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National News, February 2019

MCSA National News 31 January 2019 National News, February 2019


This will be held at Maclear’s Beacon on Sunday 24th February 2019 at 12.30. Members who have passed away during the year will be honoured and remembered. Pack a lunch, gather a group of friends, ascend Table Mountain and join the interdenominational service.



While the recent disastrous fire at Wupperthal in the Cederberg may be receding from our minds, the situation for the people of Wupperthal remains critical. Members from all Sections of the MCSA who have ever enjoyed the Cederberg are encouraged to assist the people there. The following gives the necessary information:

“Recognising the long standing association that Members of the Mountain Club of South Africa have had with the broader Cederberg Community, and with the residents of Wupperthal in particular, we urge those Members who would are able to render assistance to the Wupperthal Community, to please make whatever contributions you can, directly via the official Wuppertal Fire Relief  system,  as is explained in the attached link www.wuppertal-fire-relief“ 


3. JOURNAL 2018

Contributions for the 2018 Journal should have been submitted by 31 January 2019! Please start thinking about the 2019 Journal well ahead of time and prevent the angst always felt by the editor!

Contributions 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:



Two members of the Johannesburg Section are planning a trip to the Pamir Mountains of Central Asia this year. If you are interested in joining this trip, please contact Dobek Pater on or tel. 083 306 2306 and indicate your preference. A few options are being considered as set out below.

 Ismoil Somoni Peak (Pik Komunizma)

At 7,495 m, this is the highest peak in the Pamir Range. It requires a good level of technical skill in snow / ice and glacier mountaineering, and good ability to acclimatise within a relatively short period of time.

Travel dates to Ismoil Somoni Peak are restricted as the most efficient way of reaching base camp is to fly in on a scheduled helicopter flight. There are only two flights in the summery climbing season. Therefore, the dates of the expedition could be either 5 July to 27 July 2019 (departing from and arriving back in Johannesburg) or 2 August to 24 August 2019. Because of these scheduled flights, the window to climb the mountain is quite short – two weeks – which leaves no room for additional acclimatisation or poor weather conditions longer than 1 – 2 days. Effectively, it means you already need to arrive in base camp partially acclimatised and physically fit. There is an option to stay longer on the mountain, but the members organising this trip have only approximately three weeks leave at their disposal.

Estimated cost for the total trip is R37 000 to R40 000, excluding own incidental expenditure. (This is based on pricing available at the end of January 2019 for an Emirates flight, quite a bit less expensive than a Turkish Airlines flight and an exchange rate of USD 1 : ZAR 14.50.) There is an option of hiring a guide or even high altitude porters, although we do not foresee a need for this. Note that costs could be higher for the earlier trip date (above) as according to one guide, we may be the first party in base camp and may need to lay our own fixed ropes on part of the route. This could be an additional cost (ropes + anchoring equipment). Also, as the first party on the mountain, we would be doing much of the breaking of accumulated snow. This, plus setting up of fixed ropes, introduced time delays to an already short timeframe.

Ibn Sina Peak (Pik Lenina)

This is a lower peak, at 7,134 m and much easier in terms of technical requirements. It is the second highest mountain in the Pamir Range on the Tajikistan / Kyrgyzstan border. The classic climbing ascent routes are on the Kyrgyz side. The main challenge on this mountain is altitude, and possibly avalanche and inclement weather (as could be the case on any mountain).

Travel dates – during July 2019, most likely from 5 July to 27 July 2019 to maximise the week-ends. The date could be moved one week either way.

Estimated cost for the total trip is approx. R30 000, excluding own incidental expenditure. (This is based on pricing available at the end of January 2019 for an Emirates flight to Bishkek and an exchange rate of USD 1 : ZAR 14.50.) The price also depends on modes of transport chosen in Kyrgyzstan. There is an option of coming in from Tashkent in Uzbekistan.

Other Peaks

We can also consider other peaks in the region, such as Muztagh Ata in China or Khan Tengri in Kyrgyzstan. The cost will be higher than Peak Lenina and they may require more time.

Also, if you have been to any of the above peaks and can impart valuable intel, please contact Dobek.


5. KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA  –  7-21 JULY 2019

In 2018, 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. Go to:




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 (see below), 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. Members are encouraged to go to to find out more about the UIAA‘s important activities.


Over recent years the subject of corrosion (of sport climbing anchors in particular) has been a significant concern for the research arm of the UIAA Safety Commission (SafeCom). Commission members and external experts have invested significant time and resources into collecting data from climbers and running analysis of samples of faulty anchors.

The UIAA has recently coordinated this analysis to create a Google Map of known corrosion locations. This map is intended only as a reference to identify areas where examples of corrosion have been logged. It is designed only as an informative guide based on data received and assessed. It is not intended as a complete reference and is subject to changes beyond the UIAA’s control. Go to for more details.


Registration is now open for the Sandstone International Climbing Youth Camp in Ostrov u Tise, Czech Republic.  The event which is affiliated with the UIAA Youth Commission is open to youngsters between the ages of 12-18.  Participants will be able to challenge themselves on one of the most famous sandstone climbing areas in the world.

Dates/ Location:

11.08-17.08.2019 Ostrov u Tise, Czech RepublicOstrov 10, 403 36 Tisá, Czechia. Tel: +420 475 222 013

Participants/ Activities:

Open to ages 12-18.  Please note that participants should be able climb with rope (top rope), should be autonomous for managing belay and be able to abseil autonomously.

 The main goal of this youth climbing camp is to practice unique, specific forms of sandstone climbing on what is spectacular terrain for rock climbing with great friction qualities as well as chimneys and cracks.


150 EUR per participant, via bank transfer. Participants should also be insured for accident, rescue, third party liability and travel. A copy of each insurance should be presented to the organisers on arrival.


Accommodation will be provided at the camp Autokemp pod Císařem. Participants will be housed in small bungalows but please be advised that is necessary to bring your own sleeping bags.


The camp is organized by five national associations.  For more information please contact Magdaléna Jančíková from the Czech Mountaineering Association at

Registration Deadline:

Registration closes on 31 May 2019.  A deposit of 75 EUR is required by this date, with the rest of the payment to be paid in full by the 01 August.



As a part of the promotional drive launched by the Indian Mountaineering Federation for the 2019 climbing season, the Peak Fees for some major climbing peaks in the Indian Himalaya have been reduced for Foreign Expeditions.

The basic fees are indicated in the Table below and a document containing detailed information regarding the scheme may be accessed via the President of the MCSA (


Height of Peak Existing Peak Fee Reduced Peak Fee for 2019
Below 6500 M

(List of peaks in Appendix “A”)


(1) US$ 500 for party of two members.


(2) For additional members up to twelve, US$ 225 each.


(1) US$ 350 for party of two members.


(2) For additional members up to twelve, US$ 125 each.


6501 M to 7000 M

(List of Peaks in Appendix “B”)


(1) US$ 700 for party of two members.


(2) For additional members up to twelve, US$ 325 each.


(1) US$ 550 for party of two members.


(2) For additional members up to twelve, US$ 200 each.


7001 M and above

(List of Peaks in Appendix “C”)


(1) US$ 1000 for party of two members.


(2) For additional members up to twelve, US$ 450 each.


(1) US$ 850 for party of two members.


(2) For additional members up to twelve, US$ 300 each.





National abbreviated link for the national MCSA Facebook page:

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



9.1. Partial shutdown of US National Parks: climbers help to clean up. and American Alpine Club has written an open letter detailing the effects of the partial shutdown of the Federal Government. It details the problems facing small businesses in and around the Parks, cancelled reservations, problems with sanitary conditions/trash.  Phil  Powers and Butler note that visitors to the national parks collectively spend nearly $19 million a day at gear shops, restaurants, lodges, and outfitters—all of which are affected by the ripples of the partial shutdown. Powers is the chief executive officer of the American Alpine Club. Mark Butler is the policy committee chair of the American Alpine Club

9.2  Video: Treeline – A Story Written in Rings if you have uncapped internet you might want to watch this beautiful documentary film comes from the team at Patagonia and is available in its full-length for the first time. It takes us to Japan, British Columbia, and Nevada with a group of skiers, snowboarders, and researchers to explore the hidden history that is written in the rings of the trees. The entire film is 40 minutes in length, so when you get ready to watch it, be sure to settle in and get comfortable. It is well worth a view, with some inspiring adventures and a great natural history story to be told. Posted on January 28, 2019 by Kraig Becker



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


“I have not conquered Everest, it has merely tolerated me”. Peter Habeler, after climbing that mountain without bottled oxygen.


MCSA-CT Office Admin

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