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The Scottish Mountaineering Club (SMC) is Scotland's second oldest mountaineering club. (the Cairngorm Club was founded a few months earlier.) Founded in 1889, in Glasgow, the private club, with about 400 members, publishes guidebooks and runs a list of Munroists.
At the time of the club's founding there were a number of experienced Alpinists living in Scotland who had no contact with like-minded mountaineers. A flurry of letters in The Glasgow Herald led to meetings and the foundation of the club, whose first president was George Gilbert Ramsay. Contrary to later criticism, the club was initially open to women, but as none joined it took on a male-only persona, only changed many decades later following debate and votes within the club. There are now women members (numbering 6 of just over 400 members), some of whom have served on the club committee and all of whom are most welcome. Membership of the Club remains by invitation only, with candidate members expected to provide referees within the club and a CV of climbing experience, with particular emphasis on Scottish winter routes.
From the very first, there was an air of exploration within the club, as it became apparent to its members that within Scotland there were many challenging mountains and climbs to be found. A Club Journal was started, initially with six issues per annum. It has been published annually now for many years and contains a mix of articles about mountains, reports of new climbs made in Scotland, book reviews etc.
One of the founding members of the club was Hugh Munro, later Sir Hugh. He compiled the list of mountains in Scotland over 3,000 feet (914.4 m) which are now called the Munros. At present there are 282. The number has varied slightly over the years, both due to improvements in surveying and mapping by the Ordnance Survey, and due to realisations that several fine mountain ridges had more than one Munro. This was compounded by the fact that Munro made no definition of what he regarded as a separate mountain.
For a forty-year period, from 1889 until the 1930s, the Cairngorm Club and the Scottish Mountaineering Club were the main climbing organisations in Scotland.
The SMC are, through the experience and knowledge of their members, the largest publishers of guidebooks to climbing and walking in Scotland. The SMC have set up their publishing arm, The Scottish Mountaineering Trust (Publications) Ltd, in such a way that all profits are returned to Scottish mountaineering. The SMC maintains five mountain huts, available to other clubs to book for the use of club meets, and so on.
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- Murray, W. H. (21 March 1949). "Growth and development of climbing clubs". The Glasgow Herald. p. 6. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
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