I have a question about International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) membership.

Shouldn't it allow me to climb the mountains, without hiring a guide? Which usually is the most expensive part.

They always say, that I'm not qualified enough, but really they just want the money. Is there a way to bypass them (I understand it will depend on the mountain, but in general)?

I know my limits, and I accept the fees for the park entrance, but guides?

UPDATE: right now I want to climb Gerlachovský štít (Slovakia, Vysoke Tatry)

only official climbing that is allowed is under the direction of a guide or by someone who has “certification from a national mountaineering organization”

but previously I had problems in Asia, such as Philippines and Malaysia

and the real question is: is there some certification/documents, which will prove that I'm more than capable to climb with my group, without paying local guides?

  • Where do you want to climb? Can you name a mountain as an example? What type of climbing are you intending to do? I feel there are a few misunderstandings but we can give a good answer with knowing a few more details.
    – mts
    Jul 14, 2016 at 13:24
  • 1
    Who say you are not qualified ? the climbing federation say "The UIAA does not accept individual memberships" so it is not they that say you are not qualified ?
    – Max
    Jul 14, 2016 at 13:29
  • I updated the question
    – user47378
    Jul 14, 2016 at 14:06
  • I think this would be better answered on THe Great Outdoors.se
    – CMaster
    Jul 14, 2016 at 14:15
  • 1
    @Mts I didn't vote close. I just think that TGO will be better at answering it.
    – CMaster
    Jul 14, 2016 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


Your question seems to arise from Wikipedia which says:

Only members of a national UIAA club are allowed to climb the peak on their own. Other visitors have to take a certified mountain guide.

As has been pointed out in the other answer by @Grzenio (to whom +1), you can not be a member of the UIAA but of a national member club, as correctly stated in Wikipedia. If you are not a member of such a club in your home country, you might want to consider the Austrian or German Alpine Club which also offers insurance for mountain sports.

This criterium seems to be purely a formal one about the membership as I read it and the more detailed rules here at summitpost.org seem to confirm that. Now note that to become e.g. a DAV member you need not even be able to climb stairs, bar a mountain, anyone can join, so it says nothing about your climbing skill. To my knowledge there is no certification of climbing skills and I would not expect one to be there given how variable climbing is.

However you should try not to get yourself killed in the process of climbing this mountain. I have no idea how much experience you have in mountains and climbing but given that you have to ask this question here makes me want to put out a word of warning:

  • This is a climb, not a hike. You will need to use your hands for at least parts of the ascent, and at some time you might appreciate being secured in some way.

  • You have to sign in and out before and after your climb as otherwise mountain rescue will head out to get you if you show up late.

  • There seems to be only a small time window that is good for this climb in early summer.

  • Be aware about the weather as in:

    Be warned, this is an alpine environment expect snow any time of the year and I found that the weather here closes in much faster that any other area that I have climbed in. It can be nice one moment but then minutes later you can be in the middle of a thunderstorm blowing up from the valley.

Good starting point for more info seems to be this site where the above quote is taken from.

Surely the guides have an incentive about getting paid but they are also nice people (I know some, but not in the area) and have a preference for you to get back from the mountain alive. They are also likely the same persons who will come for you if you need mountain rescue, so be nice to them.

Edit: It seems you want to climb in a group. All I said above is also valid for them, i.e. they also need to be member of a local alpine club and better know what they are doing. You can not be their official guide, citing the rules from above:

Only the licensed climbing instructors (Local UIAGM Guides) are entitled to climb with a person who is not a member of a UIAA Club. [...]

  • thanks for the answer, I understand all of that. I now in the process to join my home organization. But I want to know the value of this. Right now this is only one mountain, but how can this organization can be useful in general? Or it will always will depend on local rules (meaning if the guide wants the money, he will be able to forbid me climbing)?
    – user47378
    Jul 14, 2016 at 14:51
  • and I have nothing against the guides, but sometimes (especially in Asia) they are way too greedy
    – user47378
    Jul 14, 2016 at 14:53
  • Where are you from? Honestly I think this is not about the money but your safety, as mentioned above. Honestly this type of requirements is new to me, but being member of a local UIAA club has many benefits in the alps - you might want to join them as opposed to your local club. If you want to discuss more, ping me in our chat with "@mts". Good climbing :)
    – mts
    Jul 14, 2016 at 14:56
  • Forgot to tag you @lasoweq
    – mts
    Jul 14, 2016 at 15:08
  • The thing is, that I can join the local UIAA club for 25 EUR, nothing else is required. That's why I see this as some sort of scam...
    – user47378
    Jul 14, 2016 at 15:09

As far as I know UIAA is a federation of climbing and mountaineering clubs, you can see the full list here: http://www.theuiaa.org/member-federations.html. E.g. in the UK the only full member of UIAA is the British Mountaineering Council, and you can sign up to the BMA. In Poland there is the PZA, which again is a local federation of clubs. Which means that you can only sign up to one of the smaller clubs that are associated with PZA.

Regarding permission to climb mountains, it varies according to local rules. As far as I know in most places (e.g. the Alps in Europe) you can climb on your own without any permits or guides, on your own risk. In other places (e.g. Himalayas) you will need to buy a permit and hire a guide. It would be more helpful if you specify where exactly you are planning to climb.

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