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National News, August 2017

MCSA National News 4 August 2017 National News, August 2017


Magaliesberg Section will be hosting the Dinner, save the date please. Yes, the invite for the annual dinner is out! Please RSVP either via the website or via email to


2) MCSA NATIONAL MEET: CHIMANIMANI, ZIMBABWE 25 September – 3 October 2017

Presented by the Magaliesberg Section MCSA, in conjunction with the Mountain Club of Zimbabwe.

Chimanimani is a mountainous area situated in the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe. The region is distinguished by large quartzite peaks, carved from a rifted quartzite block, the highest reaching to 2,440 metres and stretching for some 50 kilometres, forming the border with Mozambique. It is one of Zimbabwe’s wildest and finest mountain wilderness areas and a very popular hiking destination. The nature is unspoiled and at its best, with breath-taking and picturesque landscapes as you explore the area. There are mountains to climb, valleys and gorges to hike, rock paintings and waterfalls to feast your eyes on, and natural pools to swim in. Add to it forests, some unique plant species and wild animals, and it becomes a nature lover’s paradise.

Chimanimani is known as Zimbabwe’s best kept secret, but it needn’t be this way! Come join us on this meet for the truly adventurous by exploring its challenging overnight hiking trails and spectacular climbs, by doing caving, potholing or kayaking, or just enjoy its peace and tranquillity in a relaxed manner by taking leisurely day hikes. This meet has got some activities for all tastes!

General Provisional Programme:

Day 1               Arrival at Base Camp, Chimanimani Area.
Day 2               Briefing and Welcoming Braai (Late Afternoon).
Day 3, 4, 5     1, 2 & 3-Day Hiking, Climbing and Bouldering.
Day 6               Rest and Recreation; Caving / Potholing, Kayaking, and Dinner.
Day 7, 8, 9      1, 2 & 3-Day Hiking, Climbing and Bouldering.
Day 10             Visit to Chirinda Forest and Farewell Function at Base Camp.
Day 11             Departure and Own Itinerary.

Bonus Event: MCSA Annual Dinner 2017 presented by the Magaliesberg Section! On your way up to Zimbabwe, join the MCSA Annual Dinner on 23 September 2017 in Pretoria during which the Magaliesberg Section will celebrate its 50th Birthday.

Booking and more details for the Chimanimani meet and annual dinner will be made known at a later stage.

General Enquiries: Etienne Step. Telephone +27 72 242 0864  Email:

Interested parties are requested to send an email to Etienne, giving provisional personal contact details, type of activity interested in, accommodation preferences (i.e. dormitory accommodation, lodges / chalets or camping), mode of transport (i.e. by road or fly-in to Harare), etc., so that provisional planning can be made based on the provided information.

Download the info: 2017-national-meet-document-1.pdf and 2017-national-meet-document-2.pdf



Kicking off as a side event of the International Mountain Summit, the IMS Photo Contest has become the greatest contest of mountain photography worldwide. In its seventh edition, photographers compete for seven awards plus the title: Mountain Photo of the Year. With six different categories, we expanded the possibilities to submit mountain photos once again. This year’s prize money will be a total of over €18,000.

“Over the past six years, more than 12,000 photographers from all continents have been competing with each other to win an award in one of the categories of the IMS Photo Contest. This great commitment inspired us to develop the IMS Photo Contest into an event of its own. That is why we built up a new platform and continuously enhance the performance of the new website. We want to encourage photographic performances, photo culture and start over with a refreshing design and convenient functionality of the new website” so said the Contest President Markus Gaiser and Vice President Alex Ploner on the launch of the seventh edition of the IMS Photo Contest.

The category Mountain Nature. Mountains may appear immutable. But their interplay with nature creates ever new perspectives and captivating sights.

The category Mountain Action is looking for the best shots of people performing mountain activities.

The category Mountain Water may highlight the beauty (or the beast) of the fascinating pair mountain / water but also how it is used by mankind, from water reservoirs to energy production.

The category Mountain Mobile Many people who spend their leisure time in the mountains don’t want to take their heavy weight camera equipment with them, using their smartphones instead.

The category Mountain Faces tell stories of people in the mountains. The faces of people who live among rocks and fight against natural forces – from climbers and mountaineers to those living in the mountains.

The category Team Spirit is looking for photos, which represent the importance of team spirit in the mountain.

The members of this year’s Jury include, among others, Ray Demski, international photographer with focus on action and adventure photography. Also part of the international Jury is Ulla Lohmann, a German photojournalist and documentary filmmaker with a BSc degree in Natural Resource Management who works freelance for clients.

Deadline for submissions: 31st August 2017. The Award Ceremony takes place on Saturday, 14 October 2017 at the IMS Photo Night at the International Mountain Summit (IMS) in Brixen/Bressanone, South Tyrol (Italy). Full article and more information:



Well, it certainly was a Camp with a difference as we knew it would be from the very first moments after the decision was made!

It is unlikely that we have ever had a July Camp so close to a permanent dwelling. True, in 2006, also at Cathedral, we did have the Base Camp in the idyllic Research Catchment 8 between the simple, small buildings that had been built to house the instruments when the earlier research programme was active. They had been left standing (and looked for all the world like very solidly built, brick outhouses) and we sited the 2006 Base Camp close to one of them which made an ideal, icy cold meat store. It was good to see that these little buildings have come back into their own, and that they are being used for research purposes again. Jump to 2016.

We were so anxious to return to the beautiful Catchment 8 site, but now it is, judging by the number of vehicles going into it every day, in very active use for a multi-disciplinary research programme. As a result, very understandably but very regretfully, we were not allowed to camp there. So, we decided to break new ground and have the Base Camp with a difference in the grounds of Cambalala, formerly a forest foreman’s home, but now restored. The KwaZulu-Natal Section of MCSA leases from Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife and which members can hire.

Yet another difference was that while the Base Camp infrastructure, as usual and for safety reasons was sited on a mown grassy knoll, literally in the back yard of Cambalala, the Campers’ tents were nestled in clearings the Advance Party had made in the ‘nchi ‘nchi (spellings vary) bush, also known as ‘ouhout’. I am a ‘nchi ‘nchi bush camp addict, so for me this camp site was highly evocative bliss, while for many others this was a novel experience. However, as the bush wove its magic there seemed to be many new addicts. Birdsong woke me us before the ever-welcome call of “Coffee, please”!

Before lightweight tents were so readily available, often an escarpment sub-camp party that was relying on caves, where possible, would find that there was one spot without a suitable shelter, but if there was a copse of ‘nchi ‘nchi bush marked on the map, one considered one’s party very fortunate and hastened towards that special place. Hence my fondness for the bushes, which in fact, given time, can develop into handsome large trees.

Yet another different aspect of this Camp was that within minutes of leaving the cars parked near the bottom of Mike’s Pass, one was walking up to Camp along a beautiful Berg stream and into a pristine valley. One immediately felt the stresses drop away and petrol fumes clear from one’s lungs. A few hours later, one arrived at Base Camp having already enjoyed the first, and possibly one of the best hikes in the area. July Camp had begun before one even had sight of Base Camp or tasted the first of the ever-present cups of tea or coffee.

Our youngest camper, Roelof Hauman, chose that he and his very obliging father, Carel, should spend all their three days in this enchanted river valley. On the last day he commented to his father, “Pappa, vandag was ons in die hemel.”

But now, the carefully phrased paragraphs give way a racing crowd of memories all rushing and jumbling for preference:

  • The glorious, ever-present uninterrupted panoramic view from Amphlet and Turret to the very end of the Cathedral Ridge,
  • Successful Escarpment trips, happy contour path sub-camps and numerous day walks,
  • We found and happily used Roland’s Cave, but Botha’s Shelter remained elusive
  • Brilliant red Natal Bottlebrushes in full bloom,
  • At night, the beautifully whimsical coloured solar fairy lights draped in the bushes and marking Dave’s tent,
  • Brilliant starry nights and fascinating discussions led by Andy as he took us across the Southern skies,
  • A dramatic full moon on the opening night which also happened to be Tineke’s birthday,
  • Roelof’s accounts of his daily adventures and Carel’s delight in having shared these precious times with his son,
  • Being able to alert the authorities to a dramatic arson fire easily seen from our high vantage point, while still hidden from them at the official buildings
  • Re-greeting friends last seen 10 or 15 years ago and finding that though there were a very few minor visual changes, the real person remained unchanged,
  • The hugs, the embraces and the bubbling joy of greeting old friends and then meeting new ones that had, till then, been only e-mail names and suddenly were real people, and kindred spirits, what is more,
  • The eager delight which greeted the first fragrant appearance of the famous pickled pork,
  • The enthusiasm with which the healthy salad and cold meat–type lunch disappeared,
  • The groans of delight as walk-tired muscles were lowered into the hot water of the old tin baths. All tiredness and pain forgotten in the healing magic of ‘one bucket of hot water and as much cold water as you like’
  • The fragrant, dancing delight of firelight on those nights we could have campfires
  • The singing and chatter around the fires
  • The joyful, helpful, ever present Scouts who were always in just the right spot to render assistance. What a privilege and a pleasure to have them with us. Please become an entrenched part of July Camp. We welcome you with open arms. Your presence lowered the average age dramatically.
  • The joy of the Scouts even when weather conditions forced then to retreat from their second attempt on the Bell Traverse, and they arrived back in Base Camp in high spirits and wiser for having made the right decision under the circumstances.
  • The generosity of the Duracell bunnies, Hanlie and Peter, who brought two buckets of macadamia nuts for us all to share and enjoy.
  • Delicious sweet, juicy oranges.
  • The wind that came out of nowhere and devastated the Base Camp infrastructure in minutes.
  • The commitment with which the KZ-N Committee, as a man, leapt up to hang onto and hold down the gazebos while others struggled to get the heavy duty covers off and managed to do so without any damage.
  • The sight of the two conical army tents that we use as the swelling and billowing; the one ripped from top to bottom and the other one just gracefully sank down on top of contents. Both, considerately did not damage the solar lighting.
  • Two Scouts holding onto me while I tried to hold onto the equipment tent which was determined to blow away, but was prevented from doing so. While this battle against the billowing once-white canvas was playing out, Jabulani just carried on quietly and methodically hammering in the tent pegs as they were wrenched out.
  • The laughable sight of fully laden lunch tables being blown away side-over-side and scattering their loads in all directions.
  • The delight that not one of the Campers’ tents that had been set up in the gentle sheltering embrace of the ‘nchi ‘nchi bushes, only a few metres away, was damaged.
  • The inevitable cries of the ‘The bathrooms have gone’, followed shortly by ‘The loos have gone’.
  • The miracle that next, day by lunch-, a totally different order was established and the Camp was fully functional again.

And those are just a few of the memories of July Camp 2017. Do yourself a favour and come to July Camp 2018 and collect your own vivid scrapbook wonderful July Camp memories.  Every July Camp, is a Camp to remember and recall fondly.



Pair of La Sportiva (mountain) boots, crampon compatible (photograph can be sent if required). High altitude boots, very rigid, more for Alpine use. Designed to wear with very thick socks or thermal inner boot. Would suit a size 9 or max size 10 shoe size. Used once. Asking:  R 1 000. And a K-way expedition 3-man tent, used once. Asking: R 2 000.  Contact Peter Blignaut +27(0)810422000



The UIAA is extremely grateful to its member federation Deutscher Alpenverein (German Alpine Club), DAV, for bringing to light a sensitive subject which will be of interest to fellow UIAA members and the international climbing and mountaineering community.

Over the past few months, the DAV’s Alpine Museum has been offered remains from expeditions collected in Pakistan. These refer specifically to artefacts from 1934-1937 and 1953 and include papers, pennants, film boxes, oxygen bottles and human remains.

During a recent Board meeting, the DAV made a clear stance not to buy nor accept such artefacts as gifts on ethical grounds, to respect the law of Pakistan, and in respect for the mountaineers who died on such expeditions.

Built on a profound respect for the spirit and traditions of climbing and mountaineering and the promotion of safe and ethical mountain practices, the UIAA wholeheartedly endorses and supports the DAV’s decision.

Such practices not only have negative ethical connotations but also legal implications with artefacts being taken out of countries without permission.

Throughout its history, the UIAA has spearheaded numerous declarations related to ethical mountain practices. These include the Ethical Code for Expeditions (1982) and the Mountain Ethic Declaration (2009).

Any UIAA member federations requiring further information, or wishing to share a similar issue, are invited to contact




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



Cape Town Section : Rocklands Bouldering Youth Camp

The Rocklands Bouldering Youth Camp was held over the weekend of 14 to 16 July 2017 at Elizabethfontein School Hostel, Rocklands. Twenty-seven children and sixteen parents attended. The camp leader was Delaney Carpenter (MCSA Cape Town Section Youth Programmes Convenor) and assistant leader was Caleb Ashley Cooper (both coaches at Top out Climbing Club.) The weekend was filled with a lot of good climbing and great companionship and the kids experienced the comradery of the bouldering community.



College Of Public Health, Medicine & Veterinary Sciences Discipline Of Biomedical Science Gamete&Embryology (GAME)

PhD scholarships due 31st August 2017 (international applicants) or 31st October 2017 (Australian domestic applicants).

If successful, the awardee should look to commence the project in January 2018. Applicants should have a 1st class Honours or MSc Research Degree in a related field, demonstrate Band 2 English language proficiency, and have preferably (co)authored at least one scientific publication.




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

Quote: “The tops of mountains are among the unfinished parts of the globe, whither it is a slight insult to the gods to climb and pry into their secrets, and try their effect on our humanity. Only daring and insolent men, perchance, go there. Simple races, as savages, do not climb mountains – their tops are sacred and mysterious tracts never visited by them”

Henry David Thoreau “Ktaadn” (1848), in The Maine Woods (2004) p. 65.


“explore – discover – connect – protect”

“verken – ontdek – ontmoet – bewaar”

“phonononga – fumanisa – qhagamshela – khusela”

MCSA-CT Office Admin

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