International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation

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International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation
UIAA Logo.jpg
FoundedAugust 1932; 86 years ago (1932-08)
HeadquartersBern, Switzerland
PresidentFrits Vrijlandt
Official website

The International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation, commonly known by its French name Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme (UIAA, lit. International Union of Alpine Clubs) was founded in August 1932 in Chamonix, France when 20 mountaineering associations met for an alpine congress. Count Charles Egmond d’Arcis, from Switzerland, was chosen as the first president and it was decided by the founding members that the UIAA would be an international federation which would be in charge of the "study and solution of all problems regarding mountaineering".[1] The UIAA Safety Label was created in 1960 and was internationally approved in 1965 and currently (2015) has a global presence on five continents with 86 member associations in 62 countries representing over 3 million people.[2]


The UIAA is today the international governing body of climbing and mountaineering and represents climbers and mountaineers around the world on a wide range of issues related to mountain safety, sustainibility and competition sport.

The International Climbers’ Meet, the goal of these meets is to foster good will and cultural understanding through our shared passion of climbing by hosting a diverse group of climbing abilities from a multitude of countries.


The UIAA Safety Commission develops and maintains safety standards for climbing equipment. These standards are implemented worldwide by the manufacturers who also participate in annual Safety Commission meetings. The Commission works with nearly 60 manufacturers worldwide and has 1,861 products certified.

Dynamic Rope UIAA fall count rating

The test to determine the fall count uses a 5.1m rope and drops a weight (80 kg single rope / 55 kg double rope) so that it falls 4.8m before experiencing a reaction force from the rope. This means that the weight is falling below the fixed end and there is minimal rope to stretch and absorb the force. The fall count rating is the number of times the rope can undergo this test before breaking. For the dynamic rope to be UIAA certified it requires a fall count rating of 5 or more.[3]

This number does not indicate that the rope needs to be discarded after this many falls while climbing, since a fall would usually not have the climber fall beyond the belayer and there is usually more rope to stretch and absorb the fall. There has been no recorded accidents of a UIAA certified dynamic rope breaking without there being damage from a sharp edge or chemical.

Mountain Medicine Diploma

Together with the International Society of Mountain Medicine (ISMM) and the International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR), the UIAA Medical Commission has established and developed a joint Diploma in Mountain Medicine that establishes minimal requirements for courses in mountain medicine in August 1997 (Interlaken, Switzerland). Many course organizers adopted these standards and the Diploma in Mountain Medicine (DiMM) has become a widely respected qualification.

The Medical Commission was founded in 1981. Its history dates back to an earlier time when there were only a few doctors representing the largest mountaineering federations. The commission has grown to include 22 delegated doctors from 18 different mountaineering federations, as well as 16 corresponding members from all over the world. The UIAA Medical Commission has worked very closely with the Medical Commission of the International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR). The current presidents of the UIAA Medical commission and the MedCom ICAR are always on the advisory board of the ISMM.


The UIAA is the world governing body for ice climbing competitions. The annual World Cup circuit and the bi annual World Championship and Youth World Championship are organised on different continents with athletes from over 30 countries participating.

Ice climbing

The UIAA is the world governing body for ice climbing competitions. The annual UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup circuit and the bi annual World Championship and Youth World Championship are organized in different continents with athletes from over 30 countries participating.

There are two ice climbing disciplines, Speed and Lead. In Speed, athletes race up an ice face for the best time. In Lead competitions the climbers' ability to master a difficult route in a given time is tested.

Anti-Doping Commission

The UIAA has adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (2014); this includes the mandatory articles of the Code and all relevant International Standards. The commission also oversees the anti-doping testing of athletes who participate in UIAA ice climbing competitions.

Global Youth Summit

The Global Youth Summit is a series of UIAA youth events where young mountaineers from around the world come together to climb, promote peace and cooperation between countries and work on the protection of the environment. First implemented ten years ago, it consists of a series of expeditions and camps offered by UIAA member federations to other UIAA member federations and their members.

All UIAA Global Youth Summit events are organised and undertaken in strict accordance with the relevant Federation’s regulations and UIAA Youth Commission Handbook & UIAA Youth Commission criteria and recommendations governing such events. Once approved the National Federation or event organiser and their designated leaders have responsibility for the event. The UIAA Youth Commission and UIAA Office may on occasion appoint other responsible persons such as trainers, event organisers and partners.

Safety Label holders[edit]

Alpidex Alien Cams Austrialpin Arcteryx Beal Beste
Big Wall Black Diamond Black Safe Blue Water Ropes Camp Cassin
Cilao Cousin-Trestec Conquista Climbing Technology DMM Edelweiss
Edelrid EKS Faders FIXE Fusion Gaetani
Gilmonte Gipfel Gleisein GM Climbing GrandWall Grivel
Haftgohar Ice Rock Kailas Kong Lyon Mad Rock
Mammut Metolius Millet Misty Mountain Nal Hon New England ropes
Ocun Omega Pacific Peguet Petzl PMI Ravina
Raumer Roca Rock Exotica Ropenet SMC Salewa
Schweiger Fulpmes Simond Singing Rock Skylotec Southern Ropes Sterling
Stubai Tapecraft Tendon Usang Vento Waves



  • 1932–1964: Count Charles Egmond d'Arcis
  • 1964–1968: Eduard Wyss-Dunant
  • 1968–1972: Albert Eggler[5]
  • 1972–1976: Jean Juge[6]
  • 1976–1984: Pierre Bossus
  • 1984–1990: Carlo Sganzini
  • 1990–1995: Pietro Segantini
  • 1995–2004: Ian McNaught-Davis
  • 2004–2005: Alan Blackshaw
  • 2005–2011: Mike Mortimer[7]
  • 2012–: Frits Vrijlandt[8]



  1. ^ "UIAA Foundation & Early years". Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  2. ^ Michal Apollo, The true accessibility of mountaineering: The case of the High Himalaya „Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism”, 17, 2017, s. 29–43.
  3. ^ "Safety Standards – UIAA". Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  4. ^ "UIAA Safety Label". theUIAA. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  5. ^ Obituary: Albert Eggler – Arts and Entertainment. The Independent (10 September 1998).
  6. ^[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ [1] Archived 8 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ grough — Frits Vrijlandt elected UIAA president after no-confidence vote in former head. (19 October 2012).
  9. ^ "About – UIAA – Role of Honour". Retrieved 24 November 2016.

External links[edit]