The Alpine Club (AC) was founded in 1857 and was the world’s first mountaineering club. It was born from a conversation in the summer of that year, when William Matthews discussed the idea of forming a club with Edward Kennedy during an ascent of the Finsteraarhorn. Initially there were twenty members, all dedicated alpinists and at the start it was a serious exclusive and men only club, holding regular meetings to discuss papers on mountain exploration.
In the intervening 161 years, much has changed in the climbing world and in the AC but the central purpose of the Club still stands. It remains the only British mountaineering club focussed on alpinism. Whilst most leading British mountaineers, both past and current, have been or are members, the Club welcomes everyone with an interest in the Alps and/or the greater ranges. Long gone are the days of the men only English gentlemen’s club. Today, the AC has a diverse international membership of over 1500, with approximately 90 members living in Cumbria.
Club Activities. Whilst members participate in many different mountain pursuits, the activities of the Club are centred on mountaineering. Events are organised by and for members throughout the year and include a varied meets programme, regional lectures, an annual dinner, which is at Shap Wells in 2019, and occasional symposia. In May 2018, the Club hosted the UIAA annual Mountain Protection Committee gathering at the George Starkey Hut, in Patterdale, which the Club co-owns (together with the ABMSAC (Association of British Members of the Swiss Alpine Club)), and in November 2018, the Club had a slot at the Kendal Film Festival. Members with queries or information to share are able to contact many other members easily through a Club based email system, “Alpinet”, and the club makesregular posts on Twitter and Facebook.
The AC’s Meets programme is wide-ranging and the 2019 winter season includes meets in Scotland, Kyrgyzstan and the Tatra mountains. There are regular summer meets in the Alps and Lake District meets throughout the year. The latter are usually held in the George Starkey Hut in Patterdale. Lakes meets already on the 2019 calendar are a New Year meet, a winter meet in February, an annual Alpine Introductory Meet in June and a summer meet in August. Over the next 5 years, we also have numerous international exchanges planned for all levels of members’ alpine abilities, and meets/exchanges for the re-invigorated Alpine Climbing Group, which is a section of members who are climbing at the cutting edge of alpinism.
The AC Lakes Lecture programme is equally varied and based at the Skiddaw Hotel in Keswick. The current season has included AC members Victor Saunders and Paul Ramsden. Future speakers include the Janhukot team who made the first ascent in June 2108, John Porter talking about the bold, light-weight ascents of the 1970s and 1980s, and Roland Jackson speaking on the remarkable life of John Tyndall, controversial Victorian mountaineer and scientist. Lectures are open to members for free and non-members for a small donation.
The AC Library and Historic Collection, which includes books, paintings, archives, maps, photographs and artefacts, is housed at the Club’s premises in Shoreditch, London. The library was created as a resource for members and is now used by many members and non-members for expedition planning and research. The Himalayan Index is available online and copies of all MEF Expedition Reports are available in hard copy or digitally. A full-time Librarian is employed to assist with queries and members are able to borrow books by visit or post.
Benefits of Membership include the Alpine Journal, London bunkroom, reduced rates at many alpine huts, the opportunity of grants for expeditions and mentoring support and discounts at many UK retailers. The AC retains its ethos of mountaineering of the highest quality and perhaps the main benefit is that Club members have the opportunity to meet like-minded climbers with a passion for mountaineering worldwide.
If you are an experienced or aspiring alpinist, do Join Us!
Full, Aspirant and Associate Membership details and application forms are on the website.
Website: www.alpine-club.org.uk Facebook: The Alpine Club;
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @thealpineclub
Clubhouse, Office & Library: 55 Charlotte Road, London, EC2A 3QF, Tel: 020 7613 0755
The BMC benefits climbing, mountaineering and hill walking clubs across the UK. Club members can benefit from:
Access to BMC Travel Insurance
Register for Mountain Training award schemes
£15m worldwide Combined Liability insurance
Find out more about BMC club membership benefits
The only cost for affiliation to the BMC is the individual payments for each member, there is no additional ‘club fee’. For 2020 the BMC fees for each Club Member are: Adult - £20.25 Student - £16.75 Under 18’s - £15.00
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