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National News, April 2019

MCSA National News 29 March 2019 National News, April 2019


‘tis the season of goodwill – and Annual General Meetings!

If I may take this opportunity to place a request that all members of the Club take the opportunity to contribute by attending their Section’s AGM and voicing their opinion on whatever topic excites them. It is only by exercising our right to speak that this great Club can grow and thrive.


2. JOURNAL 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.


4. 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 web 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.


On 21 March in Zurich, Switzerland, as an official supporter of the NGO ClimbAID, the UIAA represented by project manager Carol Kahoun, attended ClimbAID’s charity event “Klettern statt Krieg” (Climbing Not War). The evening, which saw an impressive turn out, which started with a presentation by ClimbAID founder Beat Baggenstos, who explained the work and importance of the organisation.

The organisation’s aim is to foster peaceful environments through climbing and to aid holistic development of young people into autonomous, social, self- and environmentally aware actors. One of their two projects, called “A Rolling Rock”, is carried out in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. Using a mobile climbing wall built onto a truck, they bring the rock to the children, uniting youngsters from vulnerable communities behind a shared passion in a region affected by civil wars in neighbouring countries.


A petition has recently been created to stop climbing bans across large areas of the Grampians National Park in Australia. This until further consultation can take place.

The Grampians, located in the west of the State of Victoria, are a special and rugged range of hills, a famous National Park and contain some of Australia’s most established and highly regarded rock-climbing areas.

The organisers of the petition, CliffCare, write: Issues of cultural heritage are always complex, and this is definitely not a case of climbers wanting to do what they want at the expense of cultural sites. The land manager Parks Victoria have opted for blanket bans of large areas citing cultural and environmental protection. This has been done with no consultation with climbers, and there has been no comment from Aboriginal Victoria. As a user group, climbers are very respectful of all of these issues. We need open communication between these communities to ensure sensitive sites are protected, and that climbers can continue to interact with this magical place.

In sharing the petition, focussed on the lack of prior consultation and engagement by the Park authority with the local climbing community, the UIAA is satisfied that CliffCare, and the climbers it represents, are concerned with – and respectful for – local Aboriginal values, an important matter which has not always been given due attention during other access disputes across Oceania. Please visit the following link for more information if you wish to assist our Australian friends


The UIAA Respect the Mountains (RTM) project is evolving to create more opportunities for collaboration between the UIAA, its member associations and other partners, greater access to events for mountaineers and increased visibility for sustainability-focused projects showcased on a new international calendar.

Since 2016, RTM has comprised clean-ups events organised by the UIAA in collaboration with partner organisations. The majority of these events have taken place in European mountain areas and in the summer.

The UIAA Mountain Protection Commission recently confirmed that RTM will become a broader movement focusing not only on direct action clean-up initiatives but educational themes and workshops. RTM will continue to be governed by the principles behind the 7-Ways to Respect the Mountains. The projects goals are to:

– Raise awareness about sustainable environmental and socio-cultural practices;
– Set an example and spread the word within the outdoor community;
– Preserve mountain ecosystems and cultures in their natural state for future generations;
– Promote sustainable mountain recreation, sports and related tourism activities;
– Educate the next generation of mountain explorers and empower them to be sustainable future mountaineers.


The High Tatras are the only real high-mountain range in Slovakia. Small in area, but unique and rare in their beauty and natural values. Tourists, skiers and mountaineers have been visiting the Tatra Mountains for several centuries, always respectful of the environment, and at the same time, becoming part of their history. In 1949, the territory of the Western, High and Belianske Tatras was declared a Tatra National Park (TANAP).  It was the first national park in Slovakia and one of the oldest in Europe.

Activities of visitors, tourists, skiers and mountaineers have long been regulated by the TANAP Visiting Policy, which has not changed for the past 20 years. This Visiting Policy has been partially complied with in practice. This included almost complete exclusion of activities at lower levels of climbing difficulty, i.e. up to the 3rd UIAA grade and major limitations for skiing and ski-mountaineering (ski-touring) activities. These have been the most problematic and contentious parts of the policy.

For years, the Slovak Mountaineering Association JAMES, has been trying to cooperate with the State Nature Protection Authorities in developing a new, revised TANAP Visiting Policy, but has until now been unsuccessful. The State Nature Conservation Authorities has recently put forward a proposal for a new TANAP Visiting Policy, which is far more restrictive as regards the activities of tourists, skiers and mountaineers, for example, prohibiting all climbing activities for an entire three months of each year.

At the same time, the number of protected animal species, such as the Tatra chamois and the Tatra marmot are continuously rising or at least holding high. In an attempt to evolve discussions related to this access issue, the Slovak Mountaineering Association has come up with the “We also belong to the Tatras” initiative, which rejects the proposal of the TANAP Visiting Policy, and requests the development of a new, up to date and fair Visiting Policy.


The Slovak Mountaineering Association would like to kindly ask its foreign friends, tourists, mountaineers, ski-alpinists and their organizations to become signatories of its initiative and to support its efforts. The appeal has already over 15,000 signatures. In the past, the legendary Mountaineering Camp 4 in Yosemite National Park was rescued with the help of a similar international solidarity.

The Slovak Mountaineering Association is currently working with the UIAA Access Commission on the matter and thanks UIAA member associations for any support they can provide.


One of the UIAA’s core services and direct benefits it offers member associations comes courtesy of its training qualifications and programmes which are both supported by a rich library of practical information.

At October 2018’s UIAA General Assembly, details on the impressive collaboration between the UIAA, The Petzl Foundation and members worldwide in translating versions of the UIAA Summer Skills Alpine Handbook was presented. Since the GA, work has continued to evolve at an impressive rate.

The Handbook, available internationally as a digital download (price as of March 2019, 3.99 GBP/4.63 EUR/5.22 USD), is regularly updated with anyone purchasing the publication able to access new chapters and information. A section on Trad climbing has recently been completed, one on canyoning is in progress. Anyone interested in purchasing the Handbook is encouraged to view the dedicated UIAA Skills series which features extracts from the guide.

The Handbook is designed to help mountain leaders and climbers develop their skills, whether reinforcing lessons learned and not yet fully assimilated or to increase technical knowledge and reduce the risks inherent to the activity. The advice is wide-ranging covering subjects as diverse as the weather, rescue operations, adapting to the environment, teamwork and equipment advice. It covers alpine hiking, climbing and alpinism.

The Handbook complements the range of training accreditations that the UIAA provides for members to demonstrate adherence to recommended practice for teaching personal skills, leaders and instructors/coaches. This is now an integrated system that will empower instructors qualified by an accredited federation to deliver personal skills training to novice and intermediate hikers, climbers, mountaineers and canyoners according to their qualification(s). After completing a UIAA accredited personal skills training course, students will be able to download a certificate of attendance bearing the UIAA logo, showing that the course fulfilled the UIAA requirements for provider, syllabus and contact hours. This service can also help federations to assist countries that have not yet developed their own federation. These services will be delivered through the federations, who can add their own branding and charging for services if they choose.









National abbreviated link for the national MCSA Facebook page:

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



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



8.1. ACCESS TO MOUNTAINS/CLIMBING AREAS, mentioned in the UIAA above, is problematic in other areas as well.

In the USA, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, nearly all of the rock climbing areas in the national park—everywhere in VA and WV, as well as Maryland Heights, the most popular crag in Harpers Ferry located in MD—have been closed for what the Access Fund and Mid Atlantic Climbers have called “unsubstantiated reasons.” The justification for closure, per the compendium, is this: “Justification: Due to limited and treacherous access for rescue personnel, their locations near or within culturally sensitive areas and general poor rock quality, and a lack of available legal and safe parking, these areas within the park are closed to all climbing related activities. A public closure to climbing of these areas will serve to mitigate the potential risk to the visiting population and those engaged in search and rescue activities associated with climbing. A less restrictive method to accomplish this goal will not be effective.”

As climbers in fragile places, we need to consider our impacts. Long after we leave the cliffs, the wildlife remains, foraging for food and building their homes­—they expend energy just living. Surviving in the wilderness is a delicate balance, and any stress causes them to exert more energy: Being chased by dogs and hassled by humans violates the very concept of wilderness. And land managers are taking note.

8.2. SUPPORT FOR ACCESS. Congress passed the Natural Resources Management Act by a landslide vote on February 26, 2019. The bill is the first-ever piece of federal legislation to include climbing-specific language and protection, and sets an invaluable precedent for the years to come:

8.3. FEMALE PORTERS. Climbing the highest mountain in Africa has become quite a bucket-list item for many adventure travellers, with thousands flocking to Kilimanjaro each year to scale its lofty heights. If you’ve ever made the trek for yourself, you know that the porters play a vital role in the success of the trekkers, helping to carry their gear from one camp to the next and offering plenty of encouragement along the way. Now, there is a growing number of female porters working on the mountain too, bringing even more interesting stories to the rich Kilimanjaro tapestry. This short documentary takes a look at the bold, strong, and inspiring ladies who are charting the way for others to follow.




QUOTABLE QUOTES: “In the mountains of Japan, the guides attribute the gathering of clouds to the presence of women climbers on the clouds“  Ponderable thesis!!

“explore – discover – connect – protect”

“verken – ontdek – ontmoet – bewaar”

“phonononga – fumanisa – qhagamshela – khusela”




MCSA-CT Office Admin

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