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07_Jun 2011

Dear MCSA member

In this News Bulletin:

1) July Camp 2011, Injesuthi – apply before 18 June

2) Trekking in Nepal – October 2011

3) National Meet, QwaQwa - Feedback

4) UIAA News and web site

5) Table Mountain National Park - No bouldering

6) Club/SA Snippets

7) Other snippets

8) Access (general) 



Remember that applications for this year’s July Camp, to be held at Injesuthi from 2-16 July, close on 18 June. For more information and application forms, contact your Section’s secretary or see http://cen.mcsa.org.za/meets/july-2011. If you need any further details, please phone Rikki Abbott Wedderburn on 082 538 5389 or 033 330 3921 (home) or Margaret Brown on 082 055 2143.

The Base Camp will be different to other years. The ruggedness of the terrain has precluded the development of any road beyond the small, hutted Camp, so Base Camp will be in the minimally developed Injesuthi Camp site. Cars will be parked away from the tents. Campers will be responsible for transporting ALL their own kit from their vehicles to their chosen tent site. Children, accompanied by a parent (or other adult) taking full responsibility for them at all times, will be very welcome.


2) NATIONAL MEET 2011, QWAQWA: Feedback

The National Meet hosted by Free State Section in April was very successful and was enjoyed by all. See feedback on http://cen.mcsa.org.za/meets/national-meet-april-2011 - also for a great slideshow.


3) TREKKING IN NEPAL: 10 - 24 October 2011

From Dave Jones (president@mcsa.org.za; 044 343 1407): “The UIAA General Assembly (effectively its AGM) will be hosted this year by the Nepal Mountaineering Association in Kathmandu during the first week of October as part of Nepal's Tourism Year 2011.  As the MCSA President I shall be attending the G.A. to represent our club and plan to make use of special facilities being offered for delegates wishing to extend their visit.  These special facilities appear to be VIP arrangements rather than cost benefits.

  Through the Nepal Mountaineering Association I have booked a Tea-house Trek in the Annapurna Sanctuary with side visits to the Annapurna South Base Camp and to the Chitwan National Park for my wife and myself at our own expense.  An invitation is extended to other members of the Mountain Club to join our trek as an MCSA party, also paying their own way.  No limit has yet been set on the size of the party,  but numbers will be limited and on a first-come  first-served basis. This will be a standard trek and is not an expedition.

  While the Annapurna Sanctuary area is one of the most scenic in Nepal, the trek that has been arranged is not difficult, reaching a maximum altitude of only around 4000m, but all members of the party will have to be hiking fit.

  As a guide to determining costs, a return airfare from Cape Town to Kathmandu was obtained for R 9 464.  The cost of the trek, all inclusive but not counting accommodation in Kathmandu either before or after the trek, will be $ 1 300 per trekker for two persons.  The trek has been confirmed for my wife and myself, however, making up a party has significant cost benefits.  For example, the quoted price for a party of six drops to $ 1 080 per person.”. Contact Dave for more information.


4)  UIAA NEWS AND WEB SITE (www.theuiaa.org)

- The UIAA Medical Commission has published various informative advice and recommendation papers for people heading into the mountains on subjects as diverse as hypoxia, eye problems and water disinfection.

- Island Peak and Jbel Toubkal: Planning on climbing Nepal's most popular trekking mountain or Morocco's Jbel Toubkal? Representatives of the Medical Commission provide detailed advice on how to prepare and to ensure you avoid any health problems.

- Doug Scott was the recipient of the 2011 Piolets d'Or Lifetime Achievement Award.  Read an interview with him about the challenge of preserving traditional climbing. 

- The well-known Swiss climber, Erhard Loretan, was killed on the Grunhorn in the Bernese Alps on 28 April.



From the Cape Town Section Rock Climbing Committee posted on CapeRock News: "Basically, bouldering is not allowed on SANParks land on the peninsula. After a recent biodiversity assessment, the managers are keen to minimise impact in this area. According to the rules, people are only allowed to walk on paths. The managers are unhappy with the new paths that have been made by boulderers. They have tried to close and rehabilitate these paths, but are getting more and more annoyed with people making new paths. They know about all the paths and all the areas. They have been wanting to get hold of the bouldering community to tell them to go away and are on the verge of arresting someone."

An Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for bouldering in this area has now been put together by Julia Wakeling, Niel Mostert, Rachel and Marijus. There is a high chance that this will be successful in the most part, but climbers must stay away from all the Redhill and Coppermine areas until permission is given to return.



6.1) BOVEN ROC RALLY: Tick-tock says my clock... Put in your leave now ... the Roc Rally starts on 23 September this year, Friday the 23! Contact: Gustav Janse van Rensburg (climb@rocrop.com).

6.2) KZN SECTION e-mail addresses: All the e-mail aliases for the KZN Section committee have been changed. The old addresses (in the format portfolio@kzn.mcsa.org.za) no longer function. The new addresses are eg mcsakzn.president@gmail.com; mcsakzn.secretary@gmail.com etc  (The full list can be found on:  http://kzn.mcsa.org.za/about-us/committee).

6.3) MAGALIESBERG COURT CASE: 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 has been set for 4 and 5 August. The Magaliesberg Protection Association is still short of funds, so any donations will be welcomed. Contact MPA Secretary: Barbara Reid (sleighb@iafrica.com).

The UIAA Access and Mountain Protection Commissions have also condemned this development.

6.4) The South African National Climbing Federation (SANCF): Errata web site address in MCSA eNews 2011/5-1 http://sancf.org (News item from the site: Arjan de Kock, who is currently ranked 5th in the world for bouldering, represented South Africa in the bouldering World Cup held in Vienna 13-14 May).

6.5) SUPERTRAMP 2011: A good story on Klein Winterhoek by Joe Mohle on http://www.climb.co.za/2011/05/art-of-hearts/ (and while you're there: read about the MCSA SAR night rescue in the Berg: http://www.climb.co.za/2011/05/spanish-tourist-rescued-during-night-helicopter-operation-on-drakensberg-escarpment/).

6.6) WHITE UMFOLOZI AGT, KwaZulu-Natal, 16-19 June (Ed.: 'Or how Section meets can be advertised to members'):  If you are not at the AGT this year, you will be struck from Club membership. It's a magic place - a very magic place with grades from 8 to 28, trad and bolted - more bolted routes that anywhere else in KZN. This is THE place to be in June - wine, women, song, drunken orgies, rock and sun. The man to contact is Ian Bailey. If he doesn't hear from you, he will send out a hit man with a baseball club to sort out your knees and possibly other vital parts.  In the interests of self-preservation I suggest that you contact Ian Bailey at "Bailey, Ian" <ianbailey@telkomsa.net>, asap to preserve your mortal soul and book your place!

Well, that icon of South African mountaineering, Jan de Groot, will be attending AGT at the Umfolozi. It will pay you to attend, if for no other reason than to have the honour to shake the hand of this Grand Old Man - something you'll one day be able to tell your grandchildren about in a hushed voice!  Apparently there is a squad of young rock rats attending - please forget actually climbing - bring your drills and bolt some of the stunning new routes that are available in the higher grades - there is SOOOOOOOOOO much potential - please make the effort!  Has-beens like me and a few others will be there to run the camp, sort out the fires and generally make this a really enjoyable experience for you.

Also, we have four days available, so what about popping up to the oNgoye reserve on the way up on Thursday and then continuing up to the Umfolozi in time for a great thrash later that same night - input welcome!   Rumour has it that the Club bunny girl icon might well be preforming her scantily clad bunny girl routine whilst a sufficient intake if alcoholic beverage will probably induce Uncle Ian to put on one of his usual crowd pleasing performances.

(Will somebody please tell our Grand Old Men, Eric Penman and Pierre Bill as well as our grand old Go-Go-Girl, Cally - but we must, at all costs avoid the simultaneous attendance of Cally the Go-Go-Girl and Cesar the unstoppable continental Don Juan!  There are indeed limits to what mere mortals can bear!    OK, this is a magic spot for a zillion reasons - get you and yours there or suffer eternal deprivation - you have been warned.  Guardian of Paradise, Gavin)

This is going to be one of the GREAT EVENTS of the year - you snooze, you loose - contact Ian Bailey now of find yourself rejected to the ranks of the outsiders looking in! We look forward to seeing you there and hope to help you have an incredibly enjoyable experience. And there's more! Arrive for the night of the 15th and you can observe a total lunar eclipse away from all the urban light pollution...




7.1) CHINA GREAT WALL HIKING: The Chinese Mountaineering Association and China Great Wall International Hiking Club , with support from the China General Administration of Sports, will present the first China Great Wall International Hikes in July 2011. The hikes include four hikes featuring different aspects of China’s Great Wall history.

Hike 1 Qi Great Wall (July 1-3): A hike in Shandong province along remains of the Qi state wall (Warring States period ca 500 BC). This wall is associated with the story of the woman from Mengjiang who sought her conscripted husband and with her tears crumbled the Great Wall.

Hike 2 Six Dynasties Great Wall (July 8-10): A hike on the Zhangbei grasslands in Hebei province bordering Inner Mongolia. The hike goes along wall sections from 6 dynasties (Spring & Autumn Warring States (Yan and Zhao kingdoms), Qin, Han, Northern dynasty (North Wei and Qi), Ming, Qing). The region is in the heartlands of Genghis Khan’s Zhongdu (middle capital) in the Yuan dynasty.

Hike 3 Jinshanling (July 15-17): This hike features the majestic splendor and extraordinary vistas of the Great Wall at Jinshanling. In the Ming dynasty these Walls were stone covered and reinforced with battlements built atop the mountains to provide enhanced protection of emperor Yongle’s new Ming capital Beijing.

Hike 4 Lao Niuwan (Old Bull’s bend) (July 22-24): A unique hike in Shanxi province following the Yellow River where it makes a sharp bend. Explore the pathways of the old garrison town established as a strategic outpost here in the Ming dynasty. The old “Wang He” beacon tower offers views over the river to Inner Mongolia.

The full distance of each hike will be around 30 km. Distance posts (5/10/20... km) will be set up along each trail. Participants should foresee arrangements to be present at the respective hikes starting points in time on Saturday mornings. Experts on the Great Wall’s rich history who may offer new insights and share perspectives will join the hike. After the Saturday hike there will be a prize giving ceremony, and then an evening of fun and togetherness with hiking friends and different concert programs in ‘Hiking Life Music Concert on Great Wall’ .

Contact Jenny Paterson (secretary@mcsa.org.za) for a contact e-mail.

7.2) EAST AFRICAN MOUNTAIN CONFERENCE: An international conference on East African Mountains will take place in Uganda from 21 to 23 November 2011 to look at contemporary issues and disseminate research on the local, regional, and global importance of these mountain ecosystems, conservation, and sustainable development. It aims to promote South–South and North–South dialogue between mountain researchers who are divided by enormous funding gaps; facilitate participation of researchers from developing countries; provide an opportunity for developing international partnerships in mountain/highland-lowland research; and produce one or more monographs and/or edited volumes contributing to global mountain literature. See: http://www.iceam2011.org/

7.3) EVEREST ASCENTS RECORD: Apa Sherpa, climbing leader of Eco Everest Expedition 2011, reached the summit of Everest for the 21st time on 11 May - a new world record. He joined Eco Everest for his 18th to 21st ascent of Everest from 2008 to 2011 to support the efforts of Dawa Steven Sherpa, leader of the Eco Everest Expeditions, to bring awareness to the world community about climate change and to help remove old garbage from the slopes.

7.4) EVEREST AND LHOTSE DOUBLE-SUMMIT: Michael Horst, climbing with the Alpine Ascents team this spring, topped out on Everest on Sunday 14 May, and then less than 24-hours later, he also bagged the summit of Lhotse. The Alpine Ascents blog says that they think he may be the first climber to achieve this double-summit without first descending to Base Camp to rest. Instead, he returned to Camp 4, rested there, then went right back up into the thin air. http://www.alpineascents.com/everest-cybercast11.asp



Cape Town Section member Jeremy Colenso represents the MCSA on the UIAA Access Commission. Jeremy and fellow member Anthony Hall   have been commended by the UIAA for their 2010 contributions. Jeremy's 2010 annual report to the MCSA contains many interesting aspects about access (Reports from other UIAA Commission representatives will follow in forthcoming editions of eNews): The Access Commission held one meeting in September 2010 at Aboyne in Scotland. Owing to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud which prevented air travel across Europe, it took place via Skype.

In May 2010 the goals of the Access Commission were narrowed down by the management of the UIAA to: (a) Develop an on-line global access data base and (b) Become a digest of information on best practice when negotiating access. Jeremy Colenso made submissions on behalf of the MCSA as follows:

Firstly, he provided the Commission with a theoretical framework that could help them categorise the various systems of land tenure, and arrange them on a continuum in terms of ease of access for recreational mountain users.  This was achieved by liaising with MCSA member Anthony Hall, who approached Jeremy Colenso in November 2009 about a suitable project for his thesis to satisfy the requirements of the M.Phil degree course at the University of Cape Town. Mr Hall was primarily interested in researching access in South Africa and it was felt it was a good opportunity to point him in the direction of the “Fundamental Right to Nature” paper written by Alan Blackshaw, and to suggest he may wish to explore the academic roots of this concept. In the end, his project took on a more practical scope, and in short, provided a template for negotiating recreational access to privately owned mountain land. Also included in the thesis was a chapter devoted to discussion of South African access in the international context.

Jeremy Colenso was able to enclose an advanced copy of the executive summary of the thesis and to draw the Commission’s attention to page 6 of the document. This describes a continuum of access models ranging from the Scandinavian ‘allemansratten’ (which would appear to be what Blackshaw is suggesting in his paper, is consistent with a ‘right to nature’), to the South African and Australian legal framework of absolute ownership.  As stated above it was suggested to the Commission that they may wish to explore with member countries where they believe their jurisdiction fits into this continuum (if at all – perhaps it is too simplistic). If members agreed, this continuum could be used as the basis for the categorisation of knowledge we receive from member countries with a view to building up a global understanding. This would enable the commission to provide sound advice to member countries by being able to put them in touch with representatives of countries with similar land tenure systems, and to further advise them as to which access solution would be most appropriate to their system of land ownership.

On page 7 of the executive summary there was a suggestion that, being far to the right of the continuum, there is no legal right of access in South Africa and therefore access has to be obtained by one of three methods. These are: negotiation, adjudication and coercion. It is the negotiation model which Hall’s project examines most closely and which also forms a cornerstone objective of the Access Commission.  On page 11 the pros and cons of recording a negotiated agreement are set out and I believe that for many countries these issues will be very much at the heart of the debate surrounding in the wisdom of contributing to  a world wide access data base.

It is understood that at the AGM of the UIAA, South Africa was complimented on its active contribution to the Access Commission and for bringing clarity to the debate on access from the perspective of non – European members of the UIAA.

Secondly, he provided the Commission with an example of how the access data base would operate and what the MCSA’s contribution would look like. It would have three tiers:  ‘Tier One’ sets out the summary of the overall access situation in the country, ‘Tier Two’ sets out the specific contact details for each section of the MCSA which deals with the  private access arrangements and ‘Tier Three’ which is a web-link to a local ‘wiki style’ website. This site currently catalogues routes as they are opened by climbers. I suggested that the MCSA would simply have to update the information in ‘Tier Two’ and ensure that the information provided by climbers in ‘Tier Three’ is accurate and is consistent with ‘Tier Two’ and ‘Tier One’. I suggested that this simply capitalises on the de facto position which is that climbers inherently favour recording their routes but then often expect their alpine club to sort out any access problems created by people going to climb those routes.  I informed the Commission that the MCSA EXCO is due to decide whether it will participate in the Commission’s online data base. The issue for the MCSA being whether recording negotiated settlements with land owners is in its members interests because of the negative benefits set out in Hall’s report.

Thirdly, he used his South African ‘state of the nations’ report to highlight the request of Paul Fatti to publicise and seek the support of both the Access and Mountain Protection Commissions for the very serious issue that has arisen in the Magaliesberg, a proposed UNESCO biosphere. I referred the Commission to a document sent to me by Paul Fatti which set out all the details, the brief facts and issues being as follows:  Developers knowingly commenced building a luxury hotel within the boundaries of a protected area contrary to the Environmental Management Framework which made such development incompatible with the zoning of the particular land as ‘highly sensitive’. When discovered they sought retrospective permission from the relevant government authority. This was ultimately granted because although the EMF had been in the public domain for at least a year prior to the granting of permission, the government was able to ignore it’s own EMF as it was only gazetted (made officially law by publication in the governments legal ‘magazine’) a few days after the decision. Other reasons included the advanced stage of the building process and perceived positive effect on the local economy.  I explained that the MCSA has joined a ‘class action’ with the Magaliesberg Protection Association to seek a judicial review of the government’s decision.

I also explained with reference to Ant Hall’s report why this is not only a Mountain Protection issue but also an Access Commission issue since ‘quality’ is a control mechanism to control access. (See page 13 of Hall’s document where this relationship is set out). The control mechanism in this case being the distance the tourist has to walk and the existence of amenities. The MCSA places a high emphasis on ‘quality’ as a mechanism to control access and as a bargaining position when negotiating access to both public and private land. I also pointed out that the Minister’s decision would appear to be contrary to international legal norms as well as being contrary to the principles of sustainable development as set out in the Access Commission’s ARGEOS charter.

Clare Bond and Linda McMillan presidents of the Access and Mountain protection Commissions respectively drafted a letter roundly criticising the government’s decision and supporting the MCSA in its judicial review of the minister’s decision to retrospectively grant planning permission. This letter was also signed by Mike Mortimer president of the UIAA. This letter was forwarded on to the relevant government minister.  Linda McMillan also helps to produce the quarterly IUCN-WCPA Mountain Protected Areas UPDATE Newsletter which goes out to about 400 mountain conservation experts around the world. In it she highlighted the hotel development in the Kgaswane Mountain Reserve in South Africa through an article and photo (also see 6.4).


Best regards

Petro Grobler

MCSA eNEWS Temp Editor


“I have just realised that the meet that I am supposed to lead this Sunday falls on Mother’s Day… It would be most politic of me and best for my medium-term climbing prospects to support my children in their Mother’s Day activities…”.  MCSA member

Unspeakable cold. A cold so unearthly, the two Polish mountaineers, even in their benumbed state, recognize it for what it is: the angel of death. She has wrapped their wasted bodies in her icy wings and is feeding on them while they're still alive—gnawing at their wooden fingers and frozen toes, eating away their waxy cheeks and hardened noses.