The Mountain Club of South Africa
Latest News

National News, January 2019

MCSA National News 15 January 2019 National News, January 2019


Following the recent disastrous fire at Wupperthal in the Cederberg, 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:


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:



The National Access Convenor, Richard Sherry – CT Section, (together with Tony Lourens) recently published an article on the Access section of the UIAA web site. While most MCSA members should be familiar with the ins and outs of mountain access in South Africa, the article provides a very useful overview and members are encouraged to read it. Go to



Prof. Rik de Decker of the Cape Town Section SAR Team attended this important meeting in November 2018 and he has sent us this report:

I had the honour and privilege to be invited to represent the MCSA at the 12th ISMM World Congress 2018 which this year was held in Kathmandu, Nepal from 21-24 November 2018. Under the auspices of the ISMM (the International Society for Mountain Medicine), this congress was organized by the Mountain Medical Society of Nepal, and the Himalayan Rescue Association, led by Dr Buddha Basnyat with strong support from EURAC Research, ICAR Medcom and UIAA Medcom. 

Since I represent the MCSA (and WSAR) on ICAR Medcom, the MCSA National SAR subcommittee offered me a generous sponsorship to attend the congress. I was honoured to present the first plenary session talk on the first morning of the congress, entitled: “Human Factors: predictors of avoidable wilderness accidents?”  Then, with Dr John Ellerton, the current President of ICAR Medcom, I chaired the remainder of that session.  My talk was very well received, mainly since the topic is seldom (if ever) presented, and most people feel that there is an urgent need to address such issues. As a result, I received approximately a dozen invitations for cooperation in mountain accident research and mountain medicine teaching, personally or with other interested South Africans and MCSA members.

The congress itself was outstanding and focused primarily on high altitude illness and trauma. A plethora of well-researched talks covered most aspects of the burgeoning science of mountain medical science, spanning from cutting-edge basic sciences to clinical applications. Some time was also spent on review and lessons learnt from the Nepali earthquake in 2015 that killed nearly 9,000 people and injured 22,000. I am in the process of compiling a more detailed report for the National MCSA SAR subcommittee, where I will highlight some specific talks and keynote speakers.

The value of my attendance was manifold. Primarily, it informed me of the existence of the biennial ISMM congress series where presentations of data on mountain accidents of any kind worldwide is encouraged. Designed and curated by Andrew Lewis, the MCSA has one of the oldest and most comprehensive mountain rescue databases in the world, which offers the opportunity for interested MCSA members to present data on the management of specific conditions (e.g. hyperthermia, which was never mentioned), or on trends in medical mountain rescue in South Africa. Despite the congress being in Nepal, the dearth of presentations from other LMICs (where many mountaineering expeditions take place) was notable. The following ISMM World Congress will be in 2020 in Interlaken, Switzerland, and I would encourage members to attend and if possible present data on mountain rescue in South Africa. Furthermore, my attendance forged new and strengthened previous ties with international mountain rescuers, specifically through ICAR Medcom, but also with the Mountain Medical Society of Nepal and Himalayan Rescue Association (who are always eager to accommodate visiting rescue doctors).

I should like to extend my grateful thanks to the National MCSA SAR subcommittee for their encouragement and support.



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.


Throughout its history, mountain safety has been at the forefront of the UIAA’s activities. The UIAA Safety Label, and associated safety standards, have been in operation since the 1960s. The UIAA develops international standards for climbing and mountaineering equipment and currently accredits over 2,000 safety labels to more than 70 manufacturers around the world.

The Certified Equipment database comprises a public search function which allows mountaineers, climbers and all interested stakeholders to look for UIAA Safety Label certified products available in the market across all accredited brands and manufacturers.

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



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.



We recently received an email from Christian Manahl ( who is the Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Kingdom of Lesotho – but more importantly also organizes a hiking group in Lesotho. He would be very happy for MCSA members to join in any of their meets in Lesotho – and they do sound very attractive!

Their programme is summarised below:

Sunday 13th January: Mount Makheta (2,400 m): A leisurely start of the season – strong hikers can go up to the top, others can do the shorter circuit. 3 to 4 hours.

Sunday 20th January: Nkokobe (2,885): Planned several times but always postponed. Time to give it a real try. We know the area but have never been up to this peak. It should be 6 to 8 hours steady walking. Requires an early start – 7 am.

Saturday/Sunday 26th & 27th January: Kolkberg/Thaba Tseka (2,810 m) from the town with the same name. Overnight at the lodge (if any) or camping. Exploratory.

Sunday 3rd February: Mount Machache (2,886 m): The emblematic peak behind Thaba Bosiu. A nice but challenging hike with a relatively short access route. 5 to 7 hours. Early departure.

Sunday 10th February: Thabana li-Mele (2,660 m): This time we shall try to climb to the top of the second, broader peak, which should be a scramble. Also a fairly long hike and an early start would be advisable. Exploratory.

Sunday 17th February: Mount Popa (2,375 m), on the road toward Saint Rodrigue. Estimated 2 hours, exploratory. Led by Rémi.

Sunday, 24th February: Mokhoroane Plateau (about 2,000 m). A walk above Morija, 2 ½ to 3 hours. Led by Karen.

Sunday 3rd March: Mount Kolo (2,103 m): A short one this time, southwest of Maseru. Normal departure time (8 am).

Saturday/Sunday 16th & 17the March: Mamalapi (3,030 m): Together with Thaba Putsoa (the one on the way to Semonkong) the only peak above 3,000 m in (relatively) close proximity to Maseru. Exploratory and probably challenging.  

Sunday 31st March: Thaba Telle (2,532 m) roundtrip: Option to climb the top or just do the roundtrip.

Saturday/Sunday 6th & 7th April: Mountains behind Ramabanta, the back-side of Thaba Putsoa. Unchartered territory and since it’s a long walk up the valleys from the west, it would be advisable to stay at Ramabanta Trading Post overnight.

Saturdays, as usual, are climbing days. There are now several routes equipped just outside Roma, and more will be in the coming weeks.



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


“Remember not to have a fatal accident, because the community will think climbing is a dangerous thing, your friends will be bummed…and you’ll be dead” – Kitty Calhoun, closing remarks at an American Alpine Club Lecture.


“explore – discover – connect – protect”

“verken – ontdek – ontmoet – bewaar”

“phonononga – fumanisa – qhagamshela – khusela”


MCSA-CT Office Admin

Related Posts