Featured, Mountaineering, Statements, UIAA

On 23 September, the UIAA Covid-19 Crisis Consultation (CCC) Taskforce held its fifth online meeting. The meeting notes are available here. All UIAA activity related to Covid-19 can be consulted through the dedicated Portal.

During the 23 September meeting, the CCC Taskforce agreed that the message of caution and optimism shared by the UIAA following its previous meeting, 4 August, remains appropriate.

The UIAA encourages climbers to follow guidelines published by competent authorities in their respective countries and regions. If climbing activities, whether outdoor or indoor, are permitted, climbers and mountaineers have a responsibility to ensure their activities do not have an impact in spreading the virus or stretching already overburdened medical resources. Only where and when permitted, climbers should be free to pursue their activities for both their own mental and physical well-being and for the wider good of the climbing and mountaineering industry.

The guidelines published by the UIAA in August remain relevant:

  • In general, prudence is required
  • Continue to climb/visit mountain areas if permitted
  • Prioritise local (domestic) climbing and outdoor activities
  • If travelling further, conduct appropriate research regarding the measures put in place
  • Do not assume the rules or conditions will be the same as at home
  • Avoid overburdening huts or popular climbing areas
  • Follow rules and guidance provided by UIAA members, or relevant authorities

As reported recently by the UIAA Access Commission, some UIAA member federations are reporting a rise in mountain accidents. A number of these incidents are being attributed to novice climbers and inexperienced mountain visitors getting into difficulties. To help people prepare for trips to the mountains, the UIAA has a number of resources, most free to download, available. They include:

  • UIAA Medical Commission advice papers in up to 14 languages. Amongst the papers is a specific guide for novice climbers
  • UIAA Training material including the Alpine Summer Skills Handbook which tackles subjects from equipment preparation to planning a trip to reading the weather. A digital version, in English, can be purchased here.
  • If you are interested in developing your skills, many UIAA member associations run dedicated programmes of their own and through the UIAA. Contact details for all UIAA members can be found here.
  • Furthermore, to follow best sustainable practices when visiting the mountains, the UIAA Respect the Mountains Movement offers its ‘7-ways’ guidance.

The UIAA, in consultation with members of its CCC Taskforce representing the Himalaya region, would not yet encourage visiting the Himalayas and other regions where health authorities may be quickly tested by a spike in infections caused by the sudden arrival of numerous foreign visitors. In any case, and as reported during the latest CCC meeting, international flights to India and Nepal are currently only available to those relocating.

Unless for essential reasons, travel between continents is not advised. The UIAA itself has suspended all international meetings and conferences in 2020. Discussions will continue to take place electronically including the 2020 UIAA General Assembly.

The UIAA – International Climbing & Mountaineering Federation – has published a number of resources related to Covid-19.

The dedicated UIAA website Portal can be found here.

Reports from the meetings of the UIAA Covid-19 Crisis Consultation (CCC) task force.

16 April – creation of CCC
28 April – first meeting of CCC
14 May – second meeting of CCC
18 June – third meeting of CCC
4 August – fourth meeting of CCC
23 September – fifth meeting of CCC