International Mountain Day, Sunday 11 December 2016

The UIAA counts 92 member federations on six continents and in 68 countries. Concern for the environment and spearheading projects related to raising awareness about the fragility of the mountains and the welfare of mountain communities are key components of their work.

Among the member federations organizing special events on International Mountain Day are:

CMBEL_IMD_2Climbing & Mountaineering Belgium (CMBEL) with the conjunction of the CAB-B (a local Alpine club) are harnessing the appeal of one of the country’s most symbolic figures, the famous statue of Manneken-Pis, to promote International Mountain Day. In 2004, Manneken-Pis, a young boy, was first gifted his own mountaineering clothing and each and every 11 December since he has adorned it to mark International Mountain Day, always in the presence of Belgium’s most famous alpinists. This year to promote good safety practices in the mountains he will wear a helmet handmade by Jean-Michel Hoeffelman, one of the first Belgian 8,000m summiteers. CMBEL’s goal is to promote the visibility of the sport of mountaineering and respect between man and the natural environment.

CAI (Club Alpino Italiano) supported many activities planned for IMD. In the Province of Sondrio a local organization celebrated  IMD with four days of free events. The offer was vast: walking tours in the mountain forest with a foraging expert, a workshop, recitals for children and a chorale concert.  The promotion of mountain values through its myths and traditions managed to reach a large audience, curious to find out more about Alpin culture. Particularly meaningful were activities organized in the Italian central regions, which were recently hit by an earthquake. A comfortable 6km trekking path was covered by the hikers of four different CAI sections, who raised awareness on the biodiversity and on the local mountain population’s identity.

The Mongolian National Climbing Federation turned their attentions to literature with the penning of articles related to ‘good mountain practices, the celebration of diversity, and the strengthening identity of International Mountain Day’. Their message has already appeared across several leading Mongolian daily newspapers. It also called for the recognition of a dedicated annual Mountain Day in Mongolia.

The Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) is organizing its third Mountain Festival which will be held at the International Mountain Museum in Pokhara from 10-11 December. The meet’s main objectives are: enhance the livelihoods of mountain communities by promoting mountain products; protecting the vulnerable mountain environment; and promoting mountaineering, mountain culture & sports.

FPME (Federação Portuguesa de Montanhismo e Escalada) marked International Mountain Day by organising a series of activities in the mountains with their various associate clubs and members.

Mountains make up two thirds of Switzerland`s surface area. They play a decisive role in creating the national identity of Switzerland and also, in part, owing to alpine tourist destinations – its worldwide reputation. To date, Switzerland has successfully integrated its mountain regions in the political and economic development of the country. More than 30,000 animal species live in the Alps, from the smallest glacier fleas to famous bears. To mountain people, the Alpine animals can be means of transportation, materials for transaction or research, photographic subjects or even marketing tools. Thus, what better occasion than International Mountain Day to talk about the relationship between humans and animals in the mountains? This topic will be discussed at the Swiss Alpine Museum by a team of experts: a beekeeper from the Gadmental valley, a hunter from Grisons, a wildlife photographer and a hut-keeper. Each expert will also show and explain 20 pictures to support their point of view. The event is organized by the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC).

Further reading:

The Turkish Mountaineering Federation (TDF) will organize events promoting the protection of the mountain environment. This includes leading a seminar on the spiritual importance of Mount Ağrı in eastern Turkey. Ersan Basar, President of TDF, will give a keynote presentation.

United Kingdom.
UIAA Mountain Protection Commission member Stephen Goodwin shared his reflections on International Mountain Day for The Alpine Club. His article can be found here.

Member federations are invited to contact the UIAA Mountain Protection team – with details on how they are marking International Mountain Day.

Further details on UIAA member federation activities on 11 December will be published in December’s UIAA newsletter (19 December).

UIAA & International Mountain Day. All articles, click here.