminal declaration was adopted by the Future of Mountain Sports Conference, Innsbruck, 6 – 8 September, 2002. The UIAA has been a close promoter of the declaration since its publication and is currently working on an additional annex to reflect some of the developments in climbing and mountaineering over the past twenty years.

‘Stretch Your Limits, Lift Your Spirits and aim for the Top’

All over the world, millions of people practice mountaineering, hiking, trekking and rock climbing. In many countries mountain sports have become a significant factor of everyday life.

Hardly any other activity encompasses such a broad motivational spectrum as does mountain sports. It gives people the opportunity to realize personal goals and pursue meaningful lifelong activity. Motives for being active in the mountains and on the rocks range from health benefits, pleasure of movement, contact with nature and social incentives, to the thrill of exploration and adventure.

The Tyrol Declaration on Best Practice in Mountain Sports passed by the conference on the Future of Mountain Sports in Innsbruck on 8 September, 2002, contains a set of values and maxims to provide guidance on best practice in mountain sports.

These are not rules or detailed instructions, rather they:

1. Define today’s fundamental values in mountain sports

2. Contain principles and standards of conduct

3. Formulate the ethical criteria for decision-making in uncertain situations

4. Present the ethical principles by which the public can judge mountain sports

5. Introduce beginners to the values and moral principles of their sport.

It is the aim of the Tyrol Declaration to help realize the innate potential of mountain sports for recreation and personal growth as well as for promoting social development, cultural understanding and environmental awareness. To this end, the Tyrol Declaration picks up on the traditional unwritten values and codes of conduct inherent in the sport and expands on them to meet the demands of our times. The fundamental values on which the Tyrol Declaration is based, hold true for all individuals engaged in mountain sports worldwide – whether they be hikers and trekkers, sport climbers, or mountaineers seeking to push their limits at high altitudes.HN

Even if some of the guidelines for conduct are of relevance for only a small elite, a lot of the proposals formulated in the Tyrol Declaration are addressed to the mountain sports community as a whole. With these suggestions we especially hope to reach our youth, for they are the future of mountain sports.

The Tyrol declaration is an appeal to:

• Accept the risks and assume responsibility

• Balance your goals with your skills and equipment

• Play by fair means and report honestly

• Strive for best practice and never stop learning

• Be tolerant, considerate and help each other

• Protect the wild and natural character of mountains and cliffs

• Support local communities and their sustainable development.

The Tyrol Declaration is an Appeal to:

Human Dignity

the premise that human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and should treat one another in the spirit of brotherhood. Particular attention should be given to equal rights of men and women.

Life, Liberty and Happiness

as inalienable human rights and with a special responsibility in mountains sports to help protect the rights of communities in mountain areas.

Intactness of Nature

as a commitment to secure the ecological value and natural characteristics of mountains and cliffs worldwide. This includes the protection of endangered species of flora and fauna, their ecosystems and the landscape.


as an opportunity through participation in mountain sports to promote teamwork, cooperation and understanding and overcome barriers due to gender, age, nationality, level of ability, social or ethnic origin, religion or belief.


as a chance through participation in mountain sports to make meaningful progress towards important goals and achieve personal fulfillment.


as recognition that in mountain sports honesty is essential to evaluate accomplishments. If arbitrariness replaces truth, it becomes impossible to assess performance in climbing.


as an opportunity through participation in mountain sports to strive for previously unattained goals and to set higher standards.


as recognition that in mountain sports the management of risk through judgment, skills and personal responsibility is an essential factor. The diversity of mountain sports allows everyone to chose their own adventure, where skills and dangers are in balance.

The Articles of the Tyrol Declaration

Annex 1 the Maxims and Guidelines of the Tyrol Declaration

Annex 2 the Pluralism of Climbing Games

Modern climbing encompasses a broad spectrum of activities ranging from hiking and bouldering to crag climbing and mountaineering. Mountaineering comprises extreme forms of high altitude alpinism and expedition climbing in high ranges like the Andes or Himalayas. Although the dividing lines between the various forms of climbing are by no means rigid, the following categorization makes it possible to present the vast diversity of modern mountain sports comprehensibly.