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 - 4 November


November 2010

Quotation of the Month: “The mountains will always be there, the trick is to make sure you are too.” (Hervey Voge)




In May 1931 our Section was established. . .    The first unofficial meet was to Swartkops on 12 May 1931.   Please put these dates in your diaries NOW, as this is early warning that we are planning some celebrations over the weekend 14/15 May 2011, and a meet to Swartkops - details to follow.

If anyone has any ingenious ideas, please feel free to convey these to Uschi!

AGM: Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Mountain Club of South Africa Johannesburg Section will be held on 16 March 2011 at the Waverley Girl Guide Hall, Scott & Stirling Str Waverley.



Committee members: a number of committee members are stepping down and we urgently ask members to volunteer or ask someone to make themselves available to serve on the committee.

Chris Ziranek, our chairman steps down; Secretary; Youth - Diane Arvanitakis has resigned;

Sport & Competition Climbing; Meets; Public Relations.

We need all the help we can get. So make time for your club, you chose it.

We also advise that Kyle Meenehan, our Activities Support Manager has resigned.

New Members:

We welcome new members: Peta Smith and children Zara and Zaina; Vincent Carruthers (Honorary);


Subscriptions for 2011:


The General Committee advises that subscriptions for 2011 will be increased +- 12% (rounded off to the nearest convenient figure). This was decided at their committee meeting held on 18 October 2010. The subs will be as follows:

- Ordinary single member R500.00

Married members R750.00 together

- Country single R380.00

- Country married R470.00 together

- Student R250.00

- Senior R250.00 (20 years membership and over         65 years)

- Junior R125.00

- Family R30.00 (members’ children under the age of 13 years).

- Entrance fees remains R300.00 per person.


CONTACT DETAILS: PLEASE ADIVISE ANY CHANGES eg email address, phone numbers, postal address. Thank you


Patrollers over the Festive Season:

If you are visiting Cedarberg or Tonquani over the holidays we would appreciate it if you can patrol..

2011 planned trips:

If you are interested please contact:

April 22 to 2 May 2011 Spitzkoppe Namibia - Kyle Meenehan This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

April 22- onwards canoe trip Orange River through the Richtersveld. Ulrike Kiefer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If any other members have planned a trip and would like to mention in the newsletter please contact us.

Events highlights:

Club Evenings: the last club evening will be 8 December and the first club evening in 2011 will be on 12 January .

Forthcoming Events:

Wednesday 1 December.  Talk for prospective members and Presentation by 2010 MCSASupertramps Grant Davies and Michael Woodward on their epic climb on the big Chambe West face of Mt Mulanje in Malawi.


Please bring a small gift for your child/children (please write their name on the gift). Parents: if you can help with/ at  this evening please contact Uschi.Kyle  eg some entertainment or have a suitable DVD that can be shown.

Vincent Carruthers awarded honorary membership.

The Johannesburg Section had the very good fortune of having Vincent Carruthers, (author, naturalist, environmentalist, and conservationist; trespasser-on-MCSA-property) give the small group that gathered a most enlightening presentation on the Magaliesberg on Wednesday night.  The presentation started with the formation of the Magaliesberg and it's development over the years; the people who were transient visitors to the Magaliesberg and later those who lived there for periods of time and their legacies (rock art, of which there sadly are not many remaining);  the battles that took place in the Magaliesberg and the legacies from those (the blockhouse; stone walls of shelters) - indeed, a captivating "potted history" of the Magaliesberg.

Then the conservation of the Magaliesberg:   the Magaliesberg Protection Association founded in 1975, which under the Chairmanship of Paul Fatti has spent long years of fighting for the continued protection of the Magaliesberg, a notable success being the Magaliesberg proclaimed as a "Natural Area" in 1977;  and in recent years, the continual increased pressure for more development within the protected area.

And on to the present:   the efforts to have the Magaliesberg declared a Biosphere Reserve.   From this one realised just how important this glorious tract of mountain is, the water resources, the fauna and flora - the different biomes - and how great the need is to preserve it, and, indeed, the benefits to many of doing so.

It didn't end with Q&A, something special still had to be done! "In grateful recognition of his services to further awareness and appreciation of the Magaliesberg", Vincent was awarded Honorary Membership of the Johannesburg Section. Chairman Chris Ziranek did the presentation  and assured Vincent that he now had free access to all MCSA properties!   This was followed by a small cheese and wine party.

What a super evening!




Veteran’s Evening 24 November.

Last Wednesday our Veterans were invited to a special evening when long standing membership awards were presented to a number of members. The awards are made for 50, 55, 60, 65 years membership.

Bruno Penzhorn and Ralph Wortley received 50 years membership; 55 years to Pam Taussig , Jean Patchitt; and for the year 2009 55 years to Kitty Petousis, Revil Mason, Francois Junod and Marian Forsyth; 60 years to Frank Villa, Babsie Bambus, Bob Davies and Mike Kruger.

Ted Scholes was forwarded a certificate for 62 years membership and Oliver Barker a certificate for 52 years membership. Slides/digital of way back when were shown. Oliver Barker showed Harry climbing the Sentinel in 1932; 1962 with Oliver and in 1992 at the age of 85 years together with Oliver and grand children Duncan and Caroline.

The evening turned out to be a great success with so many of our ‘oldies’ attending.


Construction of a dam/weir at Hamerkop

As some of you are aware a dam/weir has been constructed on the Hamerkop property owned by the Hamerkop Mountain Trust. After taking GPS co-ordinates of the dam/weir and superimposing them onto the property boundaries and Google Earth it was established that this dam/weir is not situated on the MCSA Grootkloof property as some members originally thought. However, the dam/weir does fall within the MPE ( Magaliesberg Protected Environment) area, although the construction of a dam/weir is seen as a farming activity and is therefore permitted within the MPE area. The person responsible for the construction is one of the neighbours of the Hamerkop property, who according to his title deed has the right to divert water from the river from a point on the Hamerkop property via a furrow. The construction was started without any consultation with the Hamerkop Mountain Trust, who have now requested, in writing, that all further construction be stopped until further notice. The Hamerkop Mountain Trust have written a letter to the Department of Water Affairs informing them of the situation and requesting their assistance in the matter, as they are concerned that the construction might be in contravention of both the National Water Act of 1998 and the requirements of Administrator’s Notice promulgated under the Environment Conservation Act of 1989. The Hamerkop Mountain Trust have also discussed the matter with a lawyer and hopefully will have the matter resolved soon.

We request all members of the MCSA, NOT to drive down the construction road to the dam/weir but to park in the normal place alongside the main track leading to the house and to follow the normal foot path into the kloof.


. Construction of a “road” up the southern slopes of the Magaliesberg leading to Upper Tonquani:


It has come to the attention of the MCSA and the Magaliesberg Protection Association(MPA) that a “road” has been constructed from the Bertram’s parking area up the southern slopes of the Magaliesberg to the nek leading to the MCSA property known as Upper Tonquani. The “road” doesn’t encroach onto the MCSA land and as we only have an access servitude over the property on which the “road” is situated, there is not much we as a club can do about it. According to the MPA a land owner in the MPE area has to obtain special permission to construct a road of this nature if used for commercial use. However, the land owner insists that this is not a “road” but rather a track to be used for fire fighting vehicles in the event of a veld fire. The Land and Access committee had a meeting with the MPA to discuss the matter and it was decided that a meeting was to be arranged between the MCSA and the land owner to discuss the matter and to find out the full intentions for the “road”.


A meeting between the MCSA land and access committee and the land owner was help on the 17 November and a number of issues were discussed. The land owner is very much into nature conservation and owns a lot of land in the area, which he is converting into a nature reserve and creating employment for the locals in the area. The land owner stipulated that this track up to the nek is purely for fire fighting. As some of us may be aware a large area of the Magaliesberg was burnt due to a number of large veld fires this year so the land owner has a valid point and a positive attitude against fight fighting in the Magaliesberg. The land owner also owns a large amount of fire fighting equipment and vehicles and he indicated that he would be willing to assist the MCSA in the event of any veld fires on our properties in the area. The land owner is aware that the MCSA has a servitude over his property and is keen to improve the current access and parking facilities to ensure good relations between all parties concerned. Another meeting has been scheduled for early next year to discuss the access road and parking and how to improve the situation. A number of other exciting new proposals will be discussed at this meeting and we will keep the club informed as things start to materialise.


The land owner is aware of the people staying in the old farm house on the property and informed us that this is just a temporary place for his labours to stay whilst construction the fire fighting track up the slope to the nek. Once the track has been completed then they will move out of the old farm house.


The land owner has started to remove a number of the old fences on his property to enable the wild life to move about freely on the property. This does not give us the right to start driving all over his property so please only drive on the existing road up to the parking area. We do understand the condition of this road is in a rather poor state at the moment and hopefully this will be sorted out soon.


We request all members of the MCSA, NOT to attempt to drive up this fire fighting “track” as it will be seen as trespassing, as our servitude only allows us access via the foot path from the parking area to the nek.


Ken Thrash

Land & Access Convenor Jhb Section

November 2010.




Pemba Dorje Sherpa & Son To Climb Everest


Pemba Dorje Sherpa, himself a renowned mountaineer, is battling to have his 10 year-old son with him on his next Everest climb.


Having clearly inherited his father’s talent for mountaineering, Tseten Sherpa has already mastered a 6,000 metre peak and is determined to beat the world record for the youngest climber to succeed in conquering Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak.. The record was set last May by young American climber Jordan Romero, aged 13.


Tsenten’s father, Pemba Dorje Sherpa, has applied to the Nepalese government for a special exemption from the rule that climbers of the deadly mountain must be over 16 years old. At present, according to Nepalese Tourist Ministry official Baburam Bhandari, the special exemption will not be granted by the government.


Pemba Dorje holds the world record for the fastest climb of the mountain, having made it to the summit in an amazing eight hours and ten minutes, and is determined that his son should have a chance to become a record –holder himself. Tsenten is also very keen to make the climb and is an accomplished climber even at his young age.


Baburam is obdurate that the age limit of 16 years will stand, saying that the regulations must be upheld. Everest straddles the border between Nepal and China, and Romero’ climbing permit was obtained in China, which did not at that time have any age restrictions. Even so, his record-breaking climb raised criticism from the international climbing community.


Nima Numa Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, seems to be on Tsnten’s side, saying that a child brought up in the mountains with climbing in his blood has a chance of evading the age restrictions. Nima added that because the boy would be accompanied by his father and understands the mountain, he would have no problem with allowing the climb.

Source: http://www.abc-of-mountaineering.com


Leo Houlding Completes New Route on El Cap!


He's done it again!  Check out the article plus an amazing photograph on - well worth the read!




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