Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme
The UIAA 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, France, it now has over 88 members associations from some 76 countries, all of national importance. It is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the International Federation representing mountaineering and climbing. The association plays an important role in regulating safety standards for equipment used in climbing.
The UIAA grading 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, 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.
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