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In this bulletin:

1) President Mutterings

2) Contributions for 2017 Journal

3) 2018 Pan – Africa Mountaineering Meet – Mountain Club of Uganda

4) Mount Kenya Festival – March 2018

5) MCSA National Training Meet Cederberg, 1-5 November 2017 - Feedback

6) White Umfolozi Route Guide

7) International Mountain Day 11 December 2017

8) Annual Memorial Service – 25th February


    9.1)   Liechtenstein to host Youth Ice Climbing Show case

    9.2 UIAA Global Youth Summit – International Youth Ice Climbing Camp 18 – 24     February

10) facebook and web pages

     10.1 New web pages for sections

11) Section News

12)) Snippets  

13) Any newsworthy items  




This past weekend I had the unalloyed pleasure of attending the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the Agtertafelberg Hut. For those of you who do not know this hut, I can only encourage you to pay it a visit – preferably for at least a weekend. Aka. Mike’s Masterpiece after it’s designer and chief hut builder, Mike Mamacos, this superbly situated hut fits like a glove into its surroundings and provides magnificent views as well as very comfortable accommodation.

Mike M was of course the master hut designer/builder in the Western Cape and built or had a hand in, several of the huts still in use today and, sadly, some that are no more due to mountain fires – always a risk… Allied to his hut building prowess was his extraordinary ability as a rock climber. Many of his routes are recognised as masterpieces and are still enjoyed today. I was always sorry, that he did not go over to the UK when he was in his prime – I truly think that he may have given the best British climbers a run for their money!

There were three people present at the celebration who were part of the original hut building team back in 1967 – Mike Scott, Reyer van der Vlugt and yours truly – but even we were made to work by the present convenor, Pierre Hoffa! But congratulations to him and his predecessors over the last 50 years who have kept the hut and its surroundings in great shape.

While we were there, we had many interesting discussions around huts, land and access.  Notably of course, because of the various issues that the Cape Town Section has faced (and is facing) with respect to the Du Toits Kloof hut as well as the Agtertafelberg property. A currently satisfactory solution has been found but I am sure that the CT Section will continue to keep on top of the various issues.

Part of the problem is that – in the Western Cape, at least – land is now priced out of the reach of the Club. The influx of “northerners” (!) and foreigners has seen prices for mountain land sky-rocket to levels that were unimaginable a few years ago. This begs the question – several actually – as to what the Club should be doing about the overall access problem that all Sections of the Club are facing. There are in my view, several avenues that the Club should explore:

·         Improving access at our own properties utilising the available funds, e.g. maintaining existing rights of access, building shelters where indicated.

·         Possibly utilising our own funds to assist landowners whose land we have to cross, to maintain roads and paths that we would like to use. There are several instances where this approach might be appreciated.

·         Lobbying government for the “right to roam” à la the UK example. This is undoubtedly a long-term project but possibly one worth initiating.

I believe that a long-term strategy is needed to properly address all these various issues.

I am fortunate as President, to have an Executive Committee who are very knowledgeable and fully supportive of (most of!) my ideas. This was brought home to me recently when a (hopefully) minor storm blew up in the UIAA ranks. This involved the European nations (notably the EU members) wishing to form a “continental” grouping in order to address particularly European issues – and incidentally, to be able to lobby for EU funding as and when. One of the main problems was a breakdown in communications between the largely European Executive of the UIAA and the drivers of the EUMA (European Union of Mountaineering Associations). This breakdown lead to misunderstandings which exacerbated and accelerated the breakdown and caused even more misunderstandings! A bit messy! At length, some of us, notably the MCSA, NZAC and ACC, took the bull by the horns and stepped in to act as a mediator. Thus far, it seems to be working and it has shown that the associations outside of Europe do have the potential to influence the direction in which the UIAA is going. This is further indicated by the inclusion of the African representative (your President), in a working group to re-write the UIAA strategic plan. This promises to be very interesting!

It might sound dull but it is actually quite exciting to be thus involved. There are a number of things that the UIAA does very well, largely through its commissions (sub-committees) where most of the real work gets done – much like the situation with our own Club!

The Pan-African Meet in Uganda continues to take shape most satisfactorily, thanks to Matt Battani of the Uganda club. Thus far, I understand that there will be some 30 participants from various African countries with the main focus of attention being the Karamoja region, which sounds fascinating! I urge you to look at the information available and consider joining the meet before it is too late!

The year proceeds apace and this will be the last piece that I will write before the end of the year. Some of you will know that Bridget Carrick, the compiler of the National News Letter and the general factotum of the Clubhouse in Cape Town, is leaving us at the end of the year. May I take this opportunity of thanking her for the valuable contributions that she has made to the Club over the last years. She has certainly been a good friend to me as well! We have been fortunate to find a replacement as compiler of the National Newsletter in the current Club Librarian.

May I take this opportunity also, to wish all members of this great Club a very happy festive season and may all your peaks be high ones!

*********************************************************************2) CONTRIBUTIONS FOR 2017 JOURNAL

This is a call for contributions for the 2017 Journal.  These can be sent to the Editing Team using the email address: . Please refer to the Guidelines and Style Sheet on the national website before you submit any contribution:   

********************************************************************* 3) 2018 PAN-AFRICA MOUNAINEERING MEET - MOUNTAIN CLUB OF UGANDA

Several African clubs have already established reciprocal membership and I am sure many of you have benefitted from the warm welcome of other clubs. The MCU, in cooperation with MCSA, would like to invite all clubs to attend a meet in Uganda in January of 2018. Uganda has quite possibly the finest mountains in all of Africa, the famous Rwenzori in the west, the dramatic Virungas of gorilla fame in the southwest, the much-heralded Mt Elgon in the east and the little known, wild, and unspoiled peaks of Karamoja in the northeast. Uganda’s got something for every type of mountaineer, glaciated uplands, technical pitches, gorgeous hikes and peace in some of the most beautiful and remote parts of East Africa.



 You are invited to partake in the Mount Kenya Festival from 1 to 10 March 2018 .We have negotiated a 50% discount on Park fees. Cost estimates are as follows:

4 nights on the mountain

•          Food, camp, Park fees, trekking guides and porters = 590USD/person

•          Minimum donation= 250USD/person

8 Nights on the mountain

•          Food, camp, Park fees, trekking, guides and porters= 742USD/person

•          Minimum donation= 350USD/person

Briefing in Nanyuki on 1st March

On the Mountain - 2nd-9th March

Fundraiser Braai and live music on 10th March

The mountain festival is supported by the Kenyan Dept of Tourism, the Mount Kenya Trust, and African Ascents.

Nanyuki is a town in central Kenya. It's known as a gateway to Mount Kenya and the wilderness of Mount Kenya National Park. Several trails, including the Naro Moru and Sirimon routes, ascend the mountain. The park’s wildlife includes leopards, giant forest hogs and more than 100 bird species. Northwest of Nanyuki, the plains and hills of the vast Laikipia Plateau are home to lions, elephants and rare Grevy’s zebras.

More information will be posted on            Contact person: Garvin Jacobs 

*********************************************************************5) MCSA MSAR NATIONAL TRAINING MEET CEDERBERG, 1- 5 November 2017 -Feedback

MCSA Mountain Search and Rescue (MSAR) teams from across the country converged on the Cederberg for the biennial MCSA MSAR National Training Meet from 1 to 5 November 2017. Read the report on the Cape Town Section’s Website, here.

*********************************************************************6) WHITE UMFOLOZI ROUTE GUIDE

The latest White Umfolozi route guide is available free of charge in pdf format from Gavin Peckham (

The guide is designed for use on smart phones but you can print it out if you prefer.  It has numerous hyper-links that will (hopefully) facilitate navigation around the 170-odd pages.  This is a really magic "out of Africa" venue with almost 300 routes including about 140 fully bolted sport routes.  These are mostly in the moderate grades but include some challenging test pieces.  If you are looking for something different then you really want to give this unique climbing venue a visit.  Please feel free to contact Gavin Peckham should you require any further information.



This year's theme is Mountains under Pressure: climate, hunger, migration.

Almost one billion people live in mountain areas, and over half the human population depends on mountains for water, food and clean energy. Yet mountains are under threat from climate change, land degradation, over exploitation and natural disasters, with potentially far-reaching and devastating consequences, both for mountain communities and the rest of the world.



Please diarise the date.  Details of the service to follow.




Malbun, Liechtenstein has been selected to host the 2018 UIAA Ice Climbing World Youth Championships from 6-7 January, 2018. The World Youth Championships are a fundamental aspect of the UAA’s commitment to the future of ice climbing.



The French Alpine Club will be hosting another Camp in Guillestre, near Briançon in the southern Alps of France.

Participants: The camp is open to UIAA Federation Members (MCSA) between the ages of 16 to 26 years.  Anyone under the age of 18 has to be accompanied by an adult Climber/coach, who is able to look after them during this meet. A maximum of 4 places will be available per country.

Minimum requirements:  Participants should lead climb at a minimum of 5b French grade and able to belay.

Equipment: climbing harness, winter alpinism shoes with ice crampons, climbing helmet, belay device and 5 quick draws (UIAA standard/CEN) 2 ice axes, an avalanche detector (could be rented from staff), 5 ice screws, sun glasses and cream, sleeping bag, head torch, winter climbing clothing, toiletry kit, water bottle, items of a personal nature and person medication.

Insurance: Participants should be insured for accident, rescue, third party liability and travel valid for participating in such a programme.
Entry visas:  South Africans require a visa (Schengen) for France.

Price:  240 EUR per participant, payable on arrival to the organiser – includes accommodation, full board, leading and organisational costs (except midday picnics as per programme)

Registration Deadline:   31 January 2018.   NB:  for interested South Africans, 5 December to allow for visa and other processes.  Applications must be signed off by the MCSA/UIAA Youth Commission representative.

 Anyone interested should please contact MCSA Secretary email:   for further details.



National: abbreviated link for the national MCSA facebook page: 





Free State Section:

Links for all section's web pages are all on the national webpage



There is no section news




Postgraduate studies at the Afromontane Research Unit in South Africa. This unit is based in QwaQwa near the Drakensberg mountains between South Africa and Lesotho. Very exciting location for mountain research. AfroMont:






Travel to the Austrian and Italian Alps in this beautiful video that gives us a glimpse of the seasons in transition in these majestic mountains.



The Ugandan leg of the 7 Summits Africa Challenge has kicked off.


13) Newsworthy items for inclusion in MCSA National News can be sent to the Editor, Ineke Moseley



Author unknown

How fragile this happiness, you and me, up here, looking down on the world.

This rock is so hard, but it feels good against my back.

Down there, where we left only this morning – the people are preparing for war.

War, the sound is so remote here where it is only you and I and the trees – and the rock.

Which then is real?

Where we shall be returning the people are preparing for war.

Having you here, John, though we don’t speak, is a good feeling.

We look far together, across the fifty miles of veld to the vague outline of the mine dumps and the skyscrapers and beyond,

trying to look into the future, though we can barely make out the present.

So we will turn around in a moment, and go down to the river and our campsite,

and tomorrow we will return to the world.

But for a moment we will have breathed again, enough of life,

that we may carry on.

Wits University Mountain Club Journal 1976/77, page 60.