Welcome

Great news – you found us! We’re excited to be involved in the BMC’s #FindYourAdventure campaign and are keen to welcome you to our club. Joining the TWMC is an excellent way to progress your climbing, have adventures and meet new people.

Scroll down to explore what the club is about. We look forward to climbing with you, The TWMC Committee.

Climbing with us


Whether it’s your first time out or you already lead E1, we want to make sure both you and our members are safe. We welcome climbers of all abilities, we just request you be honest about your skills and if you’re unsure of anything, please ask! We are fortunate to have some awesome sandstone crags nearby.

New to climbing?

Rock climbing is a great way to explore the country, several of our members started climbing with the club. It’s important you can tie-in and belay safely, so we suggest a course with a qualified instructor beforehand: outdoors at Harrison’s Rocks with Nuts4Climbing Beginner Sessions or Hatt Beginner Rock Climbing or indoors at: Woolwich The Reach’s Roped Skills course or Brighton High Sports’ RockStart course or Polegate Ordinary Climbers’ Competency course. If you enjoy it and see yourself becoming an independent (unguided) climber, get back in touch.

Climbed indoors? Or a little outside?

If you’ve bouldered before, you’ll enjoy the short sandstone routes, but it’s important you can tie-in and belay safely. So even if you pull hard on plastic, please book onto a course – see ‘New to Climbing?’.

If you’ve top-roped or lead climbed indoors and want to climb outdoors, come along! If you’re rusty or prefer a confidence boosting refresher, check out the courses above. Also, a great way to kick-start your journey to becoming a self-sufficient club climber, is to learn about ‘sandstone rope setups‘, for instruction, enquire with Nuts4Climbing about ‘rope setting’ training. There are many differences when climbing on real rock, especially sandstone, and you shouldn’t expect to climb at the same grade straightaway.

Many people aspire to ‘Trad’ climb as it opens up a huge range of routes on sea-cliffs and mountains. Instead of clipping in-situ bolts like in Sport Climbing, Trad Climbing involves placing protection (aka gear) yourself and more complex rope work. Some people ‘learn to lead’ on a course with a qualified Mountaineering & Climbing Instructor (MCI) whilst others prefer the ‘apprenticeship’ approach of seconding experienced friends and reading books & online materials. The club occasionally organises a beginner Trad weekend for aspirant leaders.

Experienced trad or sport climber?

You’ve got a rack, rope and partner, so why join TWMC? You’ll get a heap of new climbing partners, advice, club trips, knowledge, car sharing, socials. A major advantage of climbing as a club on sandstone, is that you can climb more routes as people often mix-in and swap ropes on ‘club nights’. If you’ve moved to the area and already climb, get in touch! There are so many benefits of being a club member, the BMC wrote this article: Why Join a Club?

The Club

About: Tunbridge Wells Mountaineering Club (TWMC) is a friendly climbing club of around 80 to 100 members spread across Kent, Sussex and Surrey. The club was founded in 1984 and welcomes adult climbers of all abilities, we have members in their 20s through to their 60s. Members are fairly self-organising and much of the climbing is arranged informally by independent climbers. Several members are keen to share their knowledge with others, we are also advocates of professional instruction and have a training subsidy scheme to encourage skills development and sharing within the club. We’re not-for-profit and are run by a volunteer Committee. 

Sandstone Climbing: We are regulars on the Southern Sandstone outcrops about 15 minutes drive from Tunbridge Wells. It’s top-roping and bouldering only due to the soft nature of the rock. Meeting us for a climb locally is the best way to get to know the club, people often mix in and share ropes, meaning you can climb more routes – a huge benefit of ‘club night’! From April to October we climb outdoors on weekday evenings, usually Tuesdays & Thursdays, and members are often out most dry weekends.

Indoor Climbing: Between November and March most club activity is indoors as the sandstone is porous and becomes very fragile (unclimbable) when damp. Our nearest venue is Chimera Bouldering in High Brooms (Tunbridge Wells) and for roped climbing High-Sports in Brighton (Withdean) or The Reach in Woolwich (London). The weekday evening we climb on varies, and sometimes we climb Saturday or Sunday daytime, arranged via WhatsApp.

Weekend Trips: Peak District, Pembroke, the Gower, Baggy Point, Snowdonia, North Wales, Swanage, Portland, Dartmoor, Cornwall, the Lakes.

We organise several large ‘club trips’ per year, these attract around 20 people and are a great way to get to know other members. We’ll visit crags with low grade classics and 3* test pieces. If you’re looking to climb with someone new, these are very social and friendly trips to join.

Members organise many ‘personal trips’ to various UK climbing destinations at weekends. These smaller, self-organised trips are how a lot of our climbing happens and are usually arranged at short notice based on the weather, preferences and ability. People will often extend to other members by offering “a car share to any dry location this wkd” or “we’re camping here, others welcome to join”.

Day Trips: From Tunbridge Wells we can reach a handful of trad and sport climbing areas, climb and get back in a day, often called a ‘Day-Raid’. So if you only have a ‘1 day pass’ from family /work, or the British weather is marginal, this is the trip for you! Leave at dawn, and 3 hours later be in the Wye Valley, Swanage, Portland, Avon Gorge, or Fairy Cave Quarry.

Winter Climbing: We have a small contingent of winter climbers and walkers who head north to swing their ice axes in Scotland or Norway. A number of members run, cycle or mountain bike in winter to keep fit and some of us ski / snowboard.

Climbing Abroad: Members have organised trips to Fontainbleau, Spain, Kalymnos, Sicily, Nepal, Ireland, Thailand, the USA and the French Alps. Several members have summer Alpine experience and others have aspirations to get to Chamonix for the first time. If snow and ice is not your thing, Southern Spain is an incredible winter-sun climbing destination.

Socials: Climbing on sandstone is very social in itself due to the short routes and quick set ups, meaning you can climb with several people each session. Most of our ‘socials’ are a post-climb drink, ice-cream or bite to eat in a country pub. On a weekend trip, members stay at the same campsite and socialise in the evening, some people cook together, whilst others find nearby pub food as a group. We host several club-wide social events including summer BBQs at Harrison’s Rocks campground, a Christmas Curry night in December, and also head along to events such as the Banff Film Festival (in TW) and the Women’s Trad Festival.

Social Media

Follow our public Instagram and Facebook Pages to see what the club is all about:

Membership

2024 TWMC Membership fee is £29 which includes a £23.90 BMC Affiliation fee. From 1st July Membership is £17 and includes a £11.95 BMC Affiliation fee. Members must be aged 18 years or older. We regularly welcome prospective members at club events and have a New Members Rep to help you get to know us. Benefits of joining include; club climbing evenings, partners, weekend trips, socials, skills development, chat groups, and discounts.

A proportion of your membership fee is used to affiliate you to the BMC as a ‘Club Member’. TWMC is a British Mountaineering Council (BMC) affiliated club and endorses the BMC’s Participation Statement regarding risk – see image in footer.

Member Benefits:


BMC Club Members are eligible to:


Member of another BMC affiliated club?

If you wish to join the TWMC, you will need to pay our membership cost in full but can reclaim the BMC affiliation fee directly from the BMC. https://www.thebmc.co.uk/claiming-multiple-membership-refunds So if you’re also a member of another local club or a national one like The Climbers Club or The Alpine Club, or a University Student club, you can claim a refund (for full year subscriptions). The BMC usually send refunds in July and will do so each year automatically, as long as you remain eligible.

How to Join:

  1. Read ‘Climbing with us’ and our New Member FAQs page
  2. Contact our New Members Rep
  3. Complete a digital membership form (for BMC Combined Liability Insurance)
  4. Come for a few climbs locally on sandstone or indoors (get to know other members and the Committee)
  5. Pay your membership fee (we’ll ask you to pay after you’ve met us and your application has been accepted)