Joining the SMC

What are the benefits of membership of the SMC?

  • 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

What is the procedure for applying?

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.

Can any member propose my application?

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

What are the criteria for membership?

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

Can I still apply if I do not meet the minimum expectations?

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.

My climbing and mountaineering experience is not recent. Can I still apply?

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.

What other information is relevant?

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.

How do I get a copy of the application form?

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.

How long is the application form?

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

How many climbs do I need to have done in summer and winter?

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.

How do I join the SMC if I don't know anyone who can propose and second me?

The SMC organises an Aspirant Meet each year. This is normally in the Raeburn Hut in August. 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.

How much does membership cost?

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.

Annual Dinner and AGM

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.

Are there any other reasons I should join the SMC?

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.

I've got some other questions

Then please feel free to contact the Secretary who will be happy to give advice, secretary@smc.org.uk


SMC Aspirant Meet

The SMC organises an annual aspirant meet at the Raeburn hut 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, aspirant@smc.org.uk