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.