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11_Feb 2011

Dear MCSA member

 In this News Bulletin:

1) Annual Memorial Service 27 February

2) MCSA Supertramp Award 2011

3) International Youth Meets


5) Club/SA Snippets

6) Other snippets


1) ANNUAL MEMORIAL SERVICE, Table Mountain - 27 February

The MCSA's Annual Memorial Service will be held at Maclear's Beacon on Table Mountain at 12:30 on 27 February. This is a non-denominational service at which the MCSA remembers members nation-wide who have died during the past year. The service will be conducted by the Rev Anthony Ryan of Pinelands Baptist Church. Make up a party and ascend by your favourite route or join one of the Western Cape Sections (see their web sites).



Five applications from prospective Supertramps intending to go tramping from as far afield as the Himalaya to our own back yard in South Africa were received for the 2011 MCSA Supertramp Award. In a close race the award of R15 000 was awarded to Joe Mohle, a Cape Town based climber, to explore the mysteries of the Atlas Mountains and Tafraout in Morocco.

Explaining his choice of destination, Joe said: “Morocco has mystical appeal, being predominantly Islamic, with Spanish and French influences, but located in Africa. It seems to be a country where the landscape and culture complement each other in their diversity. The Atlas Mountains boast excellent quality climbing of all forms: Alpinism, multi-pitch sport/mixed as well as bouldering.” He and his partner will set off in November for two months.

The Magaliesberg Section wishes Joe well on his Supertramp expedition, especially on his objective of opening new routes.

See Joe in action on http://cen.mcsa.org.za/home/youth/supertramp-2011. Also some comments: http://www.climb.co.za/2011/02/joe-mohle-awarded-the-mcsa-supertramp-2011-award/



 3.1) GLOBAL YOUTH SUMMIT MEET, SOUTH AFRICA, 9-16 July 2011: The MCSA, under the auspices of the UIAA Youth Commission, will host a Global Youth Summit (GYS) event, Trekking in South Africa's 'Dragon Mountains' from  9 - 16 July 2011. It involves a trek from Sentinel to Cathedral Peak. Applications from participants aged 16 - 25 (the minimum age has been dropped as different Federations have different definitions for ‘Youth’) will be considered. Participants need to be members of Federations affiliated to the UIAA. The number of 16-year-old participants will be limited to a maximum of 6 in total. Participants under the age of 18 years have to be accompanied by a Youth leader older than 25 (The ratio should be 1 Youth Leader to accompany no more than three 16-year-old participants). Minimum no of participants:   15. Cost:  R3 250 per person. Further information: Jenny Paterson ( jpaterson@iburst.co.za ).

3.2) INTERNATIONAL YOUTH CLIMBING CAMP, Ariege, South of France,  7 - 12 July 2011: Young people from 16 to 22 years old are invited to attend a youth climbing camp in France from 7-12 July. Participants should lead climb at a minimum of 5b French grade. Participants younger than 18 year old must be accompanied by an adult climber/coach, who is able to look after them during this meet. Climbing equipment required is a climbing harness, climbing shoes, chalk bag, climbing helmet, belay device and 10 quick draws (UIAA standard/CEN). Participants should be insured for accident, rescue, third party liability and travel and it should be valid for participation in climbing and trekking. Proof of insurance must be presented to the organisers on arrival. The cost will be 12 EUR per participant/per night, payable on arrival to the organiser, and will include accommodation on a full board basis, leading and organisational costs.

Further information:  Jenny Paterson (jpaterson@iburst.co.za) (Registration through MCSA before 20 June 2011. Please note that visa processing is a very lengthy process.).


4) UIAA (International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation)

The UIAA, with 80 member organisations in 57 countries, represents more than 1 million people worldwide. It’s the International Olympic Committee’s recognised international federation for mountaineering and natural surface climbing.  Their latest news on their web site (http://www.theuiaa.org) includes advice by their Medical Commission on climbing Denali and Mera Peak,  issues on visual loss unique to a high-altitude setting and those that require treatment to protect vision when standard ophthalmological care is unavailable as well as practical advice targeted at operators of mountain huts to prevent Legionella infections.

The UK's Alpine Club Antarctic Expedition, led by Phil Wickens, has made the first ascents of 6 Antarctic Peaks. And more...

UIAA MEMBERSHIP BY THE MOUNTAIN CLUB -Some Feed Back from MCSA members: In a previous issue of eNews (2010/12-1), background information was given on membership by the Mountain Club of the UIAA and of the potentially key role the Club plays as the only member federation in Africa.  However, conscious of the cost of belonging to such an international body, the MCSA President, Dave Jones, listed 10 potential advantages of belonging for the average MCSA member. This list generated some response and interesting inquiries from individual members: not all of it in support, but all of it useful. See http://cen.mcsa.org.za/home/uiaa/uiaa-pros-and-cons



5.1) RORY LOWTHER CHALLENGE,  4-6 March 2011, SWINBURNE: The Rory 2011 will be held at Swinburne from 4-6 March 2011.  It is a one-day sport climbing, bouldering and hiking/trail running challenge. Teams are made up of two, navigating themselves from one boulder or route to the next, challenging their ability to complete each discipline successfully in order to collect enough points.  There will also be a speed climbing competition with big screen and live commentary to the festival area at base camp. On Sunday morning there will be a Search and Rescue Demonstration and Safety Competition. More info: http://www.rorylowther.co.za/

5.2) CAPE ROCK NEWS: Climbers are encouraged to join the Cape Rock News Mail List (currently at over 350 members). It is used to keep interested parties informed about important developments such as crag closures, the anchor replacement fund and the like. Contributions are welcome. Just send an e-mail to caperocknews@yahoogroups.com  for anything from advertising a bouldering competition,  discovering a broken bolt or having found a No.12 Camalot on Energy Crisis (Posted by Mark Johnston: MCSA Cape Town Section - Rock Climbing Subcommittee).

5.3) TABLE MOUNTAIN ACCESS: Members of all Sections are reminded of the free access privilege that members (carrying valid MCSA membership cards) enjoy to Table Mountain through Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens through the 'old' Gate 2 and the top gate (not the new main gate). However, there are many specific conditions set  - inter alia about times - so please contact Rose Ferguson (mcsacapetown@iafrica.com) before making use of it.

5.4) DRAKENSBERG (From Cathedral Peak Hotel newsletter) :  The unusual weather patterns and widespread flooding throughout South Africa have left their mark on the Drakensberg landscape.  The rainfall patterns are expected to continue until the end of March. After multiple landslides, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has closed Mikes Pass indefinitely.  In the Cathedral area, walks and hikes which have also been closed include the Cathedral Peak hike, Rainbow Gorge and Marble Baths.  The situation remains under constant monitoring as the waterlogged ground poses risks in many areas.  Hikers need to be aware of the possible dangers of potential landslides in all areas and rivers which swell during rainfall, complete relevant hiking registers, and respect paths which are marked closed with danger tape See http://cen.mcsa.org.za/home/environment for a picture of the Umhlambonja River in flood with the majority of Cathedral Peak Hotel's golf course under water. WOW!!!

Although Mikes Pass remains closed, members remain welcome to visit Cambalala Hut (by foot..!!)

5.5) NEW BOOK ON ADVENTURE HIKES IN THE CAPE PENINSULA: MCSA member, Karen Watkins's new book  - 'Adventure Hikes in the Cape Peninsula' - features 30 hikes with detailed descriptions and is illustrated with more than 450 colour pictures. It is available at R150 from Kirstenbosch Bookshops, The Book Lounge, bookshops in Hout Bay, Tokai Pick n Pay Centre, Kalk Bay and possibly Hermanus, or from karen.watkins1@gmail.com to arrange for local delivery or collection (plus postage and packaging for those out of town).

5.6) MAGALIESBERG CONSERVATION: Paul Fatti, ex-President of the MCSA, had been named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rustenburg Rotary Club for his efforts in the conservation of the Magaliesberg.

5.7) SECTIONS: The new (work in progress) web site of Stellenbosch Section can be seen temporarily on: https://sites.google.com/site/mcsaste. And they are also on Facebook (!): http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/home.php?sk=group_132651793466552



6.1) AMERICAN ALPINE JOURNAL (AAJ): The AAJ tries to be the world's 'journal of record' for documenting significant new climbs. Their editorial policy is to seek reports on all new long routes worldwide ('long' typically means a full day or more on the climb itself), they sometimes report a repeat ascent if the peak or route has not been climbed in many years; if there have been major changes in conditions on the mountain; if the style is new (example: first free ascent); if the ascent was exceptionally fast; if it was the first winter ascent (but only of major routes); or if the report supplies vital information for future climbers. They do not publish reports on first 'national' ascents (for example, the first American or Italian or Japanese ascent) nor first women's ascents, handicapped climbs, or other special recognitions. Sometimes, however, they break their own 'rules'...

While the printed AAJ is published annually, the AAJ Online publishes all year round, so do make use of it at http://aaj.americanalpineclub.org/ :  New: The latest additions to the AAJ Online; Reports: First ascents from around the world, reported by the climbers; Articles: The history-making climbs of the year, as told by the climbers; Departments: Book reviews, obituaries, preface, and club activities; Resources: The International Grade Comparison Chart, topos, maps, and the eAAJ; Contact: How to reach the AAJ editors, submissions guidelines for reports; About: Explains the AAJ and the American Alpine Club, thanks Friends of the AAJ The AAJ strives to be complete--to publish ALL the big new routes--but we can only do this with help. aaj@americanalpineclub.org.

6.2) THE PLANT LIST (http://www.theplantlist.org): The Plant List is a list of species of Vascular plant (flowering plants, conifers, ferns and their allies) and of Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts). It contains 1 244 871 million scientific plant names of which 298 900 are accepted species names. The Plant List combines multiple checklist datasets held by Kew Royal Botanic Gardens and Missouri Botanical Garden and other collaborators.

6.3) EAST AFRICAN MOUNTAINS CONFERENCE: This first conference on East African Mountains will take place from 21-23 November 2011 in Uganda and aims to bring together scientists, practitioners, policy makers, and social workers to deliberate on the biophysical and socio-economic aspects that are crucial in influencing policy/management of these ecosystems in East Africa. Mountains of East Africa including highlands of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda suffer from increasing land pressure coupled with climate change which threatens sustainable use of these mountain ecosystems. See: http://www.iceam2011.org.

6.4) CLIMATE CHANGE AND MOUNTAIN FLORA: Based on high resolution botanical survey data of more than 2 600 mountain plant species and regional climate models, scientists have shown that species-specific threat of habitat loss due to climate change differs between European mountains (Alps, Pyrenees, Scandes, Scottish Mountains, Carpathians). See short article in Nature (with link to the paper):


Also: Scherrer D., Körner C. (2010). Topographically controlled thermal-habitat differentiation buffers alpine plant diversity against climate warming. Journal of Biogeography, published online: 9 November 2010 | doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2010.02407.x  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2010.02407.x/abstract

6.5) CONSERVATION: Andreas Schildt (Director-General or the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a regional organization of countries in the Hindu Kush Himalaya) discusses 'Rethinking conservation -  Focus on ecosystems' in the Himalayan Times daily, 7 February 2011:

As modern humans we evoke science every time we’re faced with something that seems beyond our control. It has been a response after every major earthquake, flash flood, an extended drought, or a soggy summer–especially if media reports are to be considered as evidence. For example, we have media asking questions every time, say, apples in Himachal ripen earlier than normal, or when a Royal Bengal Tiger is sighted at an altitude of 4200 meters in Bhutan.

Sometimes, even we scientists do not always have definitive answers but even when we do have early inferences, they seldom receive much policy attention or public support until there’s a major disaster. Science rarely has quick-fix solutions on natural phenomena. Answers to such questions require continuous research for understanding complex systems and processes that defy quick tests because they involve a complex mix of the discipline, human adaptation and all “development” that is taking place around us.

The answer lies in sound environmental management that is holistic, interdisciplinary and has multi-layered accounting for social, economic, cultural and ecological influences. Simply, this means more than preserving isolated patches of wilderness as protected areas, but focusing on maintaining the integrity of the entire landscape including the agro-ecology, socio-culture and the economy. This “ecosystem” or “landscape” approach looks beyond “emblematic” species and forces a rethink of the conventional approach to biodiversity conservation. See: http://bit.ly/fuJD3h


Best regards

Petro Grobler

MCSA eNEWS Temp Editor



At night, in my dream, I stoutly climbed a mountain,

Going out alone with my staff of holly-wood.

A thousand crags, a hundred hundred valleys—

In my dream-journey none were unexplored

And all the while my feet never grew tired

And my step was as strong as in my young days.

Can it be that when the mind travels backward

The body also returns to its old state?

And can it be, as between body and soul,

That the body may languish, while the soul is still strong?

Soul and body—both are vanities:

Dreaming and waking—both alike unreal.

In the day my feet are palsied and tottering,

In the night my steps go striding over the hills.

As day and night are divided in equal parts—

Between the two, I get as much as I lose.

 [Po Chu-I, a Chinese poet, written when he was in his seventies, ±840AD]

In memory of Mac McLachlan (27 Nov 1945 - 8 Feb 2011), Magaliesberg Section member who provided this poem