A Handbook for mountain club leaders

Thanks to the technical and financial support of the Petzl Foundation, the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) has published a new "mountain skills handbook" which is now available for national outdoor clubs and organizations. This 340-page book contains the essential knowledge required to become a hiking, climbing or mountaineering instructor.

SEPTEMBER 2014 • Updated in September 2019

Handbook cover

  • Project partner: International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA)
  • Country: International
  • Project type : Accident prevention
  • Budget: €164,000 since 2007 and technical production

This handbook is intended to be used by hikers, climbers and mountaineers wishing to expand their knowledge and skill level in order to supervise a team of mountaineers. It has been specifically designed as a reference tool for trainers and instructors of mountain clubs and outdoor organizations, in line with the training standards that were set up by the UIAA Mountaineering Commission.

It includes four modules: basic knowledge, alpine hiking, climbing and mountaineering. Its purpose is to present proven techniques that can be acquired through technical training.
The handbook is based on Petzl technical drawings, which are already well-known worldwide. It was originally designed as a training course syllabus for
Nepalese mountain professionals. The interest shown in the original version sparked further work to create a fuller and more comprehensive version.
The search for a clear, simple and universal style involved the best Petzl technicians, as well as contributors from mountain clubs and outdoor organizations. The goal is not to present all the techniques, or even the best, but to explain proven techniques as clearly as possible. This tool is designed to allow all to share a common core of knowledge and skills.

New translations of the Alpine Skills:Summer handbook

Originally published in French in June 2012, this handbook will hopefully formalize a common mountain language. An English version, made with the help of the Alpine Club of Canada, has been available since 2013. It has been distributed worldwide and translated into Korean and Turkish. In 2018 and 2019, new translations were completed in Mongolian, Mandarin Chinese, Serbian and Czech, as proposed by mountaineering federations and clubs.

The Handbook is also available in digital format in English

Pierre Humblet, UIAA Mountaineering Commission president, says:

Pierre Humblet
"I have met many climbers around the world, who told me they acquired their first basic mountain techniques by consulting the drawings illustrating Petzl catalogs. They are a magnificent treasure. When the Petzl Foundation proposed to make a handbook based on these illustrations, I was really enthusiastic about the project. The book can be used by anyone, regardless of their origin and education. It can also be used by those who are unable to read or write. The first version was successfully tested during training sessions in Nepal, organized jointly by the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), the Petzl Foundation and the UIAA.

Thanks to the enthusiasm of the Petzl Foundation, the handbook was then developed and attracted the interest of federations who themselves possess first class expertise in the field. This handbook is designed to be an essential and practical addition to the existing literature available. It is designed to be used in the field to review and consolidate knowledge, which has not been fully assimilated.

It is proposed as an additional tool for outdoor clubs and organizations, who wish to attain the training standards that were developed by the UIAA Mountaineering Commission. These training standards are primarily aimed at voluntary member organizations, who want to improve their technical skills and reduce the risk inherent in the activity. Its graphic style combined with its simplicity makes it an easy tool to use internationally. It will improve technical communication between climbers and mountaineers from every continent."

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Updated in september 2019



An hour's drive north of Katmandu, the Kakani training center stands on a ridge at the foot of a climbing wall, at an altitude of 2,000 m. (...)

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