Reflections on IDAHoBit

To mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, club member Beau offers these thoughts.

On International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHoBiT) we could get lost in the data that shows the continued rise in hate crime, daily attacks on trans folk in the media, and the stripping of rights for queer people all across the world, and this would become yet another bleak day of dwelling on how hard it is to just exist as an LGBTQ+ person in 2023.

But this climbing club teaches self-compassion – whether that’s taking a break mid-climb because panic is setting in or encouraging every member to bring their whole self to a climbing session. Some of you will be feeling strong today and can practice the fierce side of self-compassion where you take action to alleviate the suffering of others and try to educate those outside the community to become better allies. But for many, myself included, we need to spend today seeking to heal ourselves from the damage caused by the constant homophobia, biphobia, and/or transphobia we experience.

On this IDAHoBiT be tender and accepting of yourself as the glorious individual you are. Do not allow the messages that you are bombarded with to become internalised and do not believe the dark voice in your mind that there is anything wrong with you – because there categorically is not. You are loved and valued and make the world a better place.

This club is a place of protection, safety and nourishing for all queer climbers. If you need support today please reach out, there’s lots of us ready to help.

The image and inspiration for piece are from a blog post written by Lor Sabourin: 


Exeter Rainbow Fayre today


It’s Exeter’s Rainbow Fayre and Eurovision watch party today, which means there might be fewer members at TCH Plymouth Pride Night than usual.


ClimbOut Queer Climbing Festival – tickets on sale now

We’re delighted to announce that tickets go on sale at noon today for ClimbOut, the UK’s first LGBTQ+ Climbing Festival, which some of our members (Kieran, Jack, Char, Matilda, Ali, and Mike) have helped organise.

The festival runs over the weekend from Friday 19th May to Sunday 21 May at Thornbridge Outdoors Centre in the Peak District, with talks and independent climbing all weekend and masterclasses and courses on Saturday and Sunday. Check out more details about the schedule.

Ticket prices

Tickets are available for:

  • entry to the festival (£50), or
  • entry to the festival and 1 day’s course (£100), or
  • entry to the festival and 2 days’ courses (£150)

All paid members of the club qualify for the BMC discounted prices (shown above). If you really want to come but money is an issue, there will be concession and bursary options available. Full details of tickets (scroll down to “Prices” for information about discounts).

How to book tickets

It’s a three-stage process to book tickets. You can do the first two stages now!

  1. Look at the lists of Masterclasses by High-profile LGBTQ+ Climbers and the list Climbing Courses and Workshops. Each session runs for a full day minimum. Decide which you’d like to come to!
  2. Registration is through the BMC Webform system. You’ll need to log in or create a BMC Webforms account.
  3. Complete a registration form to book and pay

You’ll need your BMC membership number to book at the discounted rate. We sent this number in an email at noon today (Fri 10th March) – but just contact us on if you need any help.

Please don’t be afraid to grab us and ask any questions or email the team at ClimbOut.

Looking forward to seeing some of you there!!


2022 AGM Recap

We held our first AGM on 18th November 2022 at the Quay Climbing Centre.

A huge thank you to everyone who came along to recap and celebrate our achievements from the past year.


There were three areas for members to vote on:

  • Membership fees for 2023
  • Constitutional amendments
  • Committee officer elections

Of the 25 members who attended the meeting, 23 voted.
All motions were unanimously approved.

Membership fees for 2023

The cost of membership fees will rise every year; the cost of affiliating with the BMC increases in line with inflation every year. The cost of standard adult club member affiliation will rise by £1.25 to £22.25.

In 2022, we charged the bare cost of BMC Affiliation. We proposed that fees rise slightly above the cost of BMC Affiliation, by rounding up to £25. This will create a small budget we can spend on the club that could be used towards, equipment, trips, bursaries, etc.

Constitutional amendments

There were three constitutional amendments, set out in the document below.

An updated version of the constitution is at the bottom of club rules page.

Committee officer elections

All of the committee stood for re-election. Jack Woolley and Laura Saunders stood for election to two new roles that were created by constitutional amendment.

Slides from the meeting



Thank you everyone who attended!


2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM)

We’re holding our first AGM on Mon 14th November, 6:30pm in the Quay Climbing Centre cafe and all members are welcome.

The AGM is a bit of a formality, but it will be a chance to review what we’ve achieved together in the last year and set out our plans for the future.

There’s also the opportunity to ask questions of the committee and discuss the club’s future direction.

We hope you’ll be able to join us.


  • Review of the year: chair and secretary’s report
  • Training/Equipment officer’s report
  • Introducing Jay Jackson: our technical advisor
  • Financial review: treasurer’s report
  • Certification of the club’s accounts
  • Consider changes to the club’s constitution
  • Election of committee officers
  • Agree membership fees for next year
  • Other relevant business
    • Under-18s policy
  • Q&A

Proposed constitutional amendments

The AGM is an opportunity to make changes to our constitution, and three sets of amendments have been proposed.

There are three sets of amendments proposed:

  1. Changes to support our BMC affiliation
  2. Minor change to paragraph numbering
  3. Creating two new committee officer roles

We’ve prepared a document which explains each change in detail. There will be copies available in the meeting.
(As a reminder, you can find a copy of our current constitution at the bottom of the club rules page.)

Committee officer nominations

In accordance with our constitution, the committee officers must stand down every year for a new committee to be elected. For this year, all the current committee officers have put themselves forward for re-election.

Nominee for Chair

Mike Phillips
Nomination supported by: Josh Brockhouse Smith and Matilda Bradford
“As the founder and first chair of this club I am really proud of how this club has progressed and grown over the last year and I wish to thank all the members for creating such a friendly and inclusive space, I couldn’t do this without you all. I would like to continue as chair as I believe I have created a positive direction for the club and with the support of the other committee members to date I believe we can develop and grow it to an even better club over the next year. I would like to continue driving this development and to be able to help the club into its next stage of development.”

Nominee for Secretary

Josh Brockhouse Smith
Supported by: Mike Phillips and Flo Stokes
“It’s been a real pleasure to serve the club as Secretary for the past year. This time last year, we were a small group of friends – now we’re a formal, affiliated club more than 50 members strong. It’s been an incredible journey, but there’s lots more to do. I hope I’ve done a good enough job that you’ll keep me around for another year!”

Nominee for Treasurer

Simon Aplin
Supported by: Fiachra Knox and Laura Saunders
“I have kept track of the club financial records for the past year with a clear view of money spent vs money being paid into the club account. As well as initiating the transfer of membership fees to BMC. At no point have we had any debt collection agencies/bailiffs contacting us, which I consider a great success. I hope to have the opportunity to uphold this positive record into 2023.”

Nominee for New Members’ Officer

Char Harrison
Supported by: Sharon Templeton and Josh Brockhouse Smith
“I think I would be a great New Members Officer as I bring my approachable and friendly demeanor to the club. I enjoy helping to run beginners nights and liasing with local walls to make our club nights a success. In the last year I have helped our club grow and have attended street fairs, volunteer events and even written an article to help get our club’s name out there, and I hope to continue that work.”

Nominee for Training/Equipment Officer

Kieran Woolley
Supported by: Flo Stokes and Liz Morrison
“I believe I would be the best person for the role due to my previous experience in the climbing industry, my passion for climbing and because I really want to help the club and members develop.”

Nominee for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer

Jack Woolley
Supported by: Mike Phillips and Matilda Bradford
“I have enjoyed being a co-opted member of the committee this year, and would love the opportunity to take on an officer role. EDI is close to my heart; I am multiply neurodivergent and have an invisible disability, as well as being LGBTQ+. I’m passionate about helping the club be as inclusive and accessible as possible for its members.”
Note: this is a new role which is proposed to be created by constitutional amendment

Nominee for Members Liaison Officer

Laura Saunders
Supported by: David Newman and Sam Ford
“I’d love to volunteer myself for a role on the committee as I’ve gained so much from the climbing club in such a short time and would love the opportunity to pay some of this back. Since I joined in February I’ve found myself making not only great friends, but I’ve discovered a sense of belonging and family which I’ve gone so much of my adult life without. I’d love to specifically run for members liaison officer as I believe this to be an important role in ensuring that members feel safe, seen and supported. Something I’ve always felt that this club does well and which I’d love to ensure continues as our club grows in numbers.”
Note: this is a new role which is proposed to be created by constitutional amendment


Who’s who? The 2022 committee

So who’s running this thing anyway?

Our volunteer committee of course! Here are our founding members, who helped set up the club and run things on a day-to-day basis. We’ve asked each of them to write a few words about who they are and what they do.

The committee will be democratically elected by the membership every year, in our AGM in November.

Mike (he/him), Chair

I have been climbing on and off for 20ish years – indoors and out – and I am a qualified SPA (RCI) instructor. When I struggled to find friends who I felt comfortable to climb with I thought why not create a group to find them? And the club was born! My role as Chair is the overall shaping and organising of the club and supporting the committee and members to keep the club moving forward. Thank you to you all for helping me make this such a lovely club!

Josh (he/him), Club Secretary

I’ve been climbing socially for around 5 years, but it really kicked up a gear when Mike and I started climbing outdoors between lockdowns in 2020.
I remember, when I first moved to Exeter, joining an LGBT community group made a huge difference in helping me feel proud of my sexuality, and feel at home in Devon. I really hope that the club, as well as introducing people to our brilliant sport, might do the same for others.
I organise committee meetings and take minutes, and look after the club’s website, email, and data.

Char (they/them), New Members’ Officer

Charlie is a South West based outdoor educator who has worked as a climbing wall instructor (CWI) and currently works as an outdoor educator for a young people’s charity. They are passionate about climbing, coaching people through fear, and growing the climbing community.
Char works to make the club a welcoming place for newcomers, and encourage everyone to be the best climbers they can.

Simon (he/him), Treasurer

I’ve been climbing for 4 years and got involved with the club in late 2021.
It’s my job to keep track of the club’s bank account/money; ensuring that people are up to date with membership payments, and monitoring money spent on equipment etc.

Kieran (they/he), Training and Equipment Officer

Kieran works as a professional rock climbing instructor (RCI) and can smash the toughest climb with the crimpiest holds, all with a smile on his face.
He works on identifying the kit we need, looking after it (once we have it) and keeping an eye on training opportunities for the committee and club members.

And you?

It takes a lot of different skills to run a club, and there’s always a chance to get involved. If you’d like to help, talk to a member of the committee. We could find specific tasks for you to help with, offer you a place on the committee as a non-voting member – or you could even stand for election.

The committee are also particularly grateful for the advice and suggestions given by Jack, and for funding bid writing support from Adam.


Why do we want to affiliate the club with the BMC?

For the last few months, we’ve been talking about affiliating the club with the BMC. We’re now getting ready to submit our application to the BMC and, as part of this, we’re asking everyone to fill in a membership form and make a small annual payment to the club.

We know it’s a change, and we know that climbing is expensive enough without being asked to pay for something that was previously free! I just wanted to quickly run through why we’re doing this, what the benefits for the club are, and what it all means for the future of our friendly group.

Who are the BMC and what does affiliating the club with them mean?

The BMC (British Mountaineering Council) are the official body for hillwalking, climbing and mountaineering. They work hard to support climbers and raise the profile of climbing in the UK and are well regarded for their work.

Club insurance

By the far the most significant benefit for the club, but also the least “sexy”: affiliating with the BMC means we are all covered by the BMC’s specialist combined liability insurance.

The insurance includes public liability cover, which protects everyone in the club from being sued for negligence. Climbing comes with significant risks of property damage, personal injury and death – both to ourselves as members (eg in an awkward fall, or if a belayer doesn’t catch) and to others (eg falling on another person, dropping something or dislodging loose rock onto somebody below).

We hope it never happens, but if somebody is badly injured and sues, we’re all protected up to £15m of liability. It also means, by suing, there’s a way for an injured person to get financial compensation, which we’d never be able to provide directly.

This is the sort of situation that can happen (sorry for the Daily Mail link):

This sort of accident could happen to any of us, whether we’re giving somebody advice or beta on a route, belaying, or climbing – and it starts to get a little bit more likely as the club grows and we bring in more new members and start doing more things.

Also, the owners of some outdoor crags require you to have insurance before going on their land (eg Chudleigh) – we’d really like to run some outdoor trips in the Summer, so we need to be covered in order to do this.
The good news is, once we’re affiliated, the insurance also covers every member for any climbing they do personally too, not just in club meets.

Further details from Howden’s, the BMC’s insurer.


The BMC run training courses – some free, and some paid for – to help the committee run the club, and to help us all become better climbers. These include weekend-long “How to train novice members in your club“and other courses on first aid, rescue, and scrambling and climbing skills available to all members.

Affiliating benefits the club by giving us access to the BMC’s experience and guidance, in matters like governence, liability, and safeguarding.


Everyone in the club gets BMC discounts at well-known outdoors shops like Cotswold Outdoor, Rohan, Taunton Leisure, and hundreds of other discounts.

Once we’re affiliated, you can also choose to upgrade to Individual BMC Membership at a discounted rate (meaning it’s actually cheaper to join the club and upgrade to Individual BMC Membership, than to just become an Individual BMC member outright!).

We’ve also snagged extra discounts specifically for our members: concessionary admission to Plymouth Life Centre, free gear hire at the Quay Climbing Centre for new climbers, discounted leggings from Funky Fitness (ask the committee for the code), and a special 20% off voucher from Taunton Leisure for new members.

Visibility and influence

Affiliating helps raise our profile and makes us an “official”, visible part of the climbing scene – I don’t know about you, but I loved climbing as soon as I tried it, but I could never have imagined feeling comfortable in a straight climbing group. I think it’s really important that there are groups like ours, to create a safe space for queer people in the sport, and to really drive inclusivity forward.

Supporting the sport

By affiliating with the BMC, we’re supporting the good work they do for all climbers, including their access and conservation work and equipment failure investigations.

Why do we have to pay, and where does the money go?

The BMC charge an annual fee – currently £20.25 per member, rising slightly to £21 for 2023 – to cover the cost of affiliation.

This is exactly the same as the amount we’re asking everyone to pay! We’re asking everyone to pay the bare minimum and don’t intend to make any surplus.

What does this mean for the future of club?

We know registering and paying to formally join a climbing club could feel like a big change. Don’t panic, there are no plans to radically change the club!

We’re still the same friendly people, and want to keep the same friendly, welcoming atmosphere we’ve always had. There’s no plans to change how any of our sessions are run.

We also don’t want to exclude anybody. We’ll keep running Beginners’ Nights, and new members can try the club (and be covered by our insurance) for free up to 3 months without needing to pay – more than enough time to get a feel for climbing, learn new skills, get to know people in the club.

All in all, all the good bits of the club will still be here, but with some great benefits, and with the insurance protection for us to do even more.

What do I need to do?

We’re asking everyone who’s been climbing with the group to take a quick look at our club rules, fill in a membership form, and pay a £20.25 membership fee by bank transfer (you’ll be sent a reminder of the bank account details after filling in the form).

Membership renews every year, so in the new year (January 2023), we’ll ask everybody to pay for the year ahead.

That’s all there is to it!


Thursday nights at Plymouth Life Centre: now every week!

We’ve had lots of people get in touch about more sessions in Plymouth and we were really delighted in the level of interest for our session at the Life Centre last Thursday.

So… Brilliant news… We’re going to do it every week, starting this week!

See you every Thursday for roped climbing at Plymouth Life Centre, 7pm-10pm.

The centre have kindly offered us a concessionary rate, so entry is only £6 each – just mention the LGBT Climbing Club when you arrive. Shoes, harnesses and belay devices are available to hire for a small amount extra.

Beginners’ Nights will also be coming to Plymouth on the first Thursday of the month.

Kieran will be running the sessions in Plymouth, with Mike running the sessions in Exeter.

If you’d like to climb with us or have any questions, drop us a line on, post in the Facebook group or message us on Instagram.

See you there!


Quay Climing Centre route setting schedule – updated for Feb

Vaguely Regular Updates

New year, new routes

Char, …
Mike, …
and Josh try out new routes at the Quay

The new year’s off to a great start. The team at the Quay Climbing Centre are resetting routes with giddy abandon and have an impressive programme of resets scheduled over January and February, giving us lots of new things to try. So much that we can’t fit it all in!

As normal, we’re climbing at the Quay every Monday evening from 6.30pm. Some of the group have, semi-officially, been climbing on Wednesday evenings too, to try out new routes sooner or to give old favourite routes a final hurrah before they disappear.

Our Beginners’ Nights are the first Monday of every month. In hindsight, we were a little ambitious in running a Beginners’ Night on Mon 3rd Jan – the final night of the most people’s Christmas break wasn’t the perfect time to try something new and, although quite a few people expressed an interest, unfortunately none could make it on the night. We look forward to welcoming new members next month!

And finally, Pride Nights at the Climbing Hangar, Plymouth! Mike, Simon, Josh, Thomas, Kieran, Jack and Char all made it to the first Pride Night of 2022 on Jan 8th. Sadly, the next Pride Night on 22th Jan has been cancelled to make space for a one-off event, but Pride Nights resume their fortnightly schedule on 5th February.

What’s coming up?

Thursday Nights at Plymouth Life Centre, Thurs 20th Jan

7pm-10pm, Plymouth Life Centre
We’re excited to be visiting Plymouth Life Centre on Thursday – a small group will be travelling down from Exeter, joined by members from Plymouth. The hope is it’ll be the start of regular roped climbing sessions in Plymouth either weekly or fortnightly – watch this space! Entry £6.

Monday Nights at the Quay, Mon 24th Jan & Mon 31st Jan

6.30pm-8pm, Quay Climbing Centre, Exeter
A staple in our climbing diary, every Monday we head to the Quay. There’s no set programme or agenda; we just hang out, enjoy each others’ company and climb whatever takes our fancy.

Pride Night, Sat 5th Feb

4pm – 5.30pm, The Climbing Hangar, Plymouth
The team at the Hangar run a Pride Night every fortnight – it’s open to everyone and, for the same price as their regular climb (around £10), you get to enjoy the company of other LGBT climbers, a free hot drink, and lots of support and advice from their climbing coaches. The team do a flawless job of making us feel welcome. Book online with the Climbing Hangar.

Beginners’ Night, Mon 7th Feb

6.30pm – 8pm, Quay Climbing Centre, Exeter
A chance to learn the ropes – if you’d like to try climbing (or if you’ve climbed a bit and would like a refresher of the basics) our experts are here to show you what it’s all about. Several of our members are qualified climbing instructors and will be on hand to help you learn the skills to climb for the first time safely.

We don’t charge anything, but you’ll need to pay for entry to the Quay Climbing Centre and to hire a harness and climbing shoes. Approx £18 total. Email so we know to expect you.