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

With no proper Scottish Winter trip organised by GMC this year, myself and Roger decided to go away for a week during the half term break. We decided to give our selves a bit of luxury this year, no staying in spartan mountain huts for us, the luxury of not sharing a bed with several others, ensuite bathrooms, working drying rooms, kitchens with sharp knives and non stick frying pans was just too much to resist. We booked into the Corran Bunkhouse, greeted by a very friendly owner who welcomed us, not surly hut guardians who resented us being there….
Rog conquors Beinn a Dothaidh
We stopped off on the way north so were able to grab a walk on the Saturday. Set off from the station at Bridge of Orchy at 1pm. Met a few people heading the other way off the hill, got to the top around 3:30 then back to the car before dark.
All week we were hampered by the snow conditions.
A week of scary snow conditions
Some days were better than others! But it did give me plenty to thin about and put in my Winter ML logbook.
The next day we selected a route into the Mamores to walk up Stob Coire a Chairn from Kinlochleven to avoid the loaded NW-SE slopes. We bumped into a Joint Services and PYB training teams, so felt good about our decision making for our route. We made it to the Bealach but the forecast 50mph+ winds had already arrived, so we turned around, and retreated to the Ice Factor for a coffee.
Tuesday gave us a break in the weather, winds up to 30mph, and only snow showers. Beinn Sgulaird fitted the bill, being a long west facing ridge. After starting in a heavey snow shower, the sun came out for the rest of the day. A superb day with views out to Mull and Ardnamurchan in the west. As it was my Birthday, in the evening we caught the ferry across to the Ardgour Inn for a meal and a pint or two.
Summit Beinn Sgulaird
Wednesday the forecast was for 90-100mph winds, so we decided to have a rest day. We investigated the bright lights of Fort William, Roger was tempted by some of the shiny things on offer…. We investigated the shore line back at Corran Ferry and were delighted to spot an otter swimming around the jetty.
Thursday brought more snow and less wind, so we headed back to Kinlochleven to try our luck in the Mamores again. This time we tried the south ridge of Na Gruagaichean. Driven back by the wind and show just before we go to the top of ridge, so back to the Ice Factor for coffee and cheesy chips.
In the washing machine, full ninja
Friday gave us a similar forecast again, but picked a different route this time, Sron a Choire Gharbh. The journey up the Cam Bhealach became more and more snowy, and there was much evidence of avalanche activity down to the path. Eventually I decided the place was just too risky the keep going, as well as extremely hard work wading through the powder.
Deep Snow up Cam Bhealach
We retreated to coffee at the community cafe in Fort Augustus.
Our last day gave us a break in the winds and snow showers. Forecast to be 25-30 backing to 15. We went back to Kinlochleven third time lucky? We were in luck there was a team of about 10 half an hour in front of us to break trail for us to the bealach. Once on top of the ridge we donned crampons and headed on up to the summit of Stob Choire a Chairn. We passed one scary section of windslab on hard ice which we gingerly skirted. At the summit there were brief views of the Ring of Steall. The ridges looked really laden and scary.
Summit of Stob Choire a Chairn
We then headed back over the summits of Na Gruagaichean, with some excitement getting up and down the bealach between. The cornices on the ridge were just enormous, and very carefully avoided. We were well aware of the dangers as 3 people had already fallen through others this week.
View from summit of Na Gruagaichean
The week proved very challenging to find good routes, but we had a great time making the best of the conditions. Scotland always provides a challenge in the winter. We only managed to get to the top of 4 Munros, but think we made the right decisions to keep us safe on the hills.
I hope this report will encourage those that missed out this year to give it a go in Scottish winter.

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 £20 if joining between January and June, or £10 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 £20 January to June, and £10 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 £35 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!

24th - 25th February
North Wales

10th - 17th March
Majorca, Spain

17th - 18th March
Day Trip Weekend


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