(Union International des Associations d’Alpinisme)

The Articles of Association (AoA) define the purpose of the UIAA and the principles its activities are based on. They explain the rights and responsibilities of its member associations and describe the powers and duties of its organisational bodies: the General Assembly, Executive Board, Management Committee, Auditors, Court and Commissions.

The annual General Assembly makes the decisions concerning the UIAA’s role, its activities and its budget. It also elects the President, the Executive Board and members of the Management Committee. The work of the UIAA is supported by a secretariat located in Bern, Switzerland.


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The Board is elected for a four-year period and consists of the President, Vice-President, Secretary General, Treasurer and three other members. Together they carry out the decisions made by the General Assembly, control finances and support both the commissions and office staff.


Frits Vrijlandt

“The greatest part of being President of the UIAA is experiencing the friendship of the global climbing and mountaineering community.”

Frits Vrijlandt has climbed the seven highest peaks in the world’s seven continents. All at the first attempt. He was the second Dutchman to do so and the first from his country to successfully scale the north side of Mount Everest. He has been President of the UIAA since 2012.

Despite hailing from the one of the ‘low countries’, Frits fostered a love of the mountains at a young age, a relationship he defines as ‘friendship, beauty and fulfillment’. Frits reached 4,000m for the first time in 1987 when ascending Weissmies, Switzerland, before negotiating some of the world’s tallest peaks, culminating in the highest of all, Mount Everest in 2001.

With the close support of the Executive Board, Management Committee and the UIAA office staff, Frits spearheads the federation’s climbing and mountaineering movement which comprises wide-ranging responsibilities from sport competition, medical issues, safety standards, through to sustainability and mountain protection.


Peter Farkas
Vice President

“If I was born again 1,000 times, I would want to be a mountaineer again 1,000 times”.

Peter Farkas’ passion for mountaineering was fostered at the age of 14 when he discovered a book titled ‘10 Steep Walls’ by the Czech mountaineer Radovan Kuchař. After reading this account by a legendary mountaineer, Peter joined his local climbing club. When Kuchař was posthumously nominated ‘Czech Mountaineer of the Century’, Peter had the pleasure of presenting the UIAA diploma to Radovan’s daughter, something he describes as a great honour.

Peter is an avid rock climber, having put up over 50 new routes across four continents, including several in Australia as well as in some exotic destinations. He was a member of Hungary’s youth national team.

At the UIAA, Peter is closely linked with most of the UIAA Commissions and leads the working group that prepares the Strategic Plan. His relationship with the UIAA commenced when he was the representative of the Hungarian Mountaineering and Sport Climbing federation (MHSSz). In 2006, he became part of the UIAA Executive Board and has held positions in communication, treasury and now Vice President (as of 2012).


Helène Denis
General Secretary

Helène Denis is a retired lecturer in Economics and Economic History. She used to climb in the Massif des Ecrins (South Alps) and in the Fontainebleau forest. Helène loves hiking and ski mountaineering, especially ski tours and treks across a massif. She is closely involved in mountain protection in NGOs like IUCN (French Committee) and CIPRA (International Commission for the Protection of the Alps).


Pier Giorgio Oliveti

“For me the mountains are first of all a dimension of the soul, through which we can re-discover the sense of life. But it is also much more: it is a place in which you can discover the history of the planet, in which you can – without any rhetoric approach –  understand the sense of the human solidarity and respect other cultures and people.”

Pier Giorgio Oliveti has mountaineering in his blood. His great grandparents both hailed from the mountains, his mother was a member of the Italian Alpine Club (CAI) and as a youngster he spent many summer and winter months in the mountains, embarking on many ‘coming of age’ hikes. By the age of 18, he had founded a CAI section in his home town and his mountaineering career was well underway.

He has climbed and skied throughout the Alps, from the Matterhorn to Mont Rose and Mont Blanc. In 1986, Pier Giorgio made his first adventure outside of Europe, making his own expedition to the base camp of Kanchenjunga peak over Goecha-la pass, from Gangtok, Sikkim.

Pier Giorgio has served two terms as the President of the CAI National Hiking Commission and edited the CAI magazine La Rivista/Lo Scarpone for ten years. He was appointed UIAA treasurer in 2013.


Thomas Kähr

“My passion for the mountains can be defined in three words: freedom, challenge and natural experience.”

Thomas Kähr oversees the UIAA’s marketing, communication and competition sport responsibilities. A Swiss national and trained lawyer, Thomas has been a UIAA Board member since 2013 and previously spent seven years as President of a local section of the Swiss Alpine Club. He works as a consultant in strategic management, branding and communication.

His interest in the alpine world was born some 25 years ago when his future father-in-law aroused an enthusiasm for mountaineering. It was a passion which led Thomas to set some ambitious goals, notably the scaling of various 6,000m peaks in Nepal and 4,000m peaks across the Alps. Furthermore, Thomas scaled Mt Elbrus on skis and has competed in numerous trail events and mountain marathons.

Thomas enjoys transmitting his passion for climbing and mountaineering to others, working with partners to fund activities and developing ice climbing in its quest to be part of the Olympic programme.


James “Marc” Beverly

“My relationship with mountains can be defined as impressed, challenged and fulfillment. My passion stemmed from my father and grandfather.”

Marc knew from a young age that he couldn’t live without the mountains. At 13 he learned to rock climb after helping out on a technical rope rescue. He augmented his experience at home and abroad and in the coming years and eventually became a UIAGM Mountain Guide, a position he still holds. He has been involved with mountain rescue in the United States for more than 30 years and is one of one of the Avalanche Delegates to ICAR. Marc is a physician assistant and holds a PhD in Exercise Science. He has competed in ice climbing for more than 15 years.

Within the UIAA, Marc is responsible for sport directives, in assisting ice climbing venues and working with prospective member federations. One of the core challenges Marc faces is convincing climbers that they should become part of the greater representation of climbing. In doing so, they are not actually giving up their perceived freedom and can actually help preserve their access.

Marc believes that in all that the UIAA oversees, keeping the vision of each commission focused and clear, while being transparent, is of paramount importance.


UIAA Management Committee

Members are elected for a four-year period and consist of the Executive Board, representatives from the five largest member associations, one representative from each continent and three to five representatives elected by the General Assembly. They make recommendations to the General Assembly on matters such as budget and admission/expulsion of member associations. In addition, the Management Committee creates projects, oversees the work of commissions, assigns responsibilities and has the power to dissolve commissions.

The Management Committee came into being with the new Articles of Association on 1 January, 2008. Its functions are described in the Articles of Association.

The Management Committee is responsible for implementing all the policy directives and decisions made by the General Assembly. This includes preparing the agenda for the General Assembly and the preparation of the annual accounts.

The Management Committee also makes recommendations to the General Assembly about long-term strategies for the UIAA, rules and regulations that are voted on by the General Assembly. This includes the admission of new members, the creation and dissolution and the tasks of Commissions, the appointments of a President of each Commission upon recommendation of the Commission itself, recommendations for any proposed changes to these Articles of Association, recommendations on the terms and conditions of contracts to be concluded with third parties, membership issue and to decide the official means of information of the UIAA.


The work of the UIAA is conducted through the work of its commissions which consist of members who volunteer their expertise in a particular field of mountaineering. The commissions are: Access, Anti-DopingIce ClimbingMedical, Mountain Protection, Mountaineering, Safety and Youth. Their work includes managing the Mountain Qualification Label, the Safety Label, the Mountain Protection Award, the global youth event series, the UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup Tour and issues relating to access, mountain medicine and anti-doping.

Continental Organisations

The UIAA recognizes two continental organisations in Latin America and Asia. In Latin America, the UIAA has recognised the Pan-American Union of Mountaineering and Climbing (UPAME) and in Asia, the UIAA has recognised the Union of Asian Alpine Associations, (UAAA).

Management Committee Membership

As confirmed by the General Assembly (October, 2015)


Executive Board
Frits Vrijlandt, (President), Netherlands
Peter Farkas, (Vice President), Hungary
Hélène Denis, (Secretary General), France
Pier Giorgio Oliveti (Treasurer), Italy
Thomas Kähr (Marketing and Communications), Switzerland
Marc Beverly (Sports), United States

Largest Federation Representatives
Anne Arran, United Kingdom
Georges Elziere, France
Frank-Urs Müller, Switzerland

Continental Representatives
Africa: Petronella Elizabeth Grobler, Republic of South Africa
Asia: Christine Pae, Korea
Oceania: Stuart Anthony Gray, New Zealand
North America: Peter Muir, Canada
Europe: Lucia Foppoli, Italy
South America: open

Other Members
Nejat Akinci, Turkey
(Col) H.S Chauhan, India
Josef Klenner, Germany
Yagihara Kuniaki, Japan
Joan Garrigos Torro, Spain


The UIAA Court

The UIAA Court decides in conflicts of competence and other possible disputes between the UIAA, its members and bodies. The UIAA Court decides on conflicts of competence and other possible disputes between the UIAA, UIAA Members and Bodies as well as disputes between UIAA member associations.

A conflict between a UIAA-related party and a non-UIAA-related party such as a potential UIAA member association is decided upon by the Court only if the regulations of the non-UIAA-related party or a specific agreement provide for such an intervention. The UIAA Court decides only on matters related to the UIAA – International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation.

Download the full statutes of the UIAA Court which were adopted on 18 October 2008.

Bettina Geisseler

Bettina Geisseler is President of the UIAA Court.  She is owner of the law firm Geisseler Law based in Düsseldorf and Freiburg (Germany) which specializes in law related to the construction and erection of power plants and major infrastructure projects worldwide. Bettina enjoys hiking and ski touring. She is a member of the German Alpine Club (DAV), the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) and the French Alpine Club (FFCAM). Between 2000 – 2003 she was a member of the federal Board of Directors of the Swiss Alpine Club SAC and represented the SAC from 2000 until 2009 in the LEWG (Legal Experts’ Working Group) of the UIAA. Bettina is a member of the Comité Directeur du CAF Grenoble Isère.

 Giancarlo Del Zotto

Giancarlo Del Zotto manages a law firm in Pordenone, Italy and is also a mountaineering and ski mountaineering instructor with the Italian Alpine Club (CAI). He has taken part in climbing and skiing expeditions across the Soviet Caucasus, the Peruvian Andes and Greenland. Giancarlo was a former chair of the Italian Alpine Club’s National Commission for the Mountaineering and Ski Mountaineering Schools and a former member of the UIAA’s Legal Experts Working Group, representing CAI. He is also the author of the book “Alpinismo Moderno”, Ed. Il Castello, which has been translated in several languages and has an interest in the issue of safety and accidents on mountains especially as it relates to civil and criminal liability. Del Zotto also teaches law subjects for mountain medicine courses held at the University of Padova in Italy.

Renée Hopster

Renée Hopster became a member of the Royal Dutch Alpine club (KNAV) in 1968 when she started climbing. Later she was secretary and vice-president of the KNAV. She represented the KNAV and later the NKBV at the UIAA between 1991 and 1995. Renée was involved in the Legal Experts Working Group (LEWG) since its inception in 1998. When she retired from her legal practice in 2009 she also retired from the LEWG having been its chair for 5 years. Renée has practiced law for over 36 years and has climbed in the Alps, in the Himalayas and in South America. She regularly visits the mountains for long distance hiking, trekking, skiing and ski mountaineering.

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