or Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme
, (English: International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation
) is the organization that represents several million mountaineers and climbers, world-wide, on international issues. Formed in 1932 in Chamonix
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc or, more commonly, Chamonix is a commune in the Haute-Savoie département in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. It was the site of the 1924 Winter Olympics, the first Winter Olympics...
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...
, it now has over 88 members associations from some 76 countries, all of national importance. It is recognized by the International Olympic Committee
The International Olympic Committee is an international corporation based in Lausanne, Switzerland, created by Pierre de Coubertin on 23 June 1894 with Demetrios Vikelas as its first president...
(IOC) as the International Federation representing mountaineering
Mountaineering or mountain climbing is the sport, hobby or profession of hiking, skiing, and climbing mountains. While mountaineering began as attempts to reach the highest point of unclimbed mountains it has branched into specialisations that address different aspects of the mountain and consists...
Climbing is the activity of using one's hands and feet to ascend a steep object. It is done both for recreation and professionally, as part of activities such as maintenance of a structure, or military operations.Climbing activities include:* Bouldering: Ascending boulders or small...
. The association plays an important role in regulating safety standards for equipment used in climbing.
The UIAA is also concerned with ice-climbing, rock-climbing and bouldering
Bouldering is a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad so that a fall will not result in serious injury. It is typically practiced on large natural boulders or artificial boulders in gyms and outdoor urban areas...
competitions that usually take part indoors on man-made climbing routes.
The UIAA headquarters is located in Bern, Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....
The UIAA grading
In rock climbing, mountaineering and other climbing disciplines, climbers give a climbing grade to a route that concisely describes the difficulty and danger of climbing the route...
system is mostly used for short rock routes in Western Germany, Austria and Switzerland and most countries in Eastern Europe. On long routes it is often used in the Alps and Himalaya. Using Roman numerals
The numeral system of ancient Rome, or Roman numerals, uses combinations of letters from the Latin alphabet to signify values. The numbers 1 to 10 can be expressed in Roman numerals as:...
, it was originally intended to run from I (easiest) to X (hardest), but as with all other grading systems, improvements to climbing standards have led to the system being open-ended. An optional + or − may be used to further differentiate difficulty. As of 2004, the hardest climbs are XII−.
Safety in mountaineering and climbing equipment
The UIAA Safety Commission develops and maintains safety standards for climbing equipment. These standards are implemented world-wide by the manufacturers who also participate in annual Safety Commission meetings. The Commission works with nearly 60 manufacturers world-wide and has 1861 products certified. The next Safety Commission meeting will be held in Switzerland between 25-27 May 2011. You can read more about safety on the UIAA website
Click here to see if your climbing equipment is UIAA certified or not: http://www.theuiaa.org/certified_equipment.php This web page also provides access to a data base of climbing related products that have been recalled by the manufacturer.