Joining the SMC

The Scottish Mountaineering Club is open to experienced and competent climbers and mountaineers, both men and women, who are able to demonstrate a commitment to climbing in Scotland, visible through meeting the criteria for membership. By becoming a member of the SMC, you will be part of a Club with a rich history going back to 1889 whose membership includes some of Scotland’s greatest climbers and mountaineers, past and present.

The SMC organises an annual aspirant meet in August which offers plenty of rock climbing options. Aspirant meets are particularly aimed at people who don't know any or enough SMC members to support an application for membership. The aspirant meet is designed to enable anyone who is interested in joining the SMC to meet and climb with SMC members. Aspirants don't need to have all the membership requirements but are expected to be well on the way and should be able to second VS for the purposes of the meet. There is a communal meal on the Saturday night.

If you are interested in coming on the aspirant meet contact Alison Coull,

Below are a few questions people often have when it comes to joining the club. If you have any other questions please get in contact with us.

  • Access to our five Scottish huts (with a personal key), full details of which are available on our huts pages, plus reciprocal access to the huts of a number of other clubs in Scotland, England and Wales.
  • The opportunity to join meets that are organised throughout the year in Scotland, other parts of the UK and abroad. For example, four CIC hut meets in the winter, Easter meet, Skye meet, Lake District meet, Alpine meet and the Annual Dinner in December.
  • Access to joint meets, where SMC participates with other national clubs, such as the annual ice climbing meet with the Climbers' Club, and the annual Alpine meet with the Alpine Club, Climbers' Club and FRCC.
  • Discount on SMC and kindred club climbers' guidebooks (generally 25% off RRP) online
  • Receiving a regular e-newsletter and the annual SMC Journal
  • Access to a regular series of midweek lectures over the winter (currently in Edinburgh, Inverness and soon to be in Aberdeen)
  • Access to an extensive library housed in Strathclyde University in Glasgow
  • Your subscription includes club membership of Mountaineering Scotland and their benefits, including third party liability insurance cover

You have the opportunity to contribute to the Club, both ensuring the Club's future and becoming part of the SMC history - whether through attending (and even helping to organise) meets including the winter lecture series, membership of the various committees, helping out with hut maintenance, or getting involved with our guidebooks and other publications. The Committee is always keen to hear from members who want to contribute to the functioning of the Club. The Club can extend your climbing and information network. If you want some information on any unusual climbing area there will likely be someone who has been there, done it, and will share their experience. Many new friendships and climbing partnerships have been formed through the SMC. The members-only Facebook group facilitates conversations between members across Scotland.

The SMC currently has nearly 500 members ranging from those in their twenties onwards.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate experience of all aspects of mountaineering in Scotland over a period of at least 4 years immediately prior to applying –

  • Rock experience with an emphasis on multi-pitch climbs in mountain locations. This must include multi pitch climbs of at least VS standard and the ability to lead routes at this level.
  • Winter climbing that includes several routes of grade IV standard and the ability to lead routes at this level.
  • Winter mountaineering and hillwalking, documenting the ascent of at least 50 Munros of which at least one third should have been climbed in snow conditions.

Your experience should not be confined to any single climbing area or season of the year. In short, you should be able to show by producing a detailed list of climbs that you have the experience to climb in Scotland under good or bad conditions with safety and responsibility.

Bear in mind when you complete your application form you are aiming to give the Committee -

  • A flavour of your personal mountain experience in different conditions in Scotland, e.g. walking, scrambling and climbing, in summer and winter
  • The confidence that-
    • you have a realistic knowledge of your skills and that these meet the Club criteria
    • you will be an active member of the Scottish climbing community

All applicants for membership must be proposed by an SMC member and the application form must be supported by three other members.

You complete the application form which will be provided to you by your proposer who must have climbed with you sufficiently to have knowledge of your ability and experience, and be satisfied that you meet the criteria for membership. Your proposer must also ensure that the form has been completed in such a way as to give the Committee full information on your qualifications and experience. Your proposer is also required to provide the Committee with a letter supporting your application.

You and your proposer will then arrange for your form to be signed by three other members of the Club (your seconders), who also have knowledge of your abilities. Your seconders do not have to have climbed or walked with you but they should certainly be able to confirm, if requested, your mountaineering experience and skill.

It is helpful if you have been introduced to a member of the Committee before your application is considered. This could be done by attending a meet, such as the Aspirant meet or by attending one of the midweek lectures.

The Committee considers each application at its meetings (usually in April and October). The signed application form must be submitted by your proposer to the Secretary by the deadlines of 28th February and 31st August of each year.

Your proposer and seconders must have been members of the Club for at least 2 years.

As a general rule, the Committee would expect you to be able to meet all of the requirements. Experience that goes beyond the minimum in one area does not mean that the minimum requirements in the other areas do not have to be met. The Committee regards all of the requirements as equally important.

You can still apply for membership if you do not meet the minimum requirements but your proposer should explain in the supporting letter the reasons why your application has been submitted without the minimum requirements. For example, if you have been doing first ascents of multi pitch summer routes across Scotland for many years but only climb up to Grade III in winter, this may still be considered a strong commitment to Scottish climbing. It's very much at the discretion of the Committee and your application may still be rejected on the basis of failing to meet the minimum standards.

The Committee has discretion to vary the minimum requirements for older applicants provided that the applicant's routes reflect a reasonable standard for their time, and that they are still active in the Scottish mountains.

The application form contains a separate page for you to list mountaineering activities outside Scotland. This will be taken into consideration but are not considered a substitute for Scottish experience. It is after all the ‘Scottish Mountaineering’ Club that you are applying to join.

If you do not meet the minimum requirements but have made any special contributions to Scottish mountaineering in the fields of art, literature or science this may receive special consideration.

The SMC and associated Scottish Mountaineering Trust play a big part in the Scottish outdoor community. We encourage active participation in their projects. If you have strengths in these areas, or just wish to get involved, it is useful to know this as part of the application process.

Presently this must be obtained by your proposer who may request a form from the Secretary or who can download a version from the members' area of the Club website.

The application form is not particularly lengthy but it has 6 parts, each a single or double sheet. The Committee considers this necessary as there is no graduating period in the SMC and when an application is approved, you become a full member of the Club and are entitled to its benefits.

  1. List of winter climbs in Scotland
  2. List of rock climbs in Scotland
  3. List of winter hillwalking in Scotland
  4. List of summer hillwalking in Scotland
  5. List of mountaineering activities elsewhere
  6. Statement of contributions to science, art or literature in connection with Scottish Mountains or any other relevant note

Again, there is no hard and fast rule. However as a rough guide an applicant with the relevant experience should be able to fill the pages with the possible exception of Parts 5 and 6.

Yes. As well as demonstrating that you meet the minimum level through the climbs that you list, the Committee is interested in your breadth and depth of experience. The Committee will take these lower grade climbs into account.

Not unless there is a reason why they are particularly significant. The SMC is a mountaineering club and the Committee therefore wants to have information about the multi-pitch routes that you have climbed. Single pitch experience may be summarised, eg I have climbed at the following crags in Scotland at grade x to z.

Again, not unless they are particularly significant or they demonstrate general mountaineering experience. This might be the case for long, committing multi-pitch routes abroad. Any sport climbing achievements can be summarised in the same way as single pitch experience.

The Munros are Scotland’s version of 4000m peaks, and having climbed Munros, in conjunction with an active climbing resume, is a strong indication that you are a mountaineer with strong appreciation of the Scottish hills. This commitment is important for maintaining the ethos, history and objectives of the Club.

It is very helpful if your experience is listed in chronological order - most recent first. It is also helpful if you list the area of each climb, eg Cairngorms/Glencoe. Whilst the Committee can be expected to know the location of the classic routes, it may not be obvious in the case of more obscure climbs. Please also indicate if you have lead, seconded or lead through on the routes listed.

Shortly after the Committee meeting, if you have been accepted, you will receive joining details from the Secretary. This includes information about accessing the member’s area of the website, the members-only Facebook page and applying for a key for the huts.

This is unusual as you and your proposer should have ensured that your application is worthy of admission. In the event of your application being refused, your proposer will be notified by the Secretary who will provide reasons for the Committee’s decision. It is the responsibility of your proposer to inform you.

The SMC organises an annual Aspirant Meet. In 2019 the aspirant meet is on 23/24th August at the Lagangarbh Hut. Aspirant meets are specifically aimed at ensuring that prospective new members who do not know any or enough SMC members can meet members who may be prepared to propose and support an application in due course, provided you meet the criteria.

Aspirant meets are a great way of meeting SMC members and finding out more about the Club and the requirements for membership. They are also good fun.

The Annual Subscription is currently £40.00. This sum includes the Club Journal. The membership fee also includes affiliated club membership of Mountaineering Scotland. For reasons connected with the insurance cover, we ask for an additional one-off payment of £1.00 as a Club Entrance Fee.

The SMC is keen to encourage all members, and in particular recent and new members, to attend its Annual Dinner and AGM. This is the only whole-Club event. It takes place on the first Saturday in December, currently alternating between Fort William and Carrbridge. The afternoon before the Dinner always includes a mountaineering/climbing lecture and the traditional "President's Walk" is held on the Sunday morning after the Dinner.

Then please feel free to contact the Secretary who will be happy to give advice,