The aim of the Tyrol Declaration for mountain sports
is to protect the freedom of participants and promote social development, cultural understanding and environmental awareness. To this end, the Tyrol Declaration follows the traditional unwritten values and codes of conduct inherent in mountain sports and expands on these to meet the demands of our times. These proposals for best practice in mountain sports are adressed to all lovers of the mountains worldwide - whether they be hikers and trekkers, sport climbers, or mountaineers seeking to push their limits at high altitudes. With these proposals we especially hope to reach young people, for they are the future of mountain sports.
The Tyrol Declaration is based on a set of values and maxims to give guidance on best practice in mountain sports. These values and maxims are not rules or detailed instructions, rather
- they define today's fundamental values in mountain sports;
- they contain principles and standards of conduct;
- they formulate the ethical criteria for decision making and uncertain situations;
- they present the ethical principles by which the public can judge mountain sports;
- they introduce beginners to the values and moral principles relevant to their sport.
The Tyrol Declaration for Mountain Sports
- Stretch your limits, lift your spirits and aim for the top.
- Accept the risks and assume responsibility.
- Balance your goals with your skills and experience.
- Play by fair means and report honestly.
- Strive for best practice and never stop learning.
- Be tolerant, considerate and help each other.
- Protect the wild and natural character of mountains and cliffs.
- Act withing the limits of effort and the 'barrier of fatigue'.
- Support local communities.
In keeping with Article 1 of the UN Bill of Human Rights, the proposals are based on the premise that human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and should treat one another in the spirit of brotherhood. Particular attention should be given to equal rights of men and women.
Life, liberty, happiness
Is goes without saying that climbers and mountaineers subscribe to the inalienable human rights, foremost life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We feel a special responsibility towards the indigenious populations of mountain areas, whose right to a dignified, self-determined life must be protected by all possible means.
Intactness of nature
Thanks to their intensive contact with nature, climbers and alpinists develop awareness for the beauty of a healthy environment and the need to preserve its flora and fauna. "Leave no traces" has always been a key issue in our environmental philosophy. With the growing threat to fragile ecosystems in mountain regions all over the world, one of the most important commitments of the climbing community has become the protection of endangered species of flora and fauna, both in the mountains and in crag climbing areas.
There are few situations in which people are so dependent on each other as are climbers on hard routes in wilderness areas. Rewarding experiences and success most readily manifest in a harmonious team where mutual support is the rule. The shared experience of intensive outdoor adventure diminishes differences due to social class, age, religion or nationality. Thus, climbing has become a means to promote understanding among individuals as well as nations. Solidarity between hikers, rock climbers and mountaineers also extends to the population of the regions they visit.
It is our conviction that all humans - after their immediate physical demands and their needs for security, love and recognition have been met - strive for self-actualization. For millions of people around the world, climbing and mountaineering have become a significant factor in the quest for a meaningful life. It is through climbing that they experience the support of a friendly social environment, recognition and the exhilarating pleasures of athletic accomplishment.
As performance in climbing frequently goes unwitnessed and often can't be indisputably documented, experts and the public alike have to rely on the truthfulness of the activists who report on their accomplishments. If arbitrariness replaces truth, it becomes impossible to evaluate performance in climbing, thus robbing our sport of one of its most important motives.
All mountaineers and rock climbers like to tackle problems that challenge them both physically and mentally, striving for both elegant and controlled execution of the task. Many activists strive to improve their abilities. Without continual progress on the cutting edge of performance, climbing would lose much of its dynamism and fascination.
We experience our own performance most intensively when - moving close to our limits - we interact with the natural obstacles posed by mountains or crags as directly as possible, with a minimum of interfering technology. For this reason, risk and advantage are essential factors in climbing. The intensive feeling of satisfaction climbing can impart, is a product of the exiting balance between danger and safety achieved through skillfully blending courage, rational judgment, emotional control, responsibility and athletic prowess. The diversity of disciplines in mountain sports - hiking, adventure climbing and sport/plaisir climbing - allows everyone to chose their own individual adventure, where their skills and the dangers are in balance.
The quality of values
Although individualistic values play an essential role in defining climbing, we need to realize that in any moral issue, these rank below humane principles and environmentally-oriented ideals. Putting self-actualization, performance and adventure above the right to life of Man and his natural environment is incompatible with the humanistic values of mountaineering and rock climbing. It is the responsibilty of every single climber to weigh and balance the values of his sport so that climbing can keep its integrity and is able to stand up against current trends marked by shortsightedness, egotism and greed.
Article 1 - Individual Responsibility
Mountaineers or climbers practice their sport in a situation where there is risk of accidents and outside help may be unavailable. With this in mind, they pursue this activity at their own responsibility and are accountable for their own safety. The individual's action should not endanger those around them nor the environment.
Article 2 - Team Spirit
Members of the team should be prepared to make compromises in order to balance the interests and abilities of all the group.
Article 3 - Climbing & Mountaineering Community
We owe every person we meet in the mountains or on the rocks an equal measure of respect. Even in isolated conditions and stressful situations, we should not forget to threat others as we want to be treated ourselves.
Article 4 - Visiting Foreign Countries
As guests in foreign cultures, we should always conduct ourselves politely and with restraint towards the people there - our hosts. We will respect holy mountains and places and we will seek to benefit and assist local economy and people. Understanding of foreign cultures is part of complete climbing experience.
Article 5 - Responsibilities of groups and guided parties
Professional mountain guides, other leaders and groups should understand their respective roles and respect the freedoms and rights of other groups and individuals. So they are prepared the leaders and grops should:
- Understand the hazards of the objective and have the necessary skills and experience.
- Have the correct equipment.
- Check the weather and conditions.
Article 6 (& 7) - Emergencies
To be prepared for emergencies:
- Have you thought about the risks?
- Do you have the skills, knowledge and equipment to deal with an emergency situation?
- Can you and will you help others in the event of an emergency?
- Are you ready to face the consequences of a tragedy?
Article 8 - Access and Conservation
We consider freedom of access to mountains a fundamental right. Nevertheless, we should always practice our activities in an environmentally sensitive way and be proactive in preserving nature. We respect access restrictions and regulations agreed between climbers and mountaineers and nature conservation organizations and authorities.
Article 9 - Style
The quality of the experience and how we solve a problem is more important then whether we solve it. We strive to leave no trace.
Article 10 - First Ascents
The first ascent of a route or a mountain is a creative act, but it should be done in at least as good a style as the traditions of the region and show responsibility toward the needs of future climbers.
Article 11 - Sponsorship & Advertising
The cooperation between sponsors and athletes must be a professional relationship that serves the best interests of mountain sports.
Article 12 - Public Relations & Mountain Sports
It is the responsibility of the mountain sports community in all its aspects to educate and inform both media and public in a proactive manner.
This document is, with the final amendments, to be approved by the UIAA General Assemly
in Flagstaff, Arizona on 05.10.02.