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

By Tim Cooper
Paul N and I left early on Tuesday 25th April for Majorca and had a smooth flight and car pick up. We headed off to S’estret for a bit of cragging after poppinto into Valldemossa to pick up some lunch that we ate at the crag. Just as we were leaving the car, it started raining but luckily only a shower. We did four routes, three at 5a (Las cagao, End Slab 1 and End Slab 2) and one at 5c (Movimiento sexy) and by then it was half past six so we headed to our Air bnb in Alaró. Frederic our host was a character who never stopped talking but nice and friendly. After settling in we headed into town for pizza.

After breakfast, a long chat with Frederic and shopping for lunch we headed off to Sa Gubia for a seven pitch trad climb at 4c. The climb was Albahida. We left the car at about 12 and after a bit of navigational misplacement we found the dried river bed (more like a trickle bed) and was back on track. The start was easy to find and we started up. Gear was minimal but the climbing easy at 3c and of the three bits of gear placed one is still there. We climbed on with two 4b pitches. I then got confused after reading the route description and looking at the topo and headed up a 5a pitch instead of a 4b. We found the “extraordinary bolt” on pitch 4 and continued to the top to sharing a couple of stances with Germans and Swiss pairs doing a 5c route up the right hand side of the ridge. On the top pitches you need to be good at threading runners as this is the only protection. At the top of the route we had a ridge scramble to finish on top of the hill but by this time Paul was out of energy and we moved together up the ridge. On reaching the top, we packed our gear for the walk down which consisted of more hairpin turns than you can count. Paul was getting slower and slower and we finally reach the car as it got dark about 9pm. We had our lunch and drove back to Alaró for well-earned beer and thankful that the Spanish eat late. It was a grand day out on solid rock in a great position and high recommended.

It rained all day. There was lots of WhatsApp chat about Pembroke and the weather, with North Wales, the Lakes and the Peak (not Peaks) being mentioned as possible alternative venues.

Very early start for a 7am flight back home but all went well until Paul got caught knife smuggling. Back in the UK at 8.30 and home by 10am. I then shopped, picked up the van and waited for 6pm when I collected Roger and Mihai and had a good trip up arriving at 10.30 and straight to bed. Jen and Coups had arrived earlier.

It started a bit damp but we headed up to Stanage Plantation and to the Goliath area. Paul D had arrived earlier at Hardhurst Farm and we met in the car park. We split into groups (Paul and Chom, Roger Mihai and I), Jen and Coups had taken Jack for a walk. We started with a V Diff (Hollybush Gully Right) as the weather still looked uncertain. Then on to Wall End Crack Direct (HS 4b). Jen and Coups then arrived after a dog walk, and I followed Jen up Hollybush Gully Right, leaving Mihai and Roger to climb together. Jenny then tried Ladder Cracks (Diff) at Fern Crack area but backed off as it was awkward and I lead up in big boots. I then lead Mothers Day (VS 4c) at Surprise with Coups seconding and there ended a nice but chilly day. After eating it was down the pub for a few beers.

With little faff we all headed off to Lawrence Field where Dave B joined us on a day trip warmed up on Snail Crack (V Diff), then Once Pegged Wall (VS 4 c) followed by Three Tree Climb (HS 4b) then lunch. I then lead  Meringue (HVS 5a) my first at that grade, Dave then excelled on Excalibur (VS 4c) and I tried Tyrone (HVS 5a) and was very happy when I arrived at the top and that ended my climbing day. Dave went on with another strenuous crack climb up Great Harry (VS 4c) seconded by Mihai and Coups. Paul D turned up hung over and not on good form but ended up having a good day with Chom. Roger and Mihai continued climbing together. As the day wore on Chom drifted off home and Paul had had enough. Jen lead Pulpit Groove (VD 4a) and Coups seconded everything that he could. Back the Hardhusrt for grub some beer in the van where Jen Roger and Coups joined me for whisky.


A damp start with the odd shower during breakfast and packing up. Then off up to Stanage where it was wetter so we walked along the top of the Edge from the Popular end up to the byway and then back along the bottom with the weather improving from the east all the time. By this time we reached Check and then climbed Check which was a struggle on lead. Then it was back to the car park and into Hathersage and after finding a parking space we shopped and had cake and coffee. Leaving at 4pm we had a good trip home as we turned off from the M1 onto the M69 to Warwick and missed the M1 traffic jam as they had closed the road. Jen and Coups were not so lucky.
A really good week with climbing on 5 days out of 7.

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!

27th - 29th May
North Inn, Pendeen

10th - 11th June
Pitton Cross Caravan and Camping Park

24th - 25th June
Wye Valley BBQ Meet
Broome Farm campsite


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