In a little over a month’s time the 2018 UIAA General Assembly will take place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. For many delegates it will be their first opportunity to visit a fascinating country with a rich climbing and mountaineering culture.
The event will be hosted by the Mongolian National Climbing Federation (MNCF). Established in 1955, the federation’s principal function is to develop all forms of mountain activity from mountaineering to hiking, ice climbing to skyrunning, rock climbing to sport climbing. A full member of the UIAA since 2010, the MNCF is an extremely active federation and part of the UAAA – Union of Asian Alpine Associations. Its membership is largely drawn from climbers interested in taking part in competitions and events, obtaining specific mountain grades in accordance with Mongolian law, training programmes and benefitting from the federation’s Award initiatives.
“It is a big honour for us to host the UIAA GA in 2018,” explains the federation’s vice-President and Executive Board member Zoljargal Banzragch. “It is a historic moment for the MNCF. We have invited several government ministers and hope we can make things happen at a high level.”
“Guests can expect to experience Mongolian culture, food, hospitality, dance, songs and other traditions throughout the GA. On the Sunday we will also organise a Cultural Day with the aim of providing guests with a memorable and lasting experience.”
Guests who are spending longer in Mongolia may have the chance to experience the country’s impressive mountain ranges with seven peaks over 4000m, twenty over 3000m. The country’s highest point is the Khüiten Peak (4374m) located in the west of the country and within the The Tavan Bogd massif. “Hiking has boomed in Mongolia over the past five years,” explains Banzragch. “Recent analysis suggests one in every three people hike regularly in the mountains. A big change from thirty years ago is that climbing culture is part of everyday life and not just for a few, select mountaineers supported by Russian instructors. For those spending time in Mongolia after, or before, the GA, we would recommend Western Mongolia with its beautiful scenery, especially the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park, located in the Bayan-Ulgii province. For those seeking to scale virgin mountains, the Uvs province is full of many unclimbed, or little climbed, areas.”
The MNCF is extremely active across all facets of climbing. In the competition arena, the federation supports numerous ice and sport climbers compete in national and international competitions, including the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour. This commitment also extends to city rock climbing events, youth competitions and mountaineering camps.
The federation hopes to organise its first UIAA Respect the Mountains event in 2019 which would become the first of its kind in Asia. This is a subject the federation would like to address with the UIAA during the GA. On the subject of tackling mountain waste and pollution, the federation’s training centre – Altitude Alpine School – has recently begun concerted programmes aimed at removing mountain graffiti.