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The Oxford University Mountaineering Club recently celebrated it's centenary. Here is a flavour of some of the things we got up to to celebrate it.


Dear Oxford Climber,

As you may be aware, the 2008-09 academic year marks the hundredth anniversary of Oxford University Mountaineering Club. Since its formation in Hilary Term 1909 by members of the Oxford Alpine Club OUMC has enjoyed a position as one of the country's foremost university climbing clubs, with a reputation of which we can be justifiably proud. Today, the Club is as active as ever and continues to maintain active links with the Oxford Alpine Club, the Alpine Club, Scottish Mountaineering Club, and American Alpine Club. As well as enjoying twice-monthly outdoor meets and an active social calendar, current OUMC members continue to promote the name of the Club with first ascents both in the UK and abroad, with recent expeditions to South America, California, Canadian Rockies, Alps, Dolomites, Morocco, Thailand, and the Himalayas.

Throughout the forthcoming academic year OUMC will be holding a number of events to celebrate this significant milestone in the Club's history; celebrations that will hopefully involve as many former-members of the Club as possible. Unfortunately the Club has not kept comprehensive records of members' contact details, so tracking people down is not an easy task and we urge you to help us by spreading the word to any Oxford climbing friends that you are still in touch with. Whether or not you will be able to join in the celebrations, we'd love to hear from you at any of the addresses at the bottom of this email.

The focus of the Centenary Celebrations will be the OUMC Ball: a grand reunion dinner held in Oxford next Spring. It would be wonderful to see as many of our old-members there as possible, so please mark the date in your diaries and check out the details on the website for more information. Hopefully this will be an excellent opportunity for climbers of all generations to meet up and share their experiences of the Club, as well as being a good chance to catch up with old friends from your Oxford days!

We also hope to organize two Centenary climbing meets throughout the year: one enjoying winter sun in the Anti-Atlas of Morocco and one in the UK during summer 2009. Details will be published by email and on the website.

In the meantime, I'll briefly introduce the people who are helping to organize Centenary events so that you can quiz them if you need to...

  • Katja Broadbent (OAC President) has done lots of work in gathering contact details, as well as in fundraising.
  • Andy Ross (OUMC 2002-2006) is our history expert, and is trying to compile the history of OUMC.
  • Clare Wakeham (OAC Secretary) is the person to contact for tickets.
  • Aurelie Dekoninck (OUMC Social Sec) is doing lots of the event organizing.

Again, please do spread the word, and get in touch if you would like any further details, or can help with any of the projects below... I look forward to seeing some of you at the OAC Meet at the weekend, where tickets for the Centenary Dinner will be on sale! I've included some details of events and projects you can help us with below, as well as some useful addresses to contact us at.


Steve Broadbent
Chairman, Centenary Committee


The Ball, or Centenary Dinner will be the focus of centenary celebrations, featuring a Champagne Reception, OUMC Gallery, Black-Tie Dinner, Live Music, Country Dancing, Disco and Late Bar. Open to all current and former members of OUMC and their guests, this will be a unique opportunity to reunite all generations of the Club. Tickets cost £55 if purchased before 1 Jan 09 and £65 thereafter, and are available at OUMC and OAC events, or by post. More details and ticket application forms can by found on the website at www.oumcball.org.uk
We are trying to put together a small exhibition of OUMC history, photographs, stories and memorabilia which will be on display during the reception before the Centenary Dinner. If you have any old photographs from your time with OUMC, particularly if they have a story associated with them, then we'd love to include them in the exhibition. Photos of people, Club events, UK climbing and overseas expeditions would all be greatly appreciated, as would any short articles about OUMC expeditions or first ascents. Likewise any newspaper cuttings that you think would be of interest would also be useful. If you think you can help with this then please contact us by email and we can make necessary arrangements (we can either copy material or display originals). Please note that we already have a set of Oxford Mountaineering Journals.
Geoff Hannis has produced OUMC calendars for the last three or four years, which have been consistently popular with Club members. This year he hopes to make a 2009 Centenary Calendar featuring images from throughout OUMC's history... so again, any pictures that you might be able to lend for us to scan would be appreciated. Calendars will be on sale towards the end of the year. If you do have material for this then please send it to Elie Dekoninck at Merton College (address below) along with an address to return it to, your own details (name, when you were in the Club, etc.) and a brief description of the image, or story behind it. Any questions, problems, suggestions, please feel free to email Steve or Elie via oumcball@googlemail.com
This will not be an officially organized Club meet, but we are encouraging members and former-members to get together for a week in Tafraoute, in the Moroccan Anti-Atlas, for a week over new year. This remarkable climbing destination is becoming increasingly popular since the publication of the first guidebook in 2004 and OUMC climbers have made a large number of first ascents in the region over the last couple of years. The Quartzite climbing, whilst satisfyingly steep, tends to be very non-strenuous with large holds, good protection, and solid rock, with some of the very best lines below Very Severe in standard. Routes vary from 15m crag lines to huge full-day outings on mountains up to 2000m above sea level. Accommodation will be in the four-star Hotel Les Amandiers in Tafraoute, which boasts en-suite single, double, and triple rooms, well-stocked bar and restaurant serving a variety of local and western dishes. If you are interested in joining in this unique (and brilliant!) climbing experience then please get in touch by email. Approximate cost is usually about £400–£500 for flights, hotel, and car hire.
More information about Morocco climbing at http://sjbroadbent.googlepages.com/morocco
There will hopefully be a meet in either North Wales or the Lakes next summer for current and former members. Details by email nearer the time.