As a sport, mountaineering has always fascinated but terrified me. Growing up with a holiday home in the Lake District, going up in the mountains should be part of my blood. However, the exposed faces, a fear of heights, and being introduced to Touching the Void at far too young an age has resulted in my fear of mountain climbing.
This fear is clearly not reciprocated by many members of the St Andrews community, as the St Andrews Mountaineering Club (STAUMC) continues to go from strength to strength. The Mountaineering Club provides a plentiful array of opportunities for those who enjoy adrenaline-fuelled activities.
With an exceptional first term, including four weekend trips and two day trips, the club is continually expanding and developing. Catering to all standards, STAUMC now boasts over 100 members. The club prides itself on providing diverse and exciting trips away from St Andrews. The first excursion of the semester was to Glen Cova, which provided new members with a great introduction to traditional climbing. Members of the club have also ambitiously tackled the Aonach Eagach ridge, famed as the narrowest ridge on the British mainland. The ridge tested their abilities and provided an extremely challenging yet spectacular traverse for all those involved. The first semester culminated in a trip to the final destination of the term; the Isle of Skye. Providing some of the UK’s most diverse, beautiful, and dramatic climbing opportunities, Skye was the perfect place to put the club’s climbers to the test. They were blessed with idyllic sunshine, stunning Cuillin views, and some testing climbs.
However, it would be unfair to suggest that the club is simply limited to its outdoor expeditions. It has had some fantastic success in indoor climbing and bouldering events throughout the semester. Charlotte Bansal won the Women’s Hard category and Rabea Khan took first place at the Avertical World Competitions in Dundee.
It is an exciting time to be a member of STAUMC with news that the St Andrews Athletic Union will offer a new climbing wall in the sports centre. It had been suggested that the wall would be available for student use at the beginning of the Candlemas semester but it has unfortunately been pushed back. This will provide a fantastic new base for the club and the foundation required to continue their progress in BUCS competitions. The reduced time spent travelling, coupled with a vast increase in training availability, will only benefit the club, both in the short and long-term. With some already impressive results being achieved, this new platform will allow for continued success in an already flourishing club.
Being able to offer such a state-of-the-art facility to students will also allow the University to continue with its initiative of bringing in some of the most talented young athletes from around the world. With climbing now an Olympic sport, this is clearly a large step in the right direction by the Athletic Union and Sports Centre.