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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:32 am 
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Location: Pretoria
Real Name: Brian Weaver
Ok. This has been a really long and devolving thread. I joined the MCSA two years ago after getting to know "the right people" to help with my membership. So yes, it is a bit of admin to do and yes you need to go on meets. But a meet can be as simple as going climbing with some of your friends who are MCSA members and they sign your card. Cool. Soon as I figured this out it was great and I was a member in no time at all.

However, before I figured this out, I had actually tried to join two or three times and didn't quite get it right to go to meets and overnight meets. So yeah, PR is a bit of an issue, procedures aren't published online in a place that is easy to find. The website definitely needs to be revamped.

Mike is a good guy, he has legit concerns and has voiced actual suggestions.

Derek, I've met you and climbed with you in the E.Cape. You've done wonders for the climbing scene and the MCSA. Snort, I fully agree with your idea that so much is done for free by climbers, often the same climbers (like our dear friend Andrew Pedley in JHB), that it is easy to be very protective over our outdoor areas. Both of you are known for coming across very abrasively and that's fine with me, I often enjoy reading the long passages from both of you and taking the message with a pinch of salt.

The idea of having a sport climbing section within the MCSA would be brilliant. Have a red card instead of a white card and this prohibits access to trad areas. In the last year, I've been to one, maybe two, MCSA trad areas but spent close 80 days climbing on MSCA mandated/owned sport areas. There are dozens of people in the JHB area that are exactly the same as me (maybe slightly less frequent climbers but the idea is the same). I'm not saying that I'd personally downgrade my membership, I'm more than happy where I am. I was a bit upset when I was told that my membership fees were going up quite a bit as a result of the purchase of Wilgepoort. I've been there, I'll possibly never be interested in going back there. That's my opinion. I'm not sure that there are many sport climbers who would be happy to pay for Wilgepoort, but on the other hand there are tons who are overjoyed to be able to climb in Boven or have access to Chosspile, Wigmwam, Fernkloof or Bronkies. There are possibly 10 times more sport climbers than trad climbers up here and it would be great to have them involved in the MCSA rather than thinking "that's not for me". Mike is right about the fees, not everyone can afford the process to sign up. I remember struggling with it. I rationalized it like this:

"the admin fee + the joining fee + the annual dues = 3 weekends of climbing and traveling" or (at the time) a new pair of shoes.

There is definitely merit is Mike's ideas and although he comes across a little abrasive (like two or three other people), I think he has good reason to do so with the JHB/Magaliesberg sections. I'm getting dangerously close to generalising with that statement because there are amazing people who do great things for the MCSA here, but there are others that hold back progress and cling desperately to the past in spite of the fact that these issues have been raised.

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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:12 pm 
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Ok so now that we have done sucking u to Mikey J (Michael Jackson?) back to the real point - why should the club change? You will recall from a previous mail that I called BS to that "there are 10 times more sport climbers", but even if there are, why would we want them in the club? What do they have that we want - not everything is about fees...

Sure I agree the MCSA wants to be representative of all climbers and further their interests and maybe they are no more or less selfish then anyone else when it comes to contributing but the real question is what are they willing to put in in exchange for access, land and bolts?

You want transformation but what are you going to do with it? What are all the radical ideas that will make the MCSA "more effective?", apart from a whinge session about how hard it is to join.

Seems to me that demanding change is the easy bit and proposing worthwhile changes is thin on the ground (never mind actually doing the stuff...)

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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:40 pm 
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Real Name: Brian Weaver
First of all, there are definitely significantly more sport climbers than trad climbers. Don't kid yourself. Next, why WOULDN'T you want them in the club? If you look at the demographics of the MCSA it's an aging club with less and less youth involved in the club. Why would you want to push away the younger generation? These are the people who are going to replace us when we're old and carry on the club.

It's been an issue for years, the committee has acknowledge it being an issue, this debate hasn't just appeared out of thin air. @Old Smelly: instead of being stuck up on the status quo, why don't you open your mind and think about the future generations of climbers who are in fact interested in climbing indoors, or like to clip bolts or boulder. There are more and more schools who are bring up the next generation of climbers. How many of these are associated with the MCSA? Any of them at all? I think you need to see someone about getting that stick removed from your ass!

Climbing has become recognised as a SACOC sport and there is a completely separate body for indoor climbing in South Africa, like the IFSC in Europe. However, I'm not seeing many of the youth show much interest in the MCSA or outdoor climbing, despite the effort that many people put into their development.

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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:09 pm 
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Real Name: Niel Mostert
I don't think there is much incentive for sport climbers and boulderers (which make up the bulk or at least a very big portion of the Peninsula-based climbers overall, especially the sport climbers) to join the MCSA, at least not in the Cape Town Peninsula, Montagu and Cederberg areas, where most of the climbing down here happens. (Disclaimer - I am a member and serve on a committee or two also)

You won't get stopped or thrown out 99% of the popular climbing areas if you're not an MCSA member - at worst you pay and you're in. Or better yet you sneak in.

You can still clip bolts at basically all the sport crags in these areas even though you're not an MCSA member - you may or may not have a fleeting thought as to who developed the lines, bolted, ARF'd, etc. but who really cares right? You're still in and you're climbing on it and not being a member of something didn't stop you.

Apart from maybe wanting a sense of community, meeting likeminded people, borrowing gear, feeling some responsibility to contribute and maybe whatever else your personal reasons might be to join a club like the MCSA, for sport climbers and boulderers access is their main concern.

And if they have that, regardless of who spent the time and energy to actually obtain it for them, there's no real pressure on them to join a club, contribute time, money or otherwise.

Not being part of a club is not stopping them from climbing.


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:17 pm 
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Good point Jimmy

@Brian:

I think you are on to something there, maybe you can address what would make the club relevant to sport climbers, instead of assuming that I am trying to be obstructive. It just helps if people apply some reasoning as to why the club should bring about change and what those changes should be.

Of course there are more sport climbers - I just think those are not really statistics and that is why I question them - who wants to quote something that is inaccurate as your main reasoning behind your arguments. What if we got a statistic of sport climbers who have climbed for longer than three years, those that are newer than that and then compared those two numbers and drew some conclusions from that. Is sport climbing growing? Or are we seeing a larger number of people cycle through sport climbing without lasting? These could be helpful statistics...Hey we may even learn why everyone still fits at the same crags year in and year out when the numbers are supposedly growing everywhere...

Lets not be mindless and go along with assumptions that may or may not be correct. Lets think. I believe the club should be relevant to all climbers, but it is certainly harder to provide for a constantly changing group of people than those that stick around for a few years. I wonder if Scuba diving runs around behind all the people that join that sport and then drop out within 2 or three years or do they focus on those that stick around? Oh and I am not that convinced about the assumption of the demographics - I call BS to that too - every generation uses that line...

I simply asked what are the sport climbers bringing to the party? Not an unreasonable question.
(It certainly does not require me to remove the stick from my ass - which though unpleasant I have some ideas where I would place it next). So no that was not unreasonable considering what most sport climbers already enjoy from the MCSA and give NOTHING in return to the greater climbing community.

(slight reminder to all the readers of the forum this is the same BRIAN that initially refused to pay for access to Chosspile - quite happy to let everyone else pay - I know that's quite malicious but he was the one with the stick comment...)

Besides who said anything about not wanting youth involvement. I believe the club would welcome with open arms most young people (particularly if the alternative are the cranky people on this forum).

My second question still stands...
"You want transformation but what are you going to do with it? What are all the radical ideas that will make the MCSA "more effective?", apart from a whinge session about how hard it is to join."

You argue relevance of indoor sport climbing and I agree - it should never have needed a separate body - so why was one created? Because there was no one willing to do the work. Hmmm yup sport climbers weren't there to make it happen- the very same Neil who started this little "CHAT" was (and later many other "volunteers") - all those bodies run mostly on volunteers too...

So yes the club should be relevant - answer my question instead of banging on about "the past" - where are the great ideas that will make the club more worthwhile for all climbers to belong to?

You as an MCSA member can change your club. Simple as that. Your view points when aired publicly look like a call for progress and action. Who will do what you want?

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Last edited by Old Smelly on Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:41 pm 
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Well said Brain.
I am currently in the process of becoming an MCSA member myself. I am joining purely because I believe in what the club strives for which in my opinion is to continue to create and preserve areas where people who love the outdoors can enjoy it. I attended the AGM for the Magaliesberg section and it convinced me that the money was been well spent so I have no gripe paying the fees knowing they are going to buying new land or purchasing bolts which I do enjoy climbing on. I was also so impressed with the work been done by the MCSA and the friendliness of the people at the meeting. Sadly that is not the view most people get of the MCSA and this thread is not helping in bettering that view. I know many avid hikers and climbers who have had similar experiences with some members as mikej has had and its put them off completely from joining the club. I do think that some members can be arrogant and you get that in every club but if so many people are experiencing this problem then perhaps its something the MCSA needs to look into. I completely agree with the requirements the club has to become a member 3 meets is not very hard to achieve. What some people don't remember is everyone has to start somewhere. I doubt anyone opened thier eyes one morning, bought a trad rack and went out to do table mountain, everyone learned from someone. So I think it is unnecessary to say you don't want people such as sport climbers or people who haven't had epic adventures as some of you in the club have had to join the MCSA. Many of the people who want to join have that drive/ambition/dreams to have epic adventures or trad mountains they just haven't obtained the skills yet which is why they join the club to meet people who can introduce them to the lifestyle. I have been a member of Exploratio for 4 years and in my experience those that are passionate and adventurous will stay and those that aren't wont. So by getting alot of members to join won't necessarily change the essence of the club especially if the people running the club keep its integrity and pass on the values. Its like a gym membership you can pay and all but if it isn't your personality or passion you won't go. A final thought I understand that the MCSA is in a balancing act between allowing hundreds of members and trying to keep the places they buy quiet and natural. In some ways having more members will bring in more money to buy more land which can then accommodate the larger numbers if it becomes necessary.


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 5:58 pm 
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@ Hazel: ? Who said they don't want sport climbers?

There is a lot of assumption going on here with very little logic. You are right I am not trying to be nice but then again who said I am not a sport climber - or young?

I am glad you like the people you have met in the MCSA. For the purposes of this debate though lets say I spend all my time being nice instead of pointing out the flaws in peoples arguments - does that serve the debate better - not if you want the truth. Its the same BS as everyone knowing each others identities - it may make us nicer - but most likely also a little less truthful.

Brian is right, most sport climbers could benefit from being members but at this point as "The Jimmy" pointed out they are just USERS and do not contribute. That's a fact.

No one is requiring anyone to have lots of experience - just to attend a few meets - come on I can't even see the link there. Yes I made a personal observation about how quickly numbers cycle through in sports climbing but I hardly think that's a revelation either. So what is the real argument about more numbers vs drawing in those that want to be there? I am not sure that's anything other than a drive to commercialisation, but then that's my opinion.

I will not post on this topic again if someone actually proposes some progressive ideas instead of retrogressive whinging.

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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:26 pm 
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Real Name: Brian Weaver
Old Smelly, sticks aside :) I do want to see the MCSA grow. If I look at the people who have joined Explo at the University of Pretoria 5-6 years ago, a lot of them are still climbing today. I think that we as a club have something to work on in terms of other people's perception of us.

You pointed out that the indoor climbing body is independent from us. I advocated strongly for it to be a singular organisation, as did Neil. However, (and I speak under correction) the MCSA declined to have an indoors section as has a heritage of being an outdoor club. Again, I'm speaking under correction, but this was my interpretation of events from those who were directly involved, I'm not going to name names.

Sport climbers can contribute to the club by sharing their passion with others. A lot of climbers are initially introduced to climbing through sport climbing. I certainly was. Now, a few years later I've done several ascents of Blouberg, including a 27 on Blouberg as well as the FA of a pitch or two up there. I've bouldered 7C+ and I've climbed 30 on trad. I've bolted lines, rebolted lines and put up new trad lines.

BUT where did I start? Sport climbing. If you read back on the comments you've made on the thread, your overtone (IMO) says that sport climbers aren't worthy contributors and shouldn't be part of the club. I disagree. What I do agree with is the joining procedure (to some extent). I don't think that a simple credit card payment should suffice as I think that a member should vouch for you to join. This provides accountability and in some right offers indemnity to members.

I think that everyone should be open minded to the situation and invite in new members rather than behaving elitist as a member (I'm sure someone is going to have something to say about this comment but I don't care).

BTW, I remember the days of not paying at Choss. Something about unsafe parking, cars being broken into, armed robbery? That's why I didn't want to pay. But the MSCA and the individuals involved like Andrew and Neil have made the situation safe and pleasant. I don't know anyone who feels the need / has the desire to sneak in anymore. Well done MCSA.

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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:30 am 
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Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Charles Edelstein
A reality check. Yes "the MCSA" is an organization. Yes it is regulated by a constitution. And yes it has financial statements and so on. But it is made up of individuals who from time to time change things including the constitution. The MCSA is not some faceless organization hiding behind a corporate veil. When Andrew and co fix the security problem at the choss pile, it is individuals who go out and do it. It is not THE MCSA who does it but rather individual members.

Sport climbers and boulderers need an organizational body to further their interests and especially safe access to climbing areas as much as any other climbers. And it makes imminent sense for them to be part of the MCSA. Why on earth go to the trouble of creating another body to do whatever? In fact sport climbers need the people of the MCSA more than trad climbers as the popularity and environmental impact is greater. Also sport routes need far more maintenance than trad routes.

I have not needed the MCSA for trad climbing anywhere except the Magaliesberg. I need the MCSA for sport climbing. As an owner of CityROCK and a member I will gladly support "the MCSA" in any endeavour that promotes sport climbing although I very rarely go sport climbing now. I have basically donated a Hilti drill for the ARF use and contributed to the costs of the ARF.

I cannot think of a single advantage of being a trad climber in the Cape as most of the land where trad climbing takes place is on private land or Cape Nature.


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:32 pm 
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@ Brian: Your comments and observations (other then the bits about my overtones - cause I think they aren't that bad - all climbers are climbers (ok maybe not AID)) are spot on and very valid! The thing about the sport climbers is to try and prompt some action on the part of these great "unwanted" masses to do something instead or remaining inert USERS. Still I like what you said (ouch that hurts).

I am not sure if this is prompted by a desire to see me not post again...but other then saying that saying what you say makes a lot of sense I will then stop. I agree about Andrew and Neil and there are probably some others who are working hard for all climbers...

In truth I think that elitist thing is a perception and those guys above are working hard to prove that...

Brian for President! (of the MCSA?)

P.S. Did I come off as being too nice?

PPS: Ebert is the troll not me - look at his icon

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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:29 pm 
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Real Name: Greg Hart
I have to admit to selectively reading bits of this (fast becoming) epic thread. Jeremy Colenso has some very valid points, as do others. Although Ive never joined the club (I have my reasons) I can say that the folk (members) are generally super congenial, earnest, and friendly and well intentioned.

I have, however, had some bad experiences. eg: a certain club president rushing into access issues / negotiations with a landowner without consulting the active climbers and basically succeeding in getting bolting shut down permanently in that (amazing) area. Poor form, as he put the interests of the club ahead of the broader interests of climbers and lost us a world class venue - this (I believe) is part of Colenso's point.

The constitution of the club was reproduced here by the webmaster, I think the biggest flaw in it the use of the word 'mountaineer'. When I think of mountaineering I think of suffering, death and frozen extremities. 'Mountaineering' is most definitely NOT the sport I practice (although occasionally I see the odd summit - in the distance somewhere unimportant). This focus needs a drastic rethink as it does not reflect the reality of most outdoor activities engaged in these days.

The times have changed (and will continue to do so faster and faster). If the MCSA wants a broader membership base they need to take a good long look at what people in general do outdoors these days and more specifically how they do it. They need to look beyond the needs / wants of the existing members to accomplish a wider membership base. Lastly they need to take a good look at how people recreate and the environments they do it in, whilst not in the hills - as steeped as the old club hall (Cape Town) is in history, I have to say it does have a feeling of dark, dingy airlessness about it. It reminds me of school or scout halls - not a good or modern association. A more modern, open and well lit building would do wonders for attracting the (dare I say) younger, more hip crowd that make up todays boulderers, sport climbers, trail runners etc. to gather there recreationally.

Basically the club doesn't come across as 'cool' - If they want young members they will have to do something drastic about that image.

Alright I'll shut up now and prepare for departure to France where they seem to have figured out most of this stuff already...(dodging ice axes swung by irate hobnailed booted members!)


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:46 pm 
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Greg,

Thank you for being the second non-member to make positive suggestions

Many good points. In response,
- We're all human. May be unfair to eviscerate a club because one past executive made one bad decision
- I read the reference to "mountaineers" in the consistitution to be inclusive of all forms of vertical pursuits. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
- Rebolting, trail building, access negotiation are not "cool". I know that from first hand experience, and I suspect you do too. Truth is that all the people who are too "cool" to do this foundational work actually aren't cool at all. Many of the people who are couldn't be bothered to join the MCSA just rely on someone else to do this work.


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:23 pm 
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I wrote the above to elucidate on the image of the club outside of its doors. I certainly don't hold the club responsible for those events.

I suppose what Im driving at is that if you want to attract the younger crowd then the workings of the club needs to reflect their interests in order to attract them. Its all about marketing, image which is to say peoples perceptions and awareness of the club.

Im an artist and designer so perhaps I can express this visually better (forgive the slightly tongue in cheek approach if you will)

This is NOT cool:
Image

This IS cool:
Attachment:
rockstock_04_stage.jpg
rockstock_04_stage.jpg [ 80.97 KiB | Viewed 1086 times ]


So is this:
Image

Oh and those last two are NOT some concert or trance rave, the first is the Rockstock bouldering event and the second is the Petzl Roctrip after party

I think there is a fatal flaw in saying that if the people are too cool they aren't welcome, young people like cool. Its conservative attitudes like that, that will forever keep the club in the slightly obscure, fuddy duddy realm - as far as peoples perceptions go - again marketing - image


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:33 pm 
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Or to put it another way:

This IS cool:

Image

As is this:

Image

Whereas this is NOT cool, freezing maybe but not 'cool'

Image


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:36 pm 
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Ahem..one last point...

Can you help the club be cool...ideas? Maybe it is money...but then how do the club decide how to use it to become cool...

I can't see that is achieved by being able to join online (maybe I am wrong). Lower fees? maybe but I don't think so...

Not getting to know anyone in the club by attending meets? Nah.

So give us your idea on what makes a club cool... The vibe, the people, the venue...go for it...

From the last pic I gather the undead are welcome...

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Last edited by Old Smelly on Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:36 pm 
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Greg you are confusing commercial operational procedures and events with club procedures and events. Cool (like Apple products) are driven by money. 5 day entries to an indoor climbing gym = a years' membership fee which seems to be one of the obstacles to membership. I mean really.

The Petzl rock trip cost around R100,000.00 in today's terms which is the subs of 200 members. Yes that was cool but unsustainable. And I can assure that Neil Margetts would have been out pocket by thousands of rands personally. I organized a mini event a while ago at Hellfire and it cost me R10k.

There is not an organizer for the Boven rally this year I believe. Probably because it is too expensive in time and money for those that could.

Cool costs money...


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:40 pm 
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Or the last few volunteers are spread too thin on the ground to run the Roc Rally, along with everything else...

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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:41 pm 
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So that's (above) all to do with perception.

Yes a lot of club activities are not going to be 'cool'. But we (climbers as a whole) will go to extraordinary lengths to make the cool stuff happen (like hanging in a harness for hours retro-bolting, or writing access proposals endlessly, or sitting through endless boring meetings) but the club itself could be very cool. I think a lot hangs on the image it puts out and the type and nature of activities it organises.

Eg: Neil Margett's roadtrip/rocktrips are definitely a move in the right direction. Perhaps some more convenience (locality) and pizazz (party!) wouldn't hurt either?


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 4:45 pm 
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I don't think its money but ideas / vision that are the problem. It wont cost money to change the approach of what actually gets done (within budget). Resistance to change is the clubs biggest enemy.

Venue was mentioned by Old Smelly as well as myself so one more illustration. (and no snort I don't expect a trillion dollar gym to materialise here anytime soon but it is something to work towards - read government funding [Colenso's point again])

Cool venue:

Attachment:
climb gym cool.jpg
climb gym cool.jpg [ 208.59 KiB | Viewed 1082 times ]


NOT cool venue:

Image

Actyally even this staid Scout hall looks fresher than the MCSA Cape Town's hall


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:07 pm 
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Wrong, it is easy to organize cool events if there is money. I reckon we do so at CityROCK fairly often.

Although I am an owner I like going there. It is cool friendly place to hang out. But it costs money.

Get me a decent budget and I shall organize rock rallies, a rockstock party once a month, movies competitions blah blah blah blah.

The Black Diamond tradathon is a very cool event but it costs money! Lots. Even for the participants if they have to travel.

Sorry Greg I disagree with you. I am totally into cool events and an active member of the MCSA. I cannot afford the time or the money to organize cool events in that context.

I had even planned to go to the Boven rock rally. I can assure you if someone is prepared to write a check of say R25k it can and will happen.


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 5:35 pm 
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So? what have we gathered - The club needs:

Money - fundraising, sponsorship, better recognition by government sporting bodies=funding, NOT higher fees!

A fresher image - marketing, website online presence, word of mouth about how great the activities are

'Cool' events - ever wonder how the uber cool hippies got their party scene started? They sure didn't have money, but now the industry turns several million a year locally (on legal activities!) They banded together, came up with 'cool' ideas for their events and then all brought what they could to the table. I pretty sure we can rustle up a controller, compressor, generator and speakers between all the climbers - without hiring them - bingo! rad after party at the next bouldering event (note NOT competition - way too old school!) No need to spend 10k on T-shirts (sorry). If young people have a rad time they will come back guaranteed. They don't need prizes and souvenirs, just lasting smiles and some new friends. If parties sound too 'cool' for the club then its missing something, young people (and older) just want to have anti-serious fun these days. We get enough competitive crap in school and the market place - events should feel like mini holidays if they are going to succeed. Maybe the club needs to become more commercial? Operate in a much broader base of society? Those crazy hippies may be mad but they started with nothing and now charge R400 plus a head and bring in top artists from all over the world - food for thought. You don't have to like them to borrow a page from their book! (note I only refer to them as they are supposedly the epitome of 'cool' in the eyes of the youth.)


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:28 pm 
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Real Name: Niel Mostert
This thread is maybe trailing off a little too much again toward getting the youth to join IMO.

If the MCSA is wanting to increase its numbers for the various reasons noted by other posters here then sure, the youth is an area to target. But what about the VERY big nr of climbers that are not youth and not MCSA members? Why aren't they joining? And with respect to the youth these will probably be the inviduals who immediately bring great value with them in terms of their professions, life-, climbing and general experience, etc. and can vastly increase the capabilities within the MCSA

Just a thought


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:32 pm 
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Location: Port Elizabeth
Real Name: Derek Marshall
We have had a sudden influx of young climbers in the last 7 months, they are really super cool. Only a few have become members so far, but we don't make this an issue. We only push climbing, membership can come later (any time in the rest of their lives)....this is cool. Its really refreshing to have them with us. Actually they meet in my grungy bouldering garage with my old-school heavy metal blaring...they make it cool...for them selves. I just stand back & try to keep my BS to the minimum so as not to put them off.

Amazingly I sprout most of the change ideas in our section & throw most of the peanuts. For me this discussion hasn't stimulated any ideas for change yet. The sport/trad/boulder & generation gap generalizations just don't really fit our tiny neck of the woods.

Our club does tonnes of awesome stuff, our PR is generally quite lacking. There are a few attainable changes that we should start making:
1. Web pages, facebook & other similar. Most sections are quite poor in this area. Climb.co.za has filled the gap that the MCSA left open.
2. The MCSA used to be the repository of route descriptions, published various guides, published RD in journals. These days RDs & guides fall to private enterprise, business, Climb.co.za & SAMM.
3. More & better signs, especially on our property's, but all outdoor venues.


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:13 pm 
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A debate very much like this one took place while I was on the CT section committee, maybe 20 years ago. At the time the BMC model was mooted as the way to go.if one looks at the BMC today, it has around 280 affiliated clubs. These clubs cater for the varied interests of "climbers", clearly demonstrating that there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to clubs. But the common thread is climbing. The BMC is not a club. No one club, with its own peculiar and particular interests, should be the overall governing body for comps, access, rescue insurance, bolting, and also organizing climbing and social gatherings. This needs to be a neutral organization, with representation from the clubs, and individual, non-club, members.
Personally I don't think the MCSA can, or should, try to fulfill that roll. The MCSA does a very good job of being a club, not a mountaineering council. I am not sure how the BMC began its evolution but Jeremy did get some idea from Nick Colton. Surely we are close to reaching the point where all existing clubs begin thinking about how to "govern" mountain use, while each retains there own individuality?


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:13 am 
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Real Name: Greg Dobbins
To try add constructive thoughts.
The focus has been looking at mainly sport climbers and how to increase the number of sport climbers joining the MCSA.
The MCSA should then think about having a MCSA sport chapter whose members only have access to all the Sport areas and are considered non-members to the other benefits of the MCSA be it Trad areas and huts etc. (if they want these benefits then upgrade membership)
This Sport chapter can then be affiliated to Indoor climbing gyms and businesses aimed at Sport climbers. Here members can get discounts on climbing gym membership fees, accommodation , gear and renting gear from businesses.
These discounts can be adjusted by the businesses by how much the MCSA Sport Chapter does for them.
Example:
An indoor climbing gym with lounge, catering and bar facilities would benefit if the Sport climbing members organize groups of friends and families to meet up at the gym just to maybe climb for lunch and watch the game on the screen in the afternoon. The gathering can be posted on a notice board and others can join and those who hate the crowds can know to avoid going to the gym that day or evening. Now the more the number of events organized by members per month the more turnover for the business and the more discount the business will be willing to give for the members.

Climbing gyms who hire employees to help customers and belay customers would surely welcome MCSA Sport climbing members to volunteer this service. Of course the gym is charging for the assistance but the more members who help out the better the businesses turnover and the more discount the business will be willing to give to the members.
I have been to CityRock and helping out the Youth, which seems to also be on the topic of trying to attract, is fun. You do not have to be the champion of the last Psicobloc event or have millions of F.A. under your belt for them to accept your advice and help, they look up to you because you climb and are willing to help them be it to belay or spot them.

So putting it out there how much effort will you put in to help a business and in return get discounts on what you are already paying for at the business and do it under a banner whose members are ensuring access to climbing areas and putting up the bolts for sport climbing.


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:55 am 
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By way of being constructive - what would the SPORT climber fee be? Is R600 per annum - R50 a month (a burger meal) about right? Too little?

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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:20 am 
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Real Name: Warren Gans
Warren G wrote:
Berea Rovers and MCSA HQ both have bouldering walls that predate commercial walls in the country. Before they were built those communities would make plans with bridges or university walls, and the local chapter of MCSA would have a finger in that pie to allow their members access. Mr February and Mr de Klerk met at one of these walls- as did thousands of other good partnerships that got people outdoors more. We need gyms for the body and to socialize at, we need mountains and nature for the soul. Even in the name of the Mountain Club of South Africa implies a social/human aspect of the situation in the word "Club". The MCSA is battling to stay connected with climbers not because they aren't concentrating on the needs of mountains, but because they aren't concentrating on climber's needs. MCSA had such a monopoly over the social and physical and technical aspects of climbing/mountaineering, but by not remaining on that cutting edge of this need they have limited their perceived value to climbers.


I think part of the problem is who is considered cool, and the Roundtable/Lions Club set up, or the Sport climbers/ Trad climbers type set up might be an answer. I agree with Greg that there are different needs for different members, and a good start would be aligning the offering accordingly. The MCSA support of new walls in exchange for access to its members is fundamental part of the club, as this is what its members demand.

What people take from climbing is different for everyone: some wanting to use it to attack people on forums; some wanting to get far away from people on forums and out into the mountains; and others (like me) who use it to meet people. I think the social aspect of a club is a fundamental part of it, more so than the cause it champions. The services that a club provides its members simply lubricate this interaction. MCSA should have the best training facilities and a cheap bar, everything else is details.

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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:46 pm 
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Location: Port Elizabeth
Real Name: Derek Marshall
What percentage of MCSA are climbers? Is it more than 5% (EP is less)? Do the members demand access to walls? no.

The percentage of members who are rock climbers would-be an interesting stat.


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:29 am 
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Real Name: Greg Dobbins
Old Smelly wrote:
By way of being constructive - what would the SPORT climber fee be? Is R600 per annum - R50 a month (a burger meal) about right? Too little?


The idea was not saying that the MCSA membership fee was too much but rather trying to give a reason to join the MCSA Sports chapter.
If you are already paying a membership fee to a indoor climbing gym and I said that if you signed up for a card that would give you discount on your monthly fee and this discount would be determined by the number of guests you brought to the gym per month, would you sign up?
or:
If you are a member of a social group you will receive R50 off each months gym membership fee (this equals the exact amount of the social group membership fee). Being a member of this group you are requested to go to one social evening at the gym or asked to give 1 hour of your time per month to assist at the gym.

I was saying this should be a separate chapter of MCSA because yes it is only for the benefit of Sports climbers and yes it would need to be affiliated to climbing gyms but it would be more funding for the MCSA and should make climbing gyms more of a social place or would help climbing gyms with services they provide without them needing to hire more staff.

Would be more interested in feedback putting holes in my idea than reading that a club is just not cool.


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 Post subject: Re: MCSA Vision
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:11 am 
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Real Name: Greg Hart
A club should be a place where people want to gather to socialise. The only congenial space in the Cape Town hall is the pub area (although a bit claustrophobic), but there are thousands of better pubs around and drinking doesn't seem to fit with sport and healthy outdoor stuff to my mind. Also the club's only open in the mornings, what about lunch? After work/tea break coffee shop? How about a view of the mountain?? (would have thought that was obvious when choosing a location??) The place just isn't that conducive to general social activities. I remember the point yacht club in Durban (not a big club) but we would go there for lunch often and check out all the yachts, it was congenial with lounges, a deck and restaurant - great place to socialise and it had a contextual view from the club house for interest and conversation points. None of this is present in the Cape MCSA hall - ie: its not a cool place to go, even if it was actually open at a social hour!

Also, as Marshall and others point out, most of the club's members are not climbers, which is why I suggest they need to look at what exactly people do in the hills these days - mostly it is definitely not mountaineering - walking (even serious hiking is not that popular), trail running, base jumping, slack-lining, bouldering, bird watching, flower spotting, photography etc and appeal to those people to broaden membership base. I can join a gym without needing the MCSA - in fact Id rather hang out at City Rock (which I frequently do - they have Wi-Fi and good coffee = cool) than the MCSA hall, at least City Rock has a vibe going fairly constantly. Marshalls garage sounds like it has more of a vibe going than MCSA Cape Town hall!

Instead of thinking what value added services the club should offer maybe getting the basics right first would be a better place to concentrate efforts (Beginning to understand what I mean by 'not cool' yet?)

PS: If you wonder why I as a non member am writing so much; I am one of those long term climbers that has never quite joined the MCSA, I read people asking "why haven't they joined?" yet when I try to write my feelings on the subject it gets rebutted, ignored and written off. Its precisely that closed-minded attitude that puts people off joining!


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