Alpine Club members are constantly researching, organising and participating in expeditions to mountains around the world. There is therefore a massive wealth of knowledge about remote areas and expedition planning amongst our members. 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 Club organises annual expeditions to often 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 AC Climbing Fund.. The fund also supports expeditions privately organised by club members.
There are several sources of information listed below. The following notes may help researchers find the best way of obtaining information. When a particular report has been identified it can usually be obtained from the relevant organisation. Alternatively contact the AC librarian with the reference and the library will almost certainly have a copy.
Mount Everest Foundation
Expeditions which have obtained MEF grants (and this is a fair proportion of them) will have sent a report to the MEF. These are just from 1999 onwards and can be identified only if you know the actual year of the expedition. There are summaries on the website but the MEF do not hold actual copies. These are distributed to the organisations below.
The AC library has a comprehensive collection of reports from the MEF and other sources. This covers the period 1959 - 2005. After 2005 the expeditions database has not been updated since the same information is available from several other sources. The database has a good search tool and reports can easily be identified. Summaries are not included. Later reports are often held on CD as well as paper.
An alternative is the general Library Catalogue although the copy on the internet is not always fully up to date. The latest version can be viewed, on request, by visiting the library. Searching the library catalogue does not always produce the results you might expect, and includes books as well as reports. Once a report has been identified it can be viewed by visiting the library, or alternatively photo copies can be obtained - contact the librarian.
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 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 (2011) but has some impressive features. It is easy to search although not yet totally comprehensive. It includes summaries, and most impressively you can download complete reports as PDFs. The BMC is the only source of information providing this facility.
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 (2015) it is up to date only to 2010.
This unique database contains records of Himalayan, Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Chinese Peaks over 6000m, whether the peaks have been attempted or climbed, and literature references for specific peaks. This is an invaluable recource for expedition planners.
Alpine Club Library
The AC Library is one of the most comprehensive collections of mountaineering literature in the world, with over 25,000 books, journals and guidebooks.
AC Climbing Fund Grants
The Alpine Club Climbing Fund was established to help promote and assist AC members' climbing activities. It awards annual grants to AC members undertaking expeditions, in addition to subsidising Alpine Club Expeditions.
MEF Expedition Grants
The Alpine Club and Royal Geographical Society appoints the Mount Everest Foundation's Committee of Management. The MEF Screening Committee meets twice per year to assess applications for support from expeditions planning exploration in high or remote mountain areas. Closing dates for applications are 30th September and 31st January for the forthcoming year, and are strictly observed. For more details see www.mef.org.uk.
Alpine Club Symposia
The symposia provide superb opportunities to learn about a particular location, how to get there, and to meet people who have climbed there.