The Alpine Club, the world’s first mountaineering club, was founded in 1857.  For over 150 years, members have been at the leading edge of worldwide mountaineering development and exploration. 

With membership, experienced and aspiring alpinists benefit from a varied meets programme, regional lectures with notable guest speakers, reduced rates at many alpine huts, opportunity to apply for grants to support expeditions, significant discounts at many UK retailers, extensive networking contacts, access to the AC Library and maps - and more! 

Join Us
 

News

The Journeyman Alpine Club Meet 2017

Synopsis

The Alpine Club Journeyman Meet is aimed at Aspirant Members who have already climbed at least 7 to 10 PD routes in the Alps, and may have already participated in the Saas Fe Aspirant Meet in previous years.

The participants’ will be aiming to complete the 20 PD routes needed to become Full Members of the Alpine Club, and looking for sufficient climbing partners to make this happen

Location

The Journeyman will be held in Argentiere just outside of Chamonix with access to routes such as the Cosmiques Arete, Aiguille Rochefort and of course Mont Blanc. The meet will be held over two weeks in a self catering chalet with shared rooms in the village. A nearby campground offers an alternative to the chalet.

Programme

After a mandatory induction day with a local mountain guide covering safety and route finding, the participants will be encouraged to explore the mountains surrounding Chamonix with their climbing partners. During the first evening a member of the Chamonix Gendarmerie will also provide an overview of specific dangers of the region. The meet also aims to host a special guest to share in their experiences in expedition planning and route choice.

Dates

The meet will be held from 2nd September to 16th September after the main summer season to take advantage of quieter huts and mountains. It also gives members of the Saas Fe Aspirant Meet the opportunity to extend their stay in the Alps by one week.

The Golden and Silver Ages of Mountaineering 1855-1900

The AC Library’s Exhibition: 'The Golden and Silver Ages of Mountaineering 1855-1900' has opened at the Frenchay Village Museum.

The exhibition includes: photographs, first edition books, archives and artefacts highlighting the climbing partnerships between AC members and AC members' expeditions from the 1870s as far afield as the Caucasus and the Karakoram Himalayas and viewing is highly recommended.

  

(l-r) Hywel Lloyd, Barbara Grigor-Taylor and Tony Westcott setting up the exhibition at the Frenchay Village Museum. 

At: Frenchay Village Museum, 1 Begbrook Park, Winterbourne, Bristol BS16 1SZ

From: 7 January to 29 March 2017

Opening hours:  Saturday & Sunday, 2pm-5pm, and Wednesday, 1pm-4pm. 

Lecture:  9th March - A lecture on the exhibition, by ACL Chairman, Hywel Lloyd, at a venue near the museum DETAILS HERE

 

AC Expedition to the Bolivian Apolobamba 2017

Unfortunately as an insufficient number of people have applied for this expedition to make the trip viable we have reluctantly cancelled it.

3 June – 2 July

After a very successful expedition to Cordillera Real in 2015 the AC is planning to return to Bolivia in 2017, this time to the less well-known Apolobamba range. A four week expedition is proposed from Saturday 3 June to Sunday 2 July 2017 with a possible option for those short of time to return one week early. The plan is to split the expedition into two parts after a short period of acclimatisation near Lake Titicaca. The first and major part will be to visit the range north of Peluchuco, with options to climb a variety of peaks including Chaupi Orco (6,044m), the highest in the range. In the final week we shall travel south of Peluchuco, with Cololo (5,915m) as a primary objective. Because of the remoteness of this area we shall have limited support, although four porters will be available to help carry to the first base camp and a camp guard with knowledge of the area will remain at both base camps. There are no reliable maps or guides to the Apolobamba so what we actually do will be highly dependent on the prevailing conditions. The number of participants will be limited to 12, with the cost estimated to be ca £1,100 for all in-country expenses (accommodation, transport and assistance), plus flights to and from La Paz (ca £700). In addition, we will need to source all mountain food from the UK and pay for meals for the six nights while hostel/hotel based. If you are interested please contact Derek Buckle (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) as soon as possible.

Alan Lyall

We are saddened to learn of the death of Alan Lyall who died on Monday, 9th January,  He had been a member for 25 years, joining as a full member in 1991. Alan is known for his book The First Descent of the Matterhorn: A Bibliographical Guide to the 1865 Accident and its Aftermath.

 

Harry Sales

It is with sadness that we report of the death of Harry Sales

Harry’s funeral is on Wednesday 25th January 2017.  In the morning there will be a private cremation and after that, everyone is welcome to attend a Service in Celebration of Harry’s Life, at 2.30 in Paul Church, near Penzance. This will be  followed by Afternoon Tea in the Church Hall.   Afternoon tea with friends was one of Harry’s favourite things!

John Atherton has been asked to handle any enquiries from Club friends, his phone number is 01736 731537 and email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Photos by John Atherton

The one that shows Harry climbing was taken in April 2000, when I took Harry aged 82, on his last climb - Allison's Rib at Bosigran. 

Alpine Aspirants Meet 26 Aug - 10 Sept 2017

Following the tried and tested formula designed by Barry Speed, this meet will be based in the Saas Valley with its access to over a dozen 4000m peaks and many routes in the lower grades.  It is run primarily for Aspirant and Associate members early in their alpine careers, or as a refresher for older members.

It starts with two days’ compulsory safety training and glacier instruction from professional guides.

Accommodation in Hotel Schönblick and the adjacent campsite (campers can also eat in the hotel), which offer free ski-lifts and buses throughout the valley.

Option of two weeks, or first week only.  Preference may be given to those wishing to come for the full two weeks as places are in demand.

All interested, please contact Nicholas Smith This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sir David Templeman-Adams

Congratulations to David Hempleman-Adams, a member since 1995, on his appointment to Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian order (KCVO) in the Queen’s New Year Honours in recognition of his services, as a Trustee for 10 years, to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.

 

2017 Anti Atlas Meet

THIS MEET IS NOW FULL

In 2017 the Alpine Club will return to the Anti Atlas of Morocco for more adventure trad climbing.  The meet will have 12 places and take place 7-17 October, split between the Kasbah Tizourgane and the Hotel Argana in Tafraout.  Participants should be competent leaders and aware of the remoteness of the region.  Please contact Nicholas Smith This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve one of the few remaining places. 

To see the 2016 report for a taste! CLICK HERE

 

Alps 4000m x 82: Completion by Alpine Club member, Steve Hartland

Congratulations to Steve Hartland - First Brit to complete the UIAA list of 82 x 4000m peaks in the Alps.

Steve Hartland, a member of the ACG/AC since 1990, and British Mountain Guide from Chamonix, has successfully completed the UIAA list of 82 x 4000metre peaks in the Alps in August 2016.

Alpine Club Reunion Meet, Pattedale 23rd to 25th September 2016

The meet took place in the club’s new hut, the George Starky Hut in Patterdale.  This has often been the venue for the meet, in previous years, but for the first time, we are part owners of the premises. Although the meet official runs from Friday evening, several people arrived on Thursday, with Nick Smith and Nigel Bassam climbing Kestrel Wall S and Sobrenada VS 4c on Eagle Crag Grisedale on Thursday.

Sunday 11 December is International Mountain Day.

It sounds like an invitation to go and climb a mountain - and that’s what I’ll probably do, some modest little top in the English Lake District will have to suffice. Maybe there’ll be snow.

But it would be missing the point to think that this UN-designated special day is primarily about climbing. How self-absorbed can you get? No, as of 2003, the 11th of December has been observed every year “to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and environments around the world”.

Those are the UN’s words. No mention of climbing or alpinism, though it is clear from the excellent International Mountain Day website produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation that events and activities in mountain areas play an important in raising awareness. Many are planned around the world for Sunday.

Southern Sandstone Weekend 10-11 September

The "Southern Sandstone Weekend" was an informal open-to-all gathering to coincide with the AC's September Committee meeting held near Tunbridge Wells. For committee members this left a few hours on Saturday, on which to sample the delights of vertical or overhanging ball-bearings, and all day Sunday. For some it was an initiation test, for others it was revisiting venues that they'd been trying to forget about for years. The rest, wisely, paced themselves to cope with the Saturday night party.

Mike Kosterlitz 2016 Nobel Prize Winner

Our warmest congratulations go to our long standing member Mike Kosterlitz who has been awarded a share of the 2016 Nobel Prize for physics.

Glyn Hughes shares some personal memories of Mike as a mountaineer.:

“After graduating from University in 1963 I spent six weeks in the Dolomites and the Alps before starting work. My main climbing partner on this trip was Mike Kosterlitz, who has just become joint winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physics. This was probably the high point of my climbing career, but just the beginning for Mike. He followed this by becoming one of the leading British climbers in the UK and the Alps at that time, and one of the first to tackle hard routes in Yosemite. Perhaps best known for the Kosterlitz/Isherwood route on Piz Badile (known locally as the ‘via degli Inglesi’, although Mike is of course Scottish), climbed in 1968 when they went off-route on the Corti-Battaglia, and now a classic route of that area.* In 1969 Mike took up a research post at the University of Torino, and during this period pioneered routes in the Orco valley, including the ‘Fessura Kosterlitz’, a notorious test piece for crack climbers. Shortly after this, illness forced him to give up climbing at a very early age, otherwise what more might he have achieved? I met him at a reunion dinner in Cambridge in 2006, and asked him what he was doing now. He started explaining his research work to me, but unfortunately I couldn’t understand a word of it. Presumably  the Nobel prize jury did!”

* See Dick Isherwood's account of the climb in AJ 1969.

This Guardian article gives more information about the Nobel prize for physics winners.

Mike Kosterlitz & Oliver Spence on the Yellow Edge on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Photo Glyn Hughes)

2016 Morocco AC Meet

Nick Smith has sent us this image of the Morocco AC Meet having breakfast in Tafraout before setting off for a day's climbing in the sun.

READ MORE HERE

 

Joint Alpine Meet - Ailefroide 16 Jul - 6 Aug 2016

Joint with ABMSAC, Climbers’ Club, FRCC, SMC, LSCC, Wayfarers and Yeovil MC

Just over 70 people from 7 clubs and guests attended the meet over the 3 week period and were blessed with good weather for most of the time, what  rain there was being short lived.

The campsite in Ailefroide seems to get busier each year and there was a noticeable increase in numbers since the last meet there in 2011 but after the first weekend which was a national holiday in France it did get quieter but still queuing for the showers and the toilets was normal especially at peak.

The campsite being surrounded by granite crags dictated that the rock climbing was more popular than the Alpine climbing and this was reflected in a higher turnout from the more rock oriented clubs such as the CC and the FRCC than on past meets. Many of the multipitch and single pitch routes were climbed as well as frequent forays to the limestone and quartzite climbing areas in the main Durance Valley and side valleys such as Fournel and Fressinieres.

The Barre des Ecrin being the highest peak in the area attracted a lot of attention all by the normal route as the Barre Noire Couloir was out of condition. Other teams climbed  Roche Faurio, the SW ridge of Pointe Louise, Roche Paillon, Roche Emile Pic, Pointe des Cineastes, Montagne Des Agneaux, the Traverse of the Glaciers (Pic du Rif & Pointe des Arcas), Dents de Coste Counier, Aiguille de Sialouze, Pelvoux and the traverse of the Meije.

Various via ferrata were ascended including the very spectacular Gorges D’Ailefroide located between Ailefroide and Pelvoux, it traverses the vertical or even overhanging walls of the gorge about 10m above river level and the second part is classed as a “Via Ferrata sportive” in the guide it certainly lives up to that name.

The meet was very sociable starting with an evening soiree on the first weekend so people could get to know each other, again we had the group tent where people could socialise and cook on the few occasions when it did rain, quite a few people came on their own and had no problem finding climbing partners. As people left we had several end of meet dinners at the Hotel Engilberge in the village, they provided very good food and service at a reasonable price.

Next year’s meet will be held in the Bregaglia, Switzerland based at Camping Mulina in the village of Vicosoprano 15 July to 5 August 2017.

http://www.campingbregaglia.ch/en/camping-vicosoprano

I hope to see you all again next year. Keep an eye on the club meets calendar for next year’s venue.

By Keith Lambley

 

 

Photopraphs

Top Left; Meije Traverse, Cheval Rouge - Climber John Venier - Photo Andrew Moore

Top Right; Meije Traverse - Climber Andrew Moore - Photo John Venier

Botton Left; Pointe Louise, SE Ridge - Climbers Keith Lambley and Kate Ross - Photo Adam Kassyk

Bottom Right; Super Pilou, Aiguille de Sialouze - Climber Helen Brown - Photo Adam Kassyk

Alpine Club and the George Starkey Hut

The Alpine Club has commenced a partnership with the Association of British Members of the Swiss Alpine Club (ABMSAC) to own and manage the George Starkey Hut in Patterdale, in the Lake District. We held a consultation of the AC membership before taking this on, and there was strong support, so we're pleased to say that the hut is now available for members to use.

It's a fantastic new AC membership benefit, with its excellent location in the eastern Lake District. It may not be the centre of Lakeland climbing, but there is some great climbing and scrambling in the area. Langdale and Borrowdale are within reasonable driving distance, and there might even be some winter climbing on Helvellyn again this winter.

There has been a fair bit of refurbishment of the hut amenities recently and more is planned, so if you remember it only from years past it would be worth another visit.  8 beds are reserved for members and guests of the AC and ABMSAC on a first-booked, first-in basis. Given the combined numbers in our clubs it is essential to confirm availability each time before travelling, and regular users can apply for their own key. The remaining 20 beds may be booked by our clubs, or by other clubs or groups, and the availability for club booking is shown on the online calendar. 

Already the influx of AC members wishing to use the hut has seen an increase in bookings, and to make this easier for everyone we will be developing an on-line booking system where members can see what is available, when, and book places to secure them.

In the mean time, booking remains via our Hut Booking Secretary - for contact details CLICK HERE.