The Future of QUBMC……

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    Here comes Pandora’s box…..
    To all committee members (and anyone considering future committee positions),
    I’m not sure if you are aware, this club seems to be slightly falling apart. I can tell this even from England……
    The whole point of joining the committee is to further the interest in inexperienced members in all aspects of mountaineering, be it rock climbing, ice climbing, hiking, etc. Whether this be through trips, teaching or general experience, it is something the committee must provide and honor, as I’m reasonably confident it says something along those lines in the charter…… “1.2 The object of the club shall be to encourage an active interest in mountaineering activities amongst members and to organise mountaineering activities, to increase and promote awareness of mountaineering activities and to provide a forum for members to experience mountaineering.”


    A note on the general experience side. While we are a very social club (some might say incestuous), we very much tend to stick in our dedicated groups. As I’m sure you are aware, we get massive influx of freshers, they get all excited, come to freshers’ trip or the wall a few times, and the majority of the old club don’t talk to them. They then get alienated, think we’re all dicks and leave. Then leaves us in our current situation, where we now have a limited number of current students that can run for exec committee next year that are competent enough to carry the responsibility. Some might argue that about this years, but I’ll get to that shortly…….. For the sake of the club, go and talk to and involve more than 3 freshers each year. There may be personality clashes, sure whatever, for sake of the club, man/woman up………


    Teaching. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass doing it every year for all the new people, but that is what you signed up to when you….. well…. Signed up. “1.3. The club shall at all times educate members on the various technical and safety aspects of mountaineering activities.” I know several members are sticking to this well, but it must be all, if they are available and competent enough. I am aware other club duties may take precedent during club time (having coffee discussing the great trad route you did at the weekend doesn’t count, that’s what the Bot is for…..) Once they are complete, time should be devoted to encouraging, teaching or general tip giving (giggity) to inexperienced members. If you want to climb yourself during club time, when it’s quiet sure. If you purely want to climb during club times and teach no-one, you joined for the wrong reasons, in my view.


    Trips. The biggest and probably most fun part of the club. From here and the amount of organising going on on the Facebook page for various trips over the years at the relative last minute, things could be………… smoother….. Again I don’t know the inner workings of this particular club, but from ski club, one person CANNOT be responsible for a trip on their own, no matter how big or small. I’m sure you all know, but from experience, it never ends well.

    Another point on this, again from ski club experience, all committee members must be committed to the future of the club, not just on the committee for cheap/free trips. It is imperative that all committee members pay for all trips fairly and the same as anyone else on the trip. From ski club, I had “committee” members trying to wrangle free places behind my back. As soon as I found out I killed it stone dead, and passed all the savings from the free places onto everyone else going on the trip. We soon discovered who was truly committed to the cause of the club. It starves the club of funds and causes tension and breaks club charter. “3.14.5 Work with the treasurer to ensure all members have paid their trip fees and demands for payments have been met.” I truly believe and sincerely hope that everyone on the committee is fully behind this. If not, for the sake of the club, please step down.


    I’m sure there are other issues within the club that I’m not privy too, which is fair enough, I shouldn’t be, but these are some of the main issues I have witness develop over the time I have been in the club. Last year, I tried (I think) to arrest this dangerous mind-set by trying to be generally mental and trying to chat to as many freshers or new faces as I could and include them as much as possible. Try it sometime, even just once, so much fun.


    Please, for the sake of the future of this club, change mind-set, recruit the same numbers of people, but interact with them more, they have more chance of sticking around then, which I know I have heard many people complain about new people not sticking around. The ones who get away, might be future presidents, you never know. And thinking about next year’s committee, nominations are moderately scarce……… I love this club, do almost anything for it, for the love of everything mountains…… don’t let it become defunct.


    Loving, crazy, green haired associate,





    • This topic was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by stevymccaff. Reason: Myles, plz fix coding background issue when posting, see this/Lili's post
    • This topic was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by stevymccaff.

    Okay so I’m in Armagh with no computer, just a phone so my reply is short for now.

    Almost 6 years ago I joined this club and it was just as cliquey as now. I had a group of other first years who were friends, (Thomas, Elliot, Luke, Jordan e.t.c) and we hung out by ourselves. The older people ran stuff and when we went on trips we got the obligatory day on a multippitch in wales or the quick lesson in sport top outs before Spain. But we didn’t socialise with them.

    Myself and Thomas had a gear placing lesson and first days tradding (from Owen Largey and Emma Clarke) and that’s it. He bought nuts, I bought a rope on eBay and we spent the summers climbing vdiffs on binnian and at lower cove.

    The lack of experience is not the fault of older committee members. We introduce people to the sport, give them the basics and they need to care enough to push further themselves.

    With regards to free trips NO ONE gets free trips. Yes committee pay late for trips, I haven’t paid for Scotland yet and won’t until end of the month. But no I shouldn’t be held accountable to same standards as others. If I and Niall hadn’t gone to Scotland it wouldn’t have ran. We NEED experience on trips, if the experience wants to pay later fine. Cus if they don’t come the trips don’t run at all.

    And the trips are bloody expensive if you are experienced, I paid the same as fresher’s for Scotland. That inlcuded cost of guides teaching, I dont use guides (well swail rescued my ass this year but anyway). Plus I spent two of my days taking out fresher’s on low grade routes so I didn’t get the chance to push my grade. Would have spent more days doing it but weather crapped out

    Now I’m fine with that but its still giving up some of your trip to teach others. So I’m paying for guides I don’t need and spending half the trip not chasing my goals or climbing my routes. I also use all my own gear these days, only thing I use club for is insurance and that’s like 30quid a year and not even essential cus free mountain rescue in UK.

    So yeah this is the short reply but even briefer. Fuck cliqueyness people can man up and deal, and no we don’t get free trips we have the most expensive trips.


    I don’t want to get into a massive debate, and while I agree with you Stephen to some degree, every club I’ve been part of has this tendency of ‘splitting’ over time. There will inevitably be ups and downs in the structure of the club and it sorts itself out. However, there will be changes. It is not necessarily the fault of older club members, nor or new people. However, you are correct that maybe many of the current ‘old club’ could do a bit more to ensure smooth integration of newer members – and I do include myself in that unfortunately.

    I must stress however that it not the job of older members to babysit newer members. I’m not being mean saying that, but this is a sport with a high degree of personal responsibility and I find that if someone is not willing to take responsibility for their conduct, or is not willing to learn basic etiquette, I’m not willing to waste my own climbing time on them. I will however teach what I can, provide support and spend time ensuring that people are confident with basic techniques for as long as it is necessary. And when the good(ish) weather starts again, will happily take people outside for a bit of tradding. However, this should be a means to an end – shortly they should gain the skills to be fairly self-reliant and, most importantly, safe so that they in turn can do the same for the next years new members when they are more experienced.

    The wall is packed every Tuesday as is the pub and there are many faces who I do not recognise. There is not a shortage of new people. People do stick to groups but that is nothing new – there is a tendency for those that start climbing together as beginners to stick together over time. This is important as they learn together and from each other, and push grades together. The older club members have a responsibility to oversee training and the early days, ensuring safe technique and while many of us may not always have a hands on approach, we ensure this from afar.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by aimees.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by aimees.
    The Club Cat

    The club has a tendency to go in cycles. A few years ago, the club was really very inclusive, which is why we see it as ‘degenerating’ now, but the old club is getting, well, old. This happened a few more years back, and Mcloy (I believe) basically limited the associates severely. It’s inevitable, and, as long as the things get taught to the non-eejits, shouldn’t really matter in the long run.

    As regards to the committee, not member has got, or even asked for, free trips. Paying late is ‘acceptable’, imo, as the work we put in is ridiculous, especially for execs. Most of the organisational shite happens in the background, and the committee this year has actually been super-busy just trying to get everything to work at all in the face of many stupid issues that aren’t our fault. We have one person not in final year, phd or a job (excluding Andrew as freshers rep), so finding time to get anything done, never mind be upbeat and social at the wall when we want to climb is… difficult.

    I’m not saying that your fears are ungrounded or silly, but shit happens, and the club has survived worse than this.


    The future of QUBMC is fine. It existed before us, it will exist after and will go through much worse than what its been through since I have been here. Its gone through waves of cliqueyness and socialness which for me is not an issue as people always end up sticking around. If its a year where the club is a bit cliquey then less people stick around but the people who do, are the ones who are really interested. The club doesn’t have to inspire all 200 freshers to love the mountains and what not, thats what the internet is for. The club helps people who have those interests further them and give them opportunities to explore more places they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. As for the club being cliquey at the moment, yes, there are a group of people who came through the club together, some of which are on the committee and yes, they mainly talk to each other if they are down at the wall but thats what happens. I have no issues with this as most these people have been in the club 3+ years and have met and talked to hundreds of freshers. They may just want to come down to the wall on a Tuesday night and climb with there friends. The fact that I go down to the wall once every month or so and know only a few people that are climbing is a testament to the clubs success and the fact the future is fine! I regularly see people who have been in the club 1 or 2 years talking to freshers so its not like there is this great divide. It may go through waves of having less experienced people but every club does. There will always be a small number of people a year who take it outside and go walking , do trad, etc.. and these people keep the individual skills going in the club.

    In regards to people getting cheap/free trips on the committee, this does NOT happen. As Michael said we pay more if anything.  In the long term this is more of an issue than anything when you have few experienced people to lots of inexperienced people. As an associate, if I was going on the trad trip to the Peak district and it cost £140 for non students and £105 for students, I would be paying £35 more to give up my time to teach people which puts me off wanting to go as I work so I have to take holidays to then pay to go teach people. Many other Uni clubs give discounts to experienced people who teach on trips and there is the potential that if a lot of the experienced members become associates, they will become less involved on the more expensive club trips ( i.e. Scotland trip and trad trip)

    Another point to add,
    People start to get more involved with the club once they go on trips.
    This year:
    Donegal trip, lots of freshers
    Wicklow trip happened for the first time in years this year, Lots of freshers
    Scotland trip, Lots of freshers
    Spain trip, lots of freshers

    The club is fine. quit yer moanin




    Honestly there needs to be a guide on how freshers can integrate themselves more than anything. People show up at the start of the year, don’t come to any of the trips and wonder why they can’t integrate themselves fully.

    I stuck to my small group of fellow freshers until Spain trip really and only then did I really become part of the club. You only really integrate until you go on a trip and freshers need to know this. Otherwise they tend to be just a face at the wall that neither of you really socialise with the other.

    I am always game to pay back to the club for all the great times they have given me by passing that on to the next ‘generation’ but there are definitely times I thought about what the point was with some people as they only go to you for the training then just clear off back to their own clique. You get the feeling they are the kind that if they stay on they won’t be helping the generation after that. Heck there are some people who joined last year still vaguely in the club I think that aren’t paying back because they have stuck to their clique.


    It’s not an old club problem, it is an antisocial problem.


    I see Peter. What your saying is its not our fault. ITS THE FRESHERS FAULT 😉


    I agree with Prebble there. I notice the cliques, but from the moment I joined, I also half-joined those groups. Obviously I had a lot of experience in that area as I wasn’t a total fresher, but that means that the people in those cliques aren’t closing themselves off for new members.

    If anything would put freshers off in the beginning I would say its the mass of freshers. The older members are busy teaching. It’s so busy at the wall, they hardly get a chance to climb. They meet new people who then don’t come back next week, which means you need to introduce yourself all over again. In the beginning you need to stick, after that, it all comes around. The big mass leaves, the ones that stick, really stick and slowly you can climb more, meet new people, learn new skills.

    And this is how it works in most clubs really.. Besides, the freshers are forming their own cliques.. Nothing to worry about.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by Lili.



    There are several valid point here and some not quite so valid. As Alex has already said there is a cyclic nature to the club that has been there form when I joined over 7 years ago. Like most of us I joined the club as an inexperienced fresher in my first year at uni even then there was old club. On my first Scotland trip I remember talking to Macloy who was complaining about the problem of old club/new club, he had a solution not one i would be keen to implement. Integration in the club is always something we strive for and is frequently discussed ( solution is often drinking in the bot).


    Although I agree an important part of the club is to gain and motivate new members, this should not stop the development of current members. Levels within the club are not so binary that people are either fresher or experienced.


    With regards to the committee and organisation, I fully agree this could be improved and with this I am probably more culpable than most. However every single member of my committee gives up huge amounts of their time and energy for this club. There is no personal gain for them bar continuing  to help the club that has helped them. You mentioned  being “truly committed to the cause of the club” on that I have 0 doubts about any of the committee.


    Yes I agree with you that there is defiantly room for improvement and the club is not with out its faults. But I don’t think we are teetering on the edge of an basis here and if we are we have been hanging here for over a decade, so there is some micro nut holding us somewhere


    Since becoming a small part of the committee I’ve heard a lot of people discussing this issue and I think there are a couple of things to consider such as people being disinterested, not having time/funds to go on trips or simply not wanting to.  Firstly, I think that the non-fresher section of the club is approachable (if a bit cliquey), some freshers just seem to be quite quiet around new people, especially with some of the huge personalities within the club. Coming from me, this may seem false given that i knew people in the club before I joined, but if you think about who I knew before I joined the club and who I know now, its insane. I joined the club knowing people from a single encounter 3 years previous like Niall, Campbell, Sinead etc. as I had been instructed by them the odd time. Now I climb with loads of others and have asked to be involved in non-club trips such as my first trad trip to the Mournes and drives up to the boulders in Fairhead with Prebble, Cadden, Fyfe, Pete and others. Furthermore, I have taken almost every opportunity to go on club trips which have been awesome including Freshers, Donegal, (not Wicklow, no money D:)Scotland and the hill skills organised by Niall which very few freshers attended.

    In terms of money, all you really need to buy is climbing shoes and a few odd bits of gear and the trips are ridiculously cheap. I know Scotland isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and is rather expensive compared to other trips but the craic was 90 and if you paid for it outside of QUBMC it would cost another £300 or something. And on the other big trip (Spain) you are essentially getting taught to sport climb outdoors with cheap accommodation etc. The shame is that these are the trips you really get to know people on, for example I found that on Scotland I got to know a few people a lot better like Nelly, Stephen Armstrong and Alex as we were thrown into a lodge together for a week or freezing our balls off on a belay. With the Spain trip is coming up, I think the freshers on that trip will start to come out of their shell a lot more, its just a shame that more older club members aren’t able to go to get to know them.


    Freshers need to try and get more involved with the club, from what I know none of the freshers have even asked older club members about doing hikes in the Mournes, bouldering or trad.

    If you can’t afford to go to Spain, Scotland or the Alps, go to the cheaper trips and actually interact with older club members.

    I used to be antisocial like you but then I took a QUBMC to the knee.

    P.S. Excuse my grammar/sentence structure, if I could have expressed myself using algebra, I would have.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by Andrew.

    If people are really concerned about the club, or more so the number of new members, there is always the Refreshers fair coming up (This Wednesday) it might be an idea to have a presence there and get some new sign-ups? (Actual Queen’s students and not a ton of ERASMUS).


    Steve, I’m glad you are concerned about the state of the club and all but how can you tell form the other side of the country that it is failing? I for one as someone who is down most tuesdays it is doing well. Yes there are lots of fresher of whom I know only a few but they are the one who have been on the same trips as me. These new folk are doing well, learning well and importantly the 2-3 year club members are taking big role in teaching, I for one have done little direct teaching but this was on purpose more supervising. in fact this hopefully ensuring the club continuation by forming next years committee, a big shift on that front is hoped for.

    As for suggesting committee members are profiting from club trips I find that quite rude, it is true asked if anyone would object to the upcoming trad trip to fall over the date I am allowed off over Easter. Seeing that am currently working 60 hour weeks and have my holiday dates dictated to me I didn’t think it unreasonable.

    Many of the committee give up large amount of there time arranging club activities, running meetings, sorting finances, buying club gear, driving there car on club trips and generally putting them selves out for as has been well illustrated little thanks. who exactly on the committee is supposed to be stepping down due to there neglect of duties/ self interest?

    Im sure the ski club ran like a well oiled machine but how many trips were ran each year?




    “I’m not sure if you are aware, this club seems to be slightly falling apart”
    Having given this comment fair consideration along with the general suggestion of the op I can’t agree with it.
    “all committee members pay for all trips fairly” As far as I know this happens. If there has been abuse then name and shame.
    “If you purely want to climb during club times and teach no-one, you joined for the wrong reasons.” An extreme version of a partial truth and I don’t think it’s completely fair to say of anyone. Yes people do occasionally want to climb with someone who’s at their level too. Maybe Alex has been under pressure with teaching (he’s certainly been doing lots) but there have been others teaching too.
    I realise I come under the category of superoldy and am not involved in the committee. I don’t make it down for many sessions and I’ll only make the occasional club trip. Unusually enough I was down last Tuesday. Not sure what the main wall was like but at the Everest oldies were outnumbered by newbies (new to the club if not to climbing). Haven’t met someone I didn’t know we tied in and climbed a few routes (turns out that new fella Jamie’s a considerably stronger climber than me and he’s psyched to get tradin outside).
    One of the best things associates can bring to the club is the occasional post offering lifts down to the mournes/Fairhead for running, hillwalking and trad climbing (come the weather). This does still happen. And trips like that are how membership grows not by “by trying to be generally mental” or giving hundreds of belays for soon to be strangers. To me the heart of the club will always be local mountaineering and climbing. Take people out on those trips and they tend to stick around.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by OwenL.

    Steve, So I’ve been mulling over whether to respond at all to your post regarding the “Future of QUBMC” and your observations. Reading the range of comments above it’s clear that your post has touched a few nerves. I’m not sure what the intended outcome from your post really was. I mean, was this a genuine concern you are voicing or are you playing devil’s advocate?

    You’ve posed a few questions, ones that perhaps I can help answer as well. However, in turn there are some that perhaps you can answer as well.

    First off – I’ll give my opinions about the current state of the club. Most people here I’m sure would agree with what I’ll say, and would have most likely have heard this from me before.

    I firmly believe the current committee is too old. Average age is 22/23 years old, and most positions are held by people in PhD’s or full time work. For a student club, I would say that is not a great sign. I also believe that experience levels are not as high as in previous years (without stating the classic “In my day…), and that we have struggled to retain lots of Freshers each year. I will gladly hold my hand up and say I am a part of this problem, but I will give reasons below. So your impressive observational skills from England are ones that I am in agreement with.

    However – it is the causes you have cited, the cliques and lack of desire to teach I find are completely incorrect. The easiest way to refute every single one of those observations is with simple stats.

    Pub Sessions (Tuesdays):

    Since the start of the year, the pub sessions have been very well attended. At the height I counted 45 people in the Bot after climbing. This is also indicative of the numbers at the wall that night.

    Freshers Trip:

    Freshers trip this year was maxed out at 70 people paying to attend. I came down late on the Friday having got a lift with Stuart after running a Scout meeting. Arriving in to the cottage we were told there was only 35 people on the trip now. At least 35 people didn’t bother to turn up, despite having paid to go. The reasons we got in the end was because it was raining.
    SO… if you are going to ask any older person to justify giving up time and effort for people who join a MOUNTAINEERING club, but opt out of the most social trip of the year because of the weather, then good luck with that!

    Donegal Trip:

    I didn’t attend, had a deadline for the Monday, but by all accounts it was a very good trip, with lots of Freshers there!

    Wickow Trip:

    First time it has been run in a long time. Again, half the trip list were freshers!

    Scotland Trip:

    I organised this trip. We had 7 Freshers on the trip, with 7 older members (of which 4 of them were doing their first ever winter leads that trip!). Logistically it was difficult, and we could not for safety reasons take anymore freshers on the trip. I will now refrain from fully voicing my opinion on this trip regarding certain new people and their conduct socially and climbing wise (those who know the reasons will understand that the forum is really not the place for it!).

    The stats very simply prove that the club is in fact in good shape with membership.

    Regarding teaching – the issue of teaching can be broken down pretty simply. There are people who join the club to learn to climb, and those who join the club to be brought climbing. There is a MASSIVE difference. The number of people who join the club and come down to the wall once in a blue moon and ask to be belayed to the top of the wall is what puts older members off getting involved during club times. Everyone who joins the club is big enough and ugly enough to realise that they must learn to look after themselves, otherwise they will be told where to go. It’s not abdication of responsibility if we have taught them all the basics and are commencing on advanced stuff, only for somebody to come down to the wall for the first time in three weeks and expect to be babysat.

    I haven’t been down as much this year due to a heavy work load with my PhD, plus a huge commitment now to running my Scout troop – so I have not done much teaching. However, to highlight that there is a lack of teaching and integration in the club from observations made several hundred miles away is ridiculous and a slap in the face to the genuine hard work put in by Alex, Cadden, Anthony, Jonny, Matt, Cecilia (I’m going to stop naming names as I could go on forever/might leave too many people out!). If anything, its quite insulting to them.

    Regarding paying for trips. Frankly I agree with Stuart – that is a very rude statement/observation to make. What you are essentially doing is calling into question the integrity of club members regarding the finances of the club. There may have been issues in the past with the Ski Club, but I can assure you that in the 5 years I have been in the Mountaineering Club, we have never had an issue of club members profiting from trips.

    Initially I laughed at the post, but having now written the response, I’m kind of a bit angry.

    They say that everyone is entitled to an opinion. Well, in my honest opinion – your opinion is bollocks!


    • This reply was modified 5 years, 7 months ago by Myles. Reason: Formatting

    Yo, one more armchair observer here to pitch a comment.

    From all of my three or four days in the country this year, the only problem that can threaten the existence of the club is that the club committee is suffering from Cuba Syndrome. Most of the above posters have noted this. I propose that this has occurred due to failure to groom junior club members into up and coming committee members to encourage freshers to join the committee.

    The rest of the problems (which aren’t imagined) are just consequences of human behaviours that solve themselves: Human beings? forming groups within groups? Well I never…..

    Cuba syndrome on the other hand might actually be quite serious.

    In any case, keep up the good work and mind your ankles.


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