History

Sussex Mountaineering Federation (SMF, pronounced Smuff) came about in early 1968.

Frank Edwards worked in Sport and Leisure and was approached in short succession by representatives from Sussex University, Brighton Polytechnic and Brighton Technical College. All enquiring if there was a local climbing club. This resulted in the inaugural meeting at Sussex University attended by in excess of 200 people.

At this time personal transport was in short supply. Those that had cars were lucky if they could reach the county border without breaking down. This was the driving force to get together and use coach travel.

Other clubs soon caught on to what was happening and one important college to join was Chelsea College, who frequently filled half the coach. Clubs from local industry also joined.

Trips to all the main climbing areas were soon arranged, starting with the 42 seater coach. This soon escalated, as larger coaches became available. The 48 seater, the 52 seater and then 2 X 52 seaters backed up by the odd mini bus and personal car soon became common.

Following on from this, annual summer trips to the Alps and Dolomites were arranged and well supported even though the first trip had resulted in a major rescue of two members. Winter meets to Scotland were popular. Expeditions to Peru and Kenya were organised and executed successfully. A trip to Norway, land of the midnight sun, enabled a peak to be climbed by 3 different routes in 24 hrs.

Initially, annual dinners were a quiet affair based in Brighton, where the evening could be rounded off with a climb under the pier but as numbers increased to in excess of 150, it was necessary to find an alternative venue. Subsequently The Royal Victoria in Llanberis became established for some 30 years. Only in the very recent years have the numbers reduced to a point where it was no longer viable. We have now settled into the Little John at Hathersage, being a less formal venue and more flexible.

Despite an aging membership and reduced numbers, the club is still very active and looking forward to a bright future.