The Commission for Mountaineering, Training and Safety met at the invitation of the PZS on October 6-7 in the Slovenian Vrata Valley below the Triglav North Face for this year's annual meeting. The most intensive item on the agenda was the elaboration of 10 recommendations on sport climbing outdoors, analogous to the numerous recommendation papers that have already been developed on the various mountain sports. In addition, the experts from the CAA associations exchanged views on the effects of climate change on mountain sports, on piste tours and on crisis management in the event of accidents on club tours. Short reports on the activities of the associations completed the agenda. The via ferrata difficulty comparison table is finalized and can be downloaded. The topic of "group sizes on club tours" will occupy the commission more closely in the coming year: recommendations are also to be developed for this, with reference to the various mountain sports.
After the last face-to-face meeting of the CAA Commission for Nature Protection and Alpine Spatial Planning (KONSAR) took place in April 2019 and the Commission had only worked online since then, the CAI invited to the "Mountaineering village" ("Bergsteigerdorf") Paularo in the Carnic Alps from 22-24 September. The agenda included an exchange on climate protection measures, free access to the mountains, the situation regarding the expansion of renewable energies, the joint project "Instagramability", an update on the position paper "motorised off-road traffic" and an exchange on the current nature conservation work in the CAA associations. There was also a brief report on the Alpweek 2022. An excursion to "Attila's Cave" from the Lanza Pass above Paularo rounded off the fruitful meeting on Saturday.
Stimulating inputs, controversial panel discussions, fruitful workshops and interesting excursions to the city of Brig and its impressive surroundings: AlpWeek 2022, with around 120 participants, was all about information and exchange on initiatives, possibilities and limits of sustainable development in the Alps. The public panel discussion on the topic of "Open-space photovoltaic plants in the landscape" was particularly emotional, with Raimund Rodewald from the Swiss Landscape Conservation Foundation pleading for untouched landscapes.
Despite differing opinions, there was agreement in general that solutions for the change towards more sustainability can only be found through exchange and cooperation.
More infomation and documentation: www.alpweek.org
The Alpine Week was jointly organised by several observer organisations of the Alpine Convention: Alliance in the Alps, CIPRA Switzerland, CIPRA International, Club Arc Alpin, Interreg Alpine Space Programme, ISCAR Alpine Research, Swiss Alpine Club, Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention, Alpine Town of the Year Association, Forum Landscape, Alps, Parks. The event received significant financial support from the Swiss Presidency of the Alpine Convention 2021/22.
On 14 May, this year's General Assembly took place in Slovenia's capital Ljubljana at the invitation of the Slovenian Alpine Club PZS. Vice President Heinz Frei chaired the meeting as President Nicole Slupetzky was prevented from attending for health reasons. Representatives of AVS, CAI, DAV, PZS and SAC were present on site in Ljubljana, the representatives of LAV and ÖAV were connected online.
The most important topic was the planned merger of the two umbrella organisations CAA and EUMA, which had already been discussed by the delegates the day before. The European mountaineering federation EUMA had already decided on a model for the integration of regional federations at its General Assembly at the end of April.
The CAA should to be integrated into EUMA as a regional council, and from 2024 it will focus primarily on its observer function at the Alpine Convention and its Commission for Nature Conservation and Alpine Spatial Planning, while the tasks of its two Commissions for Huts and Trails and for Mountaineering, Training and Safety are to be dealt with by EUMA within the framework of possible temporary expert groups. The exact structure of this merger is to be worked out by 2023 and decided by the General Assemblies of both associations to be held next year.
Various proposals for the future observer role at the Alpine Convention were presented, which will be sent to the member associations for comments and discussion after the meeting.
Apart from these topics, the usual approval of reports, annual accounts and budget were on the agenda, as the last General Assembly had just taken take in September 2021 and therefore many projects of the annual planning are still in progress or not yet completed.
Board member Antonio Zambon (CAI) was re-elected for a second term on the Board, as was Gislar Sulzenbacher (AVS) as auditor. Remo Gstöhl from Liechtenstein is now the second auditor, as Alois Schnider was not available for a further term of office.
Finally, the farewell of the long-standing CAA Commission Chair Georg Simeoni, who was also a member of the CAA Board for four years and left it in 2021, was made up for. (In 2021, the General Assembly could only take place online because of Corona). Ludwig Wucherpfennig from the DAV paid tribute to Simeoni's special commitment to huts and trails and presented a basket with specialities from all Alpine countries. Simeoni will remain at the CAA General Assembly as President of the South Tyrol Alpine Club.
"The CAA- Board is very shocked and concerned about the war in Ukraine triggered by the Russian President and condemns the aggressive and arbitrary attack on a sovereign state, which is equivalent to an attack on democracy and freedom. We think in solidarity with all the people who have to suffer from the war and stand up for our values."
Global warming, excessive tourism and landscape degradation require the very highest degree of multifaceted solutions. Three umbrella organizations committed to mountaineering and sustainability in European mountain regions therefore decided, at the end of November 2021, to join forces: the Club Arc Alpin (CAA), the European Union of Mountaineering Associations (EUMA) and the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA).
The European mountain regions – and in particular the Alps – are places where millions of people live or long for, year after year. While these regions may differ greatly, the pressures they face are similar: the climate crisis and ever new forms of exploitation by humans threaten biodiversity and lead to overloading of tourist hotspots or even entire terrains and landscapes.
To meet these challenges, three of the most important umbrella organizations in the areas of mountain sports and sustainability decided at the end of November to intensify their cooperation in line with the Alpine Convention: these are the CAA as the umbrella organization of the Alpine clubs of seven Alpine countries, the EUMA as the umbrella organization of 25 mountaineering organizations from all over Europe and CIPRA, the umbrella organization of more than 100 environmental and sustainability NGOs from the entire Alpine region.
Joint hike – joint perspectives
After working out the central concerns to be jointly pursued and obtaining approval from the boards of the three partner organizations, their leaders sealed the project with a joint autumn hike, to the Regitzer Spitz above the Rhine Valley, where the Alpine countries of Liechtenstein, Austria and Switzerland meet – with Germany also in sight.
Bianca Elzenbaumer, Co-President of CIPRA, Ingrid Hayek, Vice-President of EUMA, and Heinz Frei, Vice-President of CAA, witnessed examples of the conflicts of use in the Alpine region: their route took in an army firing range as well as alpine pastures and mountain forests, while they also encountered mountain bikers and caught a glimpse of the steep rock faces of the Fläscherberg peak, which are popular with climbers.
Bianca Elzenbaumer, Co-President of CIPRA International: “By bringing together our different perspectives on the Alps, we want to work boldly and inventively for a careful, communal approach to this space for living and adventure.”
Heinz Frei, Vice-President of the Club Arc Alpin: “Together with the two other major partner organizations, we must call upon and convince our members and the inhabitants of the Alpine countries to take action. Only together can we make a difference.”
Ingrid Hayek, Vice-President of the European Union of Mountaineering Associations: “Words are important because only they will enable human understanding and solidarity. However, appreciating a problem and understanding its solution are not the same as the solution itself: applying it will require joint action in real terms. This means that words must be followed by action, immediately! Act now!”
Strengthening cooperation in 2022
Following this symbolic joint tour by their leadership bodies, the first meetings will be held in 2022 to develop joint activities. Special attention will be given to the topic of sustainable mountain tourism. Facing such major mountain challenges of the 21st century will not always be easy, but the gathering also clearly identified what unites them and spurs them to take action: “If we don't take care of our beloved mountains now, together, with our creative innovative power and the combined energy of Alpine residents and tourists – then when?
This press release and printable press photos are available for download at:
Queries should be addressed to:
Bianca Elzenbaumer (Italy), Co-President CIPRA International, email@example.com
Ingrid Hayek (Austria), Vice-President EUMA: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heinz Frei (Switzerland), Vice-President CAA: email@example.com
This year's CAA General Assembly, originally planned in Ljubljana/Slovenia, took place online on 11 September due to the travel difficulties associated with Corona.
The election of Elmar Knoll (Alpenverein Südtirol) as new member of the CAA Executive Board has been brought forward in the agenda. Georg Simeoni was no longer available for a further term in the CAA after four years on the Board and eight years as Chairman of the Commission and huts and trails. A due personal thank you to Simeoni is to be made up the next meeting of the members in presence. Simeoni remains attached to the CAA as AVS President.
Following the usual approvals of the reports and annual plans of the Board and the three CAA commissions, the delegates discussed more intensively before its adoption the update of the joint position paper on "Pedelecs/E-mountain bikes", which after a complex coordination process is a fairly general compromise, but also a common reference and basis for the CAA member associations. An update of the tool "Energy Efficiency in mountain huts” has also been decided: it has been applied for several years primarily to DAV huts in connection with modifications and new buildings.
In addition, an update of the joint recommendations "Mountain biking - safe and fair" was adopted, in which E-mountain biking was integrated. Following a resolution of the General Assembly, the CAA Nature Conservation Commission will now develop social media visuals to contribute to the a critical addressing of the negative aspects of „instagrammability“.
It was also decided that in future the CAA General assembly should in principle take place in the spring in order to be able to facilitate the preparation of applications on the initiative of the commissions. The next General meeting is now planned for 13/14 May 2022 in Ljubljana.
The evening before, some delegates discussed the relevance of the Alpine Convention and the role of the CAA as an official observer. To this end, a strategy is to be developed in the coming months.
On the initiative and under coordination of the Austrian Alpine Club, the Alpine associations united in the CAA have published an illustrated leaflet on the topic of "Encounters with wolves". With short texts and humorous drawings, the leaflet provides general guidance and recommendations to contribute to safety when encountering wolves and in the presence of livestock guardian dogs.
Like the bear, the wolf has been re-colonising parts of the Alps for several years. Although encounters are very unlikely for humans, fears are widespread. The leaflet concentrates on short facts and takes a neutral position. It is mainly aimed at mountaineers and hikers, informs about the characteristics and protection status of the wolf and gives tips on how to behave.
The leaflet is printed by the alpine associations as a fanfold and is available as a download and for self-printing on DIN A 4 as a DIN long leaflet.
The Nice Côte d’Azur metropolitan area was meant to host the AlpWeek Intermezzo “Youth & Climate” this year. However, in response to evolving health conditions, the organisation committee has decided to make this event completely virtual. Field visits will be adapted to comply with this format as far as possible.
The conference will take place via Zoom. A link will be sent to you by email a few days in advance of the event.
This event is free of charge, by registration only until 1st December 2020.
Further information on www.alpweek.org
At the invitation of the Swiss Alpine Club (SAC), the presidents (or their representatives) of the CAA member associations met on 12.9. at the Hotel Kreuz and in the spacious Kursaal Congress Centre in Bern. The main point of discussion on the agenda was a motion to merge the CAA, which operates throughout the Alps, with the European Mountaineering Association (EUMA). It was decided that a working group consisting of representatives of both federations should start work by the end of 2020 and examine and prepare this merger by 2023, while ensuring that the most important tasks of both federations are fulfilled.
It was also agreed to adopt joint recommendations on "Safe Snowshoeing" and that the CAA would finance the extension of the existing online reservation system for huts, used by the majority of CAA associations, to include an availability check for multi-day tours.
In future, all three CAA commissions will also deal with climate change and the implementation of the CAA climate strategy (from 2018). The nature conservation commission KONSAR will draw up a collection of recommendations for climate-friendly mobility and have them illustrated.
In addition, as usual, the annual plans and reports of the executive board and commissions as well as the budget had to be adopted. Furthermore, Heinz Frei (SAC) was re-elected for a second term of office after four years on the CAA executive board.
The CAA has reissued last year's DAV/ÖAV/AVS flyer "Bedbugs hike with" and the guide with recommendations for hut teams. The files are available in German, Italian, French an Slovenian, the flyer is also available in English.
Printing and distribution of the printed publications is done by the CAA member associations. Here the PDFs are available for download, print files on request.
Recently the leaflet "Hiking in bear areas" was completed in four alpine languages + English. It contains behavioural tips for hikers staying in areas of the Alps where bears live or roam. You can download the leaflet and/or print it printed on both sides and fold it DIN long. It is based on a bilingual brochure of the Alpenverein Südtirol and was adapted for all CAA associations at the request of the CAA Commission for Nature Protection and Alpine Spatial Planning (KONSAR).
On September 14, the CAA General assembly elected Dr. Nicole Slupetzky, Vice-President of the ÖAV, as President of the CAA after the second term of office of Klaus-Jürgen Gran, President for many years, had ended. In addition, Ludwig Wucherpfennig, former DAV Vice President, now completes the Executive Board, in which a position was vacant for two years.
The presidents and managing directors of the CAA member associations met for this year's general meeting at the invitation of the German Alpine Association (DAV) at the Haus des Alpinismus in Munich. In addition to the important elections, the meeting decided on a "collaborating membership" of the CAA in the European Union of Mountaineering Associations EUMA with the aim of regular exchange and the use of synergies.
The agenda also included the adoption of updated joint rules on safe indoor climbing, new recommendations on bouldering outdoors and a new version of the position paper on mountain sports and risks involved, all of which had been prepared by the CAA mountaineering commission. The CAA will also finance posters with illustrations on "Bouldering Indoor and Outdoor", following the recent "Safe Climbing" poster.
Other requests concerned a joint leaflet "Hiking in bear areas", which the CAA Nature Conservation Commission will develop from an existing AVS folder, and the assumption of interpreter costs for the forthcoming meetings of an international working group involving the DAV for the development of a CEN standard for material ropeways with limited passenger transport, which will benefit all CAA associations.
As usual, the General Assembly also approved the reports and annual plans of the Board and the Commissions, as well as the annual accounts and budget.
This time, only information was provided on the subject of the Alpine Convention, less discussion took place. In particular, the planning for the next Alpweek and the CAA's participation in it are complicated by the still undecided situation regarding the location and date of the next Alpine Conference in France at the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021.
The day before, numerous delegates had already taken the opportunity to visit the anniversary exhibition of the DAV "Die Berge und wir" (The mountains and us) in the Alpine Museum and participated in a short discussion round to prepare the decision on the CAA's collaborative membership in the EUMA.
The conclusion of the general assembly was the farewell of Klaus-Jürgen Gran as CAA president of many years, who was honoured by the board members Heinz Frei and Georg Simeoni with warm words of thanks and various gifts.
At the beginning of April the "Alpweek-Intermezzo" took place in Innsbruck parallel to the 15th Alpine Conference with a political dialogue on the 3rd and project presentations on the 4th of April. Here you can download the report of the event, in which the CAA was a partner.
Both annual meetings took place this year in June in South Tyrol at the invitation of the AVS. The mountaineering commission already met in Tramin on 6/7 June. There was intensive discussion about common recommendations for bouldering outdoor and also the recommendations for indoor climbing and the position paper "Mountain sports and risk" were updated. As before, no conclusive solution was found for the "Emergency Hotline", which all CAA associations are supposed to provide assistance with accidents during club tours abroad. As always, the programme also included a comprehensive exchange of information and experience on the topics of mountaineering, training and safety.
On 25/26 June 2019, the CAA Commission of huts and trails met in the Dreischuster Hut in the Sesto Dolomites. The focus was on the exchange on numerous topics such as damages to huts and paths, lack of personnel on huts, the importance of huts and paths as part of tourist infrastructure, steering concepts for e-mountain bikes, safety in winter rooms, accidents with grazing livestock and last but not least the topic "bedbugs". In addition, there were reports on the current status of the development of a CEN standard for material ropeways, the preparation of which is to be supported by the CAA, as well as the implementation of the online reservation system and the project "Energy efficiency in huts".
From 11 to 13 April, at the invitation of the DAV, the CAA Nature Conservation Commission met at the Centre for Environment and Culture (ZUK) in Benediktbeuern. In addition to an extensive exchange of information and experience on current focuses and projects in the associations, the main topics on the agenda this time were "big predators" and "common tools". For example, the Commission decided to adapt an already published folder of the Alpine Association South Tyrol with tips for mountain hikers for an encounter with bears to become a common tool for all CAA associations. In addition, DAV and SAC presented implementation examples of the CAA climate strategy and the CAA reported on current events in the context of the Alpine Convention. On the last morning, an excursion to the moor area near the Benediktbeuern monastery rounded off the meeting.
From 2 until 4 April 2019, the delegations of the alpine states, the ministers and observers met for the Permanent Committee (PC 67) and the 15th Alpine Conference in Innsbruck. Main topics were climate change and soil preservation. Additonally, as a stage to the next Alpweek, the "Alpweek Intermezzo" took place, at the same time as Alpine Conference and the conclusion of the Austrian Presidency of the Alpine Convention. Now France took over the Presidency for the next two years. The CAA was one of the "Intermezzo"- partners, also the ÖAV was involved, presenting the campaign “Unsere Alpen” of DAV, ÖAV + AVS.
The Alpine Conference approved a political declaration concerning climate change and, a bit more concrete, the so called climate target system, which was developed by the “Alpine climate advisory board” during the last two years The next step is to develop concrete measures from the objectives.
Regarding the topic soil preservation the Alpine Conference approved the report of the Compliance Committee with its rather ambitious and far-reaching recommendations developed during the last three years. The states now are asked “to take all necessary steps to implement the recommendations, and to ensure the dissemination of recommendations to municipalities and regional planning levels”. They have to report about the implementation in April 2024 (to the Compliance Committee).
Additionally the Alpine Conference adopted a work plan until the next Alpine Conference, coordinated and related to the MAP (multiannual work programme). This includes the results of the reorganization of the WGs and platforms, with which the PC dealt extensively last year. The number of WGs and PFs has been reduced and aligned with the MAP, the multiannual work programme.
Some observer organisations, including the CAA, had formulated urgent "concerns to strengthen the Alpine Convention" to the ministers in advance, with which they urged a faster and more concrete implementation of the Alpine Convention. The concerns were noted by the conference and will hopefully be taken up and discussed at the next meetings of the Permanent Committee.
The term of office of General Secretary of the Alpine Convention, Markus Reiterer, ends in June. The Alpine Conference now nominated Mrs Alenka Smerkolj, former Slovene Minister responsible for Development, Strategic Projects and Cohesion and Minister of Finance. She’s also professor for French and Spanish at the University of Ljubljana.
On Wednesday, 3.4., about 60 participants developed political demands within the framework of a closed event, which were presented to the environment ministers of the Alpine countries on 4 April 2019. They dealt with the three topics of land and landscape, climate change and mobility:
"Value the landscape - don’t sell it cheap!" was the first postulation. Clear boundaries are needed to preserve the unique natural environment of the Alps and criteria for identifying areas worthy of protection. Demand two dealt with climate change, which needs to be tackled at all levels. Climate protection and adaptation takes place at local level, so communities need better support both financially and organisationally. It was also emphasised that regional and alpine-wide initiatives must be better networked in order to make better use of existing knowledge.
The third demand to the Alpine Convention stated: "Implement efficient mobility solutions throughout the Alpine region". The high traffic load of the Alpine valleys requires intelligent measures to promote a switch to public transport and alternative mobility solutions. The participants' ideas ranged from a better-timed and cheaper public transport service to mobile ticketing and the expansion of combined transport systems.
In the public part of the "Alpweek Intermezzo" on Thursday, 4.4., the Tyrolean photographer Lois Hechenblaikner took a critical look at current developments in Alpine tourism in his photo presentation. Natael Fautrat from Chambéry sketched out a vision for the future of the Alps from the perspective of young people.
The rest of the day was dedicated to good ideas: Presentations and market stands invited the participants to discuss initiatives from the Alpine region that are already being implemented. In the end, cabaret artist Markus Koschuh summed up the conference in an entertaining and provocative poetry slam: "We never want more! Because the tears of the Alps are the mudflows and avalanches, so it hardly takes roads, but rails. Happiness in the Alps: no step forward, one step back."
The event was rather successful with engaged discussions and good feedback. A documentation will be available in the near term on the website www.alpweek.org.
The CAA (Club Arc Alpin) invites you to save the date for the:
Tomorrow in the Alps
on 3-4 April 2019 in Innsbruck, Austria
Like its bigger sister, the quadrennial AlpWeek, Alpweek Intermezzo is an international event on sustainable development and related Alpine issues, jointly organised by key Alpine organisations. The 2019 edition of the event is conceived as a lunch to lunch conference which will bring the main Alpine stakeholders together to meet and exchange views on the topic “Tomorrow in the Alps”.
AlpWeek Intermezzo will start on 3 April 2019 with a political discussion (on invitation only) on relevant topics for the future of the Alpine Region. The outcomes of this exchange will be brought to the attention of the Alpine Conference the next day. On 4 April, we invite you to a project showcase featuring inspiring stories on the topic “Tomorrow in the Alps”, followed by interactive market stands.
Organisers: Alliance in the Alps; Permanent Secretariat of the Alpine Convention; Interreg Alpine Space programme; Alpine town of the year association; CIPRA International; Club Arc Alpin; Österreichischer Alpenverein; ISCAR; WWF
Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism, Austria
More information will be available soon!