/ Membership of the Climbers' Club

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Frank Cannings on 02 Mar 2013
I joined The Climbers' Club in 1966 when I was 19. To save you calculating I’m now 66 and I proudly class myself as an “old-fart”.

The Club was then progressive in Wales and the south of England and most leading climbers of the day aspired to membership. CC members led the pioneering of rock climbs in Wales and the South. I don't believe that dominance applies today: leading climbers now seem to avoid the CC.

Currently only 14% of Climbers' Club members are under the age of 40, while 25% are over 65.

I've put together a satirical video of an imaginary CC AGM:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSGkYeM0f-w

I’d like to ask UKC climbers for their views about the Climbers’ Club and whether they aspire or otherwise to membership. What attracts you, what puts you off?
Jon Stewart - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

I do like the huts, but so long as I know a couple of members I won't be seeking membership myself.

What puts me off is basically that it's a club, and I've never really been a member of any club that I can think of. In order to get in, as I understand it, you're required to suck up to people, and I've never enjoyed doing that. To me the whole idea of undergoing an application process where I have to convince people I'm good enough to be accepted just makes me not want to join. Good in what way? I just don't really get what I'm required to demonstrate in order to prove that I'm worthy of membership.
thermal_t - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: Ha Ha! Nice video! The CC sort of comes across as the masonic lodge of climbing to me, but I don't really have any desire to join a club, particularly one that seems to be elitist. Having said that I bumped into a CC meet on Portland once, gave a couple of guys a belay on a route and they belayed me in return and were generally friendly. That's it you heard me right, I caught a CC meet clipping bolts!!!
puppythedog on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: I'd like to join. I'm thirty years old, been climbing for about three or four years. I see it as my best chance to remain active when I move to Essex. It's not the easiest thing to organise but hope to join this year either through mates or an aspirants meet.
victim of mathematics - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to Frank Cannings)
>
> I do like the huts, but so long as I know a couple of members I won't be seeking membership myself.
>
> What puts me off is basically that it's a club, and I've never really been a member of any club that I can think of. In order to get in, as I understand it, you're required to suck up to people, and I've never enjoyed doing that. To me the whole idea of undergoing an application process where I have to convince people I'm good enough to be accepted just makes me not want to join. Good in what way? I just don't really get what I'm required to demonstrate in order to prove that I'm worthy of membership.

I joined without any 'sucking up' or 'proving myself' to anybody. You just need to know and have climbed with enough people who are members. Maybe you need to get out more and make some new friends :o
ashley1_scott - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:
I was thinking of joining until I went on their website and read their rules and joining section.
Being a boulderer and sports climber and never having placed a single nut or cam, pretty much means there is no way of joining.
nbonnett - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to ashley1_scott:

The irony is that most people I know in the CC mainly sport climb or boulder these days.
Al Evans on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: Frank, it's always been an older persons club, when I joined in 1972 I was 24 and considered a 'young member', they didn't even allow women in then. We soon got a move going to remedy that, and a committee with Ken Wilson , Dave Cook, Dave Pearce and myself among others to change that one.
The perception of it being an older persons club is because it and it's rules are generally misunderstood. The reason it has a selection policy is twofold. To preserve hut usage for members (selfish to just take on the back of members by non member friends), and to make sure the young people who enrol are long term climbers and not just fly by nights.
The skill level required is minor, just leading VS is fine, some people have been granted membership for contributions to mountaineering when they barely climb, medical contributions and stuff like that.
Apart from the huts it is the biggest producer of definitive guidebooks, bigger even than the BMC, and most of the BMC guides are written by CC members anyhow. THe UK climbing scene would be far poorer without the CC, join and support it if you can.
TonyB - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

I don't really know much about the CC. Would you describe it as a family friendly club? Are children allowed on meets and at the huts?

Tony
Coel Hellier - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> In order to get in, as I understand it, you're required to suck up to people, ...

Not really, you just need to get signatures from current members; since you know some current members already you're half-way there.

> Good in what way? I just don't really get what I'm required to demonstrate ...

Basically two things: (1) that you're a safe and competent (trad, multi-pitch) climber. (2) That you have a long-term commitment to climbing.

The point of the latter is that the CC want to remain a climbing-focused club, and have the hut network used by climbers, which means that people who occasionally dabble in climbing but are mostly mountain bikers or something else are not suitable for membership. The CC does need some process since anyone admitted gets access to 7 prime huts.
Coel Hellier - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to TonyB:

> Would you describe it as a family friendly club? Are children allowed on meets and at the huts?

Yes, it is child-friendly, with lots of members having children and bringing them to the huts. There are also sometimes family meets.

Having said that, one negative is that at some huts the children are not allowed to sleep in the hut, but families can camp in the grounds. This is owing to child protection rules that mean children can't sleep in mixed, communal bunk rooms.
Joss - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

Im a member, its great for access to the huts (and other club's huts) and I think that the guidebooks are absolutely superb..Ive never been on a club meet or event with them.. but from meeting other members at the huts there does seem a large percentage from the middle aged- middle england- middle class demographic. Saying this I have met lots of other nice and interesting people while at the huts though, some real characters.

At the end of the day its a club steeped in history, the quirky old fashioned ways are what make it what it is. I do hope that their 'entry policy' wont stop the clubs future development, it still seems to be thriving.

goose299 - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Joss:
How can you be a member without ever going to a meet or event?
From reading the rules bit, that's kinda paramount to joining.
Big Lee - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

I once might have considered joining but cannot be bothered going through the whole application process. Whatever the CC say, their membership policy is elitist. They say it isn't but, given that they make it far more difficult to join compared to any other club, I'd say it is elitist by definition. I needed the support of only one member to join the AC for example.

The CC also strikes me as primarily a trad rock climbers club. For someone like me who enjoys trad rock, sport, winter, & alpine I don't it's a club for me. The climbing ability for membership solely focuses on trad rock ability for example as though it is the golden standard.
AJM - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to goose299:

I went on an aspirants meet but nothing since. You don't have to go on one of those to join either though, it was just convenient. Whatever you read into the rules on that front isn't there.
Grouch on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

Enjoyed the video. The point is the CC is a club, does it matter what age group are joining the CC, as long as their active? Members need to get involved in the meets program a lot more, more emphasis should be put on attending meets and getting involved, as a joining requirement than the six signature used at present. It's only through activity/ climbing etc and being inclusive that will bring prospective members to the club. If you're worried about younger people not being involved, it's your club, change things. I don't think the clubs elitist, but what's different with the CC than most other clubs is that it's a "Climbers Club" not walkers/kayak/ mountain bikes, it's great going to the huts and meeting like minded people and sharing experiences.
Goucho on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: Nice video Frank :-)

I used to be a member many moons ago, and whatever anyone says, it can come over as being a bit 'elitist' - not so much regarding standards climbed, but in other areas.

The problem the CC, has got, is a bit like religion - it hasn't moved with the times - and that's a sure fired way to end up in an ever decreasing circle, with a membership full of old out of touch farts :-).

The CC can only remain relevant, if it represents what is relevant to today's, and future generations of climbers.




AJM - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Big Lee:

> I once might have considered joining but cannot be bothered going through the whole application process. Whatever the CC say, their membership policy is elitist.

I'm not sure what elitist means in this context? Is VS elitist? Or knowing members elitist? But regardless, if you don't want to put the effort in then don't, but don't moan about it when it's really on you...

> given that they make it far more difficult to join compared to any other club, I'd say it is elitist by definition. I needed the support of only one member to join the AC for example.

Worse than the SMC or FRCC? I looked at the former once and came to the conclusion that I'd have to be way too much of a hillwalker to stand a chance of joining. And In terms of faff the time taken to get your 20-30 routes or whatever for full AC membership feels more onerous than getting your rock climbing to VS.

> The CC also strikes me as primarily a trad rock climbers club. For someone like me who enjoys trad rock, sport, winter, & alpine I don't it's a club for me. The climbing ability for membership solely focuses on trad rock ability for example as though it is the golden standard.

Here, to be fair, you do have a point. The persona of the club, if that makes sense, does feel very much that way.

Coel Hellier - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Big Lee:

> The climbing ability for membership solely focuses on trad rock ability for example as though it is the golden standard.

From the guidance notes for membership:

**Examples** of the minimum standard of confident leading expected include:
• adventurous UK rock climbs of at least VS 4c
• UK winter climbs of at least Grade IV
• multi-pitch water ice climbs of at least WI3
• alpine style rock climbs of UIAA grade V or 5.7 US
• several seasons of alpine climbing with ascents of significant peaks/routes of at least AD+
Big Lee - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

Fair point, my mistake.

Support of six members though?! Has it always been six? It seems crazy to me. Would four be inadequate?
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Jon Stewart - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to victim of mathematics:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
> [...]
>
> I joined without any 'sucking up' or 'proving myself' to anybody. You just need to know and have climbed with enough people who are members. Maybe you need to get out more and make some new friends :o

No VIM, what I need is a van.
Goucho on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Big Lee:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
>
>
> Support of six members though?! Has it always been six? It seems crazy to me. Would four be inadequate?

Yes six is a bit silly - you only need two membership signatures to be put forward for membership of the most exclusive golf club in the world :-)

Big Lee - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:
>
> I'm not sure what elitist means in this context? Is VS elitist? Or knowing members elitist? But regardless, if you don't want to put the effort in then don't, but don't moan about it when it's really on you...
>

My point being that when you ask for minimum climbing grades for membership you give up having any grass routes involvement with the sport.
Oli - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Big Lee:
It's not exactly difficult to get 6 members to support your application though. I stayed in yyns ettws with 2 friends who are members, and through that stay met and climbed with another 4 who were happy to support my application.

I would agree that there is a pretty skewed age demographic though.
Nick Russell on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

I don't think it's elitist for a club focussed on a sport (for the sake of simplicity I'm going to regard climbing as a sport here) to require some kind of minimum standard in that sport, and to expect (aspirant) members to demonstrate some commitment.

I would suggest that the 6 signatures thing could bring about a certain amount of nepotism, as it would be much easier to get that support if say, your mother, father or other immediate family is a member already. However, they do run the aspirants' meets as a way for anybody to get contacts.

Also, nobody has mentioned that you only need the first two signatures (proposer and seconder) before you can get "provisional membership" for a year. This brings all the benefits of full membership, except being able to vote in the AGM. The idea is that if you're taking a somewhat active part in the club (attending meets, etc.) then a year is more than enough time to obtain the remaining four signatures for full membership.

I say this as a non-member, but somebody looking to join. If there's anybody here in the CC (preferably based in/around Bristol), who may like to help me obtain those first two signatures, please pm me :)
AJM - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Nick Russell:

I'm near Bristol. Drop me a line...
jon on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Goucho:

You have to be proposed and seconded. This then appears in the next newsletter and they expect letters (emails?) of support from members who know you - I was sure it was two, but maybe it's changed or I'm wrong.

I'm not sure you are right in saying:

> it can come over as being a bit 'elitist' - not so much regarding standards climbed, but in other areas.

> The problem the CC (...) it hasn't moved with the times - and that's a sure fired way to end up in an ever decreasing circle, with a membership full of old out of touch farts :-).

> The CC can only remain relevant, if it represents what is relevant to today's, and future generations of climbers.

Well I think elitist is the wrong word here. It used to and maybe still does refer to itself as a senior club (no, not seniors), but this is in the context of being a national club rather than a local one. Similar to the Fell and Rock, I guess. It IS moving with the times - I can't think what more it can really do short of shooting older members when the reach their sell by date. It actively encourages new members. It actively encourages young members. Its guidebooks have burst into the 21st century (I guess healthy competition has had a say in this respect). Its huts are constantly being upgraded and are available to non members. I'm guessing it's not easy to shake off a reputation of being fuddy duddy when folk just judge on preconceived ideas.

I've been a member since 1982. I'm not really a club person either and have only very rarely used the huts, (and now never do) but I continue my membership nevertheless. From time to time I come across club meets around here, members onsighting hard routes - if 8a is still regarded as hard, of course.

AJM - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Big Lee:

I think the idea is that you want to be able to hook up with a random member in a hut and know they're a safe competent climber and that a grade threshold is one of the simplest ways of doing that. If by grass roots you mean teaching and bringing in new climbers then I can understand why the club doesn't want a part of it, that's something that members can do if they want it...
Goucho on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to jon: It's so long since I've been a member jon, that things may have changed, but the fact that so many folk don't realise this, could well be the problem - the changes may only be visible when you're on the 'inside'.

The perception though is maybe different, and as we know, unfortunately, perception is reality.

Probably what the CC needs more than anything else, is some good PR exposure to highlight how it has changed, in order to change the perception.
TonyB - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

How would you go about meeting Climbers' Club members in your area if you can't make one of the aspirant members weekends? I had a look at the website and to use the "Partner Finder" you need a membership number. This seems a bit of a Catch 22 for people who have just moved to the UK.

Tony
yeti on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

out of curiosity, why would i want to join

i have heard of the existance of climbing clubs in general but not THE climbing club
jon on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Goucho:

Your right, good PR. But I don't know if it needs it that much other than to simply shake off the image. I'm sure it's doing fine on the 'inside'.
999thAndy on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
This probably deserves a thread on the cc forum, but I would say if kids can't sleep in the huts, the huts are much less use for families
jon on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to 999thAndy:
> (In reply to Coel Hellier)
> if kids can't sleep in the huts, the huts are much less use for families

But probably much nicer for other users.

Jim Hamilton - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

I wouldn't have thought most members will be worrying that the CC is not an automatic choice for the climbing elite, as they join because of the network of huts, and the main concern will be that they are maintained to a reasonable standard and not full when they want to go climbing.

I understood that there is no shortage of people wanting to join, and that the strictish application procedure is used to try and limit numbers as well as preventing the complete punter or oddball joining. Does it really matter that the age distribution is weighted to the older climber ?
Dave Reeve - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: I've started the process of joining the club but I'm wondering if the effort involved is worth it.. I've filled out the application form which requires me to write about my climbing history - fair enough - but the rules clearly state that I need a proposer, a seconder and four other signatures of people that have climbed with me and - by the way - if I sport climb with them it doesn't count as climbing with them for the purposes of membership approval. So, although I'm going to the CC meet in Portland next weekend it's not particularly going to further my progress joining the club.

I live in Norfolk so all my trips tend to be pre-arranged with known partners - I don't particularly want to lead Trad with people I don't know as I seem to be expected to on a club meet and I'm sure a lot of climbers feel the same...

I've been climbing 25 years and am currently around E2 on Trad and 7A on sport, I have several hundred climbs in my UKC logbook but this doesn't seem to count for anything with the Club. I'd like to go on the occasional meet but principally use the huts, much more welcoming at the end of a long drive than putting up a tent. However, I'm really wondering if it's worth it like I said.
Coel Hellier - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to 999thAndy:

> This probably deserves a thread on the cc forum, but I would say if kids can't sleep in the huts,
> the huts are much less use for families

Yes, you're right. This rule is perhaps an over-reaction, but that's how things tend to be these days. If you allow kids to sleep in mixed bunk rooms, then "guidelines" (e.g. BMC guidelines) say you need nominated "child protection officers" and CRB checks et cetera.

I think it would be better if they had no rule, leaving it to parents/guardians to judge whether they are ok with the sleeping arrangements, but I can see why the CC just play safe and say no mixed (child/adult) bunkrooms.
steve taylor - on 03 Mar 2013
- but the rules clearly state that I need a proposer, a seconder and four other signatures of people that have climbed with me and - by the way - if I sport climb with them it doesn't count as climbing with them for the purposes of membership approval. So, although I'm going to the CC meet in Portland next weekend it's not particularly going to further my progress joining the club.

I'm not sure about sport climbing not counting - I've proposed, seconded and signed for a few people that I've only EVER sport climbed with. I'd advise taking your form along as you'll get the whole thing sorted in a weekend
Coel Hellier - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Reeve:

> but the rules clearly state that I need a proposer, a seconder and four other signatures of people
> that have climbed with me and - by the way - if I sport climb with them it doesn't count as climbing with them

You might be misreading the rules. Only the proposer and seconder "must" have climbed with you, for the other 4 supporting signatures: "Members expressing their support for an applicant should have knowledge of the candidate’s climbing/mountaineering experience and abilities and consider that it is consistent with part 2(c) of the guidance to applicants." (2c is essentially the bit I quoted above).

So, if you only sport climb with them but they know enough about you to know that you are a competent and safe climber (i.e. multi-pitch trad VS, sea-cliff + mountain crag, or similar -- basically they're just looking for some general competence and some degree of breadth of experience), then that's ok.

So, in essence, if you've climbed a bit with two members, who are willing to propose and second you, then the other 4 should not be much problem and could be got by attending an aspirants meet (two of those per year).
999thAndy on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
Which is why I started saying this could/should be its own thread on the cc forum. Just a point to note however is that the Mynydd don't have such an officer, kids are allowed to sleep in the hut and it all works fine.

I just thought a better answer to the original question "is the cc family friendly" is "no".
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Grouch on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Reeve:
I don't particularly want to lead Trad with people I don't know as I seem to be expected to on a club meet
This is the point of going on club meets and being part of a club, meeting and climbing with new people. I understand the bit about climbing with new partners, but you never know what new friendships will be forged, you don't have to jump straight on to E2 with a new partner.

I'd like to go on the occasional meet but principally use the huts, much more welcoming at the end of a long drive than putting up a tent.
The huts are great, but remember its a club, you only get out what you put in.

Have a great meet next week, climb with some new people and I'm sure you will get your signatures
AJM - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Reeve:

As the others have said, you're massively overcomplicating and overegging how hard this process is going to be. Just bring the form along and ask people to sign it and you'll be done by the end of the weekend.
bpmclimb - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Reeve:
> (In reply to Frank Cannings) I've started the process of joining the club but I'm wondering if the effort involved is worth it..

- I don't particularly want to lead Trad with people I don't know as I seem to be expected to on a club meet and I'm sure a lot of climbers feel the same...
>


There's something vaguely "circular" about your points; climbers who feel the same presumably include those in the Climbers' Club - hence the membership procedures which take all the effort!

Dave Reeve - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM: I think it's somewhat unfair to accuse me of over complicating and over egging the process - I realise I don't need to climb with all 6 signatories now but you have to realise that some of us only have the CC application guidelines on the web to go from initally and that's what they say..

If the working practice for membership is different to the procedures then it might help the clubs membership grow if they were amended.

The OP did ask for feedback and this is my personal experience of attempting to join the club so far..
Dave Reeve - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Grouch: I don't want to come across as a grump - what I'm trying to say is that I would prefer to attend club meets, get to know like minded people and if we hit it off, then climb with them rather than it being a prereq to joining.

Gwilymstarks on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

I looked at joining some years ago and thought it was an elitist club with a long drawn out joining process.

I have looked again today after reading this thread and my new thoughts are that the requirements to join (as in the climbing experience) is not actually unreasonable but that the joing up procedure is as long winded as before.

Do MIAs, MICs and BMGs still need to have their climbing ability "vouched for" by a member or is a NGB assessment good enough to prove their capability?
Jonny2vests - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

I was in the process of joining, then accidentally moved to Canada.
bpmclimb - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Reeve:
> (In reply to Grouch) I don't want to come across as a grump - what I'm trying to say is that I would prefer to attend club meets, get to know like minded people and if we hit it off, then climb with them rather than it being a prereq to joining.

But isn't it the point of the CC procedures that climbers can be vetted to some extent before they are let loose on the members. I've always assumed these rules are in place primarily for reasons of safety. Perhaps I'm mistaken in that?
AJM - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Reeve:

If you have no other knowledge bar what's on the website how comes you ever thought all 6 have to have climbed with you (it doesn't say that) or that sport climbing with someone doesn't count (it doesn't say that either). You've drawn conclusions that simply aren't supported by the actual guidance given.

> 1c) All applications need the support of existing members who must sign the form. This helps to ensure that all applicants are sound climbers with a genuine interest in mountain activities and that the club facilities (huts in particular) are used for the purposes for which they were intended.
> To attain full membership one member must propose you and another second that proposal, both must be members of at least two years standing and must sign the application form and write in support of your application. They should have personal experience of your climbing abilities i.e. have climbed with you. The words of support are to be submitted on the standard pro-forma for both proposer and second. Please note that applications can be considered only when the support has been received.

The only words there are "have climbed with you". No "trad" or "sport doesn't count" or anything mentioned at all. The nearest you might get is in the guidance for proposers, which says:

> They must have climbed with the candidate and should indicate when, where and how often
they have done so including naming some routes that are consistent in character with that described in the membership criteria that the candidate led while they were climbing together. They must consider that the applicant meets the criteria outlined in section 2c of
the applicants pack

Consistent in character doesn't say trad. It means if you're claiming on your form to lead 7as onsight and things that I'd probably be expected to have done some reasonably hard sport climbing with you rather than having spent a day climbing 5s.

The guidance for supporters, incidentally, is basically just the last sentence of the stuff I've quoted above, meeting the guidelines with none of the actual climbing requirements.

If you read what's there you'd have drawn the conclusion that you need the support of 6 people who are prepared to back up whatever abilities you're claiming to have on your form, of which 2 need to have actually climbed with you and be able to give lists of some routes you've led with them that paint the same sort of picture as the stuff you're writing in your "cv".

This sort of thing really does frustrate me because from the picture you painted in your post above you sound like a shoe-in candidate and yet you've convinced yourself that despite going on a non-aspirants meet (and hence presumaly knowing at least one member already) it's going to be a desperate ordeal and that's putting you off. And that's a shame because it's not an ordeal and whilst the website isn't as friendly as it could be it also definitively doesn't say any of these extra entrance requirements you've created for yourself are required.
Coel Hellier - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:

> If you have no other knowledge bar what's on the website how comes you ever thought all 6 have to have
> climbed with you (it doesn't say that)...

Actually it does say that, more or less. http://www.climbers-club.co.uk/about-apply.html "Those applicants who meet the membership criteria and already have the support of six club members who have climbed with them may apply directly for full membership." Though the more detailed rules sheet says different.

> or that sport climbing with someone doesn't count (it doesn't say that either).

Correct, it doesn't say that.

AJM - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

You're right, how odd. The detailed sheet does clarify it anyway though, and I assume that's the definitive version.... I suppose if you know members outside of cc huts/meets/etc they are more than likely to be climbing partners, perhaps that's what it's getting at.

I suppose someone ought to tell them really.
Mark Kemball - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: I've been a member since '84, so I guess I'm amoung the old farts now. What is great about it? The huts, the fact that if you bump into a CC member at a hut or elsewhere you can assume that they will be competent to go out and climb with (which is a good reason for the not very arduous entry requirements). The production of definitive gudebooks is excellent. I've taken my kids to CC huts, but the child protection policy is a bit of a pain so sometimes we end up camping outside but using the facilities. I've attended a few meets, and particularly enjoy the family meet,where there are loads of kids!
The club does want new members and as I understand it is particularly keen to get keen younger members.
pacman - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:
> I’d like to ask UKC climbers for their views about the Climbers’ Club and whether they aspire or otherwise to membership. What attracts you, what puts you off?

What attracts me?:
Potential new partners/friends
Interesting meets list
Huts
Great experience I had on one CC meet I attended

What puts me off?:
Mixed experience I had on another CC meet I attended (aspirants as it happens)
Mixed feedback from others based on their experiences of the CC
The process for becoming a member.

Regarding the application process in particular...
If you are fortunate enough to already have old family/friend links with the club then joining is straightforward, it requires no effort beyond filling in an application form and asking your (family/friends') mates to propose/second and sign up to support you. That's it, you don't even need to go on a meet.
Unfortunately, if you do not already have links with the club it's a complete pain in the arse. I wouldn't dispute the CC's website claim that it is not an elitist institution; I think the required competency levels are probably spot on. The claim that it is not a very arduous or exclusive process is simply not true though, for people without prior links to the club it is an arduous/onerous process and it actually requires quite a lot of effort and commitment.

In short...
I'm an experienced, competent and committed climber and I have the high level and broad range of experience required by the CC.
For reasons stated above I would like to join the CC and try it out properly.
The only reason I'm not a member is the joining process.
AJM - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to pacman:

> Unfortunately, if you do not already have links with the club it's a complete pain in the arse. I wouldn't dispute the CC's website claim that it is not an elitist institution; I think the required competency levels are probably spot on. The claim that it is not a very arduous or exclusive process is simply not true though, for people without prior links to the club it is an arduous/onerous process and it actually requires quite a lot of effort and commitment.

I think it rather depends on how you view it. You're getting access to a network of huts in prime climbing spots, the interesting meets, the partners, all that stuff, and in return you "give up" a weekend for an aspirants meet. Which involves, as far as I recall, going to a decent climbing area for a weekend, which presumably youd want to do anyway, staying in a nice hut, climbing with some people (who you think are likely to be interesting because that's one of the reasons you want to join), doing some nice routes - apart from the different people it doesn't sound that terribly different from a normal climbing weekend? As a hardship I can think of worse ones.

Then you sit and to be fair some wheels take a while to grind through but then you get a hut key and a years provisional membership. That allows you to go to one of these nice huts you wanted access to anyway or on one of these interesting meets you wanted to join anyway, chat to some of those potentially interesting new partners you were interested in maybe meeting and get a few more scribbles on a bit of paper.

So yeah, you have to agree to go to one particular place for a specific weekend rather than having the flexibility to move with the weather, and you have to be prepared to climb with some people you've not met before, but is that really as much of a complete pain in the arse as you're making out?
nbonnett - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:

you've missed one point ......,, and get to park your car in the Pass.
puppythedog on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: Any CC members fancy having a climb with me and then potentially (if they don't think I'm a pillow) supporting an application? If so please drop me a line through here. I have e-mailed the meet person to ask when the next aspirants meet is. So if no joy now no problem.
Howard J - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: I think the problem is that the CC website sets out a detailed and rigourous process together with minimum competencies, which people interpret as being difficult and exclusive. However whenever it gets raised, CC members pop up to say its not like that at all.

Perhaps the information on the website is deliberately intended to weed out all but the most determined candidates - if so, it is apparently succeeding. On the other hand, if the CC is keen to attract new members perhaps it should look again at its joining procedures, or at least the way they are presented.

I've thought about joining, in order to use the huts, but I'm left with the impression that despite my substantial climbing experience I'm too much of a punter to be welcome (although I've been assured by a member that wouldn't be the case). However I'm also unclear how a nationwide organisation can function as a club, and how can the social aspects (which I regard as just as an important part of a climbing club as the climbing) work when most members will be strangers to you and may hail from completely different parts of the country. For both these reasons I've been reluctant to embark on what, despite members' protests, still seems to be a long and complicated process
MG - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to pacman: Getting six signatures is hardly arduous. They let me in after one aspirants meet!! How easy do you want it? A key point is that you know members, who you may climb with wuthout really knowing, are probably at a minimum safe. If it was just a pay you money and get in type of thing, you would not have that confidence.
mrbird - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: Id like to join but the focus seems to be on welsh and south england meets and thats a fair trek from Aberdeen. Was a guest at the Riasg hut for afew days a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it. Good variation of climbers of all ages and experiences.
Dave Reeve - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM: I feel like I'm being pilloried here for providing my experiences of trying to join the club.

The person I contacted about attending the Portland Meet next weekend (and I mean no criticism of them) said and I quote from their e-mail:

"This will be a very sociable meet so great for meeting lots of folk. Be aware though that this is a sport-climbing meet, and as the emphasis for membership applications is on trad and mult-pitch you would need to go on more meets to climb with people in that situation". That suggests to me that getting a quick 6 signatures next weekend isn't a likely prospect.

The person who I've asked to propose my application is a summer/winter qualified ML and we've had some discussion about my application. A quote from one of his e-mails... "I have to be familar with your leading climbing grade which of course has to be VS upwards and also good winter stuff helps a lot...." "Generally speaking if you have good winter stuff then VS summer will be enough. if no winter then you will need to add a few HVS's to be on the safe side".

There are some mixed messages coming through on this thread..some of you are saying that Sport is ok but there is no mention of it on the CC site and the two people I've dealt with so far (again meaning no criticism of them) seem to think that joining the CC requires more. Why do the application process guidelines say things like this ?

"We are looking for a good CV of adventurous climbing; adventure climbs in the UK would typically be multi pitch, naturally protected and have access or route finding challenges (e.g. tidal sea cliffs with tricky access or large high mountain crag routes).

Examples of the minimum standard of confident leading expected include:

adventurous UK rock climbs of at least VS 4c

UK winter climbs of at least Grade IV

multi-pitch water ice climbs of at least WI3

alpine style rock climbs of UIAA grade V or 5.7 US

several seasons of alpine climbing with ascents of significant peaks/routes of at least AD+

In response to another comment: I have spent a fair amount of time and energy researching and submitting my application and my comments are based on a) the CC website information and b) the interactions I've had with a couple of club members so they're based on fact not conjecture.

As someone who has no prior links with the club and no-one in it locally to sponsor me it is a difficult process to go through.
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AJM - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to puppythedog:

You're still around the Warehouse and stuff right? Drop me a line if so and I might be able to sort something out.
puppythedog on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM: Thanks Andy, I am, I'll drop you a line.
Coel Hellier - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Howard J:

> Perhaps the information on the website is deliberately intended to weed out all but the most
> determined candidates - if so, it is apparently succeeding. On the other hand, if the CC is keen
> to attract new members perhaps it should look again at its joining procedures, or at least
> the way they are presented.

Well it's a balance. Currently about 30 people join each year, which is a sensible rate. The CC don't want many hundreds of new people in a short time. They would like people who are safe and competent climbers, and who have a long-term commitment to climbing, and who will respect the traditions of the club and -- preferably -- people who will be willing to put effort into the club (helping with huts or guidebooks or running the club). They don't want to be too open but they don't want to be too closed.

Thus it's a balance: if anyone is keen to join then the aspirants meets provide a mechanism, and with a bit of effort you'll get in. If that's too much effort, then, well, that's ok if you're not that bothered.

The balance seems to be about right, given the couple of dozen who join each year, and the gradual climb in membership over the last decade.


Wiley Coyote - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:
Getting into the CC is not hard.I became a member comparatively recently. I've probably met dozens of CC members down the years of random climbing and had no trouble finding six to sign the form. Yes, I had to go and ask them but that's not exactly a hardship, is it? I've never been on a club meet because I'm not really a 'clubby' person but I enjoy using the huts and meeting like minded people some of whom I've since climbed with, happy in the knowledge that other members had vouched for their basic competence.
I do not find it at all elitist. VS rock is hardly cutting edge and, that's borne out in the OP which bemoans the fact that CC members are not in the vanguard of modern hard climbing.
Coel Hellier - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Reeve:

> ... some of you are saying that Sport is ok but there is no mention of it on the CC site

In short, you can't join as a sport climber alone, you do need trad or winter or alpine experience. However, that doesn't mean you need to have done these activities with all 6 people who sign your form. People you've only sport climbed with could still be one of the supporting signatures (they need to be satisfied that you meet the standard, but that doesn't mean they need to have personally done those things with you).

> That suggests to me that getting a quick 6 signatures next weekend isn't a likely prospect.

You are right that getting all 6 signatures in one weekend is not likely (especially if it's a sport-climbing weekend). If you went to that meet already with your proposer and seconder, then you could quite likely get the remaining 4 signatures. If not, expect to get the signatures over two meets (for example also book onto an aspirants meet).
Grouch on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to Howard J)
>
> [...]
>
> Well it's a balance. Currently about 30 people join each year, which is a sensible rate. The CC don't want many hundreds of new people in a short time. They would like people who are safe and competent climbers, and who have a long-term commitment to climbing, and who will respect the traditions of the club and -- preferably -- people who will be willing to put effort into the club (helping with huts or guidebooks or running the club). They don't want to be too open but they don't want to be too closed.
>
> Thus it's a balance: if anyone is keen to join then the aspirants meets provide a mechanism, and with a bit of effort you'll get in. If that's too much effort, then, well, that's ok if you're not that bothered.
>
> The balance seems to be about right, given the couple of dozen who join each year, and the gradual climb in membership over the last decade.

Well said, like most things in life, if you put the effort in you will be rewarded.
AJM - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Reeve:

I'm not really sure what more I can add on this. I feel like I've already spent far too much of my time on this thread today and I've really got stuff that needs to be finished tonight. So I'm going to do my best to bow out and do something more useful.

The guidelines on what your 4 residual signatures need to do is clear, they need to be confident you meet up to the standards you've outlined. What they don't have to do is climb with you, trad climb with you or anything if they don't want to, if they feel they can judge it from a night in the pub they are entitled to support you on that basis.

So based on that what have you got to lose by talking to folk on the meet, I'm sure you will talk about routes you've done in the past and hence your experience will shine through, and if you ask the worst they can say is that they aren't comfortable doing it yet - there's always a difficulty with a personal decision like that having consistent results which is perhaps where your mixed messages come from.

You have a proposer already, although I'm not sure I could be so confident about what level you might want to have if you do and don't have winter experience and so on, does he propose a lot of people and know what gets accepted or something? It sounds way more formal than anything I did!

That leaves a seconder, who needs to be someone you've climbed with. Whether its trad or not is probably in that area of personal discretion, Steve above says he has supported people on the basis of sport climbing only before, I'd be happy to do the same if I knew someone was a competent all-rounded safe climber, since that's ultimately where the guidelines want you to be (with a strong emphasis on trad although the rules don't stop you in theory from being an ice climber only for example), but I suspect there are some hoary old men out there who wouldn't support someone unless they had been out on a trad day with them.

So there we go, that's me. I didn't especially intend to pillory you, so I hope you haven't taken terribly great offence, but you seem to have got a very over complicated end of the stick compared to the experience I had joining and the experience other members on here seem to have had and it frustrates me because on the face of things you sound like the sort of person who should find it easy to get support to join and probably will find it easy if you just get out there and give it a go.

My one final thought is that there's probably a strong correlation between the members who have been through the process saying its not really that hard and the non members who haven't who say it looks really hard. We aren't all trying to sign you up for years of tortuous paperwork and labyrinthine procedures by lying you know.
Dave Reeve - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM: No offence taken :) Hopefully this discussion has provided the OP with the information he was seeking..

As for me, I'd better get a name change if I want to join the CC now as I post here under my real name... (joke !)

nbonnett - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

If you went to Malham , Portland or Pen Twryn you would find it full of CC members.

The secret clue is basically a climber with grey hair trying to re-live their youth on some bolt route to hard for them ( inc. me !!!!! ) .




Caralynh - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

I'm a CC member and found it very easy to join. Lots of people are members, and you'd be surprised how many UKCers are, so if you climb regularly and are sociable, it's likely you'll meet a member. I haven't been on any CC meets mainly because leave from work is limited and I don't want to end up on a meet where everyone else knows each other. I appreciate the problem with that statement, that if I don't go I won't meet people, but that's the situation for now.
Do I think it's elitist? No. I like the reassurance that if I were climbing with another member they would be likely to be safe and experienced.
rockjedi12345 - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

My first memory of the climber club was wandering over to the count house at bosi to enquiry about how one would go about using it.

We knocked and my Friend started chatting to a very pompous and condescending individual who was very unhappy that we had wandered to the hut for a casual chat and explaining that it was a members only area.. My mate stupidly asked what club the hut belonged too (having only been climbing a short while). The look on the blokes face was priceless, and his response of "the climbers club of course" was met with confusion by my friend who's reply of "yes but which one there's loads" left the chap open mouthed and speach less.

I guess my view hasn't changed much of it being snobbish and elitist.

That said I just noted mg is a member so the standards have obviously dropped ;-)

Goucho on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote: I think peoples experience of joining the CC might well be down to how many CC climbers they knew before they joined.

When I joined (to be honest, simply for the huts and parking in the Pass :-)), I already knew, and had climbed with lots of CC members, so it was easy.

However, had that not been the case, then the application process might well have put me off.

I think this might be why some people view the CC as being elitist - if you know people, you're in straight away, but if you don't, then you have to jump through hoops.

rlade - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: I was introduced to the club three years ago by a friend who has a great deal of leading experience. He is a extreme grade climber who has a huge respect, understanding and passion for pure trad. Since joining the club I have climbed with two members who will happily onsight e5 and we have been away to europe on trips bagging 200m 800m rock routes VI VII+. To be honest I have been blown away with high level of abilty and boldness, my climbing has come on leaps and bounds, due to the club. A lot big routes are getting done by club members but we are not all singing and shouting about.If I see someone who is good at the crag I will often mention the CC and what it has done for my climbing. Its the best climb I have joined in the last 40 years.
flaneur - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:

> Getting into the CC is not hard.I became a member comparatively recently. I've probably met dozens of CC members down the years of random climbing and had no trouble finding six to sign the form. Yes, I had to go and ask them but that's not exactly a hardship, is it? I've never been on a club meet because I'm not really a 'clubby' person but I enjoy using the huts and meeting like minded people some of whom I've since climbed with, happy in the knowledge that other members had vouched for their basic competence.
> I do not find it at all elitist. VS rock is hardly cutting edge and, that's borne out in the OP which bemoans the fact that CC members are not in the vanguard of modern hard climbing.


Precisely my experience.

I even mentioned sp*rt cl*mb*ng on my application and wasn't black-balled.

How can the CC be elitist when they let Nigel Barry in!



In reply to nbonnett:

> If you went to Malham , Portland or Pen Twryn you would find it full of CC members.
>
> The secret clue is basically a climber with grey hair trying to re-live their youth on some bolt route too hard for them ( inc. me !!!!! ) .

Sometimes the truth hurts.




jcw on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: I have just picked up this thread and am amazed no one has asked the essential question: what is a club?
brockers on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:
I've been a member for a few years now. When I joined the club I didn't know anyone in the club but just arranged to go on an aspirants meet. At the meet I met and climbed with two members and they were willing to propose and second me. I joined as a prospective member and over the course of the next year I used several of the clubs huts (once with my 4year old) and met loads of members, been on a impromptue climbing trip to the Lofotens with a member and eventually I got the 4 necessary signatures and joined as a full member.
The process is quite straightforward and simple, it just required a bit of effort on my part. To be honest why shouldn't it require some effort and commitment to join?
As a community of likeminded climbers everyone is very friendly and the banter in Ynws living room or Riasg kitchen is great. There aren't that many meets in the UK, probably because we all just go wherever the weather is good and I guess that's why many don't often commit to meets. There is a family meet at Count House in the summer which is a great meet! There are European, alpine, Himalayan and other meets as well as joint CC, FRCC and AC meets though I've not been on one.
Overall a great club and my personal experience of the application process wasn't arduous, long winded or over complicated.
Postmanpat on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to rlade:
> (In reply to Frank Cannings) I was introduced to the club three years ago by a friend who has a great deal of leading experience. He is a extreme grade climber who has a huge respect, understanding and passion for pure trad. Since joining the club I have climbed with two members who will happily onsight e5 and we have been away to europe on trips bagging 200m 800m rock routes VI VII+.
>
My experience is that on any given weekend at Ynws Ettws they'll be a pair off to Gogarth to do some mad E7, somebody off to Cloggy to do Great Wall or similar, lots of punters like me off to Tremadoc or the Cromlech to knock off some classic mid grades, somebody doing their 43rd ascent of Nea or Grooved Arete and somebody doing their 500th circuit of the Horseshoe.

Everybody compares notes in the evening and I realise the lady doing Nea has done five trips to the Himalayas and the couple who did the Horseshoe did Great Wall in about 1967.

In summary there are people climbng (and walking) at all grades and nobody seems to judge others on the basis of which grades they climb.

Maggie B - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:
I don't really see that getting into the club is that difficult. I joined the club when I was about 35 and did not know any CC members before doing so. A bit of effort is all it took. Now 10 years on, should I consider myself a bit above the required age and quit? Whilst it's good to get "new blood" into the club - and healthy for the club to encourage it, most of the older members you meet at hut are still keen and active climbers, as well as friendly nice folks.
If anyone is looking to join the club, then I do recommend that aspirant meets - they are great meets and very sociable. I have also been on alpine and UK meets, and use the huts extensively (just back from a perfect weather weekend in Wales)
The Ex-Engineer - on 03 Mar 2013
In reply to goose299:
> How can you be a member without ever going to a meet or event?
> From reading the rules bit, that's kinda paramount to joining.

Assuming you are an anti-social boulderer who has never spoken to another climber in their life, you are obviously perfectly correct.

However, if you are even a vaguely outgoing and active climber with some years of climbing experience who interacts with other climbers, at the crag, at the wall and online then it is pretty much impossible not for you not to have come across CC members during the time you have been time climbing (even if you are not aware they are CC members). I can think of several popular climbing areas and crags where certain CC members are a fixture, there are also loads lurking (or posturing) around on UKC.

Even a slight connection with one CC member is generally all you need to meet a few more. That is normally enough to give you an idea whether they are the sort of people you get along with. If they are, then mentioning membership and spending a bit more time climbing with them is then all you really need.
The Ivanator - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: It's all faintly masonic, most of the points made defending the club in this thread make sense, but the whole thing kind of spooks me ...despite a long family history of climbing I'm not tempted to join the tweed and hobnail crowd ;-) I've climbed with CC members and enjoyed it, they are free to make that choice, but I feel no compulsion to follow suit.
The huts are obviously a draw, but finding partners is effectively done through UKC these days, my feeling is the old clubs have been largely superseded by sites like this one and I'd argue that is largely a good thing.
Welcome to the 21st century!
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In reply to Frank Cannings:

I joined when I was 15, 22 years ago. Getting younger members has always been a problem as there simply aren't loads of young trad climbers around. I recently supported Dan McManus's application - in his 20s and currently one of the best trad climbers in the UK (recently climbed Golden Gate on El Cap and is a regular E7 leader). It's not all old farts.

If the club wants more younger members, they need to change the experience requirements to encompass bouldering and sport climbing, as that's what a lot of 'committed' climbers are doing thesedays. I think that would be a good idea, and could help huts like the Downes below Froggatt get more use (not to mention the Welsh huts and Grange in Borrowdale). But I doubt it will happen, as the roots of the club are in trad climbing.

I now have a young family and spent a week at the Count House last summer, as it is well set up for families. It's a shame that the refurb of May Cottage in Pembroke wasn't done in such as way as to accommodate families. But once my kids are a bit older and can camp, I expect I will use the huts more. There must be lots of potential members in my position for whom the huts could be very attractive if they were more accessible to kids, or if there were more family meets (the Cornwall one was over-subscribed last summer... one in Pembroke would be brilliant).

The website could be improved to make the application process sound easier, as in reality it is.
Skyfall - on 04 Mar 2013
I did think about joining the CC earlier in my climbing 'career' but got put off when I stumbled across a CC meet on the Mot with one senior member being v loud and leaving me speechless when he wondered across (I had topped out and was bringing my mate up) and removed one of my anchors (only momentarily admittedly) to place one of his own nearby. I was out of arms reach so couldn't intervene but did, after my initial shock, make my feelings known. Totally arrogant.

I'm sure that's not your average CC member, genuinely, but this feeling of 'ownership' of the crag and the way he was lording it over what seemed to be a small group of aspirants (apparently) put me off completely. Even if there are only a relatively small percentage of people like that, then I don't want any part of it. But then I've never been one for clubs :)
Howard J - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Thus it's a balance: if anyone is keen to join then the aspirants meets provide a mechanism, and with a bit of effort you'll get in. If that's too much effort, then, well, that's ok if you're not that bothered.
>
I'm sure you're right. Nevertheless there appears to be a conflict between what the website says and how it works in practice. Perhaps this is partly due to how individual members interpret the guidelines when they're asked to support a prospective member. Judging from the varied experiences on this and other similar threads I get the impression that some are far more demanding than others.

It occurs to me that when I first became aware of the CC some 40 years ago (and actually knew a couple of members) the minimum standard then was still VS, which in those days was if not an elite grade considerably more demanding than it is today. To me, out of all the examples now given of minimum grades in different disciplines, VS on rock seems by far the easiest.

In reply to Tom Briggs - Jagged Globe:
> The website could be improved to make the application process sound easier, as in reality it is.

Having just applied myself (not accepted yet), my experience is that the bureaucratic procedure could probably do with being updated although I can see why there is a need for a number of supporting members and a general level of climbing experience.

This page on the web site implies that you can apply online - http://www.climbers-club.co.uk/about-apply.html - indeed that online is the "preferred method". This isn't actually a true online application since the requirement is that the form still needs to have ink signatures on it which can't be accomplished online and have to be posted in the end.

This is not a problem for those attending meets, but if you are trying to manage your application away from meets it is a little awkward to actually get six ink signatures, especially on the same piece of paper. In the end my application form was actually six applications forms each with a single signature which was acceptable, but took quite a lot of postal effort to assemble and was far from online.

In this day and age it might be worth trying to accommodate application supporters via email since, for most people, forging a a convincing email with a correct from email address is actually not that easy. It may also help open the club to younger members.

Alan
tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Nick Russell:

> I would suggest that the 6 signatures thing could bring about a certain amount of nepotism, as it would be much easier to get that support if say, your mother, father or other immediate family is a member already. However, they do run the aspirants' meets as a way for anybody to get contacts.


You're not allowed to get signatures from family members.

I see the 6 signatures as a way of trying to make sure that people are happy to get to know and climb with other members of the club, rather than not mixing at all. There are 1600 members to choose from, so it's a nice excuse to get to know more climbers...
Nick Russell on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to Nick Russell)
>
> [...]
>
>
> You're not allowed to get signatures from family members.
>

Yes, I did spot that when reading the rules, shortly after I posted. If you have immediate family in the club, it still makes it easier, because they will presumably have contacts, and an interest in helping you get the required support. Thanks for pointing that out though
Mark Kemball - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: One of my early experiences of the CC, before I was a member, I was staying at Ynys, and there was this old guy, must have been in his 70s or 80s. Lovely guy, very friendly, he explained that he was trying to document all the old v diffs in Cwm Glas that somehow had been left out of the recent Pass guides. It turned out he was C H S R Palmer, he was able to tell us about the first ascent of Belle Vue Bastion, complete with wind up gramaphone. Experiences like this are part of what makes the CC special. Occasionally you bump into the odd obnoxious old git (I remember one turning up at a family meet years ago and Tom Briggs' dad very nearly ended up punching him) but that's very much the exception, you are bound to get the odd wierdo in any large group of people.
SCrossley on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Tom Briggs - Jagged Globe:
Hi Tom,
if you want a families meet, why not organise one? that's what I do with the LC&CC, if I want to go somewhere or do something I just organise it, First Aid course sorted, Black Sail, sorted, want to hear Mick Fowler and Dave Birkett speak, I booked em and got what I wanted, no problem.
Cheers sjc
a lakeland climber on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Nick Russell:

I'm not in the CC but when, pre-internet, I was looking at joining the AC (actually ACG), they sent me a list of members who lived nearby. I think it was county based - a long time ago now.

These days, the chances are you'll know someone in the CC anyway.

ALC
GrahamD - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:


> This is not a problem for those attending meets, but if you are trying to manage your application away from meets it is a little awkward to actually get six ink signatures, especially on the same piece of paper. In the end my application form was actually six applications forms each with a single signature which was acceptable, but took quite a lot of postal effort to assemble and was far from online.

Surely this is a crucial part of the process ? I don't think its supposed to be trivially easy and does require effort on the part of the applicant (either to attend meets or chase the paerwork) ? IE only people who REALLY wanted to join did. At least thats how I saw it when I was sending bits of paper all round the country to the few members I knew at the time.
tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Howard J:

> However I'm also unclear how a nationwide organisation can function as a club, and how can the social aspects (which I regard as just as an important part of a climbing club as the climbing) work when most members will be strangers to you and may hail from completely different parts of the country. For both these reasons I've been reluctant to embark on what, despite members' protests, still seems to be a long and complicated process

That's one of the best things about it - the chance to meet and climb with a load of experienced and committed climbers. It's surprising how quickly you get to know people - there are a range of meets, both in the UK and abroad, where you can get to know other members, and if you use the huts, you also get to meet and often climb with other members. As I get older and many of the people that I knew who climbed have stopped climbing, it's nice to have a way to meet climbers who are at the same stage in their climbing lives as I am.

The one thing I found wearing about local clubs was the number of people who took up climbing for a few months then got bored of it and dropped out. It can be quite draining giving up your time for people who never put anything back into the system, and it can be delightful to be in a club where this doesn't happen.

tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:

> This is not a problem for those attending meets, but if you are trying to manage your application away from meets it is a little awkward to actually get six ink signatures, especially on the same piece of paper.

I just shoved my form in a plastic cover in the back of my rucksack, so it was around whenever I was climbing with someone....
tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

> Currently only 14% of Climbers' Club members are under the age of 40, while 25% are over 65.

Isn't that just because it is just like the Hotel California?

What are the percentage ages of those joining?
In reply to GrahamD:
> Surely this is a crucial part of the process ? I don't think its supposed to be trivially easy and does require effort on the part of the applicant (either to attend meets or chase the paerwork) ? IE only people who REALLY wanted to join did. At least thats how I saw it when I was sending bits of paper all round the country to the few members I knew at the time.

Well there is making processes more selective by requiring you to know members, or to have proven climbing interest and experience, and that is understandable. However, making processes difficult because the procedure hasn't changed since it was originally set up, when ink signatures was the only way, is just being awkward for awkwardness-sake.

Ink signatures don't actually achieve any extra degree of security in the application process. The only thing requiring them does is put certain people off and the people it is likely to put off more than most are the younger more-internet-saavy potential members - the lack of young members has been mentioned several times already in this thread.

Alan

tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

>finding partners is effectively done through UKC these days, my feeling is the old clubs have been largely superseded by sites like this one and I'd argue that is largely a good thing.

Quite nice to be able to go on meets and holidays with more than just one person though, to places you might not think of for yourself - I like the evenings, with a bit of sharp witted banter and you just don't get the same thing on a weekend away with just one or two people...
3leggeddog on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

I joined the CC last year, I didn't find joining too onerous. The demographic of the CC is shifted towards the middle aged because of the entry criteria. You have to be aware that the club exists, aware of the benefits of joining, have sufficient experience and know sufficient members to join. Accruing all this takes time, I have no problem with that. Members tend to have served time in local clubs before joining one of the nationals. It is an earned priviledge to be a member of the CC, FRCC or similar and should remain so.

The technical difficulties Alan mentioned above will be ironed out in time. Transition from paper to electronic application will always throw up temporary problems.

Those who complain that it is to difficult to join just need to go climbing more, attend a few meets. This is no real hardship, unless the aspirant objects to going climbing or meeting new people. Of course it helps to have friends who are CC members, make some.

Relaxing entry criteria could be very dangerous for the club. To give two rather extreme examples:

Club assets noted by a bunch of asset strippers who join en masse and do what they do best.

Every student climber in the country joins and the huts become party venues.

Like I said, very extreme examples but the CC is not broken, why try to fix it.
goose299 - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:
You've totally misread what I've said here. According to the CC website, to apply for provisional membership
'Those applicants who have attended an Aspirant's Meet and have the support of two members who have climbed with them on that meet may apply for Provisional Membership which lasts for a period of one year'

So again, how can you be a member without attending a meet?
pacman - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Goucho:
> When I joined I already knew, and had climbed with lots of CC members, so it was easy.
> However, had that not been the case, then the application process might well have put me off.
> - if you know people, you're in straight away, but if you don't, then you have to jump through hoops.

Hit the nail on the head there.

In response to AJM:

Think you too have got the wrong end of the stick; I was perfectly happy going to the aspirants meet, I was just slightly underwhelmed by it. No need to labour the point about benefits of being in the club, I'm aware of them and that's why I'm still interested in joining.

In reply to Goucho, AJM, MG, Wiley, Coel, Howard and others:

Agreed, getting the six signatures isn't difficult.
However, it is not so easy finding a proposer and seconder who are willing and able to complete the support forms in accordance with the strict guidelines/requirements set out for these forms. I gather things have tightened up somewhat over the last couple of years, which may explain why some of us are not having the smooth/easy time of it that others have had in the past.
It is not (no longer?) permissible to propose or second someone you've just met and climbed with on an aspirants meet.
It is also not (no longer?) permissible to propose or second someone you've only sport climbed or done single pitch / non adventurous trad climbing with; the routes you've done together must be of the adventurous type detailed in the guidance/rules.
Unfortunately, whilst they're quite good at saying what's not acceptable, the CC don't actually specify what length of time someone has to have known you, in what capacity they know you, and the minimum number of suitable routes (i.e. multi-pitch adventurous as set out in the rules) you have to have done with someone before you can propose or second them. If the CC made this clear it would make things easier for both potential new members and existing members who've been asked to propose/second someone.

It hadn't even crossed my mind to use CC membership as a means of assessing someone's competence/safeness and I don't think I would. I tend to weigh up unknowns by talking to them, watching them and starting on something relatively easy and un-committing, which seems more reliable to me than a club membership which is based on relatively modest climbing ability and personal referrals.

Whilst I don't like being asked to jump through hoops (are there many climbers who do?) to prove myself worthy I do understand the need for a membership system. A friend of mine I was talking to about this just sees it as a game to be played, with the potential benefits to be gained outweighing the nuisance/hassle of getting in. I think he's probably got it right, and believing/hoping as I do that membership will be worth it I am continuing to pursue my efforts to join.

Frank asked what attracts people to the CC and what puts them off so I answered based on my own recent/current experience, which appears to be similar to Dave Reeve's but dissimilar to others'.

I think you've started a good and useful thread with some interesting posts Frank, hopefully you're finding out what you wanted to.
tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to goose299:

> So again, how can you be a member without attending a meet?

By knowing 6 members, by never going on a meet and filling out the application form? You don't have to ever be a provisional member if you don't want to be?

Going on meets is just one way to make it easier to get to know members, but certainly isn't the only way.

Andy Cairns on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: Bit late in joining the thread since I'm just recovering from the CC Dinner, quiz, dancing, wall, and watching the guy from Lyon breaking interesting things binge!

The membership process and age distribution were things that were discussed at the AGM, and I'd expect things to keep evolving on those fronts in the future.

I'd agree that one of the main reasons for having an entry level qualification (and if VS is elitist it's the first time I've EVER been able to consider myself elite!) is so that if you turn up at a hut on your own you can be fairly sure that you're likely to have a good day out with anyone else there. That happened to me once, turned up at the Count House a couple of days early for a Meet, got up next morning to find there was only one other person there, who I didn't know all that well, but had no qualms about heading out for the day with them. Seem to recall we had a pretty good day at Trewavas, Frank?

To anyone thinking about joining, I'd say the requirements and process are no more onerous than for several other clubs I'm familiar with, and I've found it to be one of the most active and enjoyable clubs to be associated with - both the young and not-so young members (most of whom haven't finished with their first childhoods yet, never mind entered their second!)

Cheers
Andy
ads.ukclimbing.com
AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to pacman:

These things about what proposers and seconders have to have done - where have you got these from? They seem contrary to the guidance especially in terms of the aspirants meet one since the aspirants meet is clearly stated on the website as the route to provisional membership.
Dave Garnett - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

It's crossed my mind to join the CC, although I wouldn't be helping the under 40 statistics (it would be a good few years yet before I boosted the over 60s though). I'm a bit fed up with my current club and I think I need to reboot my climbing life beyond the western peak.

I guess I was always a bit in awe of the CC when I started climbing; it seemed full of luminaries and superstars, there was an impressive journal and obviously the Welsh guidebooks were revered with an almost religious intensity. I probably know quite a lot of members, although without knowing the secret handshake I can't be sure how many. How many would be prepared to vouch for me is another matter of course...
TRip - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Alan James - UKC and UKH:
>
> Ink signatures don't actually achieve any extra degree of security in the application process. The only thing requiring them does is put certain people off and the people it is likely to put off more than most are the younger more-internet-saavy potential members - the lack of young members has been mentioned several times already in this thread.

Quite. I joined the CC last year. I knew several member who were prepared to sign my form, but posting the form around the country was a bit of a pain.

It would be much easier and quicker if my proposer, seconder and 4 supporters could email their support. I personally think that having to get six members to endorse you is totally over the top and the CC should considering going the way of the AC who currently require only a proposer to join the club.

Cheers, Tom Ripley


The Ivanator - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm: Had a good day at Wintour's with 3 other climbers yesterday, 2 of whom I met through UKC. I feel I've built up enough of a network of contacts through this site to arrange group days out, weekends away or trips abroad if I'm craving the sociable side of things. I have been to the Swiss Alps, the Dolomites and the Costa Blanca with partners met through UKC.
Admittedly takes a little longer to acquire a circle of partners this way, but the vetting is personal rather than some antiquated machiavellian process that is beyond my control. I look forward to catching up with my partners and whilst I'm happy to climb with new people it is great to have a circle of partners I know, like and trust.
If the internet didn't exist I could see that the joining hassle would be worthwhile, but the benefits just don't seem that significant to me.
Anyway as a fairly average climber past my 40th birthday I don't represent the fresh blood the club could probably do with.
tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
> (In reply to tlm) Had a good day at Wintour's with 3 other climbers yesterday, 2 of whom I met through UKC. I feel I've built up enough of a network of contacts through this site to arrange group days out, weekends away or trips abroad if I'm craving the sociable side of things. I have been to the Swiss Alps, the Dolomites and the Costa Blanca with partners met through UKC.
> Admittedly takes a little longer to acquire a circle of partners this way, but the vetting is personal rather than some antiquated machiavellian process that is beyond my control. I look forward to catching up with my partners and whilst I'm happy to climb with new people it is great to have a circle of partners I know, like and trust.
> If the internet didn't exist I could see that the joining hassle would be worthwhile, but the benefits just don't seem that significant to me.
> Anyway as a fairly average climber past my 40th birthday I don't represent the fresh blood the club could probably do with.

Oh yes - I do those things as well. But it is also nice to have stuff that you don't have to organise but can join in with, for example, having enough people to use the barn on Lundy, without having to book it a year in advance yourself and then fill it.

A fairly average (but active!) climber past your 40th birthday sounds just about the sort of person who does join...

goose299 - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:
Again, reading the website, it says you can only apply if you've been to an aspirants meet
but yet so many seem to have got away with not doing?

I don't understand what you mean by saying you don't have to be a provisional member?
AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to TRip:

I'd agree that doing everything online would be a lot easier. And yeah, what the extra few signatures gains you has got to be minimal - there's definitely diminishing returns in terms of the extra comfort you get as you go from the first 2 to the next one and then down to the sixth. Would they want to tighten up the criteria though so you had to have done a lot of climbing with your 2 as a quid pro quo though, who knows - depth as a substitute for breadth maybe.

And whoever said that they should make things easier for boulderers and sport climbers - the died in the wool traditionalists might not want to hear it but climbing is a very broad church tthese days and it's possible to be a competent, keen and committed climber without aspiring to climb Welsh VSs. Ok so it makes the "you can just go climbing with a member and know they're ok" argument a bit void but really how many folk are going to exaggerate their trad prowess if it's something they've no interest in anyway just to climb with some random bloke in a hut on a route that's probably not what they'd want to do anyway?
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

> I’d like to ask UKC climbers for their views about the Climbers’ Club and whether they aspire or otherwise to membership. What attracts you, what puts you off?


Hi. I've been among the CC "ground troops" for a few years now, working on various guidebooks. However, I'm not actually a member of the CC. I do occasionally consider joining, but so far I've decided that for me the incentives just don't balance the trouble and expense.

I already have a reasonably wide circle of climbing friends.
The weekend meets aren't much use to me as I'm a freelance musician, and usually working.
I already have access to accommodation at my most likely climbing destinations.

However, in addition to these practical considerations, I have to say that I find some aspects of the CC a bit off-putting. I find the application procedure overblown and the wording actually rather patronising in places. As a matter of interest, today I read through the application pdf and other relevant pages of the CC website. Under perks of membership, discounted guidebooks were mentioned, but nowhere could I find the size of this discount - it appears one has to become a member to get this information. Perhaps I missed something, but if not, this seems at odds with the number of hoops an aspirant is required to jump through.

Lastly, I'm not a fan of the CC website, especially the new routes page, which in my view needs a complete overhaul. There is currently a big problem with new routes in many areas of the UK - that there is no longer one definitive place for FAs to record information. The CC, in those areas for which it is responsible for the definitive guidebooks, should be this repository, but it has fallen out of favour. A well-designed new routes database, searchable in various ways (by name, crag, date, grade) would do much to reverse the trend. And it would certainly make life easier for the ground troops!
pacman - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:

> These things about what proposers and seconders have to have done - where have you got these from? They seem contrary to the guidance especially in terms of the aspirants meet one since the aspirants meet is clearly stated on the website as the route to provisional membership.

CC members who didn't feel able to propose/second me
CC notes to proposer/seconder
CC Membership Secretary
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

Also, I don't like the idea of paying BMC subs a second time and then having to claim back the overpayment with a special form. Sod that for a game of soldiers!
TRip - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to TRip)
>
> Would they want to tighten up the criteria though so you had to have done a lot of climbing with your 2 as a quid pro quo though, who knows - depth as a substitute for breadth maybe.

Would they? I proposed a friend for the AC, who I'd never climbed with, but I knew he'd done 5 of the 6 classic north faces, so I had no qualms recommending him.

I also had done no real climbing with the person who proposed me for the CC, but he was well aware of what I'd climbed and how often I go climbing so he was happy to propose me.
>
> And whoever said that they should make things easier for boulderers and sport climbers - the died in the wool traditionalists might not want to hear it but climbing is a very broad church tthese days and it's possible to be a competent, keen and committed climber without aspiring to climb Welsh VSs. Ok so it makes the "you can just go climbing with a member and know they're ok" argument a bit void but really how many folk are going to exaggerate their trad prowess if it's something they've no interest in anyway just to climb with some random bloke in a hut on a route that's probably not what they'd want to do anyway?

Hear hear.

I think the people who run the CC need to understand that sport climbing is physically a lot harder and involves way bigger and more regular falls than most trad climbing. And proper sport climbing is not bolt clipping 6as in Costa Blanca.

TR




Bruce Hooker - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:

> Or knowing members elitist?

It would clearly be a problem if you didn't know any :-)
Hat Dude on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
> Also, I don't like the idea of paying BMC subs a second time and then having to claim back the overpayment with a special form. Sod that for a game of soldiers!

It's really hard; you fill the form in once then you're refunded automatically every year!

tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Bruce Hooker:

> It would clearly be a problem if you didn't know any :-)

Well - not really. You can just go on meets and get to know some.

Mike Highbury - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:
> (In reply to Frank Cannings)
>
> It's crossed my mind to join the CC, although I wouldn't be helping the under 40 statistics (it would be a good few years yet before I boosted the over 60s though). I'm a bit fed up with my current club and I think I need to reboot my climbing life beyond the western peak.
>
> I guess I was always a bit in awe of the CC when I started climbing; it seemed full of luminaries and superstars, there was an impressive journal and obviously the Welsh guidebooks were revered with an almost religious intensity. I probably know quite a lot of members, although without knowing the secret handshake I can't be sure how many. How many would be prepared to vouch for me is another matter of course...

Send me your form...
AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to TRip:

I don't know, I'm musing out loud really.

I don't know how one would go about suggesting a change to make it more inclusive for sport climbers, although I don't know whether given the conservatism of the establishment it would even be worth wasting the breath.
tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:

> I don't know how one would go about suggesting a change to make it more inclusive for sport climbers, although I don't know whether given the conservatism of the establishment it would even be worth wasting the breath.

But also, what would be the point of that? It's a club full of people who love trad climbing (who also might sports climb, boulder etc), with huts in trad climbing areas.

Why would a sports climber, who didn't climb trad, want to join and what would they be adding to the club? Wouldn't it be better, if a sports climber wanted to be in a sports climbing club (which seems a bit of a weird concept anyway) that they just started one, and built it around sports climbing areas? A hut in Spain?

TRip - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to AJM)
>
> [...]
>
> But also, what would be the point of that? It's a club full of people who love trad climbing (who also might sports climb, boulder etc), with huts in trad climbing areas.
>
> Why would a sports climber, who didn't climb trad, want to join and what would they be adding to the club?

Because it is a the Climber's Club, for people who like climbing. It is not the Trad Climbers Club.

Climbing is a broad Church and the club should encourage people who enjoy all forms of climbing, as long as they are competent at and passionate about their chosen discipline.

Besides it needs to encourage younger climbers to join and join in with the club.
tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to TRip:

> Besides it needs to encourage younger climbers to join and join in with the club.

but why?

There are plenty of people in their 30s and 40s joining every year. Does that seem too old to you?
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Hat Dude:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
> [...]
>
> It's really hard; you fill the form in once then you're refunded automatically every year!

Yes, but I don't think it should be set up this way. A refund shouldn't come into it; the amount should be taken off the initial bill. Taken in isolation it's a very small matter, but all these little inconveniences add up. And it's not just about the practical inconvenience. It's a feeling you get - a feeling I get anyway - that the CC see it as a privilege to join them, and that they don't care overmuch about making your life a little more difficult in a few slightly unnecessary ways.

ads.ukclimbing.com
GridNorth - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to TRip:
> (In reply to tlm)
> [...]
>
> Because it is a the Climber's Club, for people who like climbing. It is not the Trad Climbers Club.

I'm sure that it says somewhere in the club paperwork that it exists to promote trad climbing and it's values so to all intents and purposes it IS a trad climbing club.
tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:
> the CC see it as a privilege to join them, and that they don't care overmuch about making your life a little more difficult in a few slightly unnecessary ways.

It isn't some sort of mega organisation - it's only volunteers, running a club. I think it's more a matter of people doing things on a voluntary basis aren't going to be quite as efficient as a profit making organisation. I don't know of any other climbing club that does this differently?

Dave Reeve - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Andy Cairns: With all due respect I would say we can only speak for ourselves when commenting about how hard or easy it is to join the club. For some it's been a minimal process, for others it's much harder.

I acknowledge that I live in the worst possible place in the UK for bumping into other climbers (Norfolk) but despite my best efforts I have not been able to find anyone within reasonable distance in the CC who I could meet up with. It's a bit of a catch 22, I personally know only 1 CC member to help me get into the club but once I'm in, I'm sure I'll get to know more...

As a suggestion, why not also give consideration to what someone has done in their climbing career outside of the club. In my own case I've been climbing 25 years, have several hundred climbs in my UKC logbook which represent a portion of what I've done and yet it seems to have no bearing on my CC membership application because it didn't involve anyone within the CC.
Double Knee Bar - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

> what puts you off?

for the last year I attended an aspirants meet, I've had a proposer, seconder and two signatures of support but haven't got the other two signatures.

To be honest the whole thing seems to be the climber trying to convince the club that they're good enough to join rather than the club showing why the climber should join. I've got a bit disillusioned with the whole thing to be honest.
TRip - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to TRip)
>
> [...]
>
> but why?
>
> There are plenty of people in their 30s and 40s joining every year. Does that seem too old to you?

No but i find it concerning that there are less than 16 people my age or under in the CC at present.

I'm 23 by the way.
AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

For the same reason other people join - to meet other keen climbers (I've not yet met a member who doesn't bolt clip every once In a while, and some of them are fairly handy at it too), or for the meets, or for the huts or whatever. Because the club consistently says it wants to remain relevant and attract younger blood and so on. Because the Downes hut would be a great base for Winter peak bouldering trips and is also convenient for raven tor and the rest of peak lime. Because Grange is like 5 minutes from the Bowderstone, Riasg has Glen Nevis on its doorstep, and the Welsh huts have great bouldering nearby and are easy to use as a base for the slate or the ormes. You might think of them as trad areas but that's because that's what you use them for. As for what they could add to the club - what do you add to it? Or me? We add our personalities, perhaps our time, or maybe we just fund it by using the huts. I don't see any of those as things a sport climber or boulderer wouldn't or couldn't do. They're a climber just like you, or me, or the old guy in the corner who actually only walks these days because his fingers ache, or whatever.

Your response, I hate to say it, comes across as very close minded, and in asking what they could possibly offer to the club as though you see them as inferior to you in some way.
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

By the way - sorry to harp on about this - I know all about the six referees and the whole juggernaut of application requirements, but still don't know what discount I could expect on guidebooks as a member. Could someone tell me, please? Thanks
AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

25% I think it is
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
> [...]
>
I don't know of any other climbing club that does this differently?

Maybe not. What I was saying is that in my opinion it should be done differently. I don't think anyone should ever be charged twice for something, however temporarily, regardless of the size of the organisation.

bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:

Thanks. Actually that's not bad! Perhaps I'll go and do a few sums ....
Olli-C - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:
I would like to join the club, I haven't got round to it yet. The application process seems a bit daunting but I dont see it as a bad thing. It is a club, the whole point of a club is that it has some exclusivity. If everyone could join easily its not really a club is it. If they want to be a trad climbing club thats fine.
Coel Hellier - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Reeve:

> As a suggestion, why not also give consideration to what someone has done in their climbing career outside of the club.

They do, they do!

> In my own case I've been climbing 25 years, have several hundred climbs in my UKC logbook which
> represent a portion of what I've done and yet it seems to have no bearing on my CC membership application
> because it didn't involve anyone within the CC.

No, all that track record would have a very major bearing on your application. It is exactly what they are looking for, and the form asks you to detail your background and experience.

The requirement to get signatures from people who have climbed with you is just to check that you're basically competent, and that what you're claiming on your application is not bullshit and/or fantasy. It is not the case that only climbing with CC members counts, but it is the case that the CC needs some way of checking you. Otherwise someone could just fabricate a track record for an application.
nniff - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

I joined last year, after many, many years of pro-crastination. I started again, because I felt it only fair on my original proposers and supporters. I knew a about 4 members who signed, and then stayed in a hut with my proposer. A couple of oters in the hut were happy to sign afer we'd all been out and about for a few days.

Hardly onerous; it just requires a bit more commitment than just sending your subs to somebody. I too am getting rather fed up with the transitory membership of local clubs.

Once done you have access to a brillaint pool of other climbers, huts and what have you.
Coel Hellier - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to goose299:

> Again, reading the website, it says you can only apply if you've been to an aspirants meet ...

No, you do not need to have gone on an aspirants' meet. That's a mechanism to help people wanting to join, it is not compulsory.

If you know people who are in the CC and you've climbed with them and they'll propose and second you then you don't need to go to an aspirants' meet (though doing so would be a good way of getting the other 4 signatures).
Grouch on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to 3leggeddog:
> (In reply to Frank Cannings)
>
> I joined the CC last year, I didn't find joining too onerous. The demographic of the CC is shifted towards the middle aged because of the entry criteria. You have to be aware that the club exists, aware of the benefits of joining, have sufficient experience and know sufficient members to join. Accruing all this takes time, I have no problem with that. Members tend to have served time in local clubs before joining one of the nationals. It is an earned priviledge to be a member of the CC, FRCC or similar and should remain so.
>
> The technical difficulties Alan mentioned above will be ironed out in time. Transition from paper to electronic application will always throw up temporary problems.
>
> Those who complain that it is to difficult to join just need to go climbing more, attend a few meets. This is no real hardship, unless the aspirant objects to going climbing or meeting new people. Of course it helps to have friends who are CC members, make some.
>
> Relaxing entry criteria could be very dangerous for the club. To give two rather extreme examples:
>
> Club assets noted by a bunch of asset strippers who join en masse and do what they do best.
>
> Every student climber in the country joins and the huts become party venues.
>
> Like I said, very extreme examples but the CC is not broken, why try to fix it.

Well put. Alot of members have been through the joining process,(not difficult if you put the effort in) prospective members must remember its a CLUB not an organisation.The idea of the club is that you should make yourself known to other members and join in, thus getting into the club.
oldbugger12 on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to pacman)
>
> These things about what proposers and seconders have to have done - where have you got these from? .

The 'tone' you respond to potential new members is exactly that which would put me off joining. In which of your many posts did you ever welcome the feedback provided? At what point did you enthusiastically encourage other posters to join? That one of those who has provided feedback feels pilloried (and in my view understandably so) is a true reflection of the nature of the clubs members. Justifying your clubs membership and joining rules seems paramount to you rather than actually trying to raise the clubs appeal to new members.
GrahamD - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Olli-C:

The process is daunting and I think that's deliberate. The club has a lot of assets which are very easy to access for members - the club (collectively) has to protect the assets and not just hand out keys to people who can just fill out an on line form...
GrahamD - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

> Yes, but I don't think it should be set up this way. A refund shouldn't come into it; the amount should be taken off the initial bill.


Why should it be the CC that administers that ? that only works if people always consider the CC a second club. Why shouldn't your other club offer discount because you are a CC member ?
3leggeddog on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Olli-C)
>
> The process is daunting and I think that's deliberate. The club has a lot of assets which are very easy to access for members - the club (collectively) has to protect the assets and not just hand out keys to people who can just fill out an on line form...

Agreed.

I see it like this:

I have done a little climbing and want to do more, join my local club.

I have climbed a lot, to the point that I am "a climber", join CC, FRCC, SMC.

The BMC offers the kind of all inclusive membership that some feel the CC should offer. Horses for courses.
AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to oldbugger12:

Read my posts more carefully. I've offered to meet up with 2 people on this thread already with a view to helping them start applying. I've also said I would welcome moves to make it more inclusive to sport/ boulder folk and to make it easier, more online and generally more streamlined to apply in the first place.

So basically, if you read my entire contribution to the thread before weighing in with shite next time that'd be just lovely.
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tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

> Maybe not. What I was saying is that in my opinion it should be done differently. I don't think anyone should ever be charged twice for something, however temporarily, regardless of the size of the organisation.

But isn't that done by the BMC, not the club?

tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:

> Your response, I hate to say it, comes across as very close minded, and in asking what they could possibly offer to the club as though you see them as inferior to you in some way.

That might be what you read, but it didn't even occur to me... I usually think of most climbers, no matter what their preferences, as being far superior to me!

AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

Yeah I think so - each club buys club membership for each member and so it's only at the bmc level they know you've overpaid.
AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

It was the "what could a sport climber possibly offer a club full of trad climbers" bit which read like that to me. The instant negativity when actually there's lots of benefits to the CC for a sport climber and a sport climber could offer the club at least as much as me, which is basically subs and hut fees right now.
The Ex-Engineer - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to goose299:
> You've totally misread what I've said here. According to the CC website, to apply for provisional membership
> 'Those applicants who have attended an Aspirant's Meet and have the support of two members who have climbed with them on that meet may apply for Provisional Membership which lasts for a period of one year'

Sorry, it is you who has misunderstood.

The requirement is that you have a proposer and seconder THAT YOU HAVE CLIMBED WITH as opposed to just met down the pub, or chatted to at the crag.

The Aspirant's meet is put in place to provide an opportunity for this to happen, but there is no reason to attend if you can go climbing with a couple of members on any other occasion, or have done in the past.

As has already been mentioned, loads of us had meet dozens of CC members over the years before we joined, in most cases completely oblivious to the fact that they were CC members. (Although currently I'm an ex-member which is something I need to get round to fixing.)

As an example, I just found out that one of the people I was working with this weekend was a CC member. The topic just hadn't come up in conversation before despite us previously working together for two weeks in October.

For someone who is an active climber, meeting six CC members is fairly easy, it is normally being aware that they are CC members that is the harder part.
tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to tlm)
>
> It was the "what could a sport climber possibly offer a club full of trad climbers" bit which read like that to me. The instant negativity when actually there's lots of benefits to the CC for a sport climber and a sport climber could offer the club at least as much as me, which is basically subs and hut fees right now.

You mean:
"Why would a sports climber, who didn't climb trad, want to join and what would they be adding to the club?"

Can you see any difference between what I wrote and what you read???!!!

I'm asking what the relationship between a sports climber and a trad climbing club would be - what each side would give and get from the arrangement.

You're reading me saying that sports climbers are incapable of contributing and are therefore inferior to me!

I was thinking that if I was good enough to sports climb, I would want a hut at Mallam, a hut at Portland and one at great orm with some honed young beautiful things. I wouldn't want to be in a hut in Llanberis with a load of fustys.
ksjs - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: Brilliant, very funny :)

In response to your question I'm not sure. I don't really know much about the CC other than I developed a perception of them as actively seeking to maintain an air of secrecy and mysticism around trad; some of my early trad was done in Tremadog and the CC guide of the time just seemed deliberately difficult to use. That really put me off the CC.

I can see the value of the huts for members (and I've had some really good times using / staying at the huts) and I can see that the CC could be an ideal path into trad for people who maybe want to climb (trad) but maybe don't have friends into trad / with racks.

I guess I also see the CC as a repository of climbing history. As a result they have a voice within the climbing community, albeit one that seems to have a tendency against what might be widely considered progressive (not that being progressive is always right or good).

I don't aspire to membership as I'm not really sure what the CC stands for or how it could benefit me. That's not to say I wouldn't seek to support them through guidebook purchases.

I'll have a read of the thread and see if I can find out a bit more...
AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

I'm afraid I can't actually, no. You obviously meant there to be a distinction but I don't really see it. You don't understand what a sport climber could offer the club (and what the club could offer a sport climber). You're phrasing it now as a neutral question but that's not necessarily how it reads. Hopefully though I've given you some suggestions.

I wouldn't mind a hut at Malham or on Portland, for sure, but for peak sport and bouldering, Welsh bouldering, slate sport, the Bowderstone and many others (including the orme, since I don't think there's a hut there that anyone owns?) there's a national club with a conveniently situated hut for each already!
Dan_S - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to Big Lee)
>
> I think the idea is that you want to be able to hook up with a random member in a hut and know they're a safe competent climber and that a grade threshold is one of the simplest ways of doing that.

I've been climbing for over 10 years, have lead a couple of HVS's but generally potter around S. Lead Scottish III comfortably and have done the odd IVs and tech 5s. Climbed WI 4, but prefer WI 3, and have done up to D+ routes in the alps but prefer to do PD/AD. I've taken 1 lead fall in that time.

By the standards of the CC, I'm inelligable to join as I don't climb to their standard, and to say it's so that they can check for competence is utter rubbish.

The club is elitist, from a joining point of view, and also having met members on a number of occasions, their general attitude towards other non-CC climbers stinks.
Mike Highbury - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to The Ex-Engineer: That there may be even more tiresome UK climbers who are not in the CC than those that are is not news to me but having it spelled out in such painstaking detail above was unnecessary.
Olli-C - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to GrahamD: Did you actually read my post? I wasn't complaining about the application process I was defending the exclusivity of the club. I wouldn't have the same appeal if it was open to every common gumby. I am on your team, look before you shoot.
tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:

> I'm afraid I can't actually, no. You obviously meant there to be a distinction but I don't really see it.

Ah well. That's how life sometimes goes.
Wiley Coyote - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar:
> (In reply to Frank Cannings)
>
>
> To be honest the whole thing seems to be the climber trying to convince the club that they're good enough to join rather than the club showing why the climber should join. I've got a bit disillusioned with the whole thing to be honest.


Yes that's exactly what it is and exactly what it should be. If you want to join any club you usually have to apply and convince the existing members that you should be allowed to join. What else do you seriously expect? A deputation from the CC to come round and grovel as they begged you to join?
Some people have said they do not want/need to join the CC because they already have plenty of partners and places to stay. Fine. Membership of a club is not for everyone. As I've said higher up the thread, I'm not very clubby myself.
However, as for it being a privilege I would say rather that membership confers certain privleges. I certainly feel privileged to be able to look at the weather forecast , chuck my gear in the car and set off knowing that I've got a bed for under a fiver literally from Cornwall to the Highlands and if the weather turns bad I'm in a warm dry hut rather than a soggy tent. I think that was more than worth the very minor inconvenience of getting six signatures, filling in a form and shelling out a few quid a year. Others may disagree and good luck to them.
As for CC. being only for trad the club has a meet each Easter (often with that other bunch of dinosaurs the FRCC) clipping bolts in France. the guy who proposed me is a demon boulderer, John Dunne, a man who transformed sport cllimbing at Malham and now owns three climbing walls is certainly on the committee and may even be a vice president.
I think a lot of myths are being perpetuated on this thread. The reality as I've found it over my fairly recent membership is that the club is friendly, active, has members involved at almost every level from punter to star performer in almost every discipline of climbing. If you want to join it ain't that hard. Make an effort and get stuck in. If you don't that's fine too but don't expect a club of well over 1000 members to change just to suit little old you cos it ain't going to happen and it is even perhaps fair to say that if you do expect that you would probably not fit in anyway because in the final analysis as a member of a club that is what you would be expected to do
Coel Hellier - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Dan_S:

> I've been climbing for over 10 years, have lead a couple of HVS's but generally potter around S.
> Lead Scottish III comfortably and have done the odd IVs and tech 5s. Climbed WI 4, but prefer
> WI 3, and have done up to D+ routes in the alps but prefer to do PD/AD. I've taken 1 lead fall in that time.
> By the standards of the CC, I'm inelligable to join as I don't climb to their standard ...

Hmm, by my reading that does qualify you. The range of experience there shows you to be a competent all-round climber (and better qualifies you than, say, someone who'd led E1 on rock but nothing else).

> ... and to say it's so that they can check for competence is utter rubbish.

Hmmm, I really don't think there is any intention to be elitist about grades. Plenty of people in the club climb no harder than your outline above. They do, though, want some general competence and experience, and a decent track record showing you've a long-term commitment to climbing.

> The club is elitist, from a joining point of view, and also having met members on a number of occasions,
> their general attitude towards other non-CC climbers stinks.

There could indeed be some obnoxious people among the several thousand members, but overall I'd say that most CC members are just normal climbers with normal-climber attitudes.
gribble - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

hello all. I joined the CC a few years back after going to an aspirants meet. I'd been pondering about joining for some time, and finally arranged to go on the meet. What struck me immediately was that I was surrounded by similar minded people who have a passion for climbing, and not about grades. Every expereince I've had has been friendly, I've been on a good pile of meets including maintenance meets and it's always been worthwhile. The family meet is great, and my kids love the club too. I have to admit to feeling a bit of a spanner asking people for signatures though. FOr me, hte membership oprocess is not all about what you may have climbed, it's about a shared paassion of climbing that itsn't just a fleeting one, safety and enjoyability as a climbing partner and suitability for joining a club (it's a club mentality thing) - i.e out stuff in , you get stuff out.

Elitist? Not a chance! I have never caught a sniff of elitism , though perhaps that's because I'm oblivious to that sort of thing. I don't generally do clubs, but I'm very pleased I've joined this one and had some great climbing and social experiences.
Christheclimber - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

Love the video. I joined the CC in 1981 so that I could use the huts and meet other climbers. Remember climbing was not as ubiquitous then.
TRip - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Dan_S:
> (In reply to AJM)
> [...]
>
> I've been climbing for over 10 years, have lead a couple of HVS's but generally potter around S. Lead Scottish III comfortably and have done the odd IVs and tech 5s. Climbed WI 4, but prefer WI 3, and have done up to D+ routes in the alps but prefer to do PD/AD. I've taken 1 lead fall in that time.
>
> By the standards of the CC, I'm inelligable to join as I don't climb to their standard, and to say it's so that they can check for competence is utter rubbish.

I always interpreted membership critera as anyone who regularly trad rock climbs, regardless of standard can join, as long as they are competent and passionate about climbing.
goose299 - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:
yeh my apologies. i misread it
AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Dan_S:

I've got to the "resigned sigh" stage now where I can't be bothered to argue. All I was doing was explaining the commonly cited logic. As my posts above show I'd be happy to see it changed to welcome a broader spectrum of climbers. You're shooting a messenger.

Also, as Coel says, your experience doesn't look too bad to me. At or just below the standards on every category, and they do say they don't expect all of them to be fulfilled whatsoever! If I saw someone with your experience but without the bile your post demonstrates I could have been persuaded to support you applying.
GrahamD - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Olli-C:

Maybe I replied to the wrong post ? sorry...

Anyway I wasn't trying to 'shoot' at anybody. Well possibly the one or two that seemed to think the CC should be going out of its way to accommodate them.
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GrahamD - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to TRip:

> I always interpreted membership critera as anyone who regularly trad rock climbs, regardless of standard can join, as long as they are competent and passionate about climbing.

In theory, at least, they should also be judged to offer something back to the club as a good club member. All clubs are run by (volunteer) members for members and its reasonable to expect all members to help with the running of the club.
Alun - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

Nice video :)

Several years ago, I went through a phase of wondering whether I should join the CC. I am fortunate enough to know enough members to get the required support, and knew I had the 'climbing chops', as it were. I also understood (and still understand) the need for such requirements for membership, although I can also see why some people see them as elitist.

Honestly, I think the short-shrift given to bouldering and sport-climbing (or the impression thereof) does the club no favours. The BMC has demonstrated how an organisation can 'move with the times' yet still show respect for the traditional climbing our country is famous for. The CC seems stuck in a by-gone age.

Either way like ksjs above, ultimately I didn't see how I would be better off in joining. So I didn't.

dickie01 - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:
Got all of my signitures and a proposer signiture just looking for that tricky second signiture.
Dave Reeve - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to GrahamD: I think it's fine that the club has a fairly rigorous application process but it seems to lack consistency in how it's being applied.

I guess it's the nature of all clubs that it wants PLU's (people like us) to join so attending a couple of meets is fine and it's a two way check - for me to check out existing club members and vice versa. However, I personally will feel uncomfortable asking people who've only just met me to a) climb with me and b) support my application.

This has been an interesting discussion for me and I hope for club members too.. If any of them care to support my application for membership I would be grateful...!
Robert Durran - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings

It is a private club, and, as such, is free to have any entry requirements (within the law of the land) that it likes. Some of these requirements might reflect a tendency towards a certain approach to climbing. If that doesn't suit someone, then they shouldn't join. It really is that simple and I can't see why anyone would have a problem with it.

What the entry requirements mean for me is that, if I stay in a hut, then the other occupants are very unlikely to be knob-heads who will make life unpleasant, they will be time-served climbers with whom it is possible to have a reasonably well informed conversation about climbing, and they will be enthusiastic about climbing. This, for me, generally makes for a pleasant and stimulating stay.
AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Reeve:

I'm terribly bad at committing to things far in advance before the weather forecast is reliable, and you live miles away from me, but if you can find a way to work around that then I could be persuaded...
Coel Hellier - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Alun:

> Honestly, I think the short-shrift given to bouldering and sport-climbing (or the impression
> thereof) does the club no favours.

They've nothing against sport climbers! What they don't want is people who would be lost and out of their depth if there weren't bolts to clip. Thus they would want anyone who is primarily a sport climber to also be at least competent at multi-pitch trad VS. Which is a standard that is surely pretty straightforward for any keen sports climber?
Mark Kemball - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Reeve (and Dickie01):
If you are ever in the North Cornwall area, get in touch, after a day helping me check Culm esoteria for the new guide, I'd be more than happy to support your applications.
Al Evans on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> In reply to Frank Cannings
>
> It is a private club, and, as such, is free to have any entry requirements (within the law of the land) that it likes. Some of these requirements might reflect a tendency towards a certain approach to climbing. If that doesn't suit someone, then they shouldn't join. It really is that simple and I can't see why anyone would have a problem with it.
>
> What the entry requirements mean for me is that, if I stay in a hut, then the other occupants are very unlikely to be knob-heads who will make life unpleasant, they will be time-served climbers with whom it is possible to have a reasonably well informed conversation about climbing, and they will be enthusiastic about climbing. This, for me, generally makes for a pleasant and stimulating stay.

And thats the point of the entry requirements.
AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

I guess the problem is that there's still essentially an assumption that the mark of a keen active committed climber who would add to the life of the club is that they should be able to climb trad or winter.

I know several people now who only sport climb who are keen climbers, interesting conversationalists and generally the kind of people who enthuse about climbing, know their climbing lore and all that, the sort of folk I could easily spend a pleasant evening in a hut with, but who would have to temporarily dig their wires out of a cupboard in order to join. And that just strikes me as a bit daft. I wouldn't go out climbing with someone from a hut without talking to them a bit first so I suppose the fact I couldn't just grab them and tmake them trad climbing wouldn't bother me - better an evening with good company and a day walking than an evening alone and a day walking after all...
tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:

> would have to temporarily dig their wires out of a cupboard in order to join.

If they owned wires, then presumably, they would have trad climbed at some point? So would be able to join?
AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:

From the sounds of things it rather depends whether they could find some CC members happy to propose them on the basis of sport climbing with them or who they trad climbed with in the past.

But I think my point was more that it's an extra hoop to jump through if you are an ex-trad climber or a non-trad climber who isn't a member when your could offer exactly the same to the club as a member who last trad climbed 20 years back but now just sport climbs. And that just seems illogical.
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to tlm)
>
> Yeah I think so - each club buys club membership for each member and so it's only at the bmc level they know you've overpaid.


It's very simple, and commonplace, to set things up so that the appropriate deduction is made at the point of initial billing. Countless companies and organisations do this sort of thing as a matter of course. The CC just need a box on the application where you enter your BMC number, and do a very minor bit of extra administration. It's very common, I expect, for applicants to be existing BMC members, so this temporary double charging must be equally common. Common enough to merit a better (and arguably more ethical) system by now, surely.

Anyway, I've got stuck on just one little issue. I have various other minor issues with the way the CC goes about things, some of which I've mentioned in this thread. My main point is that individually these little reservations aren't worth getting steamed up about, but that taken together they have a cumulative effect - in my perception they add up to an attitude which I don't like, and which puts me off joining.
Coel Hellier - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

> Countless companies and organisations do this sort of thing as a matter of course.

Ok, but realise that the CC person doing it is an unpaid volunteer doing it in his/her spare time, and that if they don't have the optimum system it likely isn't a deliberate attempt to inconvenience people, it's only that no-one who knows how to do it better has yet volunteered to implement it.
winhill - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Alun:
> (In reply to Frank Cannings)
>
> Honestly, I think the short-shrift given to bouldering and sport-climbing (or the impression thereof) does the club no favours. The BMC has demonstrated how an organisation can 'move with the times' yet still show respect for the traditional climbing our country is famous for. The CC seems stuck in a by-gone age.

The web site says that this weekend's meet is at Portland, so they might get a bit done.

But then they've also ironically booked into the Youth Hostel, so perhaps you can't tell too much from the website.

I guess they need a hut down there.

Howard J - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: I don't think the entry grades are elitist, by comparison with modern climbing standards, and in any event I don't have a problem with a private club deciding who it is willing to admit to membership. What is becoming apparent is that the entry process as set out on the website is misleading. It gives a false impression of the significance of the minimum grades, when what they are really looking for is people who are safe and competent and committed to climbing, and who will fit in. Which is no different from any other club, really.

What is also apparent is that by doing this the CC is allowing a false idea of the club itself to be disseminated.
tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Howard J:
> Which is no different from any other club, really.

I don't know - it's pretty different from many local clubs, who are happy to have anyone with a vague interest in mountaineering, no matter if it's just for a few weeks, or just that they like to go shopping for outdoor gear or to a nice tea shop or mountain biking. It's pretty good to go on a meet where everyone goes out and climbs and that is the general atmosphere of the club.
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
> [...]
>
> Ok, but realise that the CC person doing it is an unpaid volunteer doing it in his/her spare time,

Is that really the case? It's always seemed quite a large organisation to me, who'd be bound to have at least some paid staff.

and that if they don't have the optimum system it likely isn't a deliberate attempt to inconvenience people, it's only that no-one who knows how to do it better has yet volunteered to implement it.

I wouldn't suggest it's deliberate - since it involves the holding over of funds that might even be illegal. My impression was somewhere in between your scenarios - that they don't see anything wrong with the current system, or that they do but it's just not enough of a priority. All possibilities.
Coel Hellier - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

> It's always seemed quite a large organisation to me, who'd be bound to have at least some paid staff.

I'm pretty sure they have no paid staff (correct me if I'm wrong someone!), everything is done by volunteers (running the club, maintaining the huts, and writing and publishing guidebooks to the benefit of the climbing community).
tlm - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

> Is that really the case? It's always seemed quite a large organisation to me, who'd be bound to have at least some paid staff.

It's all voluntary activity by members.
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Robert Durran - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to Howard J)
> I don't know - it's pretty different from many local clubs.

Yes, very different. Many local clubs are open to anyone and everyone, with the result that they are indeed full of everyone and anyone (who may or may not have a passing interest in the outdoors)!
Coel Hellier - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Howard J:

> It gives a false impression of the significance of the minimum grades, when what they are really looking
> for is people who are safe and competent and committed to climbing, and who will fit in.

It's tricky, though. If they say "we want people who are safe and competent and committed to climbing and have a track record to that effect", then the immediate question is what that actually means, how much track record, what sort of experience, etc.

So, the club tries to flesh that out with guidelines "multi-pitch mountain VS, or maybe Scottish winter grade III/IV ... ", and then that gives the impression that these are rigid rules, when really they are means to an end, with the end being "safe and competent and committed to climbing and have a track record to that effect".

Afterall, multi-pitch VS is hardly an elite standard these days. These standards are just supposed to be things that any "safe and competent and committed" climber would readily attain.

By the way of example, in my entirely personal opinion, the experience outlined by Dan_S up-thread clearly qualifies him as "safe and competent and committed", indeed the range of experience is clearly a big plus, and the grades are in line with the indicative grades.
Double Knee Bar - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier: messaged you Coel. This thread has given me a kick up the backside to get my application sorted.
MG - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> By the way of example, in my entirely personal opinion, the experience outlined by Dan_S up-thread clearly qualifies him as "safe and competent and committed",

His "CV" is almost identical to mine when I joined - I don't really see why he thinks he wouldn't be suitable. I think some breadth is looked for, so a pure sports climber might raise eyebrows, as would someone who climbed mid-E grades but only in the Peak. And so on.
Coel Hellier - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Double Knee Bar:

Replied to your email, Cheers.
Howard J - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to tlm)
> [...]
>
> Yes, very different. Many local clubs are open to anyone and everyone, with the result that they are indeed full of everyone and anyone (who may or may not have a passing interest in the outdoors)!

That's not my experience. I belong to a club which has no joining criteria at all, and whilst its true that we do get people who join and are never seen again, the people who are active in the club do have a keen interest in the outdoors.

We want people whose 'face fits' and who are safe and enjoyable company in the outdoors. Whilst we don't demand that anyone climbs at a particular grade, we are concerned that they are generally safe and competent. Very rarely we get someone who is not, and if they won't listen to advice they get taken aside and told they are no longer welcome. Even more rarely we have had to do this with someone whose behaviour just doesn't fit in.

I appreciate that this is much easier for a small club where these things can be much more informal. Also, we don't have huts and don't have to worry about keeping casual users away from them. Nevertheless I suspect that the characteristics we are looking for in members is not so different from the CC.



Howard J - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to MG:
>
> His "CV" is almost identical to mine when I joined - I don't really see why he thinks he wouldn't be suitable.

He says why in his original post - despite his breadth of experience, it doesn't meet the stated grades.

I'm in a similar position - I've led VS 4c (sometimes without turning into a gibbering wreck) but don't consider myself confident at the grade and mostly "potter in the Severes". However I've 40 years' experience of trad climbing throughout the UK, winter climbing up to Scottish III, Alpine up to AD, and a trip to the Himalayas. I consider myself to be safe, experienced, and fairly competent (within my limits) and I think I can demonstrate commitment. On paper I don't meet the requirements for the CC, but I've also been told by a member that would have a good chance of being accepted, were I to apply.
Andy Cairns on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to winhill:
> (In reply to Alun)
> [...]
>
> The web site says that this weekend's meet is at Portland, so they might get a bit done.
>
> But then they've also ironically booked into the Youth Hostel
>
Yeah, we've got a special dispensation to be able to get old folk in!

The REALLY ironic thing is we'll be using the best guide to the bolt-clipping sport climbing there, published by the trad-obsessed, anti-sportclimbing Climbers' Club.

Oh yes, and its a joint meet with that other bunch of trad relics, the Pinnacle Club!

Cheers
Andy

(just deleted and re-posted this, as I got my apostrophe in the wrong place. That sort of thing can get you flung out!)




AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Howard J:

That's the bit I don't get though - it does! He says he has led HVS, IV, WI3 and D+ - that matches or exceeds the minimum guideline grades (emphasis on guideline) on 4 out of the 5 categories listed there as examples (not prescriptions) of the standards you could be looking at reaching in one of more (not all 5, as it says) categories. That's spread over 10 years of experience? If I saw those rules and had those grades I'd have to be thinking pretty negatively to think it wasn't worth applying...

If you read the words in the guidance of what it wants rather than focusing on the guideline grades it suggests could be used to judge it, it probably works better. Obviously different members have different views on how to interpret it, especially how guideline the grades are, but thats always got to be a personal call in a system that works on principles rather than prescriptions and relies on individual recommendations at its core. I take heart from the fact that several of the posters on this thread seem to have a reasonable agreement as to the type of climber they should be looking to support that fits broadly with mine.
MG - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Howard J:
> (In reply to MG)
> [...]
>
> He says why in his original post - despite his breadth of experience, it doesn't meet the stated grades.


See AJM above - it does! It seems to me some are *wanting* to see difficulties and barriers where there aren't any.
AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to MG:

If you read the entire post from the poster whose grades have been being discussed, he clearly has a shoulder-sized chip on his shoulder about the CC and it's members so inflating the criteria to allow himself to feel justifiably indignant about their elitism probably helped feed that.
TonyB - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

After reading this thread I would be keen to apply for membership. I just moved to the UK a few months ago after spending 8 years abroad and haven't yet established a network of local partners. I can't go to the next aspirants meet due to work commitments. If any CC members (or anyone else) would be keen to go climbing then please send a message. I live in the Nottingham/Loughborough area and like to climb in the Peak. I meet the basic CC requirements although I do more sport climbing and bouldering than trad and have been climbing for over ten years.
Jim Nevill - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:
Hi Frank, thanks for the video (it's getting a lot of outings recently!) I had quite forgotten the 'Cream Team' as ken used to call them (you?), and the pub meets in Archway, but anyway... I already belong to three clubs, and perhaps whilst only a youngster at 63, may not be excatly what you had in mind! Recently stayed for 2 nights at the Bob Downes hut, must try it on a warm day... Good luck with getting fresh blood, I hope that the usual UKC bickering hasn't put anyone off.
Howard J - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to MG)
>
> If you read the entire post from the poster whose grades have been being discussed, he clearly has a shoulder-sized chip on his shoulder about the CC and it's members so inflating the criteria to allow himself to feel justifiably indignant about their elitism probably helped feed that.

Whether or not that's the case, how is it "inflating the criteria" to point out that his grades don't meet the published minimum standards? The guidelines clearly say that a degree of technical competence is required and then goes on to set out examples of what this means. It also says that this is a guide, and that wider experience will be taken into account, but still gives the impression that this is subservient to the technical requirements.

I think his point, which I rather agree with, was that technical grades are no indication of a climber's competence or safety, or commitment to the sport. On the contrary, I can think of a number of climbers of my acquaintance who progressed rapidly through the grades and would have no difficulty meeting the criteria but who then lost interest, whereas most of those with decades of experience climb at around Severe with the occasional VS.
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to all:

The thread is very interesting; but perhaps inevitably it gets a bit bogged down in detail. The original post asked for feedback about how the CC is perceived, and whether those perceptions are positive or negative.

In my case I have often considered joining the CC, in fact as a CC guidebook writer it sometimes feels inappropriate not to be a member. I've done thousands of climbs, predominantly trad, over many years, many of which with CC members. Nevertheless, I haven't applied for membership yet, partly because of some practical reasons, but I think mostly because something keeps putting me off.

I think it's mostly to do with the "front end" - the website and application procedure, which are the public face of the club, and the point of contact with the public, contact with potential new members. The simple truth is that it really doesn't come over well to a lot of climbers. It's overblown, demanding in tone, somewhat patronising, and generally just not that inviting.

Which is fine if the CC doesn't want to broaden its appeal, get some younger members, etc. But if it does want those things I think it will have to rethink the manner of its presentation.

Just my opinion, for what its worth :)

Coel Hellier - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

> I think it's mostly to do with the "front end" - the website and application procedure, which are the public face of the club, ...

So why don't you submit an application and, on the bit that asks, "what can you offer the club?", answer "I could re-write the club's web-pages to make them more modern and welcoming!". :-)

AJM - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Howard J:

As I've pointed out though, they very clearly do! He seems to have read the grades, assumed they are gospel rather than guidelines, and somehow not noticed that he exceeds plenty of them? I don't know whether you saw my earlier post about an hour back which said exactly the same.

I agree entirely that grades are in themselves no measure of competence, and I've said so above. But as Coel has pointed out, how do you define competence? If you suggest guidelines in terms of suggested grades as they do you get some variation based on how members interpret the guidelines, but if you have none you are completely on a whim and get no consistency at all in terms of how competent the people you let in are because it's all about personal judgement then.

Personally I'd be in favour of the CC making it a lot easier for anyone keen and committed to climbing of whatever sort join and accept that if you let in boulderers, sport climbers and so on the gold standard of "competence" becomes hard to define. It would mean you can no longer rely on membership as a badge of competence in itself (or at least, trad competence) which they seem to want it to at the minute (see the "turn up in a hut and climb with someone" thing). But I wouldn't rely on that alone anyway, I doubt I'm the only one.

But things are as they are, and until that changes they need to find a universal measure of competence that gives vaguely consistent results when you give it as guidance to a membership of over a thousand with totally different backgrounds, climbing experiences and so on. If you have a idea for how to do this and get consistent results then please, in all seriousness, let me know because I don't think a grade based measure is terribly useful either but I haven't as yet come up with something better that will give results even as consistent as that does.

Fwiw I've never met a member I'd consider to be an incompetent trad climber (plenty who probably wouldn't meet those guidelines any more, but as you point out that doesn't make them incompetent), and obviously as people on the thread have said this means different people get given slightly different takes on the entry level criteria but based on the outcome it seems at least to get useful results in terms of the folk that get in appearing competent.
Coel Hellier - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Howard J:

> ... was that technical grades are no indication of a climber's competence or safety, or commitment to the sport.

It's hard to write guidelines in a way appropriate for every possible applicant. I would have thought that, for any keen, committed and competent trad climber in his 20s and 30s, with modern equipment and lots of indoor walls to train on, then anyone such would quickly proceed to VS and HVS.

I would also accept that for someone who in his youth didn't have sticky rubber, cams, indoor walls, etc, then maybe such a person would have been quite happy leading at Severe, and so might be happy "pottering around" at that grade in his 50s, while still being an experienced, keen, competent and safe climber. For that reason, your profile could perhaps be judged as ok, given your wide and long-standing experience (disclaimer, I've never been involved in these decisions, so this is only one person's opinion). Afterall, the indications of grades are a means to an end, not an end in themselves.

As another way of putting it, could you, accompanied by a partner similar to yourself and in good weather, set off and safely climb Main Wall (Cyrn Las), Great Slab (Cloggy), or Moss Gyll Grooves (Scafell), climbs like that? These are all about HS/MVS, yet show general climbing competence.
Howard J - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to Howard J)
>
> As I've pointed out though, they very clearly do!

Having done a few climbs at, or even above, the specified grades doesn't make you a confident climber at those grades, and the guidelines clearly require "confident leading". I think this is where some of the confusion arises, particularly perhaps amongst those who are borderline in grade terms and yet who clearly have the experience and commitment the club is looking for.

I entirely agree that it is difficult to come up with an alternative approach for judging competence and I have no helpful suggestions to offer. The point is, the impression of the club it gives to outsiders who have no other means of judging it.
3leggeddog on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

Christ there is a lot of crap being spouted on this thread, it is almost as if it is a committee meeting!

The long and short of it is, if you would like to join, put in a little effort, probably no more effort than you are expending slagging of the entry requirements on here.

The club is a private, members club with a clear admissions policy and membership criteria. If you want the benefits of membership put in the work.

As I said in an earlier post, If you object to going climbing and meeting new people then the CC probably isn't for you.
Howard J - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> As another way of putting it, could you, accompanied by a partner similar to yourself and in good weather, set off and safely climb Main Wall (Cyrn Las), Great Slab (Cloggy), or Moss Gyll Grooves (Scafell), climbs like that? These are all about HS/MVS, yet show general climbing competence.

I'd be happy to have a go at them (and I've done Main Wall twice), however I'd say they fall below the specified grade of "confidently leading VS".

I'm coming to the conclusion that the broad approach of the guidelines is probably the best (or least bad) method of vetting candidates, but they way they are worded could be improved. Whether or not it is the intention, it is the minimum grades which come across as the most important consideration.

bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
> [...]
>
> So why don't you submit an application and, on the bit that asks, "what can you offer the club?", answer "I could re-write the club's web-pages to make them more modern and welcoming!". :-)

Good idea! I might well offer just that if I had any skill in that area.
(I do put a lot of hours into CC guidebooks, BTW - not a completely sit back and complain type).
There's a few other things I could offer a club like the CC, too.
ERU - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to 3leggeddog:
> (In reply to Frank Cannings)
>
> Christ there is a lot of crap being spouted on this thread, it is almost as if it is a committee meeting!
>
> The long and short of it is, if you would like to join, put in a little effort, probably no more effort than you are expending slagging of the entry requirements on here.
>
> The club is a private, members club with a clear admissions policy and membership criteria. If you want the benefits of membership put in the work.
>
> As I said in an earlier post, If you object to going climbing and meeting new people then the CC probably isn't for you.

An excellent answer that I fully support!
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to 3leggeddog:
> (In reply to Frank Cannings)
>
> As I said in an earlier post, If you object to going climbing and meeting new people then the CC probably isn't for you.


That may be a true statement, but it's inapplicable to any of the posts on this thread, as far as I can tell - I don't recall anyone saying that they're not into climbing and meeting new people in general. Some people clearly object to the way those things are set up in the context of the CC membership process, which is quite a different thing.


Dave Reeve - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to ERU: Maybe it's timely to point out that the club or a representative of the club started off this thread in the first place.

It does represent people's opinions and experiences whether you agree with it or not.

Personally, I've found some of the comments useful.
wurzelinzummerset on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb: It seems a strange organisation that has you as an author of its guidebooks yet hasn't actually given, or at least offered, you membership.
Mark Kemball - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: Given that, as far as I can see, Frank has not yet replied to this very lengthy thread he started, it qualifies as a superb troll, I'm sure it's not, what do you think of what everyone has said Frank?
obi-wan nick b - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: It is interesting to note a couple of points (having had a look at the website)
Firstly around 1/4 of the published meets are at bouldering, sport climbing or top roping venues. (Is that heresy?!)
Secondly the second aspirants meet of the year is in the Peak which indicates that aspirants may not in practice be checked out against the stated criteria - adventurous high mountain, tidal and multi-pitch crags are a little thin on the ground in the area.
So perhaps it's indeed partly perception that needs altering, that and writing down what you actually assess for admission more clearly.
Just an outsider looking in...
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to wurzelinzummerset:
> (In reply to bpmclimb) It seems a strange organisation that has you as an author of its guidebooks yet hasn't actually given, or at least offered, you membership.

Or even suggested I apply, actually :)

I think the CC must see the production of guidebooks and the running of the club as two very separate things. I don't know what proportion of CC authors are members, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who isn't.
Coel Hellier - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

> I think the CC must see the production of guidebooks and the running of the club as two very separate things.

Or rather, they're grateful for any help they can get, member or non-member. I'm sure they'd review a membership application from a guidebook stalwart very sympathetically!
seankenny - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

Quick plea here - I'm one signature short of my six... are there any CC members in London/SE who could please help me out? Obviously happy to meet up, go climbing together, etc.
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to ERU:
> (In reply to 3leggeddog)
> [...]
>
> An excellent answer that I fully support!

Really? That post was rude and aggressive - but your profile says you tend to like people who show respect.
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
> [...]
>
> Or rather, they're grateful for any help they can get, member or non-member. I'm sure they'd review a membership application from a guidebook stalwart very sympathetically!

Yes, I shouldn't think I'd have any trouble getting in - unless my posts on this thread count against me :)
Wiley Coyote - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:
> (In reply to ERU)
> [...]
>
> Really? That post was rude and aggressive

Or maybe merely exasperated and not entirely without justification? :-)
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to seankenny:
> (In reply to Frank Cannings)
>
> Quick plea here - I'm one signature short of my six... are there any CC members in London/SE who could please help me out? Obviously happy to meet up, go climbing together, etc.

Do this climber have to be in London? Wouldn't you have to travel to a suitable crag anyway?
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
> [...]
>
> Or maybe merely exasperated and not entirely without justification? :-)

No. There's a difference. Feeling exasperated may be justified but resorting to swearing and insults isn't.
jon on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
> Feeling exasperated may be justified but resorting to swearing and insults isn't.

I think I must have missed the swearing?
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Coel Hellier:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
> [...]
>
> Or rather, they're grateful for any help they can get, member or non-member. I'm sure they'd review a membership application from a guidebook stalwart very sympathetically!

To be brutally honest, if that were the best they could come up with as an expression of gratitude, I'd rather they didn't bother.
nastyned - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: Through reciprocal rights I already have a CC hut key so I see no reason to join the club. I would be keen to join the FRCC but that looks like a really daunting process...
bpmclimb - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
> [...]
>
> I think I must have missed the swearing?

Oops! Did I make it up? ....... no, there it is! Admittedly very mild though.
To all: sorry to have so monopolized the discussion for the last while. I'll leave you in peace. Nice talking to you all :)
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Grouch on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to nastyned:

Hi ned, no need to bring that into the discussion, you can only get one of those if your a male.
Frank Cannings on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Mark Kemball:
> .... Frank has not yet replied to this very lengthy thread he started, it qualifies as a superb troll, I'm sure it's not, what do you think of what everyone has said Frank?

I'm watching and assimilating.. It's now just under 48 hours since I started this thread yet there have been 5700 views and 220 replies so that clearly shows the depth of interest in the Climbers' Club.

I've found the discussion to be generally quite informative, useful and for the most part free of petty bickering. There's been a lot mentioned about the CC entry process but really very little that I can clearly indentify about interest or otherwise from younger age group climbers especially 18 to 25 years.

Today I joined a dozen or so CC members and many current & former Royal Marines at commando mountaineer Mike Banks funeral in Bristol so I haven't yet caught up with the later postings. Mike's departure was accompanied by a Marine guard of honour and a lone bugler played "The Last Post" and "Reveille.
Marcus - on 04 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: I wanted to be a member of the CC back in the 70s but being young or not forward enough then, was put off by the process of having to find and ask persons other than the proposer and seconder to support me. These days, at least down south, many people find their climbing companions at their local wall and from my experience, are angled very much towards bouldering and sports climbing and probably don't think the CC has much relevance to them. Amusingly, now living near Dorchester, I probably need to join the CC to find people to climb with who are not at least 30 years younger than me - I'm 60. However, I now "get" bouldering and really enjoy sports climbing, so maybe I've missed the boat again!
Misha - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:
Some points from someone who has been a CC member for a couple of years:

It seems the CC is misunderstood by some people and could do with some PR (articles here on UKC and in the climbing mags) to break down the misconceptions, particularly the idea that it's elitist.

Expecting prospective members to have solid experience at VS and/or at an equivalent winter/Alpine level is not elitist, it's reasonable. A committed and experienced climber would be climbing at that level. I'm sure if someone doesn't but can demonstrate a good breadth of experience, they'd still have a good chance of getting in.

The reason for the entry requirements are not elitism but the fact that if people turn up at a meet without a partner they can find someone to climb with without having to worry about their basic competence at belaying etc. Also, it's a club for people who are passionate about climbing so it seems reasonable to expect someone who wants to join to be an experienced climber. If you're not that interested in climbing or don't go climbing that often, it isn't really the club for you!

Britain has a great tradition of trad climbing and whilst sport and winter are good fun and might be the latest trend, to my mind it's entirely natural for a national club with great heritage blah blah to promote trad values and expect prospective members to share in those values.

The CC does need to attract more members in their 20s and 30s given the skew towards older members, as well as and more women and ethnic minorities (I don't think I've ever seen a non white person in a CC hut, though this is partly a reflection of climbing as a whole being a very white activity).

There are a lot of people out there (if my local club and others I know are anything to go by) who would meet the entry criteria but aren't really interested in joining as there would be limited tangible benefits for them - they already have people to climb with and have no problems finding somewhere to stay for climbing trips. That isn't a issue, it's just a fact of life. The CC isn't the be all and end all.
Wiley Coyote - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Misha:
> (In reply to Frank Cannings)
> >
> The CC does need to attract more members in their 20s and 30s given the skew towards older members, as well as and more women and ethnic minorities.

Why? I agree all three of those categories should be and are welcome if they meet the membership criteria but why does any club 'need to attract' any particular sub-group? As an aside I would point out that until Saturday's AGM the CC had a woman president who had been in office for three years.
John Willson - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb

> Or even suggested I apply, actually :)
>
> I think the CC must see the production of guidebooks and the running of the club as two very separate things. I don't know what proportion of CC authors are members, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who isn't.

Brian, at the first Symonds Yat team meeting you attended I encouraged all the team members to consider joining the club if they were interested, and I outlined the procedure and the way in which the PSC could facilitate the process. Four team members were already CC members and would have happily spent the necessary time with you and proposed or seconded an application. A fifth took up my offer of support (though he already had quite a lot) and was duly elected a member during the production of the guide.

The offer, of course, remains on the table.

Chris Sansum - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to seankenny:

Sean: I'd be happy to sign your form. And we've already climbed together, so that makes it a bit easier. I'm still based in Reading.
GrahamD - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to obi-wan nick b:

> Secondly the second aspirants meet of the year is in the Peak which indicates that aspirants may not in practice be checked out against the stated criteria - adventurous high mountain, tidal and multi-pitch crags are a little thin on the ground in the area.

I don't see a problem with the bar apparently being set higher for people applying by post (even if nominated by members) than for people being motivated to turn up at an aspirants meet where people can judge face to face what sort a climber the applicant is.
Mark Kemball - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to John Willson:
> In reply to bpmclimb
>
> [...]
>
> Brian, at the first Symonds Yat team meeting you attended I encouraged all the team members to consider joining the club ..

John outlined the same arrangement at Saturday's meeting of the North Devon and Cornwall Guide Book Team. So far 3 team members have got back to me expressing an interest in joining - new blood (and some of it young) just what the club needs!
Coel Hellier - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to obi-wan nick b:

> Secondly the second aspirants meet of the year is in the Peak which indicates that aspirants may
> not in practice be checked out against the stated criteria - adventurous high mountain, tidal and
> multi-pitch crags are a little thin on the ground in the area.

Although under current rules attending the aspirants meet alone would not get you full membership, it gets you provisional membership, so it is not inconsistent.
bpmclimb - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to John Willson:
> In reply to bpmclimb
>
> [...]
>
> Brian, at the first Symonds Yat team meeting you attended I encouraged all the team members to consider joining the club if they were interested, and I outlined the procedure and the way in which the PSC could facilitate the process.
> The offer, of course, remains on the table.

Ah ok, I have no memory of that, so misrepresented you. Sorry about that.
The Ivanator - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: This thread has made for interesting reading, one of the better recent climbing related discussions here. Not sure that I feel any likelier to pursue membership as a result of it though.
The defensive and at times rather patronising tone of a few of the posters who are clearly in the CC reminds me of some encounters I've had with members at Crags, and from some other posts it appears this is not an entirely unique occurence.
I know and have climbed with several CC members and some are regular partners of mine whose company I really enjoy, so I do have an axe to grind or any prejudice against the club.
I do know that I trust my own judgement of partners above any set of club criteria, and I prefer climbing with people with whom I have more in common than just an interest in climbing. I'm certain there are plenty of club members who I would hit it off with, but I fear I would have put up with a few objectionable bores at meets and life's too short for that.
I'm realising that perhaps it is because I am too elitist and not sociably flexible enough that I feel no compulsion to become a member! ;-)
Chris Sansum - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

I joined the CC about 3 years ago. I was a committed but by no means an elite climber. My annual holiday was always to an overseas climbing destination, and I was going out most weekends to the crags.

One of the major attractions of joing the CC was having access to an unparalleled network of huts. Some of the huts are in absolutely perfect locations - like the Count House, which is the nearest building to Bosigran, and Ynys Etws which is the final building in the Llanberis Pass before you reach Pen y Pass - an easy walk from some of the best climbing in the UK. And when I joined members only paid £4 a night (there has been a shocking price rise to £4.50 since then)! The club is continually improving the huts.

The club also had a regular programme of meets which took place in much more interesting locations than your average mountaineering club, and more regularly.

Another thing which sold it to me was the climbing entry requirements. I had been a member of my local club for some time and was getting a bit cheesed off with the fact that although it called itself a mountaineering club, hardly anyone seemed to climb! You would go on a trip, and all people wanted to do was go walking or bike riding. Not a major deal, but it seemed like it had lost its way a bit when it came to the climbing. With the Climber's Club, everyone who joins is a dedicated climber, and so the focus doesn't move away from climbing.

One of the bonuses of being a member is that you get some fantastic publications. The journals and newsletters are at least as good and interesting as mainstream climbing magazines and books.

There are also perks to membership that you don't expect. Soon after joining I had the privilege of attending a CC event celebrating the centenary of the publication of the first climbing guidebook 'Lliwedd'. This included a dinner, lots of top notch speakers, including Chris Bonington, Alex Huber, Doug Scott, James Pearson, etc etc. All members were presented with a large print of a pen & ink drawing of Lliwedd by leading crag artist Phil Gibson. I have this proudly displayed on my living room wall. The centenary journal included a full reprint of the first guidebook. There have been a number of big events since then too.

I joined by attending an aspirant's meet. The club could not have made it easier. At the meet you climbed with 1 person on the Saturday and another on the Sunday. Saturday night the club cooked up a big meal which everyone shared, and provided free drink. I spent the evening chatting to club members, and obtained all of the signatures I required. It could not have been made easier! I guess they can also get an idea during that time whether you are a nutter ;-)

Anyway, I am very glad I made the effort to join. The only thing which puts me off taking a more active role in the club is my location (Reading), as it costs quite a lot to travel to most of the events. But that is just down to where I choose to live and petrol prices.

I would recommend joining to anyone who is an active climber.
SGD - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Chris Sansum: Joining the CC has been something I've thought about on a few occassions over the last few years mainly because a couple of mates of mine are members and they suggested it. From reading your response to this thread and some of the benefits you have highlighted, I think I will finally start the application process.

Thank you for taking the time to post a well structured response.
The Ivanator - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:
so I do have an axe to grind or any prejudice against the club.

"do not"! Freudian slip???

P.S. Thanks Chris for your thoughtful post above, almost convinced me to reconsider. :-)
bpmclimb - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Chris Sansum:

Hi Chris. Yes, agree with the others - really good and helpful post.
Al Evans on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to SGD: Slightly off point , but relevant in that the CC is looking for young activists. When the 1977 Gogarth guide was being mooted at committee level I was outraged that it was decided to give the guidewriters task to Alec Sharp a non member. I'd probably take a different view these days, but then I thought it was important that CC guides should be written by CC members.
I thought we should offer him the guide if he was willing to become a member, he was undoubtably the premier Gogarth activist at the time. Alec was bloody minded and won the battle and produced a fine guide without being a member. It was then that I supported the call for younger blood in the CC. Actually I myself worked with Geoff Milburn on the update to his guide (I suppose it's called getting off your arse) but in these days of 'supergrades' I doubt that a single person could produce a guide whatever the age demographic of the club is, but I still think it is important to have some membership input into the guides and for that we need the younger generation of climbers involved.
GrahamD - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to The Ivanator:

> Not sure that I feel any likelier to pursue membership as a result of it though.
> The defensive and at times rather patronising tone of a few of the posters who are clearly in the CC reminds me of some encounters I've had with members at Crags, and from some other posts it appears this is not an entirely unique occurence.

Thats all fine, clubs aren't for everyone and if you don't think that there is enough common ground between you and the existing membership then no harm done. What I find interesting is that some posters seem to feel that somehow the CC owe it to them to bend over backwards to accomodate them. Its a private club run by its members entirely for its members which doesn't have to pander to anyone.

Anyone wanting a club run on an entirely different set of rules is, of course, perfectly entitled to start one.
obi-wan nick b - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to GrahamD: Well the OP did ask for views both on what attracts people and what puts them off.
Doghouse - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

and as a casual and impartial observer on this thread I do have to agree with the comment around the patronising tone of some of the CC member's replies.
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Twisty - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

I'm currently trying to join (I'm 24), finding it difficult to get the second of the two signatures - I have a proposer.

It's hard when there are only two aspirants meets per year, however I'm not concerned by the faff of getting in for the following reasons.

-You only have to do it once, you can then be a member for the rest of you life.

-I'm joining because I want to find more partners who are genuinely keen and competant. I like the idea of turning up at a hut and climbing with others, knowing full well that they are at a level that permits a good day out, climbing at an enjoyable (and not unachievable) level, safely.

As the above comment, if you are a member around the midlands area who'd be willing to get out enough to second my application I'd be glad to here from you.
Mike Highbury - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Twisty: If your proposer was any kind of mate, then I'm sure that they would be helpful here.

If not, I can't say that I would want to be in any club whose members were such utter tossers.
oldbugger12 on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM:
I think it's you that should read your entire thread and make a judgement as to how you portray yourself.
good luck with attracting new younger members
bpmclimb - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to The Ivanator)
>
> [...]
>
> Its a private club run by its members entirely for its members which doesn't have to pander to anyone.
>
Excellent! That would make a great slogan: "CC - the club that doesn't have to pander to anyone". That should really get the membership applications rolling in :)

As a matter of interest - do the CC actually want changes in its membership? The OP gave some statistics showing that elite and young climbers are increasingly less represented; I'm guessing that he saw these as undesirable trends (although he didn't specifically say that). Does the CC have a policy on this issue? Perhaps it's just a disparate set of views from individual members.
AJM - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to oldbugger12:

You again eh? I love your anonymous lack of a useful contribution.

Looking at your original post:

> The 'tone' you respond to potential new members is exactly that which would put me off joining. In which of your many posts did you ever welcome the feedback provided?

I've invited at least one person to suggest a way of improving the criteria. They've since said as far as I remember that they think it's possibly the least bad way of achieving their desired outcome.

> At what point did you enthusiastically encourage other posters to join?

I think I'm now up to 4 people I've spoken to on or off the forum as a result of this thread to offer them help if they want to apply.

> That one of those who has provided feedback feels pilloried (and in my view understandably so) is a true reflection of the nature of the clubs members.

that person is one of the ones of gladly said I'd help if the practicalities can be ironed out, and he has also said he hasn't taken offence from what I've said.

Plus, generalizing about a thousand or more people from my one example is just pointless stereotyping.

> Justifying your clubs membership and joining rules seems paramount to you rather than actually trying to raise the clubs appeal to new members.

I've already said I think in some ways I thi k they are daft and that I would support changing them. So I guess that one isn't valid either is it...

So as I said previously, go back, re-read, and try and spout less shite in future.
alasdair19 on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings: Couldn' face the whole thread so sorry for re-statements

I'm a 31 yo old member of AC, SMC, and the splendidly titled London Junior mountaineering club of scotland.

I like clubs, we had the only family membership of the edinburgh JMCS, I was very active with the GUMclub at uni and my father and i joined the SMC together perhaps a first...

Clubs are not necessary like they were. they used to give access to things people couldn't easily afford particularly when young. decent mountain accomdation and transport to the hills only the two more obvious ones.

Climbers are now massively richer in every way but not even slighlty more generous. frankly we're tight fisted and short sighted. its seems luck and the product of some peoples incredibly hard unpaid work that england didn't get its access shafted like the mountain bikers and canoeists. (Actually i think we need to thank the Ramblers, red sock brigade i salute you!!)

Before the web and clever even smart telephones clubs were also vital networking and planning tools. in 1999 and 2001 and 2002 i needed to be in the pub on a tuesday to get myself a lift north. apparently the cream of uk alpinism used to meet in some grotty north london establishment to plan there raids...

no longer necessary.

The AC and the SMC aren't broke financially they still attract the cream of uk alpinism and scottish climbing mostly i believe by offering lots of money for expeds in the AC's case and easy free access to the best huts in scotland.
NOt sure what the CC needs to do, if it's really broke it ne eds to fill more bed nights in the huts. If it needs more members give them something no one else can 2 free guides when you join?

best of luck!
Coel Hellier - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

> As a matter of interest - do the CC actually want changes in its membership?

The membership is healthy and has been gradually increasing, and healthy numbers join each year. So there is no great problem needing to be fixed. Of course the existing members get a year older each year, so for balance it is good if a steady number of younger people join. Policy on membership is periodically discussed by the committee. I think the general feeling within the club is that there is nothing greatly wrong with current policy, but that it should be kept under review and tweaked as appropriate.
AJM - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

There are better slogans going!

In terms of policy they did a survey not long ago about it so maybe we will find out soon. I suspect there will be strands who want more members, to try and spread the costs more widely, and some who want fewer in order to limit peak-time overcrowding at huts like Ynws in the summer and riasg in the Winter.
Bob Moulton - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Al Evans: Still slightly off the point, but I'm pretty sure that Alec Sharp did join the CC when his Cloggy guide (described by Pete Livesey in his review for Mountain as 'slim, sexy and erotic'!)was published - I proposed him. He then wrote the Gogarth guide. Some time later he went to the States, and then he let his membership lapse. In fact we signed Geoff Milburn up to write the Llanberis guide when he was a non-member and he joined the CC in the same year as his first Llanberis guide was published, 1978. The only author of a CC guide that I edited who a far as I can remember didn't join the CC was Leigh McGinley (Tremadog 1983).

The club's policy of getting the best person we could find, whether they were a member of not, to write it's guidebooks is in my view an important reason for the number and quality of the guidebooks that the CC has published since the mid-70s, and still is. It has also meant that we have recruited quite a few new members, young and no-so-young. It's not just guidebook authors who have joined the CC this way, but other people who have been involved in some way. For example a number of Southern Sandstone climbers joined the club after the 1995 Southern Sandstone guide was published, as well as the author.
GrahamD - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

> Excellent! That would make a great slogan: "CC - the club that doesn't have to pander to anyone".

Name me any other private club that feels it needs to pander to non members ?
bpmclimb - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
> [...]
>
> Name me any other private club that feels it needs to pander to non members ?

Aha! I smell a trap! I start trying to think of some, then realise that I've implicitly agreed with your use of the word "pander". My point was that I think your use of the word is inappropriate in the context of this thread, which after all started with the OP actively inviting criticism from non-members. Hence my facetious (and a bit humorous, I hope) post.

Dave Garnett - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to bpmclimb)
>
> [...]
>
> Name me any other private club that feels it needs to pander to non members ?


The WWF?
bullybones - on 05 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:
The World Wrestling Foundation panders to no-one.
GrahamD - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

I guess its in the nature of these debates that replies which are really general observations get tagged as a reply to one specific poster...

And point taken
bullybones - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:
Joining is undoubtedly a little bit of a challenge, especially if you don't at first know (or don't know whether you know) any members. I joined 5 years ago; I started by going on an aspirants' meet. By the time I had my 6 signatures, I'd been on a couple of meets, met a lot of good people, and had some great days out. It took about 6 months.

Almost by definition the keenest members are the ones you meet most, both at meets and around and about (there are also many hundreds who you will never meet, but that matters not).

The trad emphasis doesn't mean all the members are rabid Ken types - I've met CC members in Llanberis who were spending the whole weekend bouldering, and I've been sport climbing on CC meets. This should come as no surprise: people do what they'll enjoy most on a given day.

There's definitely a history thing going on, but I like that, and it's what you'd expect given the massive definitive guidebook coverage that is visible part of the CC - the last few guides are hugely improved and there are apps to come, I'm told.
Al Evans on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Bob Moulton: Bob, I stand (a bit) corrected, and I take your point on the best person to write the guide being the right person. BUT I still like CC gudewriters to be CC members.
Dave Garnett - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to bullybones:

There you go, I do know more CC members than I realise!
bullybones - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Garnett:
We are everywhere...
Simon Panton - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Al Evans:
> (In reply to Bob Moulton) Bob, I stand (a bit) corrected, and I take your point on the best person to write the guide being the right person. BUT I still like CC gudewriters to be CC members.

Bob is right, it doesn't really matter if someone is a member - the main thing is to get the right person/people for the job in hand.

I've worked on several CC guides over the years (Lleyn, Llanberis, Ogwen, Tremadog) but I'm not a member. Despite the significant voluntary contributions I have made I know it would make certain individuals in the hierarchy spit feathers if I applied but I have also had very good relations with the Publications Sub Committee and the option to join has been made on various occasions.

I fully understand why people would want to join but I don't think there is much point for someone in my position.

I wouldn't mind access to Ynys Ettws so I could get parked in the Pass on a summer weekend morning (spaces normally appear in the laybys by 3 in the afternoon) but I don't really need the other huts (if I go winter climbing in Scotland there are plenty of places to stay) and around the Llanberis area there is an abundance of keen climbers so finding partners is easy.

Does it matter if the CC membership gets progressively older? Does it matter that there is an emphasis on trad climbing? I guess it depends what the members want, but the two things are almost certainly connected.


Misha - on 06 Mar 2013
In reply to Simon Panton:
I think it matters that the membership is getting older because over time that will lead to a less active membership base. Perception is also important - if the CC is seen as an old men's club (and the vast majority of the members are men), that is exactly what it will become as others will be put off joining. Of course there are plenty of active climbers in their 60s and probably all the more so in the CC but in the medium to long term every club needs new, younger member to stay vibrant and, dare I say, relevant. Having said that, I think the focus on trad is entirely appropriate as that is the British way - but the point is that the CC isn't all about trad and there are certainly plenty of bolt clipping trips, as well as winter and Alpine.
ads.ukclimbing.com
boje on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:
Hello Frank,
Just noticed the post. I joined the CC in about 1970 for one reason only, which was to be able to stay in the Fell and Rock huts in the Lakes - rather selfish I suppose.
My regular climbing partner at that time was Mo Anthoine and, as our home ground was North Wales, we did not need a place to stay. However, we did like to climb in the Lakes and needed some accommodation there.
Mo had applied for membership but was rejected as undesirable after being blackballed by several prominent members. If we were going to the Lakes it was up to me. I don't remember any problems in joining as by this time I had been climbing for fourteen years and knew many committee members.
Ironically Frank, I did attend one CC meet in Wasdale in about 1972 and we are both on Ken's photo which was published in the CC Journal.

Bob Moulton - on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to boje: re 'blackballing': when I joined the CC committee in the early 90s, and following a delay in the election of a candidate, who I had seconded, due to an adverse letter from a member, we had a debate on the subject. I thought that we reached agreement that 'blackballing' was no longer CC policy. I hope this wasn't just semantics to humour me, and that it is still the case.
999thAndy on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to boje:

Why didn't you join the FRCC, if you wanted to use their huts? (just curious)
John Willson - on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to Bob Moulton: That was me, I take it? Well, I wasn't worried. It saved me a couple of years' subs but I still had all the perks as I was then editing several guides!
boje on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to 999thAndy:
I did not think I would be eligible as I had done few climbs in the Lakes and only knew a handful of members.
bpmclimb - on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to CC members:

Do the CC ever hold weekday meets, or is there insufficient demand? Have there ever been requests for some? There must be a fair number of members who (like me) don't have a Mon-Fri work pattern, or are retired.

Also, as a matter of interest, what is the percentage of female members? The OP gave some age-related stats, but none based on gender.


Misha - on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to 999thAndy:
Also from what I've heard it's a lot harder to get into the FRCC. Have to go on meets and hut maintenance weekends and then be a provisional member.
Howard J - on 07 Mar 2013
In reply to Misha: You don't have to go on meets to join FRCC - if you can get 4 members to vouch for you, you can join straight away. The meets are just an opportunity to meet members and find someone to propose and second you. However you then have to do 3 years as an Associate Member to demonstrate your commitment to the club.

Unlike the CC, they don't specify a minimum standard. What they ask is that rock climbers are able and self-reliant, and safe and competent leaders (which seems to be what the CC is also aiming for through its own process). The longer joining process presumably helps the club to evaluate this.

duncan b - on 08 Mar 2013
In reply to Frank Cannings:

I've been climbing for 14 years and feel I've visited a reasonable number of the classic trad crags of England and Wales in the process. I'm not sure if this makes me the kind of person who should be interested in the climbers club but the truth is I'm totally indifferent to the CC. Despite climbing with numerous people of a similar age to me over the years, to by knowledge, none of them are members or aspire to be so. TBH, the club, other than the excellent guide books which I have bought, just seems irrelevant to me and my peers. Of cause it's always great to meet knew people to climb with, but I do this anyway at the crag and through friends. Plus, I don't have to go through a questionable vetting process to do so.
999thAndy on 08 Mar 2013
In reply to Misha: My Mrs is a member, and i can confirm the maintenance meets aren't obligatory. To get from associate to full member you do (or did) have to make an application to the committee, outlining your mountaineering in your time as associate.
Al Evans on 08 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:
> (In reply to CC members)
>
> Do the CC ever hold weekday meets, or is there insufficient demand?

Below is a list of meets for this year, as you can see there are several mid-week evening meets.

http://www.climbers-club.co.uk/meet-booking/index.php
tlm - on 08 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:
> (In reply to CC members)
>
> Do the CC ever hold weekday meets, or is there insufficient demand? Have there ever been requests for some? There must be a fair number of members who (like me) don't have a Mon-Fri work pattern, or are retired.
>
> Also, as a matter of interest, what is the percentage of female members? The OP gave some age-related stats, but none based on gender.

Also - meets are organised by members, so people organise the types of things that they would like to see. You would be able to organise mid-week meets if that was the sort of thing you fancied.

bpmclimb - on 08 Mar 2013
In reply to Al Evans and tlm:

Thanks for the feedback.
Misha - on 08 Mar 2013
In reply to Howard J and 999thAndy:
Thanks for clarifying. I suspect the person I've had the feedback from didn't know anyone who was already in the FRCC, so it was harder for her. So perhaps the only real difference is the associate membership. I suppose if you're an active climber that shouldn't be an issue really.
Wiley Coyote - on 08 Mar 2013
In reply to Misha:
> (In reply to 999thAndy)
> Also from what I've heard it's a lot harder to get into the FRCC.

Getting into the FRCC is marginally harder because rather than the CC asking for signatures from supporters of your application the FRCC asks for letters which is more of a chore for the supporter and therefore harder to get. But the FRCC does admit walkers. Associate members have all the perks of full members except IIRC they cannot propose new members. The idea is that the three years of Associate Membership gives the club a chance to assess how active the new member will be but it's simply a question of jotting down some of the stuff you've done in the intervening three years and is more or less a rubber stamping job if you've been at all active.
It seems fair enugh at the FRCC has, again IIRC tho it may have changed, a cap on the number of members so they need people who will be around using the huts and paying fees rather than people taking up one of the available spaces and then never turning up.

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