A brief history of the Supertramp Award

Not all those who wander are lost.– JRR Tolkien

In April 1992, 24-year-old Chris McCandless ditched his car, burnt the money in his wallet, donated his savings to charity, hitched a lift to the outskirts of the Alaskan outback and, armed with little more than a hunting rifle and a sack of rice, walked into the wild. He renamed himself Alexander Supertramp and deliberately lost contact with everyone he had ever known. He wanted nothing more to do with what he saw as a sick, sad world and sought only to survive as his (flawed) heroes had done: on their wits and survival instincts alone. He did not even carry a map in his rucksack. He was a disillusioned idealist, a passionate, zealous young man who yearned for adventure without the encumbrances of modern living or the inevitable complications that come from human interaction. His emaciated, lifeless body was discovered 100 days later, having starved to death through a series of unfortunate events.

Opinions about this story (chronicled by Jon Krakauer in his extraordinary book, Into the Wild) are diametrically opposed. Some think Alexander Supertramp was an arrogant, selfish, rich kid. Others think he is someone to whom hymns should be sung and statues erected and that his story is not about his death, but about his life. That he made the bravest of all decisions: not to be a victim, at least not to civilisation’s mechanical march. That he subscribed to the philosophy that to live is to do and to do is to do now. “Most men” said Henry Thoreau – one of his champions – “lead lives of quiet desperation”.

The MCSA would like to acknowledge the tremendous generosity of the sponsors of the MCSA Supertramp Award.


If you think of a daring adventure that you would like to do, please download the below documents and read them carefully:

MCSA Supertramp Award letter (pdf, 223 Kb)

MCSA Supertramp Award Information (pdf, 116 Kb)

MCSA Supertramp Award 2024 Application Form (doc, 141 Kb)

Next Submission Deadline

Past Supertramp report backs

Supertramp 2016 Report by Micha Stiller

August 8th, 2016|Comments Off on Supertramp 2016 Report by Micha Stiller

To help celebrate the 125th year of the MCSA, our Supertramps explored the world: Micha Stiller trekking solo for 400 kilometres of rural Himalayan Nepal solo and unassisted over the course of three weeks, allowing [...]

Supertramp 2015

July 20th, 2015|Comments Off on Supertramp 2015

Matthew Davies for ‘Other’ 9000+ft East African Rift Valley Volcanoes.

Supertramp 2014

August 20th, 2014|Comments Off on Supertramp 2014

Bernie Theron won the 2014 MCSA Supertramp Award. He has completed his solo trek across Iceland in 27 days.  He walked around 550km unsupported without the safety net of a satellite phone or GPS in [...]

Supertramp 2013

November 1st, 2013|Comments Off on Supertramp 2013

http://www.climbing.co.za/2013/02/duncan-fraser-is-the-2013-mcsa-supertramp/ http://www.climbing.co.za/2013/11/2013-supertramp-award-trip-report/

Supertramp 2012

January 20th, 2013|Comments Off on Supertramp 2012

For the 2012 MCSA Supertramp Award, six applications were received of which one didn’t meet the age requirement. The award was made to Alasdair Walton, a member of the Johannesburg Section, for an expedition to [...]

Supertramp 2011

January 20th, 2012|Comments Off on Supertramp 2011

Five applications from prospective Supertramps intending to go tramping from as far afield as the Himalaya to our own back yard in South Africa were received for the 2011 MCSA Supertramp Award. In a close [...]

Supertramp 2010

December 1st, 2010|Comments Off on Supertramp 2010


Supertramp 2009

February 20th, 2010|Comments Off on Supertramp 2009

http://www.climbing.co.za/2010/02/supertramp-almost-at-his-destination/ Kyle Meenahan walked the circumference of South Africa.

Supertramp 2008

January 9th, 2009|Comments Off on Supertramp 2008

Not a single application was received in time!

Supertramp 2007

January 9th, 2008|Comments Off on Supertramp 2007

Donovan van Graan and his brother went on an alpine climbing trip to climb high peaks in Turkey, Armenia and Georgia

Supertramp 2006

January 9th, 2007|Comments Off on Supertramp 2006

Greg Borman could not undertake the planned rock climbing trip to Brazil due to the Brazilian airline going bankrupt and not refunding their tickets

Supertramp 2005

January 9th, 2006|Comments Off on Supertramp 2005

Guillaume du Toit and his partner explored rock climbing possibilities in India