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Chris Martin - First-Year Chronicles

Our newest members share their experiences about the joining process and becoming a new member

Chris Climbing at Symonds Yat - Photo: Rich Wilkes

So, Chris what motivated or inspired you to contact a mountaineering club?

For me, I never thought that I would join a mountaineering club as my work schedule is very busy and I find it hard at times to balance my work/home life. Then I met Rich Wilkes, whose wife is friends with mine, and he invited me to come and climb at Wolf Mountain with him.

I used to climb around 15 years ago with friends but to be honest we didn't really know what we were doing and eventually, I scared myself too much and decided that I should probably stop before I killed myself.

I then started to climb much more regularly on Tuesday nights [with the club], meeting different club members. I also began to climb outside again learning many new techniques and ways of keeping myself safe. My confidence started to grow and once again I was enjoying my climbing.

Whilst at the wall It was Carol U ( New Members Sec at the time) who suggested that I may enjoy being a member of the club and so from there I started attending club meets until I gained full membership soon after.

Any prior experience before joining?

As I said above I did have experience of climbing from a long time ago. I also often had to use both rope work and experience at heights from some of the things that I have done at work.

I am a keen mountain biker so have a good knowledge of outdoor sports but I had only really done very basic walking/hiking until joining the club.

Learning to Lead in the Peak District - Photo: Rich Wilkes

What were the first few meets you went on like?

My first few meets were loads of fun. I started out with some single-pitch climbing in the Peak, remembering techniques and how to use all the nice shiny new trad gear that I had bought. ( This seems to be a new hobby, I think I’m a bit like a magpie being attracted to shiny stuff ).

I then went on a meet to the hut and ended up at Holyhead Mountain climbing with Dan J and Carol U on an amazing sunny day over there, again more new experiences climbing with double ropes for the first time.

The day after we ended up at the Moelwyns where under the supervision of Rich W I took on my first multi-pitch climb ( I was on second). I thought that I would be fine with this but then on my first hanging belay I quickly realised that I needed to calm down and learn to trust the anchor. For me, this was a game changer. I’m sure most people have had to deal with this feeling the first time at height on a tiny little ledge though ☺.

Later in the day, I led my first multipitch climb, An amazing experience.

I also went to one of Rich S's (the Hut Warden) work meets where I undertook tasks looking after the hut which I enjoyed because of the general vibe of the club members looking after the hut and the chat that was going on.


A year on & full member. Any advice for our readers?

What have been the highlights during the last 12 months?

Highlights for me have been numerous.

I have now met a lot of the club members and consider them friends. I can’t think of anywhere else where I would have met so many like-minded people.

Although most of the activities I’ve been involved in have been climbing, I’ve also been out on the mountain bikes with club members, and several scrambling trips where the weather hasn't been good [enough for rock climbing]. I’ve managed to gain more experience in trad climbing and have gone up several grades since returning to climbing

I find it great that I can go out and do activities with people both at official meets, but also arranging day trips out with various members of the club. Something I couldn't have done without the club.

Chris and Rich on top of a route in LLnaberis Pass - Photo Chris M

A year on, have you learnt any new skills?

New skills that I have learnt are too many to mention, The main thing though is that I’ve managed to get back out on the rock and now with the guidance of the people I’ve been climbing with I have a good knowledge of how to keep both myself and other climbers safe.

So, why join Wolverhampton Mountaineering Club?

Just do it, you won't regret it

You can find out more about joining Wolverhampton Mountaineering club here -

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1 Comment

Sep 24, 2023

It's been a pleasure to be a "small" part of your mountaineering journey!😀

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