Bookings usually open 3 months ahead unless stated otherwise on the programme. Some longer distance meets are booked significantly in advance; to get cheaper plane or train fares.
The later it's left before booking, the more likely it is that car and travel arrangements become confused. Although the "cut-off" date depends on the MS, as a general rule we usually want to have travel arrangements sorted by the Wednesday before a meet.
The MS will generally send out email updates about plans, as required. The MS may also update the bulletin board on the club's website.
Where the club has had to commit money, to book accommodation, we would ask for money up front from people to book on to the meet.
Most meets involve car travel from London to get to the venue. In advance, let the MS know if you need a lift, or have a car and can offer lifts. It is also helpful to let the MS know where you are based in London.
If you already have plans to travel with a specific passenger or driver, then please can let the MS know at time of booking; this avoids confusion when allocating passengers.
Close to the date of the meet, usually late the week before the meet, the MS will be in touch with details about travel arrangements; linking up passengers with drivers.
Generally people leave London at about 5pm on Friday; rendezvousing at a tube station (often in Zone 6). Cars then return to London for about 9pm on Sunday. Some lucky people leave earlier, if they can, and others leave later depending on circumstance. If you are a passenger then please do what you can to make the drivers life easier by being punctual and cooperative with their plans.
Petrol costs get shared per car. If we have to hire a car then this cost will usually get shared across all passengers. For some meets, that involve international travel, car hire will be needed - please volunteer if you can. In this instance the cost of hire cars would be shared across all meet attendees.
If we are short of car spaces then anyone who joins the meet and can offer car spaces may get priority as a last resort.
If we have booked accommodation it means that all spaces are taken - it can also mean we have no car drivers.
It generally pays to make contact with the MS anyway because there may be a few people in he same spot, and it might be possible to organise something informally. Also some MS keep a waiting list to fill places in case someone drops out; particularly on more popular meets.
As soon as you can let the MS know. If the club has had to commit money, and you have paid up front, we will return this to you if someone else can fill the meet space. If cancellation happens very late this can't be guaranteed. If you are a passenger in a car then we may ask for a contribution to petrol costs if the driver has been badly disadvantaged.
As soon as you book on let the MS know if you are new and / or on the lookout for climbing or walking partners. They will do what they can to share the word of this in advance so that people can find partners. Also, don't be shy of asking at the meet! We're a welcoming club and we generally make sure people find others to climb with.
We don't generally offer tuition on a normal meet and expect members to know the BMC Participation Statement (see link) before they go. We also recommend that on climbing meets, as a minimum, people know fundamental principles of climbing such as how to belay safely.
We encourage everyone to develop his or her own climbing skills and experience - especially lead climbing - as it adds much more to the enjoyment of climbing.
Having said that, some more experienced members may be willing to buddy a novice on a climb, with the understanding that this is at your own risk.
Certain meets a year are run with a formal tuition theme - these will generally be where the club arranges professional guides and trainers. These tend to focus on lead climbing, Alpinism and winter climbing.
Due to its location at the bottom of Ben Nevis' north face, and the nature of the winter climbs on it, the CIC meet is a bit different. Winter climbing on Ben Nevis is a serious and committing experience; from the CIC hut, other easier options for climbing and walking are not readily available.
The custom and practice is that people book as a pair. New members, when asking to attend, are generally questioned as to their winter climbing experience to avoid misapprehensions. Those with the experience won't be offended and those without will be better informed. The club offers other options for winter climbing.
These are similar in style to other meets, in terms of travel arrangements, but on these meets if often pays to have thought about plans and objectives in advance - and identifying partners too. The Alps are a serious environment with their own dangers and risks - as with the winter climbing meets it pays to develop your own experience in advance.
Most meets take place at huts and you will need to bring your own sleeping bag because linen is not normally provided. If linen is provided the MS will let you know when arrangements are made.
For camping and backpacking meets you would be expected to have your own tent and camping equipment. However, if you don't, please contact the MS because it may be possible to share with another member.
The club does not have any equipment to loan to members. Please have your own or make arrangements to loan it from a fellow club member.
Climbing and mountaineering are activities that require some equipment to ensure that you stay safe and well. If you are not sure what you need please contact the MS and they will be happy to advise you.
Absolutely! Informal meets happen all the time - these are usually planned at short notice via the bulletin board. There are also regular climbing wall visits on a Tuesday night to one of the London walls - the Westway and Castle are most popular.
People with ideas for meets are most welcome! There is a good chance that if you want to do something, lots of others do too. Get in touch with the meet secretary and have a chat about what you want to do, and they will help you put a plan together. There are separate notes available that give practical guidance on running a meet.