Featured, Mountaineering, Safety, Training

One of the UIAA’s core services and direct benefits it offers member associations comes courtesy of its training qualifications and programmes which are both supported by a rich library of practical information.

At October 2018’s UIAA General Assembly, details on the impressive collaboration between the UIAA, The Petzl Foundation and members worldwide in translating versions of the UIAA Summer Skills Alpine Handbook was presented. Since the GA, work has continued to evolve at an impressive rate.

The Handbook, available internationally as a digital download (price as of March 2019, 3.99 GBP/4.63 EUR/5.22 USD), is regularly updated with anyone purchasing the publication able to access new chapters and information. A section on Trad climbing has recently been completed, one on canyoning is in progress. Anyone interested in purchasing the Handbook is encouraged to view the dedicated UIAA Skills series which features extracts from the guide.

To purchase the UIAA Summer Skills Alpine Handbook click here.

The English-language version is currently available as a digital download, while a number of translations are available in print format directly from member associations. These currently include French, Korean and Turkish editions, and a new English language edition is almost ready for print.

A number of new translations will be published in the coming months. A Serbian-language version of the Handbook will be launched at the upcoming UIAA Mountaineering Commission meeting in Novi Sad. Work is almost complete for Czech, Mongolian and Taiwanese language versions and well underway for versions in Chinese, Farsi, Japanese, Macedonian and Spanish. Other ongoing translations include Albanian, Greek, Portuguese and Romanian. Applications are invited for creating a German language edition.

The Handbook is designed to help mountain leaders and climbers develop their skills, whether reinforcing lessons learned and not yet fully assimilated or to increase technical knowledge and reduce the risks inherent to the activity. The advice is wide-ranging covering subjects as diverse as the weather, rescue operations, adapting to the environment, teamwork and equipment advice. It covers alpine hiking, climbing and alpinism.

The Training Panel has also supported the UIAA Safety Commission and DAV with the translation of safety videos from German into English dedicated to the use of belay devices. These will be available on the UIAA website shortly.

Training qualifications in Zanskar. A Rescue Skills course in partnership with Lech rescue team (Austria). Photo: Steve Long (and main photo)

The Handbook complements the range of training accreditations that the UIAA provides for members to demonstrate adherence to recommended practice for teaching personal skills, leaders and instructors/coaches. This is now an integrated system that will empower instructors qualified by an accredited federation to deliver personal skills training to novice and intermediate hikers, climbers, mountaineers and canyoners according to their qualification(s). After completing a UIAA accredited personal skills training course, students will be able to download a certificate of attendance bearing the UIAA logo, showing that the course fulfilled the UIAA requirements for provider, syllabus and contact hours. This service can also help federations to assist countries that have not yet developed their own federation. These services will be delivered through the federations, who can add their own branding and charging for services if they choose.

The UIAA Training Panel also provides practical, on-site services for federations. A number of member associations will undertake training programmes over the coming months, including:

China Hong Kong Mountaineering and Climbing Union: Training seminar for course providers, and accreditation inspection
Macedonian Mountain Sport Federation: Winter hiking leader accreditation inspection
Mongolian National Climbing Federation: Proposed three-year development project for Mountain Leader qualifications

Furthermore pilot mountain personal skills courses (safety and best practices) have been delivered in Cyprus and Indonesia, with one scheduled to take place in Leh, India in June 2019.

Winter Training skills in Ladakh. Photo: Steve Long

Further details on the UIAA Training Panel’s activities will be published after the upcoming Mountaineering Commission meeting, 30 March.

Further Reading:
UIAA & Training
UIAA Skills
Purchase: UIAA Summer Skills Alpine Handbook