UIAA Rock Climbing Festival &
Rock Climbers Awards

Encouraging those who embrace rock climbing

The UIAA is proud to reward those who promote responsible rock climbing. Ever since its foundation in 1932, the UIAA has supported and developed mountain sports and rock climbing in parallel with its commitment to protecting the environment in which they are practised. High mountains, big walls, bouldering, ski mountaineering, ice climbing and rock climbing; these are all activities in the DNA of the UIAA and run in parallel to its commitment to sustainable practices.

UIAA Rock Climbing Awards

Rewarding the true spirit of rock climbing

Since 2015 the UIAA has offered two annual Rock Climbing honours – the UIAA Rock Climbers’ Award and the UIAA Rock Climbing Festival Award. These awards – awarded at the same event – are offered to climbing festival organisers, and participants in those festivals, in recognition for meeting the criteria of the UIAA Rock Climbing Working Group.

During the assessment process for the Award, festivals are reviewed and a shortlist is drawn up of those which meet UIAA criteria and support the development of climbing in a particular region. It is an opportunity for the UIAA to offer support in the development of climbing and offer advice to organisers in terms of safety, sustainability and sport. It is also an opportunity to showcase diverse climbing styles and the points of the UIAA Climbers Manifesto.

Festival Selection

Following an initial trial year, one or two festivals are selected in a particular continent or continental region according to the following criteria:

  • The festival is organized or approved by a national member federation of the UIAA.
  • The festival is in accordance with the UIAA values.
  • Contribution is made to sustainable development of rock climbing in their country and/or continent.
  • Recognition of the efforts of climbers during the festival regarding notable ascents and other may be made.
  • UIAA Safety label equipment must be used in any workshop held.
  • Prominent climbers from that country or region participate.

The host events are published on the UIAA website at least two months in advance.

The festival must include a sustainable action plan with, at least, one of the following projects:

Promotion of  ‘Rock Climbing for All’

  • Rock Climbing for Youth
  • Para-Rock Climbing or diversity in climbing
  • Rock Climbing workshops and promoting safe practice in all styles of climbing appropriate to the region or venue
  • Evidence of sustainable climbing initiatives

Preservation of the environment

  • Environmental education around rock climbing
  • Protection of the fauna and the flora
  • Environmental sustainability and good practice

Contributing to economic development

  • Creation or development of Rock Climbing community
  • Promotion of climbing tourism in a sensitive manner
  • Sustainable job creation, support for clubs or rescue organisations

UIAA Rock Climbers’ Award Criteria

Within the framework of this festival, the Award also recognizes the commitment of climbers in the international rock climbing community in one or more of the following aspects: Safety, Sustainability, Sport. Climbers are recognised for their inspiring ascents or performances during the event  and their contributions to the country, region or continent as ambassadors of the climbing community. In doing so meeting UIAA values and displaying a spirit of friendship and fair-play.

Past Award Locations
Africa – South Africa
2016: Europe

Potential Award Locations
2017: America(s)
2018: Asia or Australasia
2019: Asia or Australasia

Award Allocation

In addition to prize money being allocated, the benefits of winning these Awards are tangible, notably promotion within the UIAA’s international network (see testimonials below). The UIAA will contribute to other prizes at the festival in agreement with the organiser.

Festival organisers: 3,000 CHF
Climbers prizes: 2,000 CHF

UIAA Rock Climbers’ Award – Past Winners

 2016 Season

7-9 October Kalymnos Climbing Festival

Rewarded for:

  1. Commitment to sustainable practices
  2. Support for the climbing community
  3. Exceptional experience in organizing international climbing festivals

Individual Climber prizes offered to:

  1. Urko Carmona & Simone Salvagnin – Para climbing and inspirational performance
  2. The UIAA also recognized the male, female and mixed team category winners of the open climbing day

“We are honoured to receive this award, the financial support will help us develop the Kalymnos rescue team and will be put towards making an even greater event next year.” Kalymnos Climbing Festival  2016

 2015 Season

13-14 June Original Climbing Festival, South Africa

The Rock Climbers Award acknowledged the athletes while the support of the UIAA for the event endorsed our principle of celebrating many aspects of rock climbing,” Roger Nattrass, Southern Rock Origin Mountain Festival.

14-16 August Aggtelek Climbing Festival, Hungary

Award Assessment Team 

Anne Arran

A former British climbing champion, international competitor and junior climbing team coach. Anne has been on expedition to many countries and is familiar with local climbing scenes. She is still a keen climber and runs an accommodation/outdoor activities business mainly in the French Pyrenees.

Peter Farkas

Peter comes from Hungary and is vice President of the UIAA and a civil engineer. He began at the UIAA in 2002 as journal editor. He is an active rock climber and a former member of the Hungarian Youth National Team and was once President of the Hungarian Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation.

James ‘Marc’ Beverly

Marc is a member of the American Alpine Club and part of the UIAA Executive Board. He is an IFMGA Mountain Guide, DiMM, Physician Assistant, and is pursuing a PhD in Exercise Science. He is also a UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup competitor and sits on the International Commission of Alpine Rescue.