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04_Sep 2011

 MCSA eNews

September 2011

Dear MCSA member

In this News Bulletin:

1) Roc Rally at Boven: 23-25 September
2) Joint Meet of the Western Cape Sections: 12-13 November
3) Search and Rescue commendations
4) MCSA Journal Indices - publication on the web
5) MCSA on Facebook
6) Kgaswane court case update
7) Access and security
8) Richard Watmough Conservation Fund Award
9) Club/SA Snippets
10) Other snippets

1) ROC RALLY, WATERVAL BOVEN: 23-25 September

The annual Roc Rally at Waterval Boven involves teams of two climbing one hard route on the first day, then on the second day racing between the cliff faces around Boven and doing as many climbs they can in 8 hours. All stand a chance as there is a handicap system based upon climbers' climbing performance over the last year and other personal best performances. The competition will be from Friday 8:00am-12pm to Saturday. Fees of R250pp for a student/MCSA member or R300 otherwise, includes a T-shirt, two suppers and breakfast rolls on Saturday. More info and entries: http://www.climb.co.za


Tygerberg Section is hosting the 2011 Joint Meet of the Western Cape Sections from 12-13 November:

"We meet on Saturday (12 November 2011) early morning close to the Corner Lodge in Eerste Tol, Bain's Kloof pass.  We'll cross the Witte River and hike along the Bobbejaan River to the waterfall where we'll set up camp. Late afternoon we'll attempt to get a view of the Slanghoek valley.  Sunday morning we'll summit Klein Wellington Sneeukop and then return to the cars. Costs:  Wildcard or normal Cape Nature fees."

"Ons ontmoet Saterdag (12 November 2011) vroegoggend naby die Corner Lodge in Eerste Tol, Bainskloof pas.  Ons kruis die Witterivier en stap al langs die Bobbejaanrivier tot by die waterval waar ons kamp opslaan.  Laatmiddag gaan ons kyk of ons 'n uitsig oor die Slanghoek vallei kan kry.  Sondag oggend stap ons tot bo-op Klein Wellington Sneeukop en dan terug na die motors.  Kostes:  'Wildcard' of die normale Cape Nature fooie."

Contact/Kontak:  Hannes Truter (
hannes.truter@gmail.com; 082 441 5413).



In a first for the MCSA, a national MCSA Search and Rescue effort took place when the Gauteng team was assisted by six members from Cape Town (flown in courtesy of Mango and the Palazzo hotel) on a high-profile, demanding aircraft crash operation in the Wolkberg Mountains near Tzaneen. The KZN team was also on stand-by. The team featured on the front-pages of several
newspapers. The team's efforts (which included a member assisting at the rescue coordination centre at OR Tambo airport, in addition to the actual on-scene searching and the eventual recovery) were commended by several people but the ones that stand out is the Office of the President and the head of the Aeronautical Search and Rescue at ATNS. (Also see the MCSA President's Corner: 



At the April Cencom meeting it was agreed to digitise the Journal indices from 2001 onwards and to publish it on the MCSA Website.  Cencom is looking for a volunteer to undertake this project. Some funding has been set aside for this.  The indices for Journals 2001-2004 are already in draft form and need to be finalised, and from 2005 up to and including 2010 need to be done. Anyone interested in taking on this project should please contact the MCSA Secretary, Jenny Paterson ( secretary@mcsa.org.za)



Compliments of Michael van Breda (MCSA IT coordinator), you are most welcome to visit the MCSA on https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mountain-Club-of-South-Africa/181163071916739

Several sections also have reasonably active Facebook pages going e.g. Magaliesberg, Namibia, Paarl-Wellington, Stellenbosch.



The review in the Mafeking High Court against the precedent-setting, illegal building in 2008 of Kgaswane Country Lodge within the boundaries of the Magaliesberg Protected Environment took place on 4 August. Judgment was reserved by the judge (and it might take some time before she makes her judgement, as the court papers far exceed 1000 pages!) Contact Paul Fatti (paulfatti@gmail.com), chairman of the Magaliesberg Protection Association (MPA), for feedback on the court proceedings.

The MCSA (Magaliesberg and Johannesburg Sections) guaranteed a large part of the required amount of R300 000 of the legal costs with the aim of reclaiming it from members. Central Committee has recently also paid R10 000 towards the cause. The MPA is still short of funds and any further donations will be welcomed. Contact the MPA Secretary: Barbara Reid (sleighb@iafrica.com).


7) ACCESS AND SECURITY WESTERN CAPE MOUNTAIN ACCESS: CapeNature has imposed a temporary moratorium on overnight permits to sleep out in their Boland reserves: Limietberg, Jonkershoek, Hottentots Holland and Kogelberg. The moratorium doesn't apply to day visits or to official sleepover facilities (eg Tweede Tol and Landdroskop).  It also doesn't affect access to the Club's own properties. At a meeting of the CapeNature reserve managers with representatives of all the Club's Western Cape Sections, they outlined their concerns about proper management and safety in the face of increasing pressure for access for hiking clubs, trail runners, sport climbers, adventure racers, mountain bikers, etc.  The Club's case was put and the Club is assisting them to gather the information they need to put a proper framework in place, so that the moratorium can be lifted as soon as possible. (From: Access
Subcommittee, Cape Town Section.)

RED HILL: Red Hill was closed to bouldering two months ago when SANParks requested an Environmental Management Plan be written specifically for bouldering in the area.  A group of local climbers, with the support of the MCSA, drafted the requested document and has submitted it. Contact: Rachel Strate (rstrate27@gmail.com, 072 680 3789.) for information on the document
and also to add your name to the list of people in support of climbing in Red Hill.

DRAKENSBERG SECURITY: Drakensberg: Hikers, camping at the summit of Organ Pipes Pass, had some of their gear stolen during the night, presumably by smugglers. Not much detail is known about this incident, and it was not reported to the authorities. Members are strongly urged to report problems they experience on their hikes to KZN Wildlife, and, when applicable (as in the case of theft) to open a case with the police. One of the problems about security issues in the Drakensberg is that many incidents are never reported
(Posted on behalf of Vertical Endeavour Team on KZN Section's eNews).

MAGALIESBERG SAFETY: Several incidences of theft at Mountain Sanctuary Park - a main access point to Magaliesberg climbing - points to what can be considered as generally unsafe conditions. Be cautious.



Dr Richard Watmough was an entomologist and a long-standing member of the Magaliesberg Section. After his death in 2005, his estate was bequeathed to the Magaliesberg Section. The Richard Watmough Conservation Fund was established by the Section to honour Richard as a conservationist who truly cared about the Magaliesberg. An annual award is made from this fund to a conservation project that will benefit the Magaliesberg.

Applications for the 2012 award (currently R18 000 - subject to change) close on 15 January 2012 and the successful candidate will be announced in February 2012. For more detail on the award and detail such as project criteria and project proposal format, contact Christa van Schalkwyk (christavs@postnet.co.za).



WESTERN CAPE CLIMBING BOOK: Jeremy Samson's new book 'Cape Vertical ' puts an entertaining spin on the greatest routes in the Western Cape. Using the best rock climbs as a base, he explores the heroic tales involved in the opening of these classics. The book includes a hundred years' worth of exploration from the first ascent of Arrow Final to the breath-taking modern achievements in the country. It is the consummate book on climbing culture in the Cape and promises to be a great collector's item. The book includes
numerous illustrations as well as 42 black and white photographs and 29 full colour photographs. It is available through 
climbing.co.za, directly from the author (jeremys@iafrica.com) or from climbing gear retailers around the country.

BANFF Film Festival 2011: The annual Banff Mountain Film World Tour showcases the efforts and talents of the world's finest mountain filmmakers. It runs from Friday 28 October to Thursday 3 November (20:15;  2h 10min) in Cape Town (Cavendish Square and Tyger Valley Centre), Johannesburg (Sandton City) and Pretoria (Brooklyn Mall). Booking opens at the beginning of October. This year's selection of 9 films cover  from mountain biking to snowboarding to bouldering in Argentina to a one-year walk from Beijing to
Urumqi. See: 

EXPLORATIO MEMBERS DATABASE: Exploratio, the mountaineering and climbing club of the University of Pretoria, is updating its database of past Exploratio members. If you are an ex-Explo member or know anyone who had been a member, please contact dirk.talma@gmail.com

EIGER SUMMIT: Cathedral Peak Hotel's proprietor, Belinda van der Riet, successfully summited the Eiger in the Swiss Alps via the Mittellegi Ridge, in July. The ascent and descent of the Eiger, included ice climbing and rope work and took 11 hours with a 4:30am start. Belinda's previous summits include Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Obergabelhorn, Aguille Verte, Deant Geant and Aiguille du Chardonnay (From newsletter of Cathedral Peak hotel). You can watch the 'Swiss Machine', Ueli Steck on his speed solo
Eiger record of 2h 47min:  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-dPjDYVKUY <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-dPjDYVKUY&feature=related>

EVEREST CHALLENGE, TUKS: The Everest Challenge is a 24-hour climbing festival/challenge where teams of 12 compete to climb the full height of Mt Everest (8 848m) within 24 hours. Exploratio will again host the event at the Tuks Climbing Wall at the LC de Villiers stadium. The event starts on Saturday 1 Oct at 12:00 and ends 24 hours later. Teams are expected to be ready at 11:00 for the briefing and should bring their own climbing equipment, except for ropes. Camping will be at the wall and there are ablutions and a heated swimming pool. Pizzas from Romans will be ordered for real cheap and there will be boerewors rolls for sale throughout the night. All may bring: "a tent, gazebo, couch or any furniture they deem necessary to have a great time, own alcoholic drinks and refreshments. Teams are encouraged to bring along any support, friends, relatives and generally decent people." The entry fee per team will be around R900 which works out at R75 per team member. For more info, contact Dewald at (dewaldg@gmail.com;
072 386 5597) or Dickie (
dirk.talma@gmail.com;  073 617 4034).

COMPETITION CLIMBING: Paul Brouard is all set to compete to compete in China from the 7-8 September in the IFSC World Cup Changzhi competition.  Paul has sent a number of South Africa's hardest routes in recent years including Mazawattee (35/8c+), Streetfighter (34/8c) and Rodan (34/8c).

See the web site of the SA National Climbing Federation for details on climbing competitions (http://www.sancf.org/): Mpumalanga 10 Sept, KZN finals 11 Sept, Nationals in Gauteng 30 Sept-1 Oct.

SECTION NEWS: Stellenbosch: See their front page for a new slide show with mountain peaks and group photos. Also family meets on
http://ste.mcsa.org.za/fotos  - and for access info and contact details: http://ste.mcsa.org.za/vorms . Amajuba: The Memel to Newcastle Blood Buddy Walk annually takes place on Women's Day. Five-member teams walk the total distance of 50km in a relay of around 10km each. Amajuba Section has been entering teams for several years. This year they entered two teams - one a women and one mixed team.  The weather was perfect... no wind, not too hot or cold... and, NO SNOW, which was lying thick only a week before. There were 135 individual participants and 1000 team entrants. The Section chairman, Thea Groenewegen, walked the whole route coming in under the first 10 women.

UIAA: The UIAA General Assembly (its AGM) takes place each year in October with different member federations taking turn to host the meeting. This year it takes place in October in Kathmandu with the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) as host. The country is opening its doors to visitors with certain interesting concessions. (For example, anybody who has summited Everest will be issued a free visa).  The MCSA President will be attending the General Assembly and a group of eight members will join him on a trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary as organised by the NMA.



YOSEMITE FATAL ACCIDENTS: Yosemite National Park is experiencing a particularly bad year with regards to safety with 14 deaths so far in 2011; the latest being a hiker who slipped and fell 600-feet to her death while descending from Half-Dome on the cables on the steeper section in a thunderstorm. From 2006-2010, Yosemite had 38 deaths in total. With 4 million visitors per year, the park is amongst the most visited in the U.S. Safety experts are blaming some of the fatalities this year on the unusually heavy snowfalls this past winter. Those snows lingered later into the year, and have created heavy run-offs that continue even now. Rivers and streams
remain swollen, and those conditions have caught many unaware, such as the three people who were swept over Vernal Falls a couple of weeks back.

FIRST WOMAN TO SCALE THE 14 8000ers WITHOUT SUPPLEMENTARY OXYGEN: Austrian climber, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner (40), became the first woman to conquer all fourteen 8000m summits without artificial oxygen on 23 August when she reached the
top of the K2. Kaltenbrunner is the third woman only to climb all 14 highest summits but the first to do so without artificial oxygen. She had already attempted the 8611m K2 six times from the Pakistani side before but had to turn back each time before the summit. She was accompanied - this time for the first time on the Chinese north side - to the top by the Kazakh climbers, Maxut Zumayev and Vassiliy Pivtsov, and Darek Zaluski of Poland. In 2009, Kaltenbrunner came close to being the first woman to scale the 8000ers but eventually lost the three-part race to South Korea's Oh Eun Sun, who was followed shortly thereafter by Spain's Edurne Pasaban (Doubts have been raised however over whether Oh really conquered Kanchenjunga). Gerlinde's summit race began in May 1998 with her ascent of Cho Oyu.

MALLORY AND IRVINE EXPEDITION: More than 87 years after their deaths on Everest, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine continue to cast large shadows over the mountain. For decades, historians have wondered whether or not they have reached the summit of the Everest 29 years before Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay in 1953. Either way, the two men died on the descent, and created a huge mystery that still inspires climbers and explorers to this day. The discovery of Mallory's body, high on the mountain, back in 1999 has
done nothing to clear-up the mystery. Mallory was not carrying the expedition's camera when he died and there are some who believe that that camera is still on Irvine's body, where ever that may be, and that it could still contain the photos that will prove that the two men went to the summit.

Now, American Everest enthusiast Tom Holzel is organizing a team to Everest in December to look for the missing climber's body. Holzel believes that he has located Irvine, and hopefully the camera, using high resolution satellite images, and he will direct a squad of mountaineers to that location in anticipation of the find. The expedition is expected to cost roughly $250,000 and will be filmed by the BBC. The plan is to go during the winter, when few teams are on the mountain, and locate the body without anyone else around.

But not everyone thinks that that Holzel is handling the search in the best possible way. British climbing legend Chris Bonington has been critical of the expedition calling it "unsavory." He feels that the plan is trying to capitalize on the find and commercialize the search, with the hopes of making a profit off of the photos. He also feels that the mystery is best left alone and allowed to live as a legend in our minds. (http://theadventureblog.blogspot.com/)

BMC STALWARTS DECEASED IN AUGUST: George Band, past BMC and Alpine Club president and the first summiteer of Kanchenjunga died. Aged 23, he was the youngest climber on the 1953 Everest expedition led by Colonel John Hunt, which saw Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay make the first ascent. Two years later he went to Kanchenjunga on an expedition led by Charles Evans, and with Joe Brown, made the first ascent of the mountain, the third highest in the world (http://www.thebmc.co.uk/News.aspx?id=4433).

Alan Blackshaw, past president of the UIAA, AC and the BMC, and 'always a good friend of the MCSA' (http://www.thebmc.co.uk/News.aspx?id=4401).

AFGHANISTAN HIGHEST PEAK OPEN: Mount Noshaq (7492m), the highest peak in Afghanistan, has reopened to climbers. It is located in the Hindu Kush mountains along the border with Pakistan. It towers above the Wakhan Corridor, a strip of land that has been a historical trading route between Afghanistan and China. It was first climbed back in 1960 by a Japanese expedition, and an all Afghani team reached the summit in 2009, but due to the political upheaval in the area, it has remained mostly off-limits for outsiders in recent years.

A Wildlife Conservation Society team launched an expedition on Noshaq in the last week of July, and topped out on 4 August. They were the first foreign team to summit since before the 1979 Soviet invasion. Access to the area was further hindered in the 1990's due to massive numbers of landmines being set across the region during the Afghan civil war. That has all changed now however, as American forces have secured and cleared the area, making it safe for travel once again.


Enews DESIGN: The MCSA extends its thanks to Rose van der Merwe of Johannesburg Section for the new look eNews. Thanks also for the use of photographs by Mike Scott (one of his about 25 000), Marianne Pretorius, Petro Grobler and Christo
Crous (from left to right in banner).

Any comments or suggestions for the improvement of eNews (design or content) can be made to petrogrobler@telkomsa.net. Contributions are always most welcome.

Best regards

Petro Grobler

MCSA eNews Editor


Quote of the month:

President extends condolences to families of air crash victims

16 August 2011

Media Statement

President Zuma has extended deep-felt condolences to the families of the passengers of the two aircraft that crashed around Tzaneen.

"We were moved by the pain of the families as they waited anxiously for news
of the missing aircraft. This morning's announcement that the wreckage of
the aircraft had been sighted has confirmed everyone's worst fears. We
extend our deepest condolences on behalf of all South Africans. The families
are in our thoughts during this difficult time,'' President Zuma said.

The President acknowledged all the personnel involved in the rescue efforts.
Despite the trying weather conditions, members of the Mountain Club of South
Africa Search and Rescue as well as the SAPS  tried their utmost to find the
missing aircraft.

"We look forward to the results of the Civil Aviation Authority
investigation into the occurrence of the tragic crash," added the President.

Enquiries: Zanele Mngadi on 0823301148

Issued by: The Presidency Pretoria

Website:  <http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/www.thepresidency.gov.za