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 In this bulletin:


1 Contributions for 2016 Journal

2) Top of the World

3) New record for the Great Himalaya Trail

4) Cederberg National & 125-year Anniversary Meet - feedback

5) 1-2-5...Climb – 1-16 October – 2016 - Feedback

6) Agtertafelberg hut – new parking arrangements at Fizantakraal farm

7) South African Medical Journal Recognising and mitigating the risk of altitude-related illness

8) Mountain Club of Uganda – opportunity to climb Mt Batian Kenya

9) International Mountain Day

10) UIAA

10.1 International Youth ice climbing camp – Guillestre, Hautes Alpes (05), France.   5 – 11 February 2017

            10.2) Youth ice climbing camp - Dolomites, Italy.  9 – 13 February 2017

11 facebook and web pages

12)  Section News

13)  Snippets

14) Any newsworthy items




This is a call for contributions for the 2016 Journal.  These can be sent to the Editing Team to: .  Please refer to the Guidelines and Style Sheet on the national website before you submit any contribution. 

 As this will be a special edition, it being our 125th anniversary year, we will be including a bit about the history of the MCSA.




The Mountain Club of SA is celebrating its 125th birthday, writes Claire Keeton. Mountain Club of SA members climbed more than 300 peaks, hills and routes in South Africa, and as far afield as Ben Nevis in Scotland and South Korea, this month to celebrate the club’s 125th birthday. The highest point reached was 5 400m on Thorung la pass in Nepal. A pair of rock climbers got up 125 routes in a single day at Waterval Boven in Mpumalanga.   Merv Prior, 91, was the veteran participant when he climbed Arch Rock at Keurboomstrand. (30/10/2016 the Times (Sunday Times Daily.)  For the full article:



Andrew Porter (Johannesburg Section) has completed the GHT in a new record time of 28 days, 13 hours and 56 minutes. This beats the previous record held by Sean Burch of 49 days.   Andrew completed the GHT west to east, following a route similar to Burch. He started in Hilsa at 4 am on 26 September and finished in Pashupatinagar shortly after nightfall on 24 October 2016.

Andrew navigated by himself the whole way, and used no porters, preferring to carry the entire load himself. To keep weight down, he stayed in lodges or other local accommodation for most nights, buying food locally as he travelled.  He received assistance and useful advice during the planning stages from Robin Boustead.

He organised the trip through the Thamel based trekking company Adventure Mountain Club. He had a dedicated guide, Nawang, who assisted with re-supply points along the way and with issuing permits. Andrew also received plenty of useful advice from both Nawang and the trekking company.

In total, Andrew used 5 re-supply points, at Simikot, Jupal, Dharapani, Trisuli and Bahrabrise. He also did a detour, on foot both ways, from Kagbeni to Jomsom to visit an ATM.

Key Stats are as follows:
Total time: 28 days, 13 hours and 56 minutes
Distance covered: 1406 km
68440 m ascent
69943 m descent
1.8 million steps taken
Weight loss of 4kg

Andrew would like to thank Robin Boustead, the Adventure Mountain Club and Nawang for their assistance.



Hosted by the Cape Town Section – 30 September to 9 October 2016


The 2016 National Meet was hosted at Sanddrif and Kromrivier in the Cederberg.

Approximately 100 members attended over the eight days, some only coming for a long weekend, while others arrived later. Members came from across the country, including from England. The intention was to accommodate both rock climbers and the hiking fraternity, making use of the cottages and campsites on both farms, when not further afield.


The weekend started with an enjoyable “get-to-know-each-other-and-what’s-on” braai at a Kromrivier cottage on Friday evening, 30 September. As a number of multi-day hikes set off the next morning that was the last we saw of those hiking teams.


Helen Kleynhans, Chris Kruyshaar, Torben Wiborg, Hans Scheffler and Ursula Athiros each led different multi-day hikes to the Club’s Breekkrants property; Helen and Hans leaving on Saturday 1 October, Ursula’s group on Tuesday, and Torben’s team on the Thursday. The teams enjoyed hikes to the far ends of the Breekkrants, climbing a number of peaks such as the Winterbach, Breekkrants Twins, Apollo, Maanskyn, Lunar, Apex Peak, and Donkerkloof Kop, a few of which required some entertaining scrambling to gain their summits.


Torben’s and Ursula’s groups had the added fun of being caught out in adverse weather, on both Thursday night when rain and some sleet came through, with the temperature dropping below zero, and again on Saturday evening and night when storm conditions prevailed, which were fortunately followed by a beautifully warm Sunday morning for the hike out.


Anton Kraemer led a fast team from Sanddrif via the Cracks, Wolfberg Arch, and Corridor Peak to climb Tafelberg, where they spent one night.


A variety of rock routes were climbed, mostly in the Wolfberg Cracks area, led by Jacques Raubenheimer, David Webster, Brain Watts, Megan Beaumont & Robert Breyer. These included classics such as Eclipse and Little Red Rooster, both of which saw multiple ascents. Willem le Roux almost on-sighted Red Rain (26), a rather serious undertaking, while Brian led a party of five up the Maltese Cross.


Sneeuberg, the highest peak in the Cederberg at 2027m was climbed over nine hours on Saturday 1 October, by a relatively fast team of six.  Reaching the top was an inspiring moment after the scramble along the challenging ridge. Sneeuberg was summited by two other parties, one of which was led by Paul Verhoeven, whose party overnighted at the Sneeuberg Hut.


Other day hikes were to Bakmakersfontein in the Breekkrants, Truitjieskraalberge, the Maltese Cross, Wolfberg Cracks, the Wolfberg Arch, and around the Pup and Sugarloaf.


Rika du Plessis, CapeNature’s Cederberg Manager, led members on a most informative tour of the Stadsaal, covering many aspects of the Cederberg’s history, from the geology, fauna and flora, to the original inhabitants, their rock art, and the early settlers. Rika’s enthusiastic talk was much appreciated.


The Observatory provided a stunning talk and views of the heavens on the Saturday evening. Late on Sunday afternoon, the Nieuwoudt family presented a beer tasting for members at their brand new and most impressive Kromrivier visitor centre, restaurant and Nieuw Brew brewery, which – needless to say! – developed into a most convivial evening.  Similarly, on the Monday afternoon, members were able to appreciate the fine wines available at a wine tasting event at the Cederberg Private Cellar at Dwarsrivier.


The Cederberg meet was a National Meet with a difference, where members could partake in a variety of activities, in addition to mountaineering, while enjoying all that the Cederberg has to offer.


Many thanks to all who led the hikes and climbs, to Robert Breyer for the organisation, to CapeNature, Sanddrift and Kromrivier for hosting us, and most importantly, thank you to all who attended, - it was wonderful to meet members from afar, and especially so, as you made the week so much fun.


5) 1-2-5...CLIMB! – 1-16 OCTOBER 2016 –FEEDBACK


 Club members came to the front and celebrated the 125th birthday of the MCSA all over the world’s mountains, hills and crags. 


The goal of 1-2-5…Climb! was set as 125 routes/climbs… and then two members (Sakkie Jansen van Rensburg and Johan Terblanche) set off and bagged 125 sport routes on the Club’s official birthday on 8 October in ONE day at Waterval Boven!


All reports are not in yet, but the over 300 routes and climbs done reflects the great diversity within the MCSA as individual (individualistic?) members interpreted the ambit in their own way in terms of event type, period, etc:  

-          a 90-year age gap was recorded between 18-months-old Alex Harvey in a carrier pack in the Magaliesberg and Merv Prior at 91-years-old attempting Arch Rock at Keurboomstrand;

-          from the lowest point (highest point on Durban’s North Beach) to crossing Thorung la in Nepal  on the 8th of October as part of Andrew Porter’s Great Himalayan Trail record; 

-          as part of weekend life as trail runner, mountain biker, family person (some events logged 3 to 4 generations) or sommer on the way back from a holiday next to the road; 

-          at least 10 countries from South Korea to Scotland;

-          a competition from Johannesburg Section as to who could climb the most routes at Bronkies delivered 59 routes i.e. around 5 per person; 

-          a night rescue exercise and a full moon summit

-          tough hikes described by the ‘tigers’ as strolls; strolls described as ‘high points’ by the elderly; 

-          descend by cable car  - of those knees,… - or ascend high up by cable car and hobble up further with your broken foot, or go with your recently operated shoulder…

-          weather ranged from brilliant to rainy (the weather on the actual birthday in the Western Cape didn’t deter the bagging of several peaks)

-          a quickie or as part of larger dreams/projects

-       the current MCSA President as well as 4 ex-Presidents; four Gold Badge holders of the Club


The feedback received demonstrates the pride and joy belonging to the MCSA. The pictures taken during many events were enhanced by the colourful 125-anniversary Buff (designed by Maria Simitopoulus). For registered events and some stories and pictures: (not yet fully updated).  If you haven’t done so yet, please remember to email a few lines/paragraph/essay/pictures on your bit to or WhatsApp to 073 401 7590.

 “1-2-5…Climb! was slow to start but it surely grew wings.”(Greg Devine, South Cape Section)




The owners of Fizantakraal Farm, over which Club members walk to reach the Agtertafelberg Hut or Du Toit's Peak, have offered the MCSA  a “pay if you use” access arrangement, which will  operate in addition to the existing walk-in arrangement from the Du Toit’s Kloof Hut or the N1 weighbridge parking areas. This comes into effect on Wednesday 14th September 2016.

 MCSA members may now choose to drive from the N1 up to the Fizantakraal farmyard on the new tar road  that the farm has recently built, saving a total of 6 kms of slogging up and down from the Du Toit's Kloof Hut parking area below.  We believe that cars parked up at Fizantakraal will also be safer from the break-ins that have occurred at the Du Toit's Kloof Hut.

·             The fee for the access and parking is R150 per car per day or night, or portion thereof.

·               The parking facility will be limited to 5 cars

·                  The parking must be pre-booked, with vehicle registration number, and paid via the MSCA office, as is done for the Agtertafelberg Hut bookings. No refund for cancellation.

·                  Members may also book parking for their guests, who are accompanying them in terms of Club rules.

·                  The booking MSCA member must complete the log book on hand at the parking area, for their own vehicle, and for any other or guest’s vehicle/s.

·                  No drop-and-go is permitted at Fizantakraal

·                  The access and parking on Fizantakraal property is strictly at own risk.

·                  The Fizantakraal entrance is opposite the weighbridge and there are signs to the MCSA parking area.

·                  A penalty double charge will be levied if members park at Fizantakraal without pre-booking

·                  Please contact the MCSA office at  if you wish to book the parking at Fizantakraal, concurrent with making & paying your Hut booking.

  • As before:

·                  The Fizantakraal farm gate will be open between 07h30 and 19h30 every day.

·                 Carry your MCSA membership card at all times.

·                  No bicycles or dogs are allowed under any circumstances.

         Stay on the designated trails across the Fizantakraal farm property.




‘The recent tragic and widely publicised death of South African (SA) celebrity Gugu Zulu on Mount Kilimanjaro has drawn significant public interest and speculation about the risks of high-altitude trekking and climbing. It has also demonstrated numerous myths and misconceptions with regard to safe high-altitude ascents among not only the lay public, but also medical professionals.’ Read the complete article at:




The Mountain Club of Uganda (MCU) are organising a trip to climb Batian on Mt Kenya in March 2017.   If you wish to climb you will need to bring a climbing partner

And gear. To join the trip contact Matt Battini:




International Mountain Day 2016 provides an occasion to highlight the variety and richness of mountain cultures, promote the vast array of mountain identities and ensure that indigenous rights are recognized and traditional ways endure. Mountain Culture is the suggested theme for 2016.


10) UIAA


UIAA GLOBAL YOUTH SUMMIT OPPORTUNITIES:   all enquiries should be directed to MCSA/UIAA Youth Commission Convenor, Jenny Paterson at  or through   Applications should not be submitted without being signed off by either her or the MCSA President


10.1) INTERNATIONAL YOUTH ICE CLIMBING CAMP – Guillestre, Hautes Alpes (05), France.   5 – 11 February 2017.

Venue:  Guillestre, near Briançon in southern Alps of France. All the ice climbing sites are described on this internet site:  

Accommodation:   in the Youth gite;  4 persons/room; breakfast and dinner provided by the gite and are included in the cost.

Participants: Young people from 16 – 26 years old. Participants should lead climb at a minimum of 5b French grade, and should be autonomous for managing belay.  Spaces will be limited to a maximum of FOUR per country.

Participants younger than 18 years must be accompanied by an adult climber/coach who is able to look after them during thisd meet.

Insurance: participants should be insured for accident, rescue, thirdparty liability and travel which is valid for participating for the duration of the trekking/climbing programmes.

Visa:   a visa will be required so early booking is recommended as the visa process takes time.

Cost:   €240 per participant, payable on arrival to the organiser. 

Included:  accommodation, dinner and breakfast, leading and organisational costs       Not included:  cost of midday picnics; international flights; insurance; visa; items of a personal nature.

Registration deadline:  20 January 2017 (for European participants;  (eaerlier for any South African participants due to time required to process flights and visas).

More details and assistance with registration can be obtained from Jenny.


10.2)  YOUTH ICE CLIMBING CAMP – Dolomites, Italy.

Dates:  9 – 13 February 2017

Venue:   The Dolomites

Participants:   Young people from 15 – 19 years old (strictly).  10 Italians and 10 foreigners. 

Insurance: participants should be insured for accident, rescue, third party liability and travel which is valid for participating for the duration of the trekking/climbing programmes.

Visa:   a visa will be required so early booking is recommended as the visa process takes time.

Cost: €240 per participant, payable on arrival to the organiser.

Included:  full board and local transfers.

Not included:  international airfare; insurance; visas; items of a personal nature.

Technical Equipment Climbing harness, winter mountaineering boots, crampon, helmet, two ice axes, ARTVA equipment. The missing technical equipment will be provided by the organization. (Communicate to the organization which technical equipment you need no later than January 15th) Equipment Heavy winter clothing, sun screen and sunglasses, free time clothing, personal medicines. 

Registration deadline:  January 15th 2017. (earlier for any South African participants due to time required to process flights and visas).

More details and assistance with registration can be obtained from Jenny.




MCSA Search and Rescue Facebook Page

Cape Town


Free State








South Cape:


Tygerberg: and


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






The Olive Glen Youth Camp was held over the weekend of the 29th and 30th October 2016 at Olive Glen Farm in Paarl-Wellington.  Twenty-one children, sixteen parents and two Supervisors attended.  We were looked after by the amazing Eckhardt Conradie, our guide for the weekend.  Most of the kids who attended the camp are Western Cape Climbing Members. The camp was run and organised by WCC Secretary, Treasurer, Head of Coaching and Clubs Liaison Delaney Carpenter, who is also the MCSA Cape Town Youth Section Convenor.  She was assisted by a MCSA Member and Top Out Climbing Club Coach, Caleb Ashley Cooper.






National Geographic has revealed its selections for the 2016 Adventurers of the Year. As usual, the list consists of a group of people who have made unique contributions in the area of exploration, conservation, and pushing the boundaries of human endurance. This year, ten individuals – and an entire ship's crew – were honoured with this distinction.


Please diarise the above dates for the 2017 AfroMont-Mt Kilimanjaro African Mountain Research meeting, hosted by the Mt Kili research programme based at Moshi.




(Edited by Anne-Marie Deisser and Mugwima Njuguna) 

This book brings together essays by heritage experts from different backgrounds, including conservation, heritage management, museum studies, archaeology, environment and social sciences, architecture and landscape, geography, philosophy and economics to explore three key themes: the underlying ethics, practices and legal issues of heritage conservation; the exploration of architectural and urban heritage of Nairobi; and the natural heritage,   origin, and in African countries currently experiencing conflicts, this activity invariably attracts looters, traffickers and criminal networks.    Download free:


14) Newsworthy items for inclusion in MCSA National News can be sent to the Editor, Bridget Carrick:

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Pat Morrow: Peak bagging

And there is another kind of equally pure collector: This person is the mountain nomad who collects ascents of peaks, very often silently and joyfully, simply because he or she loves being in the mountains exploring. The wilderness possibilities in my native Canada have permitted the existence of many such nomas, even in this age of roads and airplanes. People like ... each head into the mountains every year with a drive to explore that naturally, but not necessarily intentionally, creates remarkable tick-lists.