The Section’s main activity is undoubtedly rock climbing, and everything related to that. We are fortunate in South Africa to have an abundance of rock, and the weather to enjoy that rock throughout the year. In reasonable distance to Johannesburg there are a number of crags where the MCSA goes on a regular basis.

There are what are commonly know as Trad Areas, and Sport Areas. Trad climbing refers to climbing in places where there is no fixed protection, and everything (or almost everything) has to be placed by the leader, in the form of camming devices like nuts, friends and slings. Trad climbing areas like this include the Magaliesberg and wild, big places like Blouberg. Sport climbing refers to climbing in places where fixed protection – normally bolts with hangers – are in place, and all you need is a rope and quickdraws (harness etc) to climb safely. Boven also know as “The Restaurant”, Struben’s Valley in the West of Jo’burg, Everest and Swinburne near Harrismith, and a newly developed crag; Wellington’s Dome, fit into the category of Sport.

The best way to get good at climbing (after having done an introductory meet) is to go out with members who know all the tricks of the trade, and learn from them. There are some really hard core people amongst our members who have done some awesome stuff.

Route Books

The Section has published a number of route books for climbing areas and keeps stocks of these. It takes a lot of time to collate all the information and put out a hard copy route book. Route books can be purchased from the Mountain Club – give us a call, or come to a Wednesday social to pick up a route guide and some stories! We also keep stock of route books published by other publishers.

Currently available route books are:-
Upper Tonquani
Lower Tonquani, Cedarberg and Boulder Kloof
Mhlabatini & Fernkloof
Grootkloof, Ysterhout & Groblerskloof
Trident, Kranskloof & Castle Gorge
Hamerkop & Breedtsnekkloof
Drakensberg Climbs (2003)
Crags of Gauteng. – Including:- Strubens, Chosspile, Vrede, Radioactive, Wellington’s Dome (Rory Lowther)
Table Mountain Classics (Blue Mountain)
Blouberg (Southern Rock)
Magaliesberg (Southern Rock)

Over the last couple of years sport climbing has become increasingly popular in South Africa. Sport climbing involves the use of fixed protection in the rock in the form of bolts which are either glued or expansion fitted with hangers to clip into. Putting up a sport route requires a lot of effort and expense. The Section actively assists members financially who bolt in sport areas.

Check out the bolting policy.


    • Message from National Search & Rescue:Notice regarding Mountain Rescue during the COVID-19 lockdown

      We are all aware how Public Health guidelines have urged the public to 'flatten the curve' of the COVID-19 virus, and our President's announcement of lockdown is a welcomed show of courageous leadership that South Africa needs at this time.

      The Mountain Club of SA's Search and Rescue teams support this approach categorically.

      1) If engaging in some last minute pursuits this week, please engage in ultra-low-risk activities only. Please also respect closures already in place by SAN Parks and Ezemvelo.
      2) Please respect the lockdown unconditionally.
      Because it is the right thing to do.
      ...and accidents do happen, no matter how expert you think you may be.
      The MCSA's search and rescue team make themselves available because we believe in the value of responsible enjoyment of the wilderness, and in supporting our outdoor colleagues and community.
      Where life and limb is at stake, our members may still come to your aid.

      HOWEVER, during this crisis:
      - Healthcare infrastructure must be reserved for only the most critical, necessary cases.
      - Your own exposure to the virus will be significantly higher while being rescued and receiving healthcare.
      - Our search and rescue volunteers are not 'essential healthcare workers'. Don't be selfish!
      If our members must respond to a call-out during the lockdown period, they invalidate their and their family's quarantine activities during this critical time and that may have an impact on their ability to return to work.
      - S&R response may in fact be limited - our approach to incident management will be to coach and support self-rescue, or to send minimum-team responses.

      We look forward to a time soon where we can all enjoy our wilderness and natural areas together, assured of the safety and well being of our loved ones at home.

      Thank you.
      MCSA Search & Rescue


  • MCSA Office is closed.
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  • "It is with further consideration of isolation that all MCSA meets have been cancelled pending further notice" steve Hoffe. Chairman.