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!!


Outdoor climbing etiquette

When we’re climbing together outdoors, we try to keep to good outdoor climbing etiquette! This means:

Being courteous to other climbers who may be there;

  • Not being too loud as to distract other climbers whether they are part of our group or just other climbers that may be sharing the crag and routes we are on.
  • Leaving kit, bags, etc in a tidy pile so as to not block access to the base or top of the crags
  • Not playing music that could be audible or distracting to others. Being aware that many venues have restrictions on drone flying and climbers can find them distracting or intrusive.

Leave no trace principles;

  • Take away everything that you brought in including litter and food waste (bonus points for picking up other litter and improving the environment!)
  • Don’t pick mosses, lichens, break branches and trees, carve things into rocks or trees
  • There are no public toilet facilities at the crag! Take toilet paper and menstrual products out with you (I find a ziplock bag useful for this). If you need a wee or a poo, please do so well away from the crag base and top, and water sources. Please bury poo and menstrual cup contents at least 6 inches into the ground as this allows it to properly decompose.
  • Close gates behind you
  • Stick to established paths as much as possible to avoid further erosion to the environment

Under 18s;

  • If you have an person U18 with you, please make sure they are closely supervised.

Trip report: Chudleigh

On Sunday 5th Feb we made our first club trip of the year to Chudleigh rocks. The sun was out and it was attended by 16 members! For some it was their first time climbing on limestone and the conditions were excellent, just warm enough but crisp and dry. Kieran rigged some bottom ropes on Eeny (Diff) and Miney (VDiff) as well as Jim’s Folly (Severe 4a), while some other members went further out along the crag to lead and second some traditional routes. 

Others went to sample the (delights of?) bouldering at Chudleigh. The verdict seemed to be ‘hard!’. 

After sufficient snackage, club secretary Josh led Meeney (VDiff) and then top rope belayed a few members on this route. More members went off as an independent group to lead and second Barn Owl Crack and Kieran set off to rig a big free hanging abseil which was braved by 7 members.

Special mentions to:

Mathura for “What do you mean my feet won’t be on anything” when she realised how far she’d be hanging into space (paraphrasing, I don’t want to tell tales but I believe there were more swear words than what I’ve related here…)

Harrison for their bravery (both on top of the abseil and for communicating what they needed) and the most delicious crag snacks I’ve ever eaten

Flo for some 5 star tree goblin antics

Josh for putting up with Flo’s antics with reasonable dignity and grace

Char for maximum crag dad vibes

Noa for their quiet but determined psych

Jack for not breaking up with me for forcing him out of bed at 7 (the horror 😉 ) so I could go and rig before the rest of the club arrived.

Genuinely everyone for making this a fantastic first club trip of 2023, your support for and enthusiasm towards everyone in the group make this club what it is. I’m looking forward to many more trips with you all this year.

We are planning on doing a day trip a month until the autumn and longer trips to come! Keep an eye on the calendar for updates. 

Kieran – Trips and Training Officer


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!


Why start an LGBTQ+ Club? – BMC webinar

On Wednesday the 2nd of March Mike Phillips (chairperson LGBTQ CC), Char Harrison (New members officer LGBTQ CC) and Robert Dufton (founding member of Not So Trad) ran a webinar as a part of the British Mountaineering Council’s (BMC) Equity Webinar series 2022.  This webinar looked at what it means to be LGBTQ+, why an LGBTQ+ climbing club is a positive place and some hints and tips on setting up an LGBTQ+ Climbing Club.

This was an amazing experience to be able to discuss why we started our climbing clubs and how these have had a transformative approach for our members. It was also a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of LGBTQ+ climbers, the challenges they still face and how clubs and organisations can make simple changes to make a big change.

This was a well-attended webinar with 23 people taking part including staff from our local climbing walls The Quay Climbing Centre and the Hanger Plymouth and Exeter. All people who attended seemed to find the webinar useful and this has opened up conversations locally for us as a club.

If you would Like to watch the webinar or look at the slides please see below.  

recording of presentation with audio and CC