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06_Jul 2011

Dear MCSA member

In this News Bulletin:

1) UIAA Global Youth Summit Meet, Drakensberg: 9-16 July

2) MCSA Honorary Member, Kader Asmal, deceased

3) Joint Meet of the Western Cape Sections: 12-13 November

4) International Youth Meet, FYR Macedonia: August

5) Petzl Grigri2 Call for replacement

6) Club/SA Snippets

7) Other snippets



The MCSA is again hosting an international GYS Meet in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg after the ground-breaking one of 2009. On 9 July, a bus with 18 participants will depart from Johannesburg for Witsieshoek Mountain Resort where they will be seen off by MCSA President, Dave Jones and the MCSA corresponding member on the UIAA Youth Commission, Jenny Paterson, who is the Meet Organiser (jpaterson@iburst.co.za). The group will do a 6-day traverse from Mont-aux-Sources to the Cathedral Peak area (descent via one of three possible passes: Mlambonja, Xeni or Cockade Passes). There will be 15 youth between the ages of 16 and 24; and youth members of two MCSA sections will participate. They will be accompanied by two guides and three adults making up the total of 20.  Sponsorship has been provided by KwaZulu-Natal Tourism.  Sections also sponsored their youth members eg with part of the meet fees (Magaliesberg) and airfares (Paarl/Wellington).



In September 1998, at the MCSA Annual Dinner to mark the 30th anniversary of the Magaliesberg Section, the MCSA's highest award for non-members, that of Honorary Membership, was conferred upon Professor Kader Asmal, who was one of the guests of honour at the event. At the time, Professor Asmal was Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry. 

          The award was conferred upon Professor Asmal for his very significant contribution to the conservation of the mountains of South Africa, through his specific recognition in drafting South Africa's new water legislation, of the need to protect the ecosystems that underpin this country's water resources now and into the future, and his vision in implementing programmes such as the integrated planning of mountain catchment areas, and the eradication of alien plant infestation in them, to achieve this.

          The MCSA’s deepest condolences have been extended to the family on their loss of a husband and father. See http://cen.mcsa.org.za for the MCSA President’s letter.



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 Witteriver and hike along the Bobbejaanriver 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)



An international youth climbing and trekking camp will be hosted in Three National Parks in the Ohrid region of FYR Macedonia. The event is open to climbers from 16 to 30 years. Participants should lead climb at a minimum of 6a French grade. They must be able to tie in safely, thread anchors at the top of climbs, lead and top rope belay. Participants younger than 18 year old must be accompanied by an adult climber/coach, who is able to look after them during this meet, and must have parental consent. Contact Jenny Paterson (jpaterson@iburst.co.za) for more information. Applications have to be in with the MCSA by 16 July 2011.



There is a recall for replacement issues for all Petzl GRIGRI 2’s (D14 2O, D14 2G, D14 2B ) with the first five digits of the serial number between 10326 and 11136. http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/recall-replacement-grigri-2

          Petzl has discovered that exerting excessive force on the fully extended handle of the GRIGRI 2 can cause internal damage, such that the GRIGRI 2 handle may become stuck in the open position. When the handle is stuck in this position the assisted braking function is disabled. A damaged GRIGRI 2 in this configuration will function similarly to a manual belay device (e.g. tube style device). When using a damaged GRIGRI 2 with the handle stuck in position, failure to control the braking side of the rope will increase the risk of an uncontrolled descent. A GRIGRI 2 with a damaged handle must be immediately retired from service. (It is important to note that failure to control the braking side of the rope is a misuse of the GRIGRI 2 under any circumstance (See GRIGRI 2 Technical Notice – pdf file, 2,5Mo). As of 20 June 2011, seven damaged products have been returned to Petzl worldwide. Petzl has no knowledge of any accidents resulting from a damaged GRIGRI 2 handle.

          Because the safety of their users is their primary concern, as a measure of precaution Petzl has decided to 1) increase the mechanical strength of the handle on all GRIGRI 2’s since serial number 11137 and 2) recall all GRIGRI 2’s with the first five digits of the serial number between 10326 and 11136, and replace them with a new revised GRIGRI 2. Petzl will pay for all shipping costs to complete this replacement. The previous generation GRIGRI is not concerned by this recall. Contact Petzl South Africa: - By phone: 021 555 0363;  www.eigerequipment.co.za. Post to Eiger Equipment (Speed Services Recommended) P.O.Box 37197 Chempet 7442 Tel.021.555.0363 along with Return Address and Banking Details for refund of postal charges.



6.1) Safety on Table Mountain: Take note - “Sunday’s hike on the contour path from Rhodes Memorial  to Kirstenbosch is cancelled mostly because of the unsafe area there with 4 serious attacks in the last few weeks.”

6.2) Stellenbosch Section’s ‘PIEK STEMPELPROJEK’ (Peak Stamp Project): Rubber stamps were placed by Stellenbosch Section at or near 10 beacons in the Western Cap Mountains ie Tweeling pieke (1494m), Du Toits Peak (1994m), Victoria Peak (1591m), Rifberg (1517m), Groot Drakenstein Peak (1491m), Simonsberg (1390m), Katedraal (1515m), Haelkop (1384m), Mostertshoek Twins (2031m), Perdekop (1575m), Somerset Sneeukop (1590m), Slanghoekpiek (1696m) and Stellenboschberg (1175m). Jeanne Myburgh is the first recipient of their Ten Peaks trophy. She ticked off (or rather stamped off) these peaks between 24 March 2007 and 16 January 2011.

          Also: Their latest newsletter and program is on http://ste.mcsa.org.za/  (All their newsletters since 1998 is in their Newsletter Archive on their web page).



7.1) MOUNT EVEREST LIVE ON THE WEB: Since 17 May a new webcam installed by EvK2Cnr offers a panoramic view of the 8850m summit of the highest mountain in the world (weather permitting) from a site on Kala Patthar 11 km from the mountain. The webcam was installed by the 2011 Share Everest expedition and is promoted by EvK2Cnr in collaboration with the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, and Department of Hydrology and Meteorology. The view is updated every 5 minutes during daylight hours.


7.2) EVEREST RECORD:  A 16-year-old British schoolboy became the youngest person ever to climb the highest mountains on all seven continents when he ascended Mount Everest in May. George Atkinson from Surbiton climbed Everest from the Tibetan side and was three days short of his 17th birthday when he reached the top, beating the previous record holder, American Johnny Collinson’s feat of ascending all seven summits when he was 17. Atkinson was accompanied by 17 other climbers, including Sherpa guides to the Everest summit. Atkinson’s first conquest was Kilimanjaro at the age of 11 in 2005.

7.3) LHASA FIVE-STAR HOTEL: For decades, the hardy travellers that braved the icy roads and 1 200 mile drive to Lhasa from Sichuan have been greeted with austere monasteries filled with crimson-robed monks and were served butter tea. Now the guests arriving at Lhasa airport are whisked away in a Mercedes-Benz limousine to one of the five-star hotel’s 150 suites or 12 private villas. Source: http://bit.ly/mz0Mdy

7.4) ACCIDENT IN THE FRENCH ALPS: In the worst of such cases in recent years in France, the bodies of six mountaineers who fell to their deaths were discovered by a British climber on 26 June. The dead included a 16-year-old boy, two men and three women aged between 42 and 64 - all French nationals. Two separate groups were roped together. Conditions were fine and the groups were well-equipped. The preliminary investigation showed that first group approached a peak at 3217m called Plate des Agneaux, then fell between 150 and 200 metres back down the mountain, leaving traces of shifting earth above them. It is speculated that the first group may have forced the trailing group to fall, but it was also possible that the two groups fell independently.

          The British climber stumbled across the bodies as he was taking the same route that they had followed a day before. Their bodies were found in a narrow, steep-sided ravine the Neige Cordier summit at 3,000 metres that is regularly used by skiers in winter and climbers in summer.

          The dangers of mountain climbing were further highlighted in Switzerland on Sunday 26 June, when a 42-year-old Italian died trying to ascend the 3,370 metre Galenstock peak. The man's two companions aborted the climb due to fog and a strong wind, but the victim decided to press on and later fell some 200 metres for reasons that were not immediately clear, area police said in a statement.

7.5) KATHMANDU INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL 2011: The annual Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF) (www.kimff.org) will be organised by Himal Association from 8–12 December 2011. By screening some of the most recent and exciting films about mountain people, sports, environment, cultures and societies from various corners of the world, KIMFF seeks to celebrate the complexity and diversity of mountain life. KIMFF 2011 coincides with Nepal Tourism Year 2011. As part of this effort the festival will feature a special selection of films that have been instrumental in putting Nepal on the world tourism map. The submission deadline for the entries is 30 July 2011. Films made after 1 January 2009 are eligible. Contact: kimff@himalassociation.org

7.6) UNESCO’S “TEACHING RESOURCE FOR MOUNTAIN COUNTRIES: UNESCO has produced an environmental education kit for secondary school teachers and their pupils living in mountainous areas. In order to better understand the complexity of mountain ecosystems, the kit offers a creative approach to environmental education: it is designed to arouse pupils’ curiosity, to appeal to their artistic sensibilities and wishes to serve as a tool for a more effective transmission of scientific information and environmental knowledge.

          Three large chapters cover themes on Discovering the ecosystem and its biodiversity; Maintaining plant cover; and Preserving water resources. Each chapter consists of various practical units for outdoor learning activities at different levels depending on age and scientific knowledge. Some more advanced lessons can even be used for higher education levels as testified with the previous UNESCO Teaching Resource Kit for Dryland Countries (released in 2007).

          The kit was developed under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and has been diffused through the UNESCO Associated Schools Network world-wide. Free pdf versions are available for downloading, see website at http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/about-us/single-view/news/educational_resource_kit_for_mountainous_regions/. UNESCO is grateful to the Flemish Government of Belgium which funded the kit.

          Hard copies of the kit can be ordered through UNESCO Publishing (for English, see http://publishing.unesco.org/details.aspx?Code_Livre=4819. A Spanish version will be available in late 2011. For more information, contact Dr. Thomas Schaaf (Chief, Ecological Sciences and Biodiversity Section Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences, Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, UNESCO): t.schaaf@unesco.org


Best regards

Petro Grobler

MCSA eNEWS Temp Editor


It is true the great ridges sometime demand their sacrifice, but the mountaineer would hardly forego his worship though he knew himself to be the destined victim. But happily to most of us the great brown slabs bending over into immeasurable space, the line and curves of the wind-moulded cornice, the delicate undulations of the fissures snow, are old and trusted friends, ever luring us to health and fun and laughter, and enabling us to bid a sturdy defiance to all the ills that time and life oppose.

-        Albert F Mummery, My climbs in the Alps and Caucasus, 1895