60 years ago a group of friends came together and set up a mountaineering club in London. This seems like a straightforward enough statement but pause for a moment and you’ll soon realise how incredible it is.
To set up a club in London, where the nearest mountains are hundreds of miles away, in 1954 when few people owned cars, petrol was rationed, and motorways didn’t exist. When there were no climbing walls to practice on and the nearest top-roping opportunity was a two-hour train ride away. When gear was mainly army surplus or homemade. When members relied on the post or a communal telephone to communicate (no email, no mobiles, no internet, no faxes) and trips were organised in the pub. To do this may have seemed a foolhardy, up-hill task but this club has survived and thrived and we are lucky enough to be a part of it today.
60 years has seen members come and go, technology radically change, money turn decimal, cars become faster, and climbing and mountaineering gear become so sophisticated we spend hours discussing the pro and cons of a simple waterproof jacket and often many £'s buying it. So we have decided to amass a club archive to capture these changes and preserve the club’s history for future members. From the material gathered so far it is fascinating to see that though times change many things have stayed the same. We travel to the same places, we climb the same routes, we camp in the same fields, and even the same personality types run through the decades. The simple ethos of our club has always been to provide members with access to the mountains. That’s it. That’s the core which has run through the club for the past 60 years and which will hopefully see us into our centenary.