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

By Coups
Some while ago Matt put a shout out to anyone wanting to join he and Catherine in Skye this September as they were unable to make the club trip in May.  A number of weeks, nay months, went by until John, Amanda and I got in on the act the week before!
So, with some nation-wide coordination I met up with Catherine at Manchester airport via South Wales and waited for Matt to land from Brussels, from there a night in the Lakes and the onward drive to Skye on Saturday, meeting up with John and Amanda at a bothy outside Carbost after their day long drive.
With a settled period in the weather it didn’t take long to discuss possible ridge attempts and ponder the question of the ‘style’ of attempt.  We had a deadline – John, Amanda and I were driving back down south on Wednesday.  After some discussion it was decided that a two day attempt would be made over Monday and Tuesday, starting at the beginning of the ridge, with the main aim to complete, touching each peak but evaluating the climbing sections when reached.
This left a day to prep and chat in more depth about our objective.  After a bit of faff a visit to the Cioch was decided to blow the cobwebs away.  We had a great day climbing and scrambling on a few of the classics with John and Amanda climbing Petronella and Arrow Route while Matt and I roped together for Little Gully and Collie’s Route each party ending up on top of the Cioch, with enough time for Highlander re-enactments…
Sword fighting on the Cioch… boys will be boys!
And so it was set – bags packed weighing too much (well I’m sure mine was).  Matt and I and John and Amanda paired up and ready to go.  We started on a glorious morning pacing out to the end of the ridge and up to Glars-bheinn, and when the guide books say it’s a slog up – they aren’t kidding! On the ridge steady progress was made enjoying the scrambling in good – misty weather.  Each party opted to miss the TD gap in favour of the spring and a water fill up on the diversion.  Our timings were steady, choosing to miss the Kings Chimney climb we vowed to ensure we climb the Inaccessible Pinnacle – well it is one of the peaks.  We arrived nearing nightfall but both parties nipped up the Inaccessible Pinnacle before we called it a day and after finding water (Coire na Banachdich) we got comfortable at our bivvy.
The rather lengthy ridge…
The next morning we awoke to weather that we hadn’t expected, mist and some rain – well it is the Cuillin after all!!!  Incredibly Matt got enough signal to get an up to date forecast and although it looked bleak for the morning it did suggest it would improve – game on.  We left John and Amanda in their bivvy and set out in the mist for the first peak of the day – Banachdich as we descended this we each knew after previous experiences in the mist that locating the ridges continuation to Sgurr Thormaid would be tough and indeed ourselves and two other parties were wandering in the mist, thankfully the ridge was located.  The weather improved steadily and the mist lifted up and down for a great section of scrambling through to Bruach na Frithe.
Is his bag too big? I think so…
The Bhasteir Tooth loomed ahead of us next, sadly here we were unable to locate our planned Lota Corrie route accepting after a few no goes that we would need to head up and down from its east ridge.  Undeterred we got our packs back on and headed for Sgurr nan Gillean the final peak on the ridge with great scrambling that still needed us to have our heads in gear.
Threading the needle just before the final summit
From the top we took a moment to take in the view of where we had been over the course of the past two days – BRILLIANT.
Looking back on a successful traverse
We didn’t hang about for too long as looking the other way we could see the Sligachan Inn a long, long way away and with light fading fast we knew we had to get a shifty on.  So after scrambling down the ridge and the corrie we hit the path aiming for last food orders at 9.00pm and as that aspiration passed by, we hoped for last orders at the bar!  We arrived at the Sligachan by head torch to be met by Catherine, and Matt’s parents (oh yes, didn’t mention they were up for the week – what a plumb week of weather to take your folks to Skye!) and two plates of food! Crackin end to a non-stop couple of days.
Food, beer, whiskey and chest!
So to sum up:  the ridge was a full on undertaking, continuously keeping you on your toes bringing with it some fantastic scrambling and mountaineering in impressive mountain scenery. Yes a bit glossy brochure I know but don’t be fooled if the weather had worsened at any point we would have been sent down early with our tails between our legs.  If I were to do it again I’d alter very little in the way we did it – I would however ensure my pack was considerably lighter!!

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 £12 if joining between January and June, or £6 if joining between July and December. It would be better here if you came down to the clubhouse on a Monday night so 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 £34 minus the introductory fee. All membership levels run from 1st Jan to 31st December.
There’ll be someone at the clubhouse every Monday evening, from 8-10pm, except for Bank Holidays. You can arrange with the Membership Secretary to meet you down there, or just ask for a committee member on arrival.
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 – 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!

4th - 5th October
Everest Challenge @ Craggy

18th - 19th October
Mid Wales
Hafod Dywyll Farm Camping

1st - 9th November
Moroc - Hot Rock Trip


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