Our Mission Statement: 
The Johannesburg Section of the Mountain Club of South Africa actively fosters and facilitates mountaineering. This incorporates climbing, trekking, mountain walking and related activities, and promoting fellowship between people with these interests who are committed to the conservation of mountain areas.

HomeNewsletter ArchiveNewsletter 2010 - 3 September

September  2010

Quotation of the Month: "Today's climber...carries his courage in his rucksack...Faith in equipment has replaced faith in oneself. " – (Reinhold Messner)


Revamp of clubroom and new chairs.

We have given the club room a coat of paint and are busy tidying. There are many books that have been donated to us and unfortunately we cannot place all in the library due to lack of space or we have the book twice . We will have a second gear and book sale yours and ours on Wednesday 6 October. Please support us. We have many old magazines that you can pick up for a R or two. Also old maps.

We have purchased 40 polyproplene chairs for club evenings, the old reddish ones belonging to Girl Guides are most uncomfortable and some are collapsing.


New Members:

We welcome: Gerhard le Roux, Gerhard Kotzee, Cheryl Moonsamy - ordinary members.

Reinstated: Jeanette and Garth Fuchs and Thias Taute. Temporary member Matthias Schmidhauser.

Passed away: We deep regret we announce the passing away of members Heinrich Kahl and Barry Tyson.

Heinrich Kahl passed away this Sunday 8 August at Waterval Boven. He was 27.

Heinrich was well known as a top level sport climber (competed in a couple of Roc & Road’s) and was fast becoming one of SA’s hardest trad climbers.

He and his wife Carlien prepared to climb All’s Bells (19 trad) at Tranquilitas. At the base of the climb was a refrigerator sized boulder which one has to scramble up on to get onto the climb; as Heinrich mantled onto the boulder it came lose and toppled over on top of him. Heinrich sustained serious internal injuries and died on the scene. Carlien broke her hand and got bruised badly but is otherwise okay.

Thanks to the doctor (Vivian I think) who rushed to the scene and the guys who tried all they could to resuscitate him until the paramedic arrived.

Heinrich was one of SA’s best climbers and a fantastic person; friend and husband. We will miss him sorely.

To Carlien, family and friends our heartfelt condolences.

Barry Tyson passed away in August 2010. Barry joined our section in 1967, and in 1976 left the section but rejoined in 1980. To his wife, family and friends our sincere condolences.


The MCSA Cook-a-thon  2010


By Peter Adrian


After skipping a year, we decided that this successful event must be reintroduced back into the club evening calendar. Due to the civil service strike, our guest celebrity chiefs, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver could not get visas to attend, but it wouldn’t have made a difference. The standard was so high this year, they wouldn’t have stood a chance. We saw meals, the likes of which would have caused many Joburg restaurateurs to blush at their inadequacy. When all had assembled their kit, it was ready-steady-cook, as contestants blasted off, and the hall was filled with fun, and laughter, all underpinned by the comforting hum of the latest generation MSR stoves.


This year, the judges were at their meanest, diligently scrutinizing the nutritional value of the ingredients, their weight, cost, environmental impact, and shelf life, and of course taste, before making their judgement. Whilst Dobec carefully punched away at the computer, I watched the changing fortunes of the teams, as the totals added up. It was down to the wire. Team East-Meets-West walked off with the first prize, a Sunday buffet, massage vouchers and a canopy tour for two with compliments of Sparkling Waters Hotel. They cooked the most delicious chicken curry with quinoa, and chocolate cherry pancakes that were to die for. The Green Team placed second, walked off with an Edelrid cooking set, and Cape Union Mart Voucher to the value of R50. Their entry impressed the judges with their lightweight, cost effective, long shelf life, gluten free, beautifully spiced lentil curry. The old farts team walked off with third prize (Cape Union Mart Voucher of R50), and impressed us with their expediency. A flexible, no fuss, tasty rice and veg recipe that can be whacked together in minutes. Apparently you can add Brussel sprouts and beans for extra effect! Spot prizes went to the French Team (Neil Margetts and co.) for the funkiest hair doos, and the Jamie Oliver award for contributions to great efforts in gastronomy went to Sandy Beekhuizen/Kirsten Magg and friends.


A special thanks go to the organisers, Uschi, Kyle, Natasha, and to the sponsors of the prizes, Sparkling Waters Hotel and Spa, Magalies Canopy Tours, Cape Union Mart, Edilrid, and Drifters Outdoor centre in Sandton.


MCSA Young Adventurers Youth Forum

The Mountain Club of South Africa, Johannesburg Section, is proud to introduce a weekly youth forum. This forum is intended to provide an environment where youths are able to gain and hone their climbing skills, establish a group of friends with similar interests, and have fun! It is also intended as a way for parents to meet other parents, whose children have similar interests. The forum will begin on the 2nd of September, and will take place every Thursday at St. John’s College. The schedule will be as follows:

16:00 – 17:30

Training for children 13 years old and younger.

17:30 – 18:30

Presentation for all ages.

18:30 – 20:00

Training for youths from 14 to 18 years old.

The charge will be R50 per youth, per evening. See the attached flyer for directions.

This forum is intended to compliment the outdoor youth activities held every second weekend. For more information, or to offer assistance with the youth program, contact Kyle Meenehan.

Kyle Meenehan :Activities Support Manager, MCSA Johannesburg Section

Cell: 083 454 1809

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kgaswane Lodge appeal :

The Magaliesberg Protection Association has lodged the appeal.  At a Special General Meeting held on 23 June 2010 the Johannesburg Section, voted to guarantee R100 000 towards the court case, with a strong appeal to members for voluntary donations to make up the amount. The Magaliesberg Section guaranteed the same amount.

We thank members who have made donations and appeal other members to send in donations to fight this illegal development in the Magaliesberg.

Donations can be deposited into our bank account:

Nedbank Killarney Br 191605

Account no 1916 044 239

MCSA Jhb section



For Sale:

Set of   MCSA JOURNALS 1979 – 2000 (except 1983). R250.00.

Please phone Ronnie Fox 042 281 1422.  Storms River E Cape.  Postage negotiable.

Access News:

Utopia Access: Members (no non members) wishing to access via Utopia please observe the new arrangement.

  1. A new tag system has been implemented at Utopia. Members can get the tags from either Erik Manson or Uschi – they have one each.
  2. During the week the gate at Utopia is manned between 6am and 18h00 – you do not need a tag.
  3. Weekends and Public Holidays: members need to phone Natasha or the office 014 534 0118 before 16h00 on Fridays or the day before a Public Holiday. The system will be activated when Natahsa receives your call. Please state name and membership number. Members can enter and leave at any time during the weekend/holiday.
  4. Members need to hold the tag up to ‘reader’. The gate will open and you have 10 seconds to get through.
  5. Tags to be returned the day after your visit.

Any queries please contact Uschi 011 807 1310 weekdaymornings or Erik Manson 082 450 8169


Events highlights:

6 October : Secondhand Gear and Books Sale – yours and ours. Prospective members talk.

9/10 October: Annual campfire and singsong at Cedarberg.

13 October: Talk on the ’Present Status of the Magaliesberg Biosphere’ by Vincent Carruthers.  Join us for snacks and a glass of wine.

20 October : Presentation by Hector Pringle , Bernhard and Linda Spies.

Title: "Rock, Snow and Naked Goats - In search of Big Walls in Northern India"

In July this year four South Africans, a Zimbabwean and an Indian headed to Northern India to see if there was anything worth climbing. They encountered army generals, Lhadaki fishermen, gum-chewing monks and naked goats. They also discovered golden granite walls, single pitch splitters, endless boulders and mixed alpine adventures.

November 13 Magaliesberg Protection Association AGM on 13th November at Sparkling Waters Hotel.

November 24 : Veterans evening. Certificates of longstanding membership will be presented i.e. members with 50 years membership and more . We will show some slides/film of years gone by.  Join us for a glass of wine and snacks.

December 8: end of year Bring and Braai and Children’s Christmas Party.  Please bring a small gift for your child , wrapped and with their name on it,

We have bought some new DVDs and will show them when there is no other events on.

SA adventurers the first to climb and fly the highest mountain on each continent.

A team of South African adventurers will be embarking on the journey of a lifetime as they set out to climb and paraglide from the top of the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. If successful, the team will be the first to paraglide from all seven peaks. Setting off on Sunday July 11 to begin climbing Mt Elbrus in Russia, the group’s aim is to raise money for The Smile Foundation in partnership with corporate social responsibility initiative, The Trust.

Aptly named 7 Summits 7 Flights, the project is a joint venture undertaken by Pierre Carter, Marianne Schwankhart and Peter Friedman. Documenting this epic journey, Schwankhart, will ride tandem with Carter as he paraglides from each summit. This will enable her to capture aerial shots of the mountains from all new angles. Remote video cameras attached to both the paraglide and one of paraglider’s  helmets will shoot video images while a film crew will capture the duo’s take offs. The resulting footage will be used to compile a documentary covering all seven climbs and flights.

Carter, the driving force behind the project and whose lifelong dream it is to complete the challenge, is a three-time South African paragliding champion. He has also represented South Africa in the world paragliding championships for five consecutive years between 1991 and 1995. Climbing for almost 30 years, he has previously summated two of the seven mountains, Mt Elbrus in Russia and Mt Aconcagua in South America.

Schwankhart has been an avid climber since 1995 and has followed her passion, climbing mountains worldwide. Schwankhart became the first and only woman to have climbed the east face of the central tower of the Torres del Paine in Chile in 2003. She later returned to Chile in 2008 and became the first and only woman to climb all three of the Torres del Paine peaks.

The third member of the team, Friedman, whose contribution to the project has been in setting up the expedition and partnership with The Trust, will join Carter and Schwankhart on their first climb and, weather dependant, will attempt the flight down on a single glider.

Carter and Schwankhart will tackle Mt Carstenzs Pyramid in Australasia (4884m), Mt Vinson in Antarctica (4897m), Mt Elbrus in Europe (5642m), Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa (5895m), Mt Denali in North America (6194m), Mt Aconcagua in South America (6959m) and Mt Everest in Asia (8850m) over a two-year period.

The project’s strong online presence will allow interested members of the public to follow the group’s progress on Facebook and Twitter. Images of the spectacular views will be posted and updated regularly on the project’s official website.  

Taking advantage of their unique adventure, the team is using the initiative to raise awareness and funds for The Smile Foundation whose work it is to assist children with facial anomalies through expert surgical intervention.

“We admire the dedicated work of charitable organisations such as The Smile Foundation and hope to help provide them with the resources and funds they need to do their work and overcome their own challenges,” says Carter.

7 Summits 7 Flights is working in partnership with The Trust, an organisation which strives to aid as many South African charities as possible by making it easy for donors to pledge money through a single, global access point.

To find out more about the 7 Summits 7 Flights project and to make a donation visit: www.7summits7flights.co.za <http://www.7summits7flights.co.za/>

Be sure to read The Times newspaper and website for in depth articles on the team’s journey.


Christian Stangle confesses: his K2 summit fruit of the imagination.

Christian Stangl's confession is one of those which leaves you speechless. As he himself declared yesterday to the ORF, the Austrian state television, he never summited K2. On the contrary, he simulated the ascent in a "state of coma caused by stress and the fear of failure." The Austrian alpinist and skyrunner had originally claimed to have reached the summit of K2 on 10 August, and first details talked about a 70 hour rush to the summit and back, carried out solo. A great ascent, so it seemed, which made headline news on almost all specialised websites, also because the "supposed" summit had been the only K2 top this season.


This was followed by the first voices of concern and contestation, as well as Stangl's defence. At a certain point though, according to explorersweb, Stangl stated that he had reached the summit but that he no longer wanted to endure the media and mountaineering community massacre, and that he was no longer willing to reply to further questions. All of this happened just a few days ago.


And now, all of a sudden, the "surprise" confession in front of the rolling TV cameras: he had invented the K2 summit... Were it not for other, far more important things in life - such as the absolute flood tragedy in Pakistan which, as it happens, is affecting the country where K2 sits - then one would have to say that this is shocking news. Just as it must be shocking from a human point of view... from that of the man Stangl.


The fact that alpinists lie, just like all men lie, is a well-known truth, and only a few "pure souls" continue to believe in that "purity" and "honesty" which the mountains, better still, bold alpinism guarantees under all circumstances. It has to be said that there is one aspect which differentiates Stangl's story from the rest: as we often write, there are plenty of other shining examples of probable mountaineering lies, but a full-on confession like that of the Austrian is something out of the ordinary. Simply unique. And this, at least, one must acknowledge.


One might consider for a moment his justification, his sort of high altitude trance which made him "dream", imagine the summit so "deliriously" so as to convince himself that it was true and had really happened. We don't want to analyse this further, of course. Even if Reinhold Messner stated on the ORF TV that he believes in this state of "hallucination". What is certain though is that alpinism - above all (but not exclusively) Himalayan mountaineering - is experiencing a deep crisis. It is as if alpinism were stumbling through the clouds, unable to identify a clear aim apart from those "delirious" summits, like that of Stangl.


Perhaps, as Manuel Lugli writes, the solution lies elsewhere. Because "if "serious" and unsuspectable alpinists such as Christian Stangl exaggerate like this, then perhaps Himalayan mountaineering is far sicker than was originally believed. The cure, I think, isn't more meetings and conventions, control and validation agencies nor even tighter reporting. The only way out is to let imagination take flight once again, like many alpinists thankfully are still capable of doing, without stepping into the limelight, without competitions, on new routes, up "minor" summits, in winter and true solo ascents. All the rest is simply chatter and badges."

08/09/2010 - by Vinicio Stefanello PlanetMountain.com


British Mountaineer claims unclimbed peak     in Afghanistan

The BBC posted a great story yesterday about a U.K. climber who traveled to Afghanistan to take on an unnamed, unclimbed peak that is so remote, it may not have ever been seen by a westerner before.

The 5561m (18,244 foot) mountain is located in the northeastern part of Afghanistan in the remote Wakhan Corridor, a 100 mile long, 40 mile wide, panhandle that links the country to China. The area is very isolated, with extremely rough, challenging terrain, and while it once served as a trade route, it is now seldom visited by the locals, let alone outsiders.

Climber Alan Halewood and his partner Neal Gwynne, made the arduous journey to the mountain via trains, planes, and automobiles. (of the four-wheel drive variety!) They also traveled by horseback and eventually on foot, trekking the final miles to Base Camp, and of course making the climb as well. The entire trip took three weeks to complete, in some of the worst weather the region has seen in years. Anyone who has been following the events in Pakistan, China, and Nepal, knows that the Monsoon brought incredibly bad conditions this year, with more rain, and flooding, than was expected. Afghanistan was not spared from those storms.

In the end, Halewood made the summit by himself, as Gwynne turned back earlier in the climb. The solo summit allowed the Brit to name the mountain, which he dubbed Koh-e-Iskander in honor of his two-year old son Sandy and Alexander the Great, who's shadow still looms over the region.

Just how remote is this peak? Halewood says that it is located in a spot that is completely surrounded by other peaks, and that no inhabited valleys overlook the one he climbed. It is a very out of the way place, which is why the article says that not only may it not have been seen before by westerners, but possibly by no other humans ever. Now that is remote.


Posted: 26 Aug 2010 12:00 PM PDT




An expert climber and creator of the world’s first bungee jump between cooling towers, at Orlando, Soweto, has been killed in a fall on Table Mountain and his hiking partner injured.


Bob Woods was managing director since 1999 of Sky Riders, a pioneering South African rope-access company gaining entry to hard-to-reach areas, based in Irene, near Pretoria.


The identity of the injured man was not disclosed last night.


Woods’s friend and business partner, Brownlee Barry, said: “If there was something that needed to be done he could do it. No matter what it was, Bob would put his mind to it and be successful. He was just one of those people who thought big.”


An expert climber, he had many contacts locally and internationally.


“He was the figurehead of the SA climbing community, everybody knew him and he knew everybody.


“He was one of the most amazing people I’ve met. This is one of the most tragic things I’ve experienced.”


Metro EMS received a call yesterday reporting that two hikers had fallen off Platteklip Gorge.


“Unfortunately when we got there we had to declare one of them dead at the scene,” said Roy White, Wilderness Search and Rescue manager.


The conscious survivor was treated for minor injuries, stabilised and taken by rescue helicopter to hospital.


Woods was born in Cape Town and travelled extensively, finally settling in Rosetta near Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal. He was on holiday for a family reunion in Cape Town, his sister recently having flown in from Canada. Woods is survived by his wife Kaolin, a daughter and son.


Police spokesperson Ezra October later said the survivor had been taken to Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital for treatment.


He said the two hikers had been walking a short trail when one apparently pulled a rock loose. It is believed part of the ground gave way and both hikers fell several metres. October said police were at the scene, and an inquest docket had been opened.


“From the information we have received we believe one of them had been moving rocks when they both slipped and fell. The survivor received trauma counselling soon after.”


18 Apr 2010 | Source: iol.co.za


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