The Rucksack Club was formed in Manchester in 1902 by a group of men who responded to a letter written to a newspaper by two young men. They were invited to a meeting and resolved there and then to form a club with the object "To facilitate walking tours and mountaineering expeditions, both in the British Isles and elsewhere, and to particularly to initiate members into the science of rock climbing and snowcraft".
The new club was quickly into its stride. In the years before the First World War enthusiasm was great even if experience was limited and equipment meagre. Laddow Rocks was a favourite climbing ground: the photograph shows a rope of four on Tower Face. A good stance and a firm hold on the rope appear to suffice for protection. The photograph was taken by John Rooke Corbett, the Club's Convener of Rambles. Subsequently Rooke Corbett became the fourth Munroist, (and the first such Sassenach).
Members' notes of their climbs on Laddow were printed in the Club's first Annual Reports and then in the Journals. The Journals began in 1907 and have continued annually. From the notes a guide to 40 climbs on Laddow was printed in the 1911. In 2002 a special meet was held there as part of the Club's Centenary Celebrations and to commemorate the Club's early work on it.
The Club was strong on innovation. The Club's first hut, the first in the British Isles, was opened in 1912. It was primitive. One rule was: 'Sanitary Arrangements: these should be executed in the rocks not less than 100 yards from the rear of the hut'. The hut was initially a great success, but its use declined during the war. Theft and vandalism forced the closure of the hut in 1920. It was 1929 before a second hut in Wales was found at Tal-y-Braich in the Ogwen valley.