The BMC hosted a meeting of the International Federation of Climbing and Mountaineering (UIAA) at Plas y Brenin on 15-17 May, under the leadership of former BMC President Mark Vallance.
Representatives from countries including Canada, Iran, Nepal, Russia and Switzerland were welcomed to the rain and wind of North Wales. Despite the 'heavy showers', the delegates were impressed with the Welsh hospitality and facilities. Stefano Tirinzoni from the Italian Alpine Club described Plas y Brenin as "very impressive, VERY impressive".
Strong chairmanship of the meeting by the UIAA President Mike Mortimer, of the Canadian Alpine Club, gave a new vigour to proceedings after several years of disagreements relating to competition climbing and the split from the UIAA of the IFSC (International Federation of Sport Climbing) in 2007.
As part of Mike's forward looking strategy, up for review were the work of the Commissions including Access and Conservation, Mountain Protection and Expeditions. This review coincided with the end of a British led era for the Access and Conservation and Mountain Protection Commissions as Bob Pettigrew and Dave Morris stepped down as Presidents, both having served the maximum 8 year term.
There were discussions about 'what constitutes an expedition in the 21st century' and a review of the commission's work. Following this, three commissions became two, with the majority of the former Expedition Commission's work subsumed into the newly named Access Commission. Clare Bond (ex-BMC Access and Conservation Officer) was elected President of the Access Commission and Linda McMillan of the American Alpine Club takes the helm for the Mountain Protection Commission. The new UIAA vision is for more joined up work between commissions and with external organisations to maximise benefits for the UIAA's member federations.
The BMC has strong representation, with Doug Scott starting his term on the UIAA management committee and Anne Arran continuing as President of the Youth Commission. Doug is keen for action on climbing and mountaineering issues that matter and the UIAA is now hopefully in a position to focus on these.
More information on the UIAA can be found at www.theuiaa.org
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