Cambridge Underground 1983 pp 31-32



Let not thy voice be heard among us,
lest angry Fellows run
upon thee ... Judges XVIII 25

Night climbing seems to be a tradition peculiar to Cambridge - although there is an article in Oxford and Cambridge Mountaineering 1922 about the sport at "the other place", it never really caught on there. It all started back in the 1890's with the school inspired by Geoffrey Winthrop Young, although he would have it that "it is of enormous antiquity, possessing extensive history and a literature which includes the greatest prose and verse writers of all ages."

From these early beginnings flowered the golden age of the 1920's and 30's - but there then seems to have been a lull until a reawakening of interest in the '60's, which has continued to the present day. Because of the nature of the sport, references are fairly rare and generally written anonymously; this article tries to bring a few of them together for the assistance of future stegophilists. All the publications listed are available in the University Library.

The Roof Climbers Guide to Trinity
Geoffrey Winthrop Young (1876 - 1958)
"Containing a practical description of all routes" W. P. Spalding Cambridge 1899
The book that started it all. Apparently a second edition was published in the 1930's (reviewed Cambridge Mountaineering 1932) but this isn't in the U.L
The Night Climbers Guide to Trinity
Weatherhead Cambridge 1960
This is the third edition and is extensively rewritten with many new routes (and fewer Greek quotes).
Wall and Roof Climbing
by the author of "The roof Climbers Guide to Trinity"
Spottiswode, Eton College 1905
A theoretical approach, with chapters on building styles, drainpipes etc. Also a large number of literary references and an extremely useful appendage on haystack climbing.
Roof climbers guide to St. John's
"A. Climber"
Some of the easiest routes in St. John's. Marks the beginning of the Golden Age.
Alpine Sports in Cambridge
"Messrs. Robinson & Jones"
5 consecutive articles in the Cambridge Review. April 25 - May 23 1924. Lots of detailed routes - mainly in John's with lots of excitement. Well worth tracking down.
A Novel Climb in Cambridge
"Nocturne" (same writer as Robinson & Jones)
Rucsack Club Journal 1926 pp 401 - 405.
The first ascent of' St John's Chapel Tower
The Night Climbers of Cambridge
"Whipplesnaith" (Noel Howard Symington)
Chatto and Windus London Oct. 1937
The Bible, with all the classic routes. The second edition (Nov. 1937) contains a rearranged selection of photographs, and the missing diagram explaining the escape from Marks and Spencers. There was a 1952 reprint, but this is not in the U.L.
Cambridge Night Climbing
Chatto and Windus London 1970
Very useful on the more modern routes.
Varsity Rags and Hoaxes
F. A. Reeve
Oleander Press Cambridge 1977
Short section on nightclimbing.
Cambridge Mountaineering (Journal of the C.U. Mountaineering Club)
Naturally there are many articles in the issues, most of them anonymous.
Climbing in Cambridge - an essay and some incidents
1921 pp84 - 89
Contains useful references to the New Museum and Downing Sites. partially reprinted in 1981 p 11.
A First Impression
1962 pp 26-29
St. John's Chapel
1963 pp 35-36
King's Chapel
A Night Time Escape
1968 pp 38-40
East face University Press
Start the New Year Right
1969 pp 40-41
St. John's Chapel
Strachey Tower- Newnham and Beehive Route - Darwin
1969 p 64
Babbage Lecture Theatre
1976 p 70
Because It's There
1979 pp 17-21
First Ascent University Library Tower.
Bridge of Sighs
1980 p 41

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