This March, exciting information made its way to La Federación de Andinismo de Chile (Feach), the country’s national mountaineering society.
“[We] received one of the most important pieces of news in the history of our sport,” the organization said on its website.
For the first time, the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) administered international certification to a Chilean training course. The endorsement for the training program at the Escuela Nacional de Montaña [National Mountain School] is not only significant to Chile, but also to the rest of Latin America, as the course is the first on the continent to receive the prestigious certification.
The European-based organization UIAA sets the bar internationally for mountaineering standards of safety and technical rigor. Founded in 1932, their vast network now incorporates around 1.3 million mountain enthusiasts worldwide.
“With the UIAA Training Label, the associations can prove that their training and assessment schemes have been independently examined by a UIAA expert and endorsed by an international panel,” UIAA wrote. “This makes it possible for mountaineers from different countries to recognize each other’s qualifications.”
The rigorous course that achieved UIAA standards goes by the name of Technical Training and Sports Technique Level 1 in Sport Climbing – Guide/Instructor. It covers a breadth of topics including rappelling, the use of crampons and ice axes, short roping, snow rescue, and mountaineering ethics. The course was approved after members UIAA observed it in September of last year.
Still to come is a second segment of the course that will focus on mountaineering tactics. Feach anticipates the UIAA’s attendance excitedly.
“For this challenge we put our trust in our guides and instructors: they are the great motor behind this wonderful project,” UIAA wrote. “We also would like to extend the invitation to the mountaineering and climbing community, so that they might participate and support this important process.”
With the imposing Andes Mountains providing an endless backbone to Chile’s anatomy, it’s no wonder that the climbing community has thrived in the country over the past decade. Click here to learn more about climbing in Chile.