Italian observatory set to lobby for freedom in the mountains

A new group called The Italian Observatory for Liberty set up to resist attempts by national or local authorities to constrain freedom of access and risk taking in mountaineering and climbing was unveiled at the "Festival della Montagna" in Trento earlier this month. “The attacks on freedom involve many types of sports and of social life,” said group member Carlo Zanantoni. “But the accidents occurring in mountaineering have a large resonance in the media, because they...

UIAA at the heart of a novel look at mountaineering history by Harvard University historian

German-born historian Carolin Roeder will spend the summer poring over the archives of the UIAA as she works on a novel history of mountaineering involving transnational relationships between mountaineers. Roeder, a PhD student at Harvard University, is part of a growing trend in academic research that focuses not just on well catalogued and well-documented histories of the ascents and failures of mountaineering expeditions, but contextualizing mountaineering historically. In her case Roeder is focusing on the cross-border ties...

Management Committee of the UIAA approves new process for validation of training standards

The UIAA Management Committee, in a bid to enhance a much sought after service to member federations, has approved a set of proposals for voluntary Training Standards  to be delivered as a professional service. The call for such a service was rated as the number one priority of member federations in the strategic plan survey in 2011 which outlines a road map for the UIAA until 2016. The approval in a recent meeting in Budapest, Hungary, sets in...

Input sought on bolting debate

The debate over whether to bolt or not to bolt on mountains has been renewed with a new working paper  on a controversial issue that often pits sport climbers versus adventure (trad) climbers. The draft paper which was presented at the UIAA Management Committee meeting in Budapest, Hungary earlier this month is a call to action to create national bolting policies and the need for a UIAA policy statement promoting preservation of natural rock surfaces for adventure...

Latin American climbing officials meet in Argentina

Edgar Usaga, president of the Federación Costarricense de Deportes de Montaña (FECODEM) was chosen president of the La Unión Panamericana de Montañismo y Escalada (UPAME) at a meeting in Argentina which discussed a number of issues including cross-border issues in the Andes mountains and the work of the UIAA. Other officials elected to the Latin American climbing body included David Muñoz from Chile (Vice-president administration,) Roberto Albornoz from Chile (Vice-president technical,) Gunter Figueroa from Panama (Secretary,) Pedro Calderon from Costa Rica...

Mountaineering competition to take place in the Pamirs

An international mountaineering competition takes place in the Pamirs July and has attracted teams from a number of countries including Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Ukraine, Belorussia, France, Croatia and Iran. The event starts on 3 July and ends on 22 July 2012 in the mountains of Zamin-Karor in Tajikistan and will involve pairs of mountaineers who will participate in competitions that take place in two stages. The first stage or “school” is a qualifying competition. Climbers have to...

Grivel to become sponsor of the UIAA

Grivel, one of the world’s leading mountaineering equipment manufacturers, has become one of the sponsors of the UIAA (International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation). "Grivel and UIAA have the same environmental and ethical goals,” said Grivel's owner Gioachino Gobbi about the sponsorship deal that was signed in March. “This is why Grivel made the decision to become partner of the worldwide UIAA program.” “We want to maintain our traditions, keeping in touch with our mountains and the men...

Access Commission meets in Chile

Public access to a proposed conservation area in the Rio De Olivares for the 5 million inhabitants of Santiago and the controversial HydroAysen hydroelectric project were among the issues tackled by the Access Commission of the UIAA in a meeting held in Chile earlier this month. The meeting was hosted by the UIAA member Federación de Andinismo de Chile (FEACH) and included a visit to the Rio De Olivares region, near Santiago, with Sendero de Chile,...

Piolet d’Or for Mark Richey

UIAA Management Committee member Mark Richey of the American Alpine Club and fellow climbers Freddie Wilkinson and Steve Swenson were the proud recipient of the prestigious Piolet d’Or (golden ice axe) award for the successful first ascent of Saser Kangri II, previously the world’s second highest unclimbed mountain. Richey, Wilkinson and Swenson received the award in a ceremony in March in Chamonix (France) and Courmeyer (Italy) for the alpine style ascent in August 2011. Saser Kangri II...

UIAA World Cup tour ends with new world champions

The 2012 UIAA Ice Climbing World Cup tour which spanned five countries ended on 10 March with Italy’s Angelika Rainer and Russia’s Maxim Tomilov winning their first overall World Cup titles in the Lead discipline. Russian climbers Kirill Kolchegoshev and Maryam Fillippova were the winners of the Men and Women’s Speed disciplines. Overall rankings for 2012 and the final results can be found here. For Rainer, winning the overall World Cup title has been a dream since 2008 when she won...