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! 

Becoming a Member
 

Expeditions

The Alpine Club, the world's first mountaineering club, has members from around the world. Since it was founded in 1857, members have been at the leading edge of worldwide mountaineering development and exploration. We aim to be the club of choice for all mountaineers, providing a forum for sharing experiences and information.

Alpine Club members are constantly researching, organising and participating in expeditions to mountains around the world, so it will come as no surprise to find that amongst our members there is a massive wealth of knowledge about remote areas and expedition organisation. The Alpine Club provides a number of resources that will be useful for those planning or researching expeditions. This page provides links to these resources, and to other sites that are invaluable to expedition planners.

The Alpine Journal is a substantial annual record of mountaineering achievement, if you are planning an expedition it should be on your reading list.

Alpine Club Expeditions

The Alpine Club organises annual expeditions, which are often to remote and little-known mountain areas. These expeditions are open to all members, subject to qualifying criteria and numbers. They can be subsidised by the Montane Alpine Club Climbing Fund. This fund also supports expeditions privately organised by club members. .

Read more about Expedition Reports

The Himalayan Index is a key resource, it has been compiled from journals, magazines and books in the Alpine Club Library

Many expeditions will have been awarded Mount Everest Foundation grants and provided reports. There are some details on the MEF website but the MEF does not hold actual copies. These are distributed to the AC and the organisations listed below (but not the Kew archives).

Royal Geographical Society

The RGS holds copies of all MEF reports as well as many others. Searching is very straightforward and summaries are provided. Reports cover the period 1965 onwards and are very comprehensive. They can be consulted by visiting the RGS library, or copies can be e-mailed.

National Archives at Kew

Not the easiest source of information. The National Archives holds many older documents deposited there from multiple sources.

British Mountaineering Council

This is still in beta form but has some impressive features. It is easy to search although not comprehensive. It includes summaries, and you can download many complete reports as PDFs. The BMC is currently the only readily available source of this information.  The AC is working towards publishng a comprehenve expeditions database which will be be available on-line in due course.

Alan Rouse Sheffield Library

Sheffield library holds a comprehensive archive of mountaineering material, including copies of MEF and other expedition reports. There is a PDF catalogue which can be searched; one of the best ways of quickly identifying peaks and leaders. At present it is up to date only to 2010.

Malcolm Bass and Guy Buckingham have just made the first ascent of the beautiful NW Ridge of Gangstang in the Himachal Pradesh Himalaya. They reached the summit on the 9th June and descended to base camp the next day completing a five day round trip.

Gangstang is a classically pyramidal peak which is reminiscent of the Matterhorn. It was first reportedly climbed by Italians in 1945 via the South West Ridge which has since become the normal route. In 2007 Martin Moran and team explored the northern and western aspects of the mountain establishing a partial new route from the west that joined the normal route at 5850m. It was Martin’s photos of and enthusiasm for the unclimbed NW Ridge which inspired the climbers.

After making a tiny impression on the superb granite bouldering surrounding base camp, the team with their Liaison Officer, Parmender Sharma acclimatised with a climb of Neelkantha (5324m), previously know as Thirot Shivling, the rock bastion that stands on the tip of the NW ridge of Gangstang. For those going on expedition to India, it’s worth noting that the Indian Mountaineering Foundation will now hire out bouldering mats to expeditions at a very reasonable rate.  

  

After a couple of day’s rest at the comfortable and well located base camp the climbers headed off towards the ridge packed for a five day adventure. The first night was spent on the glacier under the North Face at around 5000m and in the early hours of the following morning they crossed the bergshrund and climbed a couloir onto the North West Ridge. From then on it was rock and mixed climbing all the way; they torqued and crimped, they jammed and pressed down, with the blissful absence of any objective danger from above. By Himalayan standards the rock quality was good but just needed to be managed with respect 

There were two camps on the ridge itself, one being palatial compared to the other, which was half perched over a cornice with everything and everyone tied off in numerous directions.

The climbing, on blocky granite, was excellent, with brilliant situations; for example on day three, Guy torqued up a short wall and reached onto a slab above to find himself peering through a hole straight down the immensity of the west face overhanging the ridgeline by a good 5 metres. However that was the end of the “fun times”.

  
 
As they approached 6000m, it was beginning to snow and the wind significantly strengthened blowing straight up the west face leaving them cold and exposed. The climbing, now mostly on bulletproof grey water ice, became monotonous and arduous. They were tiring, the air was thin and their calves were screaming. The pitches just never ended; then, rather anti-climatically the climbers were on the tiny summit. With visibility low, snow and wind still blowing there was only time for the obligatory selfie and fist-bump prior to using a short break in the clouds to locate the start of the South West ridge to camp as soon as possible. After 100m descent they established their last camp in light dry snow glad of the rest and a chance for something to eat.
 
It snowed all night and was still snowing in the morning, but by 8am it started to clear and allowed them to see the descent route (following Martin’s 2007 ascent line). Four abseils, a lot of down climbing and some dodgy bum-sliding, (almost not stopping for the bergshrund!) and finally they were away from the dangers of the mountain. All that remained was the 6 hour moraine trudge back to base camp for man-hugs, pakora and screech.
 
When asked about the climb, Malcolm said “ we were looking for a great Himalayan line to climb and we found it in spades!”.
 
      
 
North West Ridge of Gangstang 6162m, 1500m ED1 [UK Rock 5a, Scottish 6] 7-10 Jun 16
Malcolm Bass is sponsored by Montane and Lyon Equipment.
Guy Buckingham is a director of Infinity Mountain Guides and a member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors.
Both climbers would like to thank their sponsors and supporters without whom such trips would not be possible:
Montane
The British Mountaineering Council
The Mount Everest Foundation
The Alpine Club
The Austrian Alpine Club