BMC name change to Climb Britain : update 2-Sep-2016

I went along to the London and South East region area meet yesterday which was dominated by talk of the name change. The top opinions represented by attendees were:-

  • The word “Climb” is deemed to be less inclusive than “Mountaineering”
  • That BMC has more gravitas than Climb Britain
  • The use of the verb for the name of an organisation is incorrect
  • Near universal dislike of the logo and font choice

So, the name change is on hold whilst a process of engagement continues with members and a wider debate is held. The message below (pasted from the BMC website) best explains the process. I will go along to the BMC clubs rebranding meeting on Tuesday represent the club views. So far there has been little discussion on these forums and as such, I’m happy to represent that is a lack of strong opinion within the club. My personal view is that a name change is justified but that Climb Britain is wrong.

BMC and Climb Britain: next steps

Posted by Tony Ryan on 23/08/2016

A message from BMC president Rehan Siddiqui, outlining the rebranding consultation process which will be conducted over the coming months.

It has been a difficult time since 25 July when the BMC announced an intention to rebrand as Climb Britain. The rebrand idea was collectively agreed by the volunteer groups involved with BMC’s management hierarchy (National Council and the board of directors) and had the enthusiastic support of the BMC Hill Walking Working Group and the staff, so we felt we were on solid ground to proceed.

Hindsight is a great thing of course, and following the strong reaction to the announcement we are now undertaking a series of consultation meetings and debates as part of the September round of BMC Area Meetings. This will be a genuine and open-minded consultation process and I give you my personal assurance that we will most definitely be listening, that everything is on the table and that a full rebrand to Climb Britain is not a done deal; if the consensus is that people would prefer to keep ‘BMC’, to adopt some form of compromise solution, or to take the rebrand forward – this is what will happen.

The area meetings will feed into a (minimum) two-phase process of consideration by National Council. On 17 September, National Council will review feedback from the area meetings, a position will be agreed (and published), then there will be further area-level debate leading up to the National Council meeting on 3 December.

Club officials will also have a chance to discuss club-specific issues at a meeting with BMC representatives on 6 September. Depending on ongoing feedback and the proposal to be taken forward, the BMC accepts it may be necessary for this to go to the 2017 AGM; and in order to let the consultation process run its course Climb Britain will no longer be launched (as was previously stated) on 19 November in Kendal and 2 December in Sheffield.

I understand that not everyone can make it to area meetings. In this case, please email your views to; include your name, membership number and your BMC area. We will make sure your email is forwarded to your area chair.

Rehan Siddiqui
BMC president

Just to voice some sort of opinion - as long as they keep doing the same good work I am completely unbothered by what theyre called and I can’t really see what all the fuss is about.

I just wish all this hot air and faff was done and dusted so that they can focus on the more important things like crag access and all that sort of stuff.

With Andy on this - sort it quick, either way, and move on.

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Like the gravitas of the name BMC, but appreciate that same fact gives a sense of stuffiness which may limit appeal to prospective members.

I think Climb Britain would be a great banner for a concerted marketing campaign, probably around indoor and sport climbing with a view to competition. It’s sufficiently shallow and annoying (in my eyes) to be a successful “brand”. This is why I don’t work in advertising or marketing. If I don’t like it, then it’s bound to be a good idea :slight_smile:

As to the idea of rebranding BMC entirely, I am still unclear as to why this is felt to be necessary. Unless of course this is a precursor to the organisation fundamentally changing it primary purpose.

There is probably a lot more impact and significance to a name than those who feel it is of little concern may appreciate. I worry the smell of this Rose would change.


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I was at the same meeting. I heard one person make the point "The word “Climb” is deemed to be less inclusive than “Mountaineering” but I didn’t get any feeling that the room agreed. But I’m half deaf and didn’t hear everything that was said. I think the opposite. ‘Climb’ is more inclusive that ‘mountaineering’.

I concour about the general feeling with the other 3 points below.

I also think that most agreed that the current BMC logo was very strong.

When I first heard the name, Climb Britian, I liked it and didn’t pay any attention. I became better informed at the meeting.

I think the BMC should change it’s name to British Climbing but keep the old Logo.


I think the main reason for a name change is because it is felt that boulder’s, indoor climbers, sport climbers, young climbers and competition climbers didn’t feel connected to the BMC and weren’t joining. If the membership declines the BMC can’t do as much good work.

It could of course be argued that the money for a name change would be better spent on a campaign to make the disaffected groups feel more included.


Thanks Khalid for jogging me into action. I’ve send the following e-mail to the BMC.

I was at the London and South East region area meeting. (P356422)

When I first heard the name, Climb Britain, I liked it and didn’t pay any attention. I became better informed at the meeting.

I still like the word ‘Climb’ and think it’s more inclusive that ‘Mountaineering’. We all ‘Climb stuff’.

Everyone seemed to agree that the current logo was very strong, iconic even. Me included.

Everyone also seemed to hate the new logo (and font) and the ‘Climb Britain’ name. Me included.

It was said that other names were considered. Can you tell me what was thought about the name ‘British Climbing’ and keeping the current logo.

‘British Climbing’ has the gravitas of ‘British’ and the inclusivity of ‘Climbing’ and the words could be printed in full on some/most literature making it self explanatory in a way that three or two letter acronyms aren’t. BC could also be used for a compact logo.

Thanks, Kieron.

I just find it kind of odd that somehow ‘mountaineering’ is apparently a better term for summer hillwalking, than ‘climb’. When my non Climber friends go up a hill they climb it. They certainly don’t mountaineer. I think the idea of ‘we all climb stuff’ works. British Mountaineering Council never sounded very inclusive to me, and I’m not exactly a Rad Xtreme boulderer…
I don’t like the new logo or font , but did like the old one.

The thing that possibly annoys me most is the back to front way members have been consulted about the possibility of a name change, only being told about it after the BMC had apparently made up its mind. That tells me more about how an organisation considers its relationship to its members, which is more important to me than the name.

Hey Chiz,

There was much annoyance at the meeting about the way this has been handled. The handling is on the agenda for the next meeting.

I believe the leadership of the BMC are good people trying to to the right thing and just made the mistake of assuming the membership would agree because so much of the leadership was in agreement.

They should have bitten the bullet and done a short survey monkey at the
beginning of the process, rather than [seeming to] present people with a
fait accompli.

I note the British Canoe Union, which I see as a similar outdoor
organisation, became “British Canoeing” in 2014. So that leads me to home
in on British Climbing.

I assume we are to become “Climb North London”, or should it be “North
London Climbing” ? Or are we going to get in quick with “Climb London”,
“London Climbing”, “Climb M25” or “M25 Climbing”


This whole alienating walkers thing is the main problem with the name either way (keep or change). If they put it out to suggestions and a vote they’d probably find that Walky McWalk Face was most popular and then just call it The Chris Bonnington Club anyway.

I would be in favour of British Mountaineering and Climbing, retaining the existing logo and both of the so-called “inclusive” descriptions of hill walkers as either climbers or mountaineers.

Alternatively they change the logo to that image (attached) that you sometimes see on climber’s t-shirts showing the path of ape to man to climber. That would be even more inclusive, making those who prefer to be on all fours to feel included as well as the walkers!

As for their backwards approach of announcing the change then starting the consultation, that strikes me as quality “outside the box” style thinking. It’s like my approach to onsighting climbs. Chalk up, pull onto the rock, wait 'til I’m pumped and then start reading the route.

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Hey Khalid,

Why are you in favour of “British Mountaineering and Climbing”? It keeps the same initials but is too cumbersome. British Climbing sounds better and looks better on a letter head. The BCU didn’t become British Canoeing and Kayaking!

I fear that they will go for keeping the old name and use the “Climb Britain”, “Climb Hills”, etc as stuff for campaigns. After the grief that they’ve got so far, it’ll be a brave national council that votes for a name change now.

btw, the new logo is awful

Let’s remind ourselves what all this fuss is about (picture attached).

Funnily enough I didn’t think I had a particular opinion on this until I went to the meeting where I discovered that I do. That being that I like the current BMC logo and I think it is easily recognisable and does have history and gravitas. When I joined I was a hillwalker and scrambler but wasn’t put off by the word ‘mountaineering’ as I knew by reputation that the BMC is an umbrella organisation and also one where you can diversify your skills. The problem with comparing it to cycling and canoeing council name changes is that they don’t really have to span diverse activities under one umbrella as cycling is still cycling regardless of what type of bike you do it on.

At the meeting someone, and Khalid above, suggested keeping BMC but changing the name to British Mountaineering & Climbing which is perhaps the best middle ground and is less stuffy, still recognisable and more inclusive (though technically it still doesn’t include hillwalkers).

Ultimately though, perhaps there are better things to spend time and money on like campaigns and outreach rather than a name change if the main aim is to bolster membership numbers.

And finally, I think the new logo is awful too, and the new font is also awful.