2)      ANNUAL DINNER 2018




6)      UIAA



9)       SNIPPETS



It’s true – time really does fly when you are having fun! Or put another way, as the Chinese proverb has it – may you live in interesting times!

It has been a bit of both over the last quarter or so what with the Festive Season, a trip to London to help with the UIAA Strategic Plan and something of a (temporary) health crisis – read crashing to the floor of Heathrow Airport and missing my flight home as a consequence! This delayed several things that I was hoping to be on top of – mainly a bunch of mountains here in the Cape!

However, all-in-all, things are proceeding reasonably well – as I hope that you will see from this National Newsletter. The Uganda Meet went very well from all accounts – Norman Owen-Smith was our “official” representative on the Karamoja leg and has provided us with some feed-back (see below), all very positive. And it seems that the next Pan-African Meet is likely to be in Malawi. Mount Mulanje is a very special place and I hope that more MCSA members can be tempted to go there – it is closer than Uganda!

The New Zealand Alpine Journal also came across my desk recently – the advantage of being married to the Club Librarian – and I do not think that I can do better this month than to quote extensively from their “President’s Page”. It is really very apt and applicable and should be required reading for anyone who invests in this Club as well as in the NZAC.

And later he says “But, when you’re out climbing this summer, I challenge you to think about what you can do to help, whether that be a pat on the back for your local volunteers; putting your hand up for a hut working bee…”.

All of this could well have been written about our great Club – in fact, I wish it had been me that wrote it! But he has said these things so eloquently that I do not feel like gilding the proverbial lily.

I would therefore ask all of you out there to consider John Palmer’s words and ask yourselves the questions that he poses. Yes, there are many people out there who are doing sterling work for the Club – but we certainly need more (and younger!) people.

Organising the various facets of the Club is somewhat akin to herding cats but the ultimate results can be intensely satisfying. Please think about it and remember JFK’s words…

Climb lots of hills and be safe!


The Worcester Section will be hosting the dinner. The theme for the dinner is: ‘A Mountaineer’s Paradise’. This being the title of the rare booklet written by Stanley Field and Eddie Pells.

The dinner will be held on Saturday 5 May 2018, 16:30 for 17:00 at the Kirabo Private Cellar, Rawsonville, Breede River Valley. The cost is R250 per person. Dress ‘Mountain Smart’

See the pdf for details, including types of accommodation etc

RSVP 06 April 2018 to Erika van Niekerk: for bookings and more information. There is limited seating for the dinner and accommodation at various other localities, including camping. Exciting hikes and excursions will be offered in and around the Worcester area.


This is a call for contributions for the 2017 Journal.  These can be sent to the Editing Team using the email address: . Please refer to the Guidelines and Style Sheet on the national website before you submit any contribution:


Following the recent successful Pan-Africa Meeting Uganda, we received this note from Norman Owen-Smith who attended one of the legs of the Meet.

The first Pan-Africa Mountaineering Meet was hosted by the Mountain Club of Uganda in January 2018. There was a choice between (1) climbing some of the highest peaks in the Rwenzori in the west, or (2) hiking to the top of less challenging peaks in the remote Karamoja region in the east. Fifteen people gathered to tackle the hiking option, representing Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Uganda and MCSA (just three of us!). Travellers had been advised against travelling through Karamoja until just a couple of years ago, because of cross-border raids between the Karamojong people and the neighbouring Turkana tribesmen in Kenya to do with cattle rustling. We were assured that the situation had settled following the confiscation of firearms by the Uganda government. Because of these restrictions, neither our leader nor others from Uganda had climbed these peaks before, so we had to rely on directions supplied. We set out together in a minibus for the 12-hour drive from Kampala to the village of Iriri where camp was set up in the primary school grounds. There we learnt that two advance members of our group had been ‘arrested’ on suspicion of plotting to steal trees! After prolonged negotiations with the district council, they were released. We managed to avoid paying a huge levy for our presence and instead hired a guide from the community in addition to the one supplied by the school.

The peaks in the Karamoja region are formed by volcanic plus rising above the surrounding arid plain. Our first peak was Mount Napak reaching 2530 m asl, tackled as a day hike. A guide was essential for finding our route through the settlements below and around the sheer cliffs towering above our campsite. The ascent was steep, and in one section we used a rope for security during the descent. The top was just a rounded hill, but with magnificent views all around.

Next, we were scheduled to climb Mount Kadam (3063 m), the most isolated and least traversed of the three peaks. But first we had to get to the mountain, 130 km away by road. We followed directions for a short cut, but our bus driver refused to drive further when he was confronted by a tree growing in the middle of the track we were following. With time for an overnight hike running by, we decided to change plans and head for Mount Moroto instead.

Mount Moroto is an extended range of hills rising above the town of Moroto. Our base camp was the Tapac Monastery an hour from the town. Here we hired porters as well as a guide to lighten our load for the overnight hike. Being the dry season, we were anxious about water, but were assured that if the stream was flowing past the monastery there would be water at the top. We ascended from the dry bush into mountain meadows and forest patches with proteas, cedars and yellowwoods and set up camp early in the afternoon. Clear water flowed into a small pool 20 min descent below the campsite. Before dusk we ascended nearby Imagit peak (2930 m), which entailed a secure but exposed rock scramble to the top. But many of us were inadequately prepared for the coolness of the night breeze at that elevation.

The next day we ambitiously set out to ascend Sokedek peak (3083 m) some distance away, which we reached around lunch time. But a search failed to find any water in nearby gulleys, and we had to set off on the long descent back down. We reached a flowing stream at dusk, but were informed by the village people that we ‘muzungus’ were not welcome to ‘steal’ their water. So we had to continue down to the next less intolerant village by headlights to set up camp after 8.30 pm and still cook dinner thereafter. The next day most of the group headed back to the big city past Mount Kadam, which remains to be explored on another occasion.

The expedition was especially rewarding because of the challenges we dealt with in hiking through this remote, lightly explored region as well as for the wonderful scenery from up high. We are indebted to Charles from Kenya for leading the group into an area he had never visited, and to Lorna and Wesley from Uganda for providing logistic support but particularly to the MCSA and Matt Battani for instigating this first Pan-Africa gathering.

Norman Owen-Smith


You are invited to partake in the Mount Kenya Festival from 1 to 10 March 2018 .We have negotiated a 50% discount on Park fees. Cost estimates are as follows:

More information will be posted on Contact person: Garvin Jacobs,

6)  UIAA – odds and sods. To find out more about the UIAA‘s important activities please go to

6.1)      UIAA Global Youth Summit Event – 4th Iran summer youth camp

Registrations are open now for this event to be held in June 2018.
The youth camp in Iran, organised by the UIAA Youth Commission in collaboration with the UIAA member federation, Iran Mountaineering & Sport Climbing Federation (IMSCF), is designed for young climbers from around the world to take part in a joint expedition in a convivial, friendly atmosphere. Young people are guided in snow and ice techniques by a team of experienced instructors.

The expedition centres around Mt. Damavand (5 671 m), one of the most famous peaks in Iran, the highest point in the country and the highest volcano in Asia.

For specific details and to download the full programme please click here:

Dates:     June 2018 – depending on programme

Participants:  Young people aged 16 years to 32. If under 18 to be accompanied by a qualified Federation Leader.  Insurance: Participants must have their own insurance cover.
General Equipment: Mountain clothes for high altitude, cold and windy weather including: mountain boots; sleeping bag; thermal suits; light down jacket; snow goggles/glasses; woollen gloves; woollen cat (beanie); head lamp; carry mat; water bottle; walking stick.

There are 3 different programmes on offer:

·         Plan I:    Mt Zardkuh Event :   Fee €500

·         Plan II:  Mt Damavand Event:  Fee €380

·         Plan III: Mt Damavand and Zardkuh Event :  Fee €880

The above costs exclude international airfare, cost of visa, spending money etc. As South Africans need a visa to enter Iran, it is important to decide early on if you want to participate in this event, to start the ball rolling.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE PLEASE – that any MCSA member wishing to participate in any UIAA GYS event should apply through their MCSA Section and the MCSA Youth Commission Member, and not go direct to the organiser. All application forms must be signed off by the latter. For more information on either of the above GYS events, contact

6.2)      UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour to feature live on Olympic Channel.

Action from the 2018 UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour has been livestreamed on the Olympic Channel to a global audience. We trust that some of you managed to catch the action!

6.3)At the crossroads of the Mediterranean

At the 2017 UIAA General Assembly, the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation welcomed its latest member. With the election of the Malta Climbing Club (MCC) as full member, the UIAA now represents 91 member associations from 68 countries.

6.4)      Introducing the UIAA Alpine Summer Skills series

The UIAA Alpine Skills Summer guide was first published in 2015. Produced in collaboration with the Petzl Foundation, the guide and has been well received worldwide and is currently available in five languages. To mark the launch of a digital version of the publication, the UIAA is running a series of articles from the guide designed to help hikers, climbers and mountaineers develop their skills and knowledge of the mountain environment.


7.1)        National: abbreviated link for the national MCSA Facebook page:

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


No sectional news has been submitted. Readers are encouraged to go to the individual section web pages.


9.1)      Members are reminded that the Library (housed in the Cape Town Section Clubhouse) is a treasure trove of information and entertainment on mountains the world over. Of particular note are the complete collections of journals (MCSA, Alpine Journal, AAC Journal, etc.) which are a mine of information and a source of inspiration for those looking for mountain adventures.

9.2)      The current drought in the Western Cape is obviously of serious concern from many stand points. The mountains are also severely affected and members are encouraged to be especially careful and avoid any risk of starting a fire. Equally, news on how the mountain fynbos is faring under the considerable stress will be welcomed by various researchers and members are encouraged to pass on information through the Club.

9.3)      In our Anglocentric world it is always interesting to see what other mountain clubs are up to. Go to to have a look.

Elizabeth Hawley, who died in Kathmandu on 26 January 2018 aged 94 years, was an American journalist living in Nepal since 1960, regarded as the undisputed authority on mountaineering in Nepal. she was famed worldwide as a “one-woman mountaineering institution”, systematically compiling a detailed Himalayan database of expeditions still maintained today by her team of volunteers, and published by the American Alpine Club

Since 1963 she has met every expedition to the Nepal Himalaya both before and after their ascents, including those who climbed from Tibet. Her records contain detailed information about more than 20,000 ascents of about 460 Nepali peaks, including those that border with China and India.

9.4)      Global Warming and Asia’s glaciers – A threat to water supply of millions.

Asia’s mountain glaciers will lose at least a third of their mass through global warming by the century’s end, with dire consequences for millions of people who rely on them for fresh water, researchers have said. This is a best-case scenario, based on the assumption that the world manages to limit average global warming to 1.5C (2.7F) over pre-industrial levels, a team wrote in the journal Nature.


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


“Climbing may be hard but it is easier than growing up.”

“explore – discover – connect – protect”

“verken – ontdek – ontmoet – bewaar”

“phonononga – fumanisa – qhagamshela – khusela”