Frequently Asked Questions

Can't find the information you are looking for? Perhaps one of the questions below matches your query. If you are still stuck, contact us.

I've never climbed before, can I try?

Of course! OUMC welcomes everyone, including beginners and non-students. Come along to one of our climbing sessions or Wednesday pub gatherings. Our termcard will tell you where and when to find us.

What kind of climbing does OUMC do?

At the moment, it's probably fair to say that most club members are primarily focused on trad climbing. However, we also have a very active sport climbing contingent, and many members do the odd bit of outdoor bouldering. We're also keen to encourage indoor competition climbing for those who are interested.

While the official term-time meets are limited to UK crags, unofficial trips organised by club members are much more wide-ranging. The Alps, the Himalaya, Scandinavia, Greenland, Canada, Font, various European sport destinations, you name it; our members have climbed there. Spend enough time around climbers, and you'll probably end up on an adventure.

Can you teach me to be a rock god?

The club does not offer formal coaching in rock climbing, and our members are not qualified climbing instructors. However, our members have a lot of experience between them, so please ask if there are specific things you'd like demonstrated or explained. You are responsible for your own safety; if you're not confident of your ability to do something properly, ask somebody more experienced for help.

We do, however, hire qualified and experienced instructors to run courses covering important climbing and mountain skills. These courses have been very well received in the past, and we recommend them to anyone keen to climb outdoors. The club subsidises these courses heavily, and you're unlikely to get training of this quality at such good value anywhere else!

How do I join?

Simply follow the instructions on the membership page. You'll also find information about our current membership fees there.

How can I receive important announcements by email?

Simply send a blank e-mail to climbers-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk, and follow the instructions in the response, to subscribe to our mailing list. If you're in Oxford outside term time and want to keep up with unofficial activities, send a blank email to climbers-out-of-term-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk

How can I stop receiving relentless messages from the club mailing list?

Simply send a blank message to climbers-unsubscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk.

How do I get to Brookes / Iffley / the Gardeners Arms?

For directions to the climbing walls at Iffley and Brookes, have a look at the Indoor Climbing page. For the Gardeners Arms, look in Socials.

Do I need to be a club member to climb at Brookes or Iffley?

The Brookes wall is part of the Oxford Brookes University Sports Centre and can be used by anyone. You will need to pay an entry fee each time you go, or buy a pass. More information on their website.

The bouldering wall at the Iffley Sports Centre belongs to the club and YOU MUST BE AN OUMC MEMBER TO USE THIS WALL. No exceptions. If you go on a Monday night, you can find a member of the Committee and pay for membership there.

Are there bouldering mats at Iffley?

The club's bouldering wall at Iffley does not have large fixed crash mats like you'll see at Brookes and other modern walls. Instead, we use portable mats that you place at the bottom of the problem you're intending to climb. These mats are kept in a wooden cupboard on the right at the far end of the wall.

If you want to climb at Iffley and the cupboard is locked, hand your OUMC membership card over at the reception desk and they'll give you the key. When you've finished climbing and the mats are back in the cupboard, return the key to the desk, and you'll get your card back.

Does the club do climbing trips on real rock?

We climb all over the UK on official club meets in term time. The Outdoor Climbing page will tell you everything you need to know about club meets.

Out of term, our members usually organise unofficial trips between themselves. If you're keen to get involved, chat to people at the pub as well as keeping an eye on our Facebook page and the hallowed Chat Page.

What do I need to take with me on a meet?

Have a look at the recommended kit list. Please make sure you are appropriately dressed for the time of year, as the club does not have waterproofs or warm clothes to lend out.

Does the club take part in climbing competitions?

We do indeed. Our extremely psyched Gear, Comps and Courses Secs arrange club teams to attend major competitions, and will keep you updated with information about various others. Check out our competitions page for details of the comps we're planning to attend this year.

May I borrow equipment from the club?

All members are welcome to borrow any of the club's equipment by arrangement with the Gear, Comps & Courses Secretaries.

Do members organise unofficial trips outside of term time?

There are plenty of people around when undergraduates term time finishes. If you're in Oxford outside term time and want to keep up with unofficial activities, send a blank email to climbers-out-of-term-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk.

Lots of unofficial trips also get organised on Wednesday at The Gardners Arms too!

I want to get my own equipment: any advice?

Everybody has their own personal preferences about what gear is best. However, there are a few key items that will help you get started as a climber or mountaineer; you might want to start with climbing shoes and a harness. Have a look at Buying Your Own Gear.

Does the club do walking trips?

In short, no. On club trips we only go walking when it's raining and there is no climbing to be done, or to get to the beginning of some rock or ice. The OU Walking Club are probably who you're looking for. Many of our members are also keen walkers and may be interested in any trips you have in mind.

Do you have a small but interesting bouldering wall perfect for developing good technique and finger strength?

Yes, we do!

Can I borrow OUMC books from the Bodleian Library?

Yes if you're an OUMC member (even if you're not part of the University). Remember to bring your OUMC card!

Do you carry nitroglycerine up K2?

No. That would be stupid.