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National News, December 2018

MCSA National News 13 December 2018 National News, December 2018


The end of the year is approaching fast and with it a time for a little retrospection perhaps? However, I think it is better to look forward at this point as there are a number of issues that the Club has to consider in the next 12- 18 months.

If I may deal with a “personal” issue first up. I have now reached the age of seventy-mumble and I am seriously past my sell-by date. I continue to enjoy (if that is the right term to employ here) the office of President – even if my wife doesn’t! However, I have always felt that there should be a term limit on committee membership and four years to me seems to be about right. That time for me will be up in 2020 which seems a good year to finish up. What this means is that the Club needs to consider who could step into my place at the AGM in 2020 – if not before! Give it some thought!

One of the things that I have enjoyed most about being President – if that is not a contradiction in terms – is the chance to contribute to mountaineering through our membership of the UIAA. I appreciate that there are those who do not believe that it is relevant to the MCSA but I strongly believe that we receive value and – importantly – contribute value to the world mountaineering community. That has been amply illustrated during the somewhat difficult times that the UIAA has faced due to issues between the three largest European clubs and the Executive of the UIAA. The extra-European continental associations, notably, North America, Oceania and Africa, have played the role of “honest broker’ in efforts to resolve the differences and I believe that the efforts of all concerned have largely succeeded. Time will tell…

The Club has also played an important part in structuring the UIAA 5-year strategic plan which will almost certainly see the UIAA become even more relevant in its chosen fields of activity. The most important of these are the fields of conservation, mountain safety and youth development.

This latter is of course, a subject close to our hearts here in South Africa with our very active outreach programmes run by various of the Sections of the MCSA. To those Sections that do not have such a programme, I would urge them to consider instituting one such. They are most rewarding to all participants – the youth and the MCSA organisers.

Here, I would like to pay tribute to all those people who volunteer for these programmes around the country. I know that they themselves get a lot out of the programme but the young people who are introduced to the mountains are the real, immediate winners. Long-term, it is the mountains that will gain as there will be a generation of young people who will take care of our mountain environment.

Particularly, I would like to thank the National Outreach Convenor, Camilla Adelle. The amount of absolutely thankless work she puts in is amazing! Anyone who has had to fill out government forms will know what I mean – the application forms for the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa are a battle – and Camilla handles it with aplomb!

The “development” of exchange meets is also very gratifying and my old buddy Dr Charles Edelstein (“Snort” to his friends) is also to be commended for his efforts along these lines. The successful exchange meets with the BMC and the AAC have been very fruitful. Similarly, the FRCC meet (just concluded) was a triumph for the more moderate climbers.

On this note, I would like to emphasise that the exchange meet concept is not just for the leading-edge climbers as some of you may think. It is for all of us. The grade one climbs, the mountain trips we undertake are as enjoyable and challenging for the “moderate” mountaineer as they are for the top climbers. Think about that and let’s get some fresh ideas for exchange meets working!

Similarly, for expeditions. As those of you who know me are well aware, expeditions for me, are the raison d’être for my climbing. Nothing beats the feeling you have when you are waiting to see what lies around the next corner of the valley or swing around the edge on to a slab and see that it is climbable! I admit, quite freely, that I tend to be a purist when it comes to expeditions. It is my belief, that the technical grade is far less important than the exploratory urge. Going into new country – as I have been fortunate enough to do – is what it is all about!

“We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go

Always a little further: it may be

Beyond that last blue mountain barred with Snow”


2. JOURNAL 2018

Contributions for the 2018 Journal need to be submitted by 31 January 2019. 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: these can be found on the following link:

A reminder: Journal Indices 1 (1894 to 1968) and 2 (1969 to 1978)

These indices are available on the National website and can be found at




Ulrike Kiefer led a small group to Kamchatka. Her recent presentation elicited a lot of interest. All members of the group said what an amazing trip it was.

Her Russian contact is thinking of doing a similar trip in June 2019 – a lighter trekking in Kamchatka for 7-21 July 2019: there is no glacier walking, a detour to another valley, an extra volcano climb and included the boat trip: he is offering a €160 early booking discount off the quoted price until the New Year. Also worth mentioning that Aeroflot direct flights for summer 2019 are not available yet so the current flight prices should not be a deterrent.

For more information go to



Some selected highlights of recent UIAA activities are provided below. Members are encouraged to go to to find out more about the UIAA‘s important activities.


The UIAA continues to develop its services for members and will be improving its members page to offer federations the opportunity to exchange more details about climbing and mountaineering in their own countries. A Donate page will also be available to members who wish to showcase initiatives and causes they are supporting. Both projects will be rolled out during the first quarter of 2019.

Members are therefore reminded of many existing resources, and some new ones, provided by the UIAA. This includes the newly-launched online rock and ice climbing festival search tool, a UIAA platform which offers federations the chance to promote events in their region. The UIAA Safety Standards, high-altitude medical advice, training standards and mountain protection projects continue to evolve, providing expertise at the benefit of members and entire climbing and mountaineering community. Expertise which comes directly from the valuable volunteer efforts of UIAA Commission members, nominated by UIAA member federations worldwide.


“MountainsMatter” is the theme chosen for this year’s celebration of International Mountain Day on 11 December.

Even though they are mentioned in the 2030 Agenda, mountains are still often forgotten. Considering the crucial role they play in providing key ecosystem goods and services to the planet and their vulnerability in the face of climate change, we need to step up and raise attention to mountains. Among the key points to be considered for International Mountain Day are:

  • MountainsMatter for Water
  • MountainsMatters for Disaster Risk Reduction
  • MountainsMatter for Tourism
  • MountainsMatter for Food
  • MountainsMatter for Youth
  • MountainsMatter for Indigenous Peoples
  • MountainsMatter for Biodiversity

Members are urged to go to the web site for more information.


This interesting organisation can provide grants for conservation activities anywhere in the world and has indeed financed projects in South Africa already. Their Vision:

“The outdoor sector and the millions of people who enjoy the great outdoors are active champions for the conservation of nature and wild places.”

EOCA defines ‘wild places’ as non-urban environments and ecosystems occurring in as natural a state as possible, given the area’s location and use.  This may include for example moorland, hills, mountains, coasts, rivers, forest, grassland, peatland, lake and ocean areas.

Conservation bodies which are nominated by Association members can apply for grants of up to €30,000 for specific projects – not an insignificant amount as far as conservation projects go. The projects chosen are as wide ranging as the members.  The locations of these projects are not restricted to any geographical boundaries – thus far projects have included the establishment of an environmental trail in Nepal, clean-up operations on a mountain peak in Kyrgyzstan, the protection of brown bears in northern Spain, replanting of native ‘virgin’ forest in the Czech Republic, creation of a trans-boundary hiking trail in Macedonia and Albania, protection of marsh fritillaries in Ireland and the saving of an ancient forest in Sweden from logging.  Go to for more information.


The French Alpine Federation will be hosting another ice climbing camp in Guillestre, Hautes Alpes, France between 24 February and 02 March 2019. All the ice climbing sites are described on the web site:

Accommodation will be in a ‘gite’ (hostel); 4 people sharing. Breakfasts and dinners are provided and are included in the price.

Participants: Must be between 16 and 26 years old. Participants should lead climb at a minimum of 5b French grade, and should be autonomous for managing belay. The Federation is offering places to maximum of 4 participants per country Federation. Participants younger than 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult Climber/coach, who is able to look after them during this meet.

Equipment: climbing harness, winter alpinism shoes with ice crampons, climbing helmet, belay device and 05 quick draws (UIAA standard/CEN), 2 ice axes (could be rented by staff), one avalanche detector device (could be rented from staff), 05 ice screws, sun glasses & cream, sleeping bag, head torch, winter climbing clothing and toiletry kit, water bottle, any personal medication.

Insurance: Participants should be insured for accident, rescue, third party liability and travel which is valid for participating in the programme of climbing and trekking. A copy of each insurance should be presented to the organisers on arrival.

Meeting point: Blagnac Airport (Toulouse) on Saturday, February the 23 (then travelling the 24 th in minibus with French young participants from Toulouse).

Visas: South Africans need a visa for France, so early application should be made.

Price: 250 EUR per participant, payable on arrival to the organiser. Accommodation, full board, leading and organisational costs included (except picnic of midday).

Deadline (for South African participants): 5 JANUARY 2019 (to allow time for the visa and other formalities)

Photographs of the 2018 Camp can be seen on: 

Further information can be obtained from the MCSA Secretary: email  or



This interesting on-line news letter continues to provide inspiration to climbers by highlighting both major climbs and relatively unexplored areas of the Himalaya. All those looking for somewhere different to hike and climb are urged to go to



National abbreviated link for the national MCSA Facebook page:

Links for all the sections’ web pages are on the MCSA national webpage.



7.1 Opinion: The Free Solo Documentary addressed some uncomfortable truths, but ignored others by Kevin Corrigan. This is an opinion piece and not a review of the documentary made of Alex Honnold’s groundbreaking solo ascent of Freerider in Yosemite. An interesting opinion piece on free solo climbing. See:

7.2 For female extreme climbers:  Disordered eating is unfortunately common in climbing and especially high in advanced female athletes, according to a recent survey led by Lanae Joubert, a dietitian and professor of nutrition at Northern Michigan University. In July, she presented her findings of the first-ever survey of disordered eating in climbers at the International Rock Climbing Research Congress in Chamonix.

7.3  ‘Route of Parks’ – a 2735km hiking route in Patagonia that connects 17 different national parks. The Route of Parks trail actually connects three existing routes that have been in use for some time. Those trails include the Southern Way, the Patagonian Channels, and the End of the World Route. The link-up was made possible largely thanks to a generous and sizable donation from Kristine Tompkins, the wife of billionaire Doug Tompkins, who passed away in 2015. He was the founder of The North Face and was a dedicated conservationist who purchased large tracts of land in Chile and Argentina with the expressed purpose of protecting the amazing wildernesses found there. Turning those areas over to the Chilean government is the culmination of years of planning on the part of both he and Kristine.




Please send any newsworthy items for inclusion in MCSA National News Editor, Ineke Moseley at:


Maybe Himalayan climbing is just a bad habit, like smoking, of which one says in cavalier abandon ‘must give this up some day, before it kills me – Greg Child


“explore – discover – connect – protect”

“verken – ontdek – ontmoet – bewaar”

“phonononga – fumanisa – qhagamshela – khusela”


MCSA-CT Office Admin

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