Climb Ethic

Our Ethics as IFSC Officials (2019 Charter)


In 2019, Official Judges and Route-setters discussed their ethics in a workshop facilitated by Marc Le Menestrel. The result is this brief and powerful Charter of IFSC Officials. It builds on the Charter of Climbing Ethics and formulates the main dilemmas specific to IFSC Officials, raising awareness of the difficulty. Interestingly, the conjoint presence of both Judges and Route-setters induced a genuinely integrative approach to ethics of IFSC officials.

Our Values

As IFSC Officials, we support and promote the values of climbing as expressed in the Charter of Climbing Ethics, and in particular the paragraphs Competition & Integrity and Meeting the Olympic Spirit:

Competitions and Integrity

When we compete, we like to be at the centre of the event as athletes. We value organisations that respect climbers and sustainably contribute to their development. We like set of rules that are equitable, clear and transparent, respecting different types of climbing and of climbers. We believe that the quality of boulders, of routes, of route-setters, of walls, of holds and of athletes is essential to the value of climbing competition. We value rankings that reflect a comparison of performance with integrity, without doping, cheating, fraud, manipulation or corruption. We work with our coaches, trainers and other team members and officials to promote a culture of integrity, in particular one that resist doping. We are proud of the opportunity to share our sport with a public beyond our climbing community. Competitions would not exist without climbing heritage and must contribute to the development of climbing through the respect of its values.

Meeting the Olympic Spirit

Climbing values align with the first fundamental principle of Olympism: « Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. » Olympism may be a natural and positive evolution for climbing and/or a change destructive of its essential values. We value Olympism at the service of climbing and of climbers and fear the dangers of a sport at the service of money and power. We think that climbing and climbers have much to bring to Olympism in its current agenda of reform, in particular its quest for ethics, for environmental sustainability, for bringing athletes back to the centre of sport, for inspiring and educating young people and for maintaining integrity in the face of the multiple forms of corruption.

Our Dilemmas

As IFSC Officials, we know that biases, prejudices, influences, weaknesses, and mistakes can affect the integrity, honesty, fairness and impartiality of our work. These vulnerabilities create dilemmas and risk for the excellence of our work. We are especially aware of:

The Influence Dilemma

We are aware that our country, a national institution, a company, our friends or even our own values can affect our independence and our impartiality.

The Olympism Dilemma

We know that the importance of Olympism can exert additional pressure on our values and ability to perform at our best.

The Elitism Dilemma

As part of the elite, we are conscious that the corresponding rewards increase the risk of succumbing to temptations or being subject to corruption or manipulations.

The Attitude Dilemma

Although we are used to work under pressure and challenging conditions, we know that it can be difficult to speak up and raise ethical dilemmas, preferring to disengage and remain silent.
In front of these dilemmas, our values and our integrity are our best protection to resist temptations, to contribute to a positive ethical climate, and to speak up in a courageous way. We want to work as a team to share our vulnerabilities and develop our ethical excellence. We want to be world role-models.

Our Pledge for Building an Ethical Culture

As IFSC Officials, we strive towards openness and transparency. We will report incidents and engage in conversations about our values and our dilemmas especially when situations are challenging. We speak up to our closest officials first and we escalate to the IFSC staff whenever necessary. We can always contact the Ethics Commission for advice and support, requiring anonymity if necessary. We voice out our concerns outside of our closest community or to the public as a last recourse.