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In this news bulletin:

1) 2014

2) Journal 2013 – contributions

3) Proposed cable car in the Drakensberg

4) Richard Watmough Conservation Fund applications

5) Annual Memorial Service – February

6) UIAA News

7) Snippets



1) 2014


                Our Club has roughly 4 000 members (0.01%) out of a population of  52 million South Africans, and in no way does our membership profile represent the ‘average’ South African. However, for 123 years (Please diarise that in 2016 we will celebrate our 125th birthday!), our impact on our country and community has been undeniably significant and good in areas ranging from mountain search and rescue to mountain protection to mountain literature to access for mountaineering and climbing for all. Since 1992 the Club is also representing the country on the International Mountaineering body, the UIAA.

                In this Club, in recent times called a PBO (public benefit organisation) and exempt from tax under certain circumstances, its Sections have always strived to keep membership fees low (Of course there will always be some members who do not see it as being successful…).If we want to keep these fees at these levels, the Club needs its members to continue volunteering.

                So please think about what YOU can do in 2014 to help with and participate in Club activities: Whether it is introducing people to the mountains and encouraging them to join, spotting in a newspaper that there is land with a crag on for sale and letting your committee know about it, pulling out a weed or exterminating a pine in the mountains, the Club cannot survive - never mind grow - without YOUR contribution this year!

                All the best for 2014! May you make time to enjoy your Mountain Club activities!

-          Petro Grobler, MCSA President





This is a further call for contributions for the 2013 Journal. Jenny Paterson was appointed editor again and these can be sent to her at either of the following email addresses:   (preferred)  or   (limited size).
                Please see  for Journal style sheet; guidelines and a photo submission template.






The AmaZizi people of the Busingatha Valley which is the proposed site of a cable car in the Drakensberg has released a statement in which they call for support for their effort to prevent the destruction of the natural and cultural heritage of their area:




The main aim of the Richard Watmough Conservation Fund is to make a financial contribution towards conservation projects that will benefit the Magaliesberg.  An amount of R18 000 is available each year for any person or group that would be interested in doing a conservation project in the Magaliesberg.  Closing date: 15 January 2014. Send your application to  They look forward to receiving your application!






The Annual Memorial Service will take place at Maclear’s Beacon on Sunday, 23 February 2012 at 12:00.  At this nondenominational service, members who have died during the past year are remembered. Organise a group of friends, bring your lunch and get there via your favourite route or check Sections web sites for club meets.



6) UIAA News

6.1) ACCIDENT DATABASE: The development of a proposed worldwide accidents database run by the UIAA Mountaineering Commission has been given a boost from the Petzl Foundation’s board of directors who have agreed to support the project in principal. Such a global database with standardized accident reporting could help insurance companies better understand risk in mountain activities. Mountaineering Commission president, Pierre Humblet, said mountaineering isn’t as dangerous a sport as the public imagines it to be, and that statistics recently gathered was able to demonstrate this point. “With effective statistics we could reduce the level of insurance premiums,” said Humblet. See:







7.1) CENTRAL TOWER OF PAINE - book on the first ascent: Merv Prior (South Cape and Johannesburg Sections) has published a book on the first ascent of the Central Tower of Paine (‘East Face of the Central tower of Paine’). Size: 153mm x 228mm, 120 pages, 84 colour photos. The books are on sale in the local bookshops at R195 each but he is selling them to MCSA members at R175 plus postage, (if any). His particulars:  M.A. Prior,   P.O. Box 186, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay 6602;   10, N2 Highway, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay (Tel 044-534 8531,  The e-book can also be ordered on Blurb.

7.2) BOTANICAL SOCIETY AWARDS TO MEMBERS: Congratulations to Ivor Jardine, Jill and Peter Blignaut and Wendy Paisley who have received awards from the Botanical Society of SA.


7.3) MADIBA - MCSA Letter of condolence:


7.4) CHAMONIX MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL (29 June - 6 July 2014): The inaugural Chamonix Mountain Festival in 2013 proved to be highly successful and another Festival is being organised on the above dates. Go to: for further details, or contact for more info. Booking online is simple and for $586.56 you can have seven nights' full board accommodation, lift passes and access to the whole Festival programme! 


7.5) INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – FLAG TO THE ROOF OF AFRICA: To mark International Women’s Day on 8 March 2014, the Ladies Trekking Club is planning to design a unique flag bearing all of their names and to take it to the Roof of Africa. Their goal is to include the names of at least 10,000 women on the flag. Their undertaking is designed to be a show of respect to all women around the world: “In so doing we will be giving them our support and our message: we should all think – and act – big and value education.” Join the list:

7.6) COMMERCIAL EVEREST EXPEDITIONS:  From this spring onwards, the German Alpine Club (DAV) will offer commercial expeditions through their DAV Summit Club. One of the world’s foremost mountaineers, Ueli Steck, comments: “The German Alpine Club has not just my approval, but exceptionally I can understand it. The DAV has contained itself on Everest for such a long time. But there is no difference whether I prepare a route on Everest or on Gasherbrum I or II or Dhaulagiri or Nanga Parbat. The DAV has played this game for many years by offering 8000ers which were prepared for mass ascents.

                I was on Mount Everest last spring and had to change my mind. The basecamp was perfectly clean, the toilets of the high camps were flown out every other day. Now the expedition agencies are so experienced that they work things out with each other: Who is responsible for Camp 2? Which cook is up there? Who will fix the last ropes from the South Col to the summit? This is so well-organized that there are no more jams because the groups – or should I say the clients, the tourists – are led up to the summit one after another.

                Why should the DAV stand back? That’s just the biggest hype. I guarantee that within ten years commercial expeditions to all 8000ers will be offered in spring, summer or autumn depending on where they are. The international agencies are very, very good. If you book an expedition with them you know: I will be well supplied in basecamp. They will take care that I’m well acclimatized and give me a good guide. And they ensure that I as an ordinary climber will very likely reach the summit and will probably not perish. However, the risk is not zero.” (Ed. Think back on the 1996 Sunday Times SA Everest Expedition…?)



Any newsworthy items for inclusion in MCSA National News can be sent to the eNews Editor, Bridget Carrick (




'After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.'




Best regards


Petro Grobler

(The eNews Editor, Bridget Carrick, is on holiday in Tasmania) 



  “explore – discover – connect – protect”

  "verken – ontdek – ontmoet – bewaar”

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