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Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:49 pm
by henkg
Does the MCSA commitee members read this forum? Awfully quiet if they do. Maybe some PR is in order after some recent comments.

Maybe new entrants to the sport see little need to join the MCSA, maybe the generation gap is so wide that the MCSA does not hear the new generation. But in the process something is lost. Appreciation for the beauty and value of mountains and the precious ecosystems we enter. Just maybe if we could somehow introduce climbers better, much of the tension between the old and new could be defused. Maybe we could then develop a culture of responsible bolters and boulderers.

"I wish all alpinists a big brother, a man to inspire love and respect, to keep an eye on your roping up, to take an almost tender care of you while introducing you to that tough and arduous life.
A man to let you share his moments of exaltedness, at 4000m, to intoduce you to the summits around, much as a gardener might introduce you to his flowers.
A man to be envied, whose home is the mountain hut and whose world is the mountains.
And the friendship of a man of such richness is beyond price."
Gaston Rebuffat - 1975


Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:05 pm
by Oakley
Double like!! :thumright


Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:06 pm
by Franz
Very valid post. I discussed the same topic with some mates at Montagu.
I am eager to hear the response from the MCSA.


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:22 am
by Marshall1
I have been on our section committee for some years till I resigned late last year. All my comments are my own & in know way reflect the views of MCSA.

Juan-dray is 16, he is a member. He climbs with(prefers?) the older crew baalies & fits in just perfect. The baalies don't make any special effort to be cool...we just climb. For us the generation gap issue is bollocks. Look at Guy Patterson Jones & Hilton Davies doing ..... at Yellowwood. There has to be 30 years diffrence between the two.

"Maybe new entrants to the sport see little need to join the MCSA" Sure. But I(& most others) joined for climbing & all other aspects of outdoor fun, not to run programs to attract the youth. Not to hear the new generation, do politics, babysit or wipe backsides. Only climbing....climbing will bridge any gaps. We need to focus on our own fun & keep the door open for others to join join our parties....only.

Being an MCSA member does not somehow make me responsible for everyone else or their climbing. MCSA is not a government office. It is all for our own fun.

MCSA has not done much for me, I do more for them, than they do for me. But I do dig the journals, they have a web page for me to post RDs...which is cool & they have a property with more than 280 rock routes, boulders & we bolt on their property(if we want).

This generation-gap/MCSA-is-dieing/how-do-we-attract-the-youth story appears in journals from the 1920s...its not new. Yet somehow MCSA survives as the only consistant climbing body for more than 100 years.


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:39 am
by Justin
Marshall1 wrote:This generation-gap/MCSA-is-dieing/how-do-we-attract-the-youth story appears in journals from the 1920s...its not new.
With regards to the above - my folks tried to sign me up when I was 11 years old (23 years ago) and were told that I was too young :roll: I eventually got round to joining in '97

Good post - I am of the opinion that one of the problems is time / timing. People seem to have much less of it these days.
MCSA Rock meets serve as a good generation bridge where young and old can get together (however people need to attend the meet).


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:57 am
by henkg
Good news Justin, the MCSA will sign on my kids (5 and 3) this month. They do move with the times it seems!


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:39 am
The MCSA is its members. If you want stuff for your age group then join and make it happen. As Marshall1 says, he has done more for the MCSA (i.e. its members) than other way round.

The MCSA IS the only constant body that represents climbing in SA. Most of the do-ers in climbing that I know are members.

In my view the MCSA will never attract young members again as the commercial sector has mostly replaced all that which the MCSA provided in the past. And younger people need income and jobs as badly as ever. They have no time to volunteer their services when they could make some money out climbing.

One can pay for a guide and instruction for climbing anything from Everest to Kili to mt Kenya to Arrow final. Nobody charged 30 years ago.

I am owner of CityROCK, a business that introduces well over 100 people to climbing each month. And it is a lot cheaper and easier than through the MCSA. You can do a course for under R200, buy your kit and go climb!

RAM is holding a tradathon at the Ledge on TM on the 17 March. No mention of the MCSA! I am pretty sure the owner of RAM is an MCSA member and so are some or all of his employees. It is not in the interest of the owner of RAM to do this with his MCSA hat on!

The PETZL roc'nroad with MCSA support is unlikely to happen this year and did not happen last year.

3 years ago, with my MCSA hat on I organized a meet at Hellfire, I got R2000,00 towards costs that barely covered the permits. The rest came out of my pocket, RAM, PETZL and CityROCK.

CityROCK, De Bos, Roc'n Rope hold events for all that are generally well attended by all ages and many youngsters. They all have a commercial element.

Commerce has taken over. And that's fine. The owners of the businesses as they get older tend to contribute to the MCSA and I am sure they/us will do a fine job of keeping it all going.

Anyone interested in another trad meet this year, maybe at Sanddrif under the auspices of the MCSA? happy to make it happen. Still got a bunch of T-shirts left over...


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:40 am
by NickT
Glad to see my 'slightly hotheaded and pissed of post' ( :roll: ) managed to get some attention....which was precisely the point of it. Hopefully it may turn into something positive for SA climbing.


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:02 pm
by fanta
If you are refering to the new hot topic our hero Alard has created for us, how can you expect the MCSA to come up with on singular statement that represents all of its members. Take a look at all the feelings expressed in the Via Ferrata thread, the same is true for the members of the MCSA? There is simply no pleasing everyone!!


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:26 pm
by Andy Davies
Aloha all......

MCSA CT rock subcom members definately read the forum. I think we all try and work through our esteemed leader (Julia Wakeling) in order to provide a consensus message from the subcom, so you may not see us getting too involved in some of the mud throwing (besides that we enjoy going climbing).

My personal view is the MCSA is a conduit for getting things done that are in the best interest of our climbing community. I can share some examples:

1] ARF has replaced almost 1000 bolts in the western cape
2] MCSA organised the past 2x Montagu rock rallies
3] MCSA has organised and maintained access for all the climbing areas
4] MCSA provides monthly socials (Ant Hall)
5] MCSA is currently in the process of organising access to Redhill (Rachel Strate)
6] MCSA is planning a path rebuilding for Lakeside (after SANP threatened action) (Ross Suter)
7] MCSA manages sport climbing permits for Cederberg.
I'm sure there are some more examples.

So as you can see the MCSA is pretty busy by means of a couple of motivated individuals who use the club positively to maintain / further our sport.

I'm sure there are lotsa of you out there who would love to get involved, feel free to get involved with any rewarding projects.



Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:39 pm
by Justin
smityb wrote:... I'm 17 years old and when I started climbing I was immediately introduced by an older friend to the MCSA. I can definitely tell you that it has helped me grow my climbing habits. I have yet to encounter someone who is completely unmotivated to show me the ropes or at east refer me to someone that can. The idea that the MCSA is a bunch of 'traditional oldies' is not true. I've met a fair amount of young climbers that are part of the MCSA.
The quote above is from the Illegal bolting in Cederberg thread. I pasted it here as I believe it has some relevance.
:!: I have done a bit of editing to make it read easier.


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:11 pm
by Tristan
SNORT and I agree. It happens, on occasion...maybe not as often as bungee cords snap, but hey!


@HenkG: lets assume that the "MCSA Committee Members" DO, in fact, read these forums. What, exactly, would you like them to respond to?
- what are YOU expecting of the MCSA?
- what is this WORTH to you?
- how much assumption are you making here, versus research as to the relevance of the organization to its member base. "Tension". ?!? Where's the tension?
- there are, currently, 3 topics on the forum (by my count) which actively mention / reference the MCSA, namely the VIA Ferrata, Illegal Bolting and MCSA (this thread). Please indicate the relevance you see the MCSA has to each, its responsability (in your opinion) and the response you would like to see from 'it'. IMO the first two posts slander the activists, yet later its discovered that in the Sandrift case, protocol was, IN FACT, followed and in the 'berg case the action likely happened OUTSIDE of Ezemvelo jurisdiction. What does any of this have to directly do with the MCSA?
- Andrew (Pedley) points out that there are, in fact, no 'bad bolters' in either case, nor does it seem can be immediately thought of. So where's the problem?

The question is not whether the MCSA Committee, reads this forum, but more whether you do.

The best place to see, for yourself, the relevance and untiringly hard and significant effort which this VOLUNTEER organization serves the likes of you, the climber, is to get your hands dirty and volunteer your time and energy. Likewise its the best vantage point to see what can / cant be done, feasibly, practically and with need from the organizations side.


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:27 pm
by NickT
so would it be possible to make bouldering a part of mcsa. At the moment, from what I know, Julia Wakeling is heading up the Redhill access issues. This is awesome and thank you for heading this up Julia (Rachel did the enviro management plan and forwarded it to the bouldering community before submitting it and then left it up to MCSA who have had the unenviable task of trying to get a response from SANParks. Rachel, from what I know, is NOT on the sub-committee). So, my point being, would it thus be wiser for the bouldering community to head this up. BUT, there are no boulderers on the sub-com. This being that the boulderers would have a vested interest in maintaining access and good relations with the landowners, right. does one go about this, because I honestly have no idea. Do I join the MCSA and then take it up? Must the whole community get together and try get someone on the sub-com.? Suggestions/answers from those in the know please?


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:51 pm
by andrew p
Even if the MCSA does not have involvement with all thats going on and is not commercial, its a guardian in the background, rather like the CEO you never meet but somehow keeps things good and proper. I read with interest the list of MCSA initiatives in the Cape, to add to that, the MCSA has funded 100's of bolts and anchors for new and old routes at Boven and the Gauteng crags, something that we should be grateful for everytime we clip one.

Oh, a little gripe I have mentioned to committee members here, is the Joburg section clubroom, the waverly hall, is horrid; its the main reason I never go, it reminds me of a sterile shool hall, in fact its an embarassment. Move to somewhere cosier, near to a bar ( : and we might get more youth.



Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:53 pm
by ant

Join the MCSA rock sub-comm and get on with it.

You will find though, that some measure of reserve might be encouraged in some instances, different angles suggested etc.
This is only because there are many people who have already done the learning curve, one which you might not want to repeat alone considering the consequences for climbing access.
Climbers naturally prefer the go-it-alone approach, but don't lose heart!

Many of the people on the committees (note I say the people, not 'the MCSA') have dealt with the people involved before, or have done this sort of thing before. If they havn't, they know who to ask for someone that's done it a dozen times before!

Thats also not to say that the performance of these invididuals should be measured by the success or time to success - these things are inherently blimmin difficult. I have had some choice words on the subject. That said, as a 'clean' person you could make a good contribution if they reckon it's a good idea.


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:58 pm
by ant
the MCSA has funded 100's of bolts and anchors
Thanks Andrew. Even more specifically - 'MCSA members have funded....' (Through paying their subs, and enthusiastically making stuff happen)


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:04 pm
by DeanVDM
Just so that everyone knows, these are the objects of the MCSA (but with andrew p I hope that the objects of the MCSA does not preclude a better bar at the MCSA JHB clubhouse ;-)
The MCSA is a public, non-profit organisation established for the sole object of promoting the interests of mountaineering, primarily in South Africa, as a recreational pastime and on a non-professional basis conducting all its activities in a manner that is for the benefit of, and widely accessible to, the general public. Without limiting its general nature, the objects shall, interalia, include:
  • organise and facilitate mountaineering;
  • procure and protect real rights in and access to mountains and mountain areas;
  • initiate and support actions towards protecting the natural beauty and wilderness character of mountains and to promote their effective conservation management;
  • promote the safety and training of mountaineers;
  • organise search and rescue parties;
  • promote the study of mountains and their environments, the preservation of historical and archaeological sites thereon and the dissemination of information on mountains and mountaineering.
If you want to judge the MCSA these should be the first things you need to judge the MCSA against. IMHO the MCSA has not done too bad against these in the past 120 years (some examples already mentioned in this thread).


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:32 pm
by jgb
The MCSA is a fantastic organisation, I would not have achieved a 1/4 of what I have in the mountians without it. I have been a member of JHB, Cape Town and now Helderberg sections over the last 20 years. I feel my MSCA membership has been one of the most important things in my climbing 'carreer'. I can without doubt say those of you badmouthing the MSCA do not have the slightest idea what the hell you are talking about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:59 pm
by Hilton
In 1979 Hans Graafland paid for John, David and I (brothers) to join the new MCSA Tygerberg Section. He did all the paperwork and we did nothing. I've been a member ever since and have never served in any way. In recent times Ant has asked me to give talks and I've weaselled out of them. I've written very few articles for the journal. My buddies and I gave the club plenty of kak as youngsters.

A couple of days before Christmas in 1979 Tony Lodge was leading Africa Cracks when he pealed off and his gear failed. He landed on John who was belaying on Upper Africa Ledge. Tony was killed and John suffered cranial trauma. John down-climbed Ruminating Chimney and collapsed on India Venster path below Arrow Final. In a screaming southeaster MCSA Rescue stretchered John to the upper cable station and got him off. John nearly died on Christmas day but made a full recovery. The team evacuated Tony's body off the mountain.

In 1986 the MCSA assisted John, David, Chris Lomax and I to go to Patagonia. We made first ascents of the East Face of Paine Grande and the East Face of the South Tower of Paine.

In 1988 great friend Gill Graafland (ex-wife of Hans) took a leader fall high on Exposure in F Major on Witteberg. An epic rescue over several days in a storm finally saw Gill casevacced off the mountain by a massive MCSA Rescue mission. She died ten days later in hospital.

In 1991 the MCSA sent John Moss, Doug Jamieson, Paul Fatti and I on an expedition to Antarctica. We made several first ascents of wild mountains in Shackleton territory.

Two years ago Dave collapsed on Constantiaberg with a resurgence of brain cancer. John Alexander was a hero but the MCSA Rescue response by Hugo Vaughn and others was stupendous.

My brothers and friends have had many, many fantastic times staying in MCSA huts like Du Toit's, Thomas, Perry and Banhoek. We have had fantastic climbing on MCSA properties like establishing A Private Universe on Slanghoek.

I'll stop with these stories now but will say that as young men we didn't conceive that MCSA office bearers weren't being paid R2 million a year each - but in fact nothing. We were anti-establishment because that's in the nature of many young men.

To Andy Davies, Andy Wood, Ant Hall, Julia Wakeling, Douw Steyn, Andre Schoon and all the other MCSA office-bearers and Rescue, I say thank you for watching John, David and my backs and for providing great facilities and the greatest times. You're the best people and I love you!

your bud,
Hilton Davies


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:08 pm
by Marshall1
Gee...Hectic!...thanks Hilton

"We were anti-establishment because that's in the nature of many young men." too true


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:15 pm
by Andy Davies
Hilton makes a very good point that I missed and that is the search and rescue guys. Thanks a mill for being there for us - even on those cold wet cape winter nights.


Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:41 pm
by Hector
It is no overstatement to say the MCSA (and, more specifically, a handful of very energetic members) saved the Magaliesberg. That alone guarantees me paying subs.

What they've done specifically for me:
  • - Taught me to climb.
    - Given me cash, beta and contacts, and lent me gear for trips.
    - Rescued people climbing with or near me three times, all with helicopters.
    - Produced an annual journal which planted the seed for many of my most memorable adventures.
    - Presented awesome slideshows and movies.
    - Introduced me to my best friends across the country.
    - Introduced me to some difficult, eccentric, cantankerous, belligerent and just plain strange people. Climbers are weirdos. Expect the MCSA to be full of weirdos. Its great fun if you pack your sense of humour.
If anyone feels the MCSA doesn't represent them, then join and make a change. Personally I have contributed very little to the club. I've led the odd meet, written some journal articles, done some slideshows and once pulled out weeds in Mhlabatini. I've paid my subs each year and donated money to what I believe are worthy MCSA initiatives. I feel I do enough. More honestly, I do the things I am psyched for - that I get something out of. I climb because its the best way I know how to live. Right now serving on committees and giving up weekends for non-climbing activities is not a good way of living. Maybe that will change, maybe not. I appreciate everything the committee members do gratis for us, the members. But I also know they get something out of serving. There is a lot of passion in the MCSA - people just channel it in different ways.

Talking specifically now about the mythical trad climbing "apprenticeship": No-one, not even a professional guide, will be psyched to teach an inert person to climb. The same applies in the MCSA. Don't expect to rock up and be spoon-fed. Decide you want to climb and then go on meets and be a pest.
  • Demand to be taken up routes, ask questions, ask for the lead.
    Get kukked out for not protecting the second, study the route guide, know which one you want to climb next.
    Know who opened the route and when, drop someone else's gear and replace it, read the story about the FA.
    Offer to carry the extra rope, discover they didn't have cams back then, be ready to climb when the rope pulls tight.
    Find out who first soloed it, listen when the ballies tell their stories, don't be a tourist.
    Revel in the mythology of climbing.
You will quickly find climbing partners instead of climbing mentors, and discover what feeds your rat.
I don't climb to be altruistic - I climb because it makes me feel good. If climbing with you makes me feel good then we'll do a lot of routes and a lot of learning together. If not, then sorry, but you'll have to find someone else to climb with. That is how the apprenticeship works.


Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:28 am
by Justin
Out of interest here are a few past threads concerning the MCSA.

2005 - 37 posts - Is it worth joining the MCSA
2007 - 28 Posts - MCSA thread-jack
2007 - 20 posts - MCSA - Likes / dislikes & what you would change
2008 - 16 posts - MCSA is it worth it for beginners?
2010 - 5 posts - MCSA membership: is it worth it?
2011 - 23 posts - MCSA (this thread)


Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:45 am
by henkg
Maybe I am a bit misunderstood here. I am am member of the MCSA and I subscribe to the ideals and idea of the Club. In fact it was the post below that moved me to post. An image of the club was portrayed that I do not believe is accurate or true.
NickT I'm not a sport climber, nor a trad climber, and yes i'm under 30, and yes i'm a boulderer. I would like to highlight a few points that are rather disheartening. These are primarily directed at Mr. (or sir) Charles Edelstein aka SNORT. Climbing has grown over the years. It is no longer an elitist sport enjoyed by the few so-called brave and humble traditional climbers who are stuck in the past and form the basis and majority of the MCSA. Have you ever stopped and thought as to why the younger generation doesn't join your elite group? I have investigated joining MCSA and to be contrite and honest, its not worth the effort. The benefits gained from joining this club are few, especially as a boulderer. The club has not moved with the times and does not support this 'new' community (by and far the most popular form of climbing amongst the younger generation globally). ...
Nicolas Telford
@ Tristan: I have moved on with the times. My post was written in bed from an Iphone :wink:

@ Snort: If you really believe commerce has taken over, there is little to achieve by barking against all progress as you do. You are then farting against thunder. Accept your fate.


Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:59 am
by kyle
I'm bored and in surviving a very long and dark Norwegian winter so thought I would throw my two cents in. For the past couple of weeks I have been following all the threads about the VF in the berg, assumed illegal bolting in the Cedarberg and before that the placing of bolts on Arrow Final. It's a bit like watching a soap opera, you feel kind of lame for being sucked into all the drama but its a compulsion to keep on seeing the next episode. Overall it is a serious psyche kill and makes me feel a bit sad that the climbing community is so polarised, when what got me into climbing in the first place was a real sense of belonging to a crazy group of passionate people. There was always a sense of being a bit special if you were a climber, us against them. It was anarchic and fun. I idolised the older climbers who made it clear that brewing a pot of tea at the base of the crag was as important as getting scared shitless on you first F1 lead. The grades did not matter so much, it was about being in the mountains, doing some crappy first ascent of a crumbly pinnacle in the berg that no-one was likely to ever try again. As a 16 year old all of this was only possible through the MCSA. It was a bit of a right of passage with lots of banter, or being paired up with the cranky old guy at a rock meet. They also had an incredible mentorship program, which someone in a previous post pointed out was more of an apprenticeship, where passion was rewarded. The MCSA KZN section paired my buddy and I who were starting out with an older climber each who was like a big brother, and charged with taking us out climbing as often as possible. One trip was a magnificent road trip to the western cape where who ever had done the most stupid thing recently had to wear and asshole badge everywhere until they were replaced by the next person who dropped a piece of pro etc. I also remember being at any given crag and listening for the sound the clinking of gear which would indicate other climbers arriving -" cool, there are other climbers here, I wonder who they are and what they are climbing?" - now when I hear the jingle of gear my first thought is - "Oh crap we are not alone here, I wonder who these posers are?" I guess by way of this rather rambling post I am try to capture the feeling of solidarity and belonging climbing brought to my life in those formative years - and NONE of this would have been possible without the MCSA. In fact if you were a climber and not a member of the MCSA your credentials were in question. Things have changed of course, the sport has grown and time moves on, the rights of passage are different. What hasn't changed I hope is the feeling among all climbers that to be able to get access to amazing places in the company of a mostly rather strange and disparate group of people is one of their life's primary joys. If this is the case then I feel there is need for more understanding between increasingly polarised groups of the same community. No-one can fight for access to areas on their own and who would want to anyway? There is a shared responsibility of traddies and bolt clippers alike and one place where everyone's needs are taken into consideration is the MCSA, its the only place. As things continue to change regarding climbing (and they will), the best place to find shelter from the storm and consensus on actions such as putting up VF or bolting new routes is to USE the MCSA as it is intended to be used. In Norway they are only a few steps away from everyone needing certification to climb outdoors - don't think this won't happen in South Africa if SanParks et al are constantly finding reasons to come down hard on all of us. Solidarity going forward is the only way.