Welcome to the Harvard Mountaineering Club

Since 1924, the Harvard Mountaineering Club has gotten members of the Harvard community outside and into the mountains, doing everything from hiking the White Mountains and learning to rock climb at Quincy Quarries to embarking on major expeditions and setting up first ascents around the world. Although we are an undergraduate run organization, we are open to all members of the community (undergrads, grad students, post docs, faculty, staff, business/law/medical school student, etc.).


While HMC-ers are out and about almost all the time, we do have some traditional club activities. Typically, we begin with introductory rock climbing trips in early fall and the start of the academic year. During Wintersession (January) we organize an ice climbing trip in the Adirondacks, the “Daks Trip”. While the Daks Trip will often serve as an introduction to ice climbing for many, we also organize weekend introductory ice climbing trips at the start of the second term of school. During Spring Break, it is now customary to organize a Red River Gorge Trip in search of warmer rock and exciting sport climbing. Every year culminates with a more serious summer trip, proposed by club members and selected by a committee of past presidents. The summer trip is also heavily subsidized by our annual Summer Grant. To find out more about what these trips are like and to see what members and alumni are up to on their own, check out trip reports.


The biggest and most important resource the HMC has to offer is its membership.  The club is an invaluable resource to connect with others passionate about the same things as you are, whether looking for someone to spot you a belay on your new project or someone to follow up on a new and exciting adventure. To meet members and plan trips come to our meetings Thursdays at 8pm, in Claverly Hall. If you can’t make the meetings, no worries, just subscribe to the “Mountain List” to keep posted!

Over the years the club has also built up many other resources. We are proud to run the Harvard Cabin on Mt. Washington, which serves the greater public as a base camp for New England’s premier alpine ice climbing and backcountry skiing. Additionally, the HMC maintains an extensive gear inventory and climbing library available to members. Last but not least, the club subsidizes various trips, including the Summer Trip Grant, and awards the winners of the annual photo and writing contests.

Why Join?  

Why should you join the Harvard Mountaineering Club?  There are many reasons.  One reason is the adventure: after all, when else will you get the chance to look down and see perigee falcons flying below you as you climb a 300 foot cliff, navigate around crevasses up a snowy glacier, or stand on the top of some of the most impressive peaks in the world?  In every mountaineer there is a love for bushwhacking through untracked woods, conquering ones fears high above the ground, and enjoying nature in a way so few get the chance to.  We believe that everyone has a desire for adventure engrained deep within their soul and that opportunities like the Mountaineering Club are what allow us to to tap into this part of ourselves and live life to the fullest.

Another reason to join the Harvard Mountaineering Club is the community.  Unlike other opportunities to get outside, the Harvard Mountaineering Club is not setup as a guide service: we do not have designated “leaders” within the club.  The moment you walk into the clubroom you are as much a part of the Club as everyone else.  Our meetings, although officially ending around 9:30, usually stretch on unofficial until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning as stories and dreams are shared, friends are made, and laughter is had.  Many of our alumni stay in touch both with each other and with the current membership for the rest of their climbing careers and lives.

There are many more reason to join the Harvard Mountaineering Club – far too many to go into here – but we strongly encourage you to come to our meetings and go out on some trips and find out for yourself just what makes the Mountaineering Club special.  Prior climbing or mountaineering experience is not required nor expected and we can outfit you with all the gear and equipment you will need for most trips.  We also encourage you to join our email list and to explore this website to get a sense of the many things the Mountaineering Club does – just remember that if anything here looks exciting to you (and we know lots of it will), all you need to do is join the Mountaineering Club and that could be you.

Please note, the Harvard Mountaineering Club is neither a climbing school, nor a guide service. We are a collective of individuals passionate about the same things, coming together in order to pursue them. Many of us have learned everything we know about climbing through the club and thanks to the experience and generosity of individuals we encounter as part of it. Nevertheless, while experienced, most of these individuals are not professional instructors. We choose who we learn from of our own accord and at our own judgement. The club is a platform bringing people together and a resource, nothing more.

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