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National News, June 2017

MCSA National News 4 June 2017 National News, June 2017


Imagine if you will, that you are waiting to cross the road. There are about 20 people waiting to cross and the traffic is quite heavy. Now someone starts talking and says that the odds are that one of the twenty people will not make it across that road, one person will die. Would you cross that road?

The reason for this question is to be found in the statistics of people trying to get up Mount Everest. Approximately 6 000 people have now summitted (hate that word!) Everest and close on 300 people have died on the mountain. Not very good odds really.

This year over 500 people had permits to try and get up Everest on the many commercial parties that organise the “excursion”. Thus far this season, to my knowledge, six people have died – not counting the four that were found in a tent, possibly suffocated by carbon monoxide. They appear to be left over from a previous year. That illustrates the control over the commercial parties on Everest. Why does this happen? Well, there are a lot of reasons but I think the picture of the Lhotse face that I include here possibly illustrates better than any words one of the main reasons.

Horrific, isn’t it?

The more perceptive among you may have noticed that I have avoided the use of the words “climbing” or “mountaineers” thus far. That is because it is my belief that the commercial trips to Everest have nothing to do with mountaineering as we know it and everything to do with catering to human vanity and the commercial opportunities that it presents.

Taking people who have little or no mountaineering experience on to Mount Everest and into that area above 8 000 metres where they will have little or no control and it is difficult even for experienced high-altitude climbers to function properly is hardly best mountaineering practice.

What can be done about this is a moot point. That it should be high-lighted for our members is a duty that I do not shirk.

All that having been said, I should like to inform members that there was a South African on Everest this year; not the illegal guy about much was written in the press but a member of the Jo’burg section who was attempting to be the first black woman on top. She reached the South Summit but was forced to descend due to high winds. Probably fortunately as she became ill on the descent and had to be helicoptered off.

On a much more positive note, I am pleased to be able to report a couple of very positive developments that may affect your thinking about climbing holidays! Progress towards the formation of an “African Confederation of Mountaineering Clubs” is progressing very well and looks like it will happen sooner rather than later. There will be a number of spin-offs and the first of these is already in the pipeline.

I have just received an email from my counterpart in Uganda responding very positively to the already mooted idea of a Pan-African Meet to be held in in Uganda in January/February 2018.

This will take in a number of the mountain areas of Uganda, e.g. the Ruwnzori, the Virungas, Mount Elgon and Karamoja and will cater mainly for people who enjoy the mountains rather than for the hard rock climbers. It will range from alpine type climbing to some serious walking/scrambling. Some of the areas will require permits and guides as this is a requirement of the Uganda authorities but, e.g. Karamoja (picture below), will be relatively inexpensive – and in a very remote area. The Uganda club might also be able to provide some accommodation in Kampala in between trips.

In another development, we have also been in contact with our counterpart in New Zealand concerning a possible exchange type meet – we go to them and they come to us. It is early days yet but I hope to have something positive to say in the next edition of the news-letter. Watch this space!

On a completely different tack, I had the pleasure (?) of sitting in Parliament (together with the Blitzbokke) and listening to the Minister’s presentation of the Department of Sport and Recreation’s budget for the coming year. This is of particular interest to us as some of our outreach activities are partially funded by the Department. There will of course, be a quid pro quo and we are planning ascents of the highest points in each province – probably in September – together with students from the previously disadvantaged universities. The idea is for each Section to partner with one or more institutions in their respective provinces and go up the peaks in each province. Some of them are really easy but others are quite challenging.

So, in my view, our participation in the UIAA is providing some valuable results already and I am sure that there will be more to come. I welcome comments and/suggestions as to how else we might benefit from our membership. There are already several ideas in the pipe-line.



At the MCSA AGM held on 6 May 2017, the following persons were elected to the Executive Committee:

President: Greg Moseley (CT)
Treasurer: Richard Ferguson (CT)
Deputy President: Tom Jourdan (WOR)
Additional members of the Executive Committee: Carl Dreyer (KZN) and Francois Searle (EP)
Secretary: Jenny Paterson

The convenors of the MCSA national standing committees are:

Access: Richard Sherry
Conservation: Maretha Alant
Expeditions: Ulrike Kiefer
IT: Francois Searle and Werner Illenberger
Medical: Eckhart von Delft
Outreach: Camilla Adelle
Search and Rescue: Steve Cooke
Youth: Jenny Paterson.

The chairmen of the MCSA Sections are:

Amajuba: Gerhard Lamprecht
Cape Town: Martin Hutton-Squire
Eastern Province: Francois Searle
Free State: Chris Joubert
Hottentots-Holland: Viljoen Thom
Johannesburg: Grant Rens
KwaZulu-Natal: Carl Dreyer
Magaliesberg: Petrus Nel
Namibia: Maarten Venter
Paarl/Wellington: Wouter Jordaan
South Cape: Dave Barnes
Stellenbosch: Paul Verhoeven
Tygerberg: Hugo Kritzinger
Worcester: Tom Jourdan

Mr Lester Coelen was re-appointed Auditor.



Only three weeks left for you to apply. Yes, there still is space for you to join us !

This year July Camp is being held high up and far into the Little Berg of the Cathedral Peak area of the mighty Drakensberg. It is a beautiful spot that slowly is being taken over by the natural succession of the mtsiki mtsiki bushes.  These evocative plants will bring back treasured memories to anyone fortunate to have sub-camped in the Drakensberg forest. If you have not yet been that fortunate, let us help you make your own memory, this year, at the 2017 July Camp.

Once again, we are privileged in being allowed to establish our Base Camp where most people are not allowed to Camp. The views are majestic, with colours that change throughout the day and offer walks, hikes, sub-camps, some excellent bushman paintings, attractive streams with tempting waterfalls, and pools. The photographic opportunities are superb. Excellent sightings of the Bearded Vulture and birds of prey are frequent in this area. A large herd of eland was seen in the area during and probably will be over wintering there.

Please remember that children, in the company of a responsible adult, are very, very welcome. In fact, their presence and their exuberant enjoyment brings an added dimension to the whole Camp.

This is a new Base Camp site so we all are excited by the fresh and varied opportunities that it has to offer. Thrill to the wide surrounding vista starting with jagged towers of Sterkhorn, the solid massif of Cathkin that then draws your eye to the mighty escarpment with its peaks and passes that extend all the way round to Cathedral Peak.

Come and join us for the whole Camp or just part of it.

Brochure and application form:

General enquiries: Rikki Abbott Wedderburn at
Cell: 082 538 5389 Tel: 033 239 2374




The American Alpine Club is hosting its 10th Annual International Climbers’ Meet (ICM), to be held the week of 8 to 14 October 2017 in Yosemite Valley. Applicants should have intermediate or advanced level experience with:

  • Placement and removal of protection.
  • Multi-pitch rope management.
  • At least two years of technical rock climbing.
  • The ability to follow sustained 5.8 granite.

The Early Bird fee until 31 July 31 is $475 USD per person. Beginning 1 August, the fee will be $525. Your fee includes:

  • Seven nights and six days of camping at secluded Yellow Pines camp ground
  • Three gourmet catered meals per day from Sierra Gourmet catering
  • Six days of climbing in spectacular Yosemite Valley
  • Three optional instructional days hosted by AMGA certified guides and instructors
  • Pre-dinner mini-clinics on a range of technical topics
  • Nightly campfire for storytelling, socializing, and general carousing
  • Partner with other participants or experienced host climbers

Participants provide their own transportation to Yosemite Valley, California.

Cancellation Policy: One half of fee will be returned until 4 September, (no fee refund after 4 September).

International applicants: You will receive notification of the status of your acceptance by 31 May.

To obtain an application go to and submit the attached application electronically via e-mail to For more information go to or contact



The meeting, which was hosted by the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), was attended by 16 delegates from 14 different countries. Nick Colton (Deputy CEO of the BMC) welcomed everyone and gave a fascinating presentation about climbing and mountaineering, highlighting how ethics have changed and developed in British and Alpine climbing in the past 50 years. Full article:


The Mountaineering and Sport Climbing Federation of Iran will organize the 3rd international event which is being held between 7 and 19 July 2017, to experience mountain climbing in Iran; an opportunity for the climbers from all over the world. The preferred mountains for this program are Mount Damāvand (5671m), a potentially active volcano, and the highest peak in Iran and Middle East, as well as the highest volcano in Asia, and Mt. Alam Kouh, the second highest peak of Iran.

We have the honour to personally invite you to attend in this event; we will appreciate hosting you as a young and talented climber, to share climbing experiences as well as cultural exchanges; and making friendship bonds between our nations in a healthy, sportive atmosphere.  We believe that this event is a unique occasion for young climbers to get to know other well-trained climbers in their own age. Moreover, they have the opportunity of learning and applying new climbing and mountaineering techniques under the supervision of our professional climbing and mountaineering instructors.

Registration Deadline June 10 2017. Go to FFCAM – Iranian Summer.


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.

Venue:  Gite Les Oustalous, Les Cabannes, Ariège, South of France (distance of 120 kms from Toulouse / one hour and 20 mins)

Accommodation: Rooms for 2 people sharing, all meals and lunch packs are provided by the event organiser and will be prepared by the youth.

Participants: Young people from 16 to 25 years old. Participants should lead climb at a minimum of 5b French grade. We will be offering places to maximum of 3 participants per country Federation. Participants younger than 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult guardian/climber/coach, who is able to look after them during this meet.  NB: Consumption of alcohol by the young people is forbidden during the camp.

Equipment: Climbing harness, climbing shoes, chalk bag, climbing helmet, belay device and 10 quick draws (UIAA standard/CEN). Sunglasses, sunscreen, waterproofs, sleeping bag, head torch, climbing clothing and personal toiletry kit, water bottle, any personal medication.

Insurance: Participants should get themselves insurance for accident, rescue, third party liability and travel which is valid for participating in the programme of climbing and trekking. This cover note of insurance should be presented to the organisers on arrival.

Entry visas: a visa will be required so early booking is recommended as the visa process takes time. A letter of support from the organisers and the MCSA will be provided.

Price: 30 EUR per participant / per night, payable on arrival to the organiser.

Accommodation: Full board, leading and organisational costs included, 40 EUR per accompanying guardian/climber/coach per night.

Registration deadline: 1 July 2017 (for European participants; earlier for any South African participants due to time required to process flights and visas). A maximum of 12 participants is planned, so priority will be given to early applicants.

Meeting point: Toulouse, on Saturday morning, the 8 July 2017; if flying, flights booked to Toulouse Airport to arrive on Friday, 7 July.

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



National Facebook page:
Links for all the sections’ web pages are on the national web page.



Cape Town Section: First Overnight Outreach Hike, 20-21 May 2017

On Saturday 20 May, 13 students from Heideveld High School’s hiking club and six adults—three MCSA members and three educators—set off on their first overnight hike with the intention to climb the 950m to sleep at the Thomas Hut in the Hex Mountains above Worcester. This was the first overnight hike that the Outreach Programme of the Cape Town Section had attempted and new rucksacks, sleeping bags, headtorches etc. were bought for the kids to use to facilitate this adventure.

The line of hikers stretched up the mountain and became elastic with some learners way up front while some battled a bit at the back but eventually all made it to Thomas Hut where everybody enjoyed a delicious supper around the braai, which the learners made themselves. They also made the next day’s lunch while preparing their supper.

The next morning after breakfast, three keen, fit learners accompanied Heleen du Toit and Farrell Davids to climb Brandwacht peak (1811m) while the rest of the learners got busy cleaning the hut and getting ready for the hike down. The whole party reached the cars within minutes of each other and the learners agreed that it was the best hike they had ever been on.



8.1) Renowned Climber Ueli Steck dies near Mount Everest.

One of the world’s most renowned climbers, Ueli Steck from Switzerland, has been killed in a mountaineering accident near Mount Everest in Nepal. Steck, who was 40 and one of the most celebrated climbers of his generation, was killed after falling to the foot of Mount Nuptse.

8.2) Big Fine for South African Attempting to climb Mount Everest without Permission.

A South African who attempted to climb Mount Everest without permission has been arrested in Nepal, where he faces a $22,000 fine — double the cost of the permit he was trying to avoid. Ryan Sean Davy handed himself in to authorities in Kathmandu after being caught hiding in a cave near Everest’s base camp without a permit.



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

Quote: Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end – Edward Whymper, Scrambles Amongst the Alps.

“explore – discover – connect – protect”

“verken – ontdek – ontmoet – bewaar”

“phonononga – fumanisa – qhagamshela – khusela”

MCSA-CT Office Admin

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