The Guildford Mountaineering Club
If you're looking for people to climb with, then the Guildford Mountaineering Club could be for you.

Nine climbers gathered in the departure lounge at Gatwick, when tales of broken bones, healing bones, lack of fitness, joint injuries, dizziness and general age related symptoms began. Perhaps a flight to the nearest beach resort would have been more appropriate than the adventurous trad climbing on offer in Morocco’s Anti-Atlas. None the less, we went, initially basing ourselves at Hotel Les Amandiers in Tafraoute, the hotel where the original British climbers stayed when first exploring the area just over a decade ago, the likes of Chris Bonington, Joe Brown and Ben Wintringham.
Man cannot live on bread alone, unless you go climbing in Morocco! Breakfast comprised of warm bread, local honey, apricot jam and coffee. This was the same every morning unless you opted to head out for a Berber omelette in town which quite a few did.  So day one, the acclimatisation day, started with a visit to Palm Tree Gorge, chosen for being a venue with not too long a walk in, single pitch routes and thankfully, palm trees for shade. Lunches, once again were bread based filled with the only food item to be found with enough resistance to both the high temperatures and the lack of Moroccan hygiene; ‘Laughing Cow’ cheese triangles.
In the evening we ventured into town for food, this marking the start of Richard’s ten day marathon of vegetable tagines, again accompanied by more bread.

Day two we went into Tizgut Gorge and to our surprise, found a live scorpion near where we had dumped our bags. Three pairs climbed the two pitch routes on the shady side, one being the classic Joe Brown route of Tizgut Crack, E2 5b. The other party headed up a 150m route on the sunny side which eventually turned out to be a much longer excursion of 275m with a long scrambling descent back down to the base of the gorge.
These two days were only the warm up for the ‘BIG DAY’. John, Peter, Jurgen and Sally departed the hotel at 6 o’clock in the morning aiming for the Lion’s Face which is a 300m HVS up the most prominent feature on the mountain’s south side. The approach, the climb and the walk off took ten hours with over 850m of height gained during the day. Unfortunately Peter returned with two souvenir blisters on his ankles resulting in an end to his climbing for the rest of the week.
Nine climbers became eight.
The other half of the group left the hotel for Anergui, a small mountain village dwarfed by a huge 300m rock cliff in its back yard. Richard and Kevin opted to climb a route here before loose rock and an under graded guidebook description forced them to bail off the route. Paul, Amanda and Ruth embarked on a full mountaineering day beginning with the Southwest Ridge route, a 300m Severe up to a plateau. There followed several kilometres of walking before a 500m grade 1 scramble up to the summit of Jebel el Kest at 2375m.  From here, views of the Sahara and the North Atlas could be seen. Despite the group being spooked by a bird of prey on a belay ledge, Ruth unintentionally standing next to a 4ft long Viper, Paul coming across a 8ft long shed snake skin and a couple of navigational detours, the three arrived back after an eleven hour day, feeling tired and dehydrated but happy.
Not surprisingly, everyone was feeling much more leisurely the next day and so we climbed on the single pitch roadside rock of Tamaloucht Crag. Yes, they do exist in Morocco but it was not a day without event. Following an abseil, Sally’s rope was pulled down to find a mysterious cut through to the core and John was feeling very much under the weather. The temperature under the crag reached the low 40’C and so everyone bailed to the luxury of the hotel swimming pool. Kevin attempted the world record slowest pool entry by taking at least an hour to get from toe dip to whole head under water.

Thursday we transferred from Tafraoute to the Kasbah Tizourgane on the north side. It was a damp day resulting in us visiting a small crag of Atkil Edge. Jurgen couldn’t resist the lure of a well protected E2 overhanging crack but with a 6a technical grade. Paul and Rich followed thankful of a top rope.  John’s illness worsened and ended up flying home with Peter.
Eight climbers became seven.
The group settled into the Kasbah lifestyle of bread, jam, honey, dodgy looking white powder which we can only assume was icing sugar and rice pudding for breakfast. We did get the occasional pancake or boiled egg.  At which time the inevitable question would be pitched ‘where shall we climb today?’ Friday was Harram Peak and the Golden Cirque in the Afantinzar Valley providing some quality starred routes. Saturday, we headed up to the Towers with Sally and Kevin climbing Lion King (HVS) and Amanda, Ruth, Jurgen and Paul climbing Auld Lag’s Syne, a VS variation start to Auld Lang’s Syne. Richard’s dizziness returned and decided to walk or hitch back to the Kasbah.
Seven climbers became six.
‘Where are we climbing tomorrow?’
The penultimate climbing day, Jurgen, Amanda and Ruth climbed the excellent five pitch route of Pink Lady (VS 4c) with Amanda dressed head to toe in pink, it had to be done. Sally and Kevin were across the road on Ksar Rock, also picking some three starred routes to climb. By the next day, Kevin was feeling somewhat tired and opted to rest.
Six climbers became five.
The remaining five, which now only included one named driver, drove up to Babouche Buttress at the head of the Tagzene area where Jurgen and Sally climbed Magic Mushroom Ridge (HVS 5b). Amanda, Ruth and Paul aimed for a long Severe for a mountain day feel on Orange Wall. Paul’s back pain got the better of him and chose to sit it out.
Five climbers became four.
Perhaps departure day came as a timely event but despite the reducing numbers, we all returned home safely after yet another excellent Moroccan adventure.  The sheer amount of climbed and unclimbed rock in the area meant we probably all left Morocco with a longer tick list than we each went out with. The lure of Moroccan climbing may well strike again!
Typical Moroccan tea

The club always welcomes new members and joining the club is easy. Just follow the three steps below, and remember you are always welcome to come down on a Monday night to the clubhouse and say hello.
First off is to register as a guest on the website, all we need is your email address. This allows you access to the members part of the website where you can see the meets list and other events coming up in the future. Most importantly, you will receive regularly updates on what is going on and how to get involved.
When you see a meet on the list that is of interest and wish to take things further then we will need you to fill in an application form and part with £15 if joining between January and June, or £8 if joining between July and December. It would be better here if you came down to the clubhouse one Monday night but check the calendar first because we only meet there once a month.  This means that we can meet you in person and answer any other questions you may have..
Finally, after attending two meets, so that we know you are safe, you will invited by the committee to become a full member. You will then need to pay the outstanding balance of £35 minus the introductory fee. All membership levels run from 1st Jan to 31st December.
There’ll be someone at the clubhouse on the Monday meet evening, from 8-10pm, but check the Club Calendar first. On other Mondays, it is possible to meet at Craggy Island, but best to arrange with the Membership Secretary beforehand where to meet.
Climbing in Scotland
If you’re looking for people to climb with, then the GMC could be for you. There are many benefits to joining, and here is a selection…
Get outside loads without ruining your bank balance

You can afford to get away more often because we share cars and petrol costs, and stay at cheap campsites or mountaineering huts, wherever possible.
Are you experienced?

If not then there’s no better way to get better. Although we can’t teach you the absolute basics, you’ll find plenty of people in the club willing to share their years of experience and offer help and advice. You’ll also get to climb in loads of different areas – places you might never have thought of as climbing venues. We’ll show you the good climbs, the good campsites, the good pubs.
You are experienced!

Great – you’ll find loads of like-minded people who like a challenge, as well as a bit of fun. There are people climbing at all levels (within reason!) so whether you lead E2 or Severe you’ll find someone to climb with.
Social and hut meets

As well as our regular weekend meets, we also have some annual social meets: such as at Christmas when we cook a big feast after a after a day on hill and have a party; and a barbecue meet when we hope the rain stays away long enough for us to get the BBQ fired up…
Our own clubhouse

Having the use of the clubhouse on a Monday night means we have our own bar and can hold things like slide shows. It also means prospective new members can come along and be assured of meeting club members – rather than having to go into a bar full of people and play at ‘spot the climbers’. We also have a small library of guidebooks in the clubhouse, which are for the use of members.
Cheaper gear

In addition to the 10-15% that most outdoor equipment shops will give you for BMC membership, a number of outlets give an extra discount to GMC members (e.g. 20% at Cicerone, et al!). Members also get a discount on entry to local climbing walls (i.e. Craggy Island and Surrey Sports Park).
Third party insurance

As a member of the club you will become an affiliated member of the British Mountaineering Council, which includes third party liability insurance.
Perfect winter conditions on Tryfan, Snowdonia

We are an active and welcoming club that consists of members who enjoy rock climbing and mountaineering . We have members, both female and male, with ages ranging from 20 to over 60 – i.e. we’re not all Chris Bonnington look-a-likes! We have fortnightly meets to locations all over the UK, from Cornwall to the Cairngorms, as well as trips abroad to areas such as Fontainebleau, Spain and the Alps (see the Gallery section for photos of recent trips).
Mountaineering involves many forms of climbing – from technical ‘cragging’ to front-pointing up a frozen waterfall – and at the GMC, we practise them all. Whether it’s a day of climbing single-pitch routes at a sunny crag or tackling snow and ice between alpine huts, GMC members are out there doing it.
Day out in the mountains
More locally, the club meets at the Waterside Centre in Guildford every Monday night, where, as well as enjoying a beer (the centre has a licensed bar), we finalise details for the forthcoming trip (i.e. accommodation, travel arrangements, etc.). Feel free to come down one evening to say hello. The dates and locations for meets are planned well in advance to enable people to decide which trips they can attend. Members usually share transport and we stay mostly on campsites in summer and in mountaineering club huts in the winter.
We are a British Mountaineering Club (BMC) affiliated club which means members automatically are part of the BMC. This gives you third party insurance, a copy of their Summit magazine and access to their superb travel insurance.
Our constitution sets out our objectives “to encourage the pursuit of Mountaineering in all its branches, and in particular to organise for the benefit of its members a) outdoor meets for the practice of mountaineering and b) lectures and discussions on mountaineering subjects”. In 2013 we celebrated our 40th year of doing this and look forward to continuing this for many more to come.
We welcome all climbers and mountaineers. If you’re new to climbing we can give you your first climbing experience and even have a small amount of equipment to lend you for your first few club meets. However, the club does not set out to train people to climb – very few of its members have any formal qualification in this and the club does not have the legal status and insurances to do it – and, so, if you haven’t climbed before, it is recommended that you attend a suitable course to give a good grounding in the basic skills. 
If this is the case, we can point you in the right direction. You might want a short course to learn the basics so you can climb at an indoor wall (both of Guildford’s climbing walls – Craggy Island and Surrey Sports Park and Surbiton’s White Spider – offer courses) or for those who wish to lead outdoors, a residential course at Plas y Brenin, the National Mountain Centre in Snowdonia. Plas y Brenin, and Glenmore Lodge the Scottish counterpart, also offer winter walking and mountaineering courses for those who want to learn how to use crampons and ice axes and go out in the white stuff.
As soon as you know the basics (e.g. how to belay), the club provides the perfect environment to put your new skills to work while learning from those around you. There is a great tradition in the club of more experienced members helping newcomers to improve their climbing. However, it should be noted that the ethos of the club is that of a group of friends taking on shared responsibility, and so it is important that new members recognise the risks they are undertaking, and feel comfortable in assessing these for themselves.
Struggling up in less than ideal conditions!
Here are some answers to questions we are frequently asked…
Q. I’m a walker/hiker/rambler rather than climber, is this the club for me?
A. The primary focus of the club is climbing and mountaineering. However, many of the meet venues are in areas suitable for walking, and a significant minority of the club are interested in walking rather than climbing. Also, because of the vagaries of the British weather, when it is not suitable to climb, many members walk and scramble instead.
Q. What is a ‘meet’?

That’s just our name for a trip away for members! See our meets page for this year’s meets list.
Eyeing up some routes
Q. Do I need to buy any/all of the equipment?

A. The club does now have a very small equipment list for loan such as harnesses, helmets, abseil rope, walking axes and crampons. These are intended for a beginner’s first couple of meets, and so you will then need your own gear if you want to climb. At a minimum, this consists of helmet, rock boots, harness, nut extractor, belaying device and a couple of karabiners. For your first few meets, if you don’t already possess one, it should be possible to borrow a rope (or climb as a three, sharing a rope), but you should plan on buying a rope fairly soon enabling you to contribute one half of the rope needed – as most people in the club climb on twin ropes, this would normally be a 9mm x 50m rope. As your interest in climbing progresses, you will then probably want to buy protection equipment for leading. For walking, boots, hill clothing and waterproof gear are all that is required. For winter meets, crampons, ice axe and other equipment may be required – it will be assumed that you know how to use these. For camping, you will obviously need a tent and sleeping bag as a minimum!
Q. Would I need to come along on every meet?

A. No, just pick and choose the ones you like the look of. Some members come on most meets, others will just do a few meets each year because of family, work or other commitments.
Taking a break
Q. How much does it cost to join?

A. Introductory membership is £12 January to June, and £6 July to December, both lasting until the end of the year. After attending two meets the committee will invite you to join as a full member at a cost of £34 minus the introductory fee, and this allows you to take advantage of all the full member benefits. Full yearly membership runs from 1st January to 31st December. There is a discount for joining late in the year.
Q. How much does it cost per meet?

A. In the UK, any camping fees or Hut fees plus a share of the fuel costs. Abroad, all travel, accommodation, insurance, etc.
Climbing in Cornwall
Q. I’m already a BMC member, what is the benefit of joining?

A. Shared costs and driving, cheaper gear, discounts at local walls and 70 other fun people to climb with. You can reclaim any duplication of fees from the BMC so that you don’t pay twice.
Q. I don’t have a car, is that a problem?

A. No, but you may need to get to a train station near to the person driving.
One summer’s BBQ… just before heading to the pub!
Q. How many members do you have?

A. Membership hovers around the 70’s.
Q. What is the joining process?

A. See here the best thing to do is to drop by the clubhouse on a Monday evening after 8pm to get a briefing by a committee member, meet some members and ask any questions you have.
An experimental bivvy meet
Q. What if I have more questions?

A. Either send us an email via the web form or come along in person!

5th - 6th November
Day Trip Weekend

19th - 20th November
Day Trip Weekend

3rd - 4th December
North Wales Xmas Bash
Caseg Fraith


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