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. Since 2015, the UIAA has organised a dedicated annual Award for rock climbing festivals worldwide. Each year the Award focuses on a different continent. The next Award – 2021 – will focus on festivals in Oceania and Southeast Asia.

UIAA Rock Climbing Festival Award

Rewarding the true spirit of rock climbing

Since 2015 the UIAA has organised the annual UIAA Rock Climbing Festival Award. The awards is offered to climbing festival organisers in recognition for meeting the criteria of the UIAA Rock Climbing Working Group. Each year the focus of the Award switches to a different continent, to ensure the impact of the UIAA’s commitment to rock climbing is truly global.

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

Each year the Award focuses on a special region, or continent, where nominees can apply via the UIAA online registration system. Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Award was postponed to 2021. However the application process is already open.

In 2021, the Award will target solely festivals in Oceania and Southeast Asia. The registration deadline is TBC, but is expected to be the summer of 2021.

As part of the application process, the following criteria applies:

  • The festival is organized or approved by a national member federation of the UIAA. Development festival projects may also be recognised where there is no UIAA member federation present in the country.
  • The festival is held in accordance with UIAA values.
  • Contribution is made to sustainable development of rock climbing in their country and/or continent.
  • UIAA Safety label equipment must be used in any workshop held.
  • Prominent climbers from that country or region participate.

The host events are published and promoted 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


The fifth annual UIAA Rock Climbers’ Festival Award is open to events held in Asia. The UIAA Rock Climbing Festival Award Panel is currently assessing all candidates. Nominated festivals will be showcased below.

Suru Boulder Fest (India)

Trad Climbing Festival (Korea)

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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/s in agreement with the organiser.

Prize money: Up to 2,500 CHF (TBC & maybe shared across different candidates)

For 2021, the UIAA welcomed applications from Oceania & Southeast festivals only. The Award winner(s) will be announced at the 2021 UIAA General Assembly (date and venue TBC).

Past Award Locations
Africa – South Africa
2016: Europe
2017: North America
2018: Central/South America
2019: Asia

Upcoming Award Locations
2020/2021: Oceania & SE Asia

Apply here


25 August – 7 September: Overall Winner:
Suru Boulder Fest (India)

20-21 October: Overall Winner:
Festival de Boulder de Mar del Plata (Argentina)
30 November – 2 December: Runner-Up:
Capixaba Climbing Festival (Brazil)
26-28 October: Development Prize:
BLOQUEando (Bolivia)

Award 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.

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