6 June 2011 Update:
The bridge too the Chosspile has been upgraded and now solid enough to get even the heaviest whinger accross with/without their stroller/zimmer frame/squeaky toys/unicycle/baggage/whatever.
See below a poster explaining the new access arrangements for Choss. There were a few climbers who went there who said that they did not know what the new arrangements were and asked via the forum if we could do a poster explaining clearly what is happening there.
The choss project was a lot of work but we addressed an important subject; Land owners are in fact not totally against people climb on their land provided:
- The know exactly who is on their land when, and there is control of who goes there.
- There is some sort of indemnity, and disclaimer on clear signage.
- Rules are clearly laid out and all know the procedures.
- The climbers on the land are accountable to some organisation.
- They make a bit of money out of it
- The climbers do not damage anything nor do any environmental naughtiness.
Basically the Choss guard walks around Choss checking if all the climbers there are wearing a wrist band to show if they have paid and signed the indemnity.
On Sunday the 17th of April we had phase 4 of the Chosspile Rehab Project was a success. The first was the mass meeting at the MCSA clubhouse in JHB where we laid a foundation.
The next was a meeting at the venue with the owners at the site on the 1 March where Peter Bezuidenhoudt filled us in that they intended leasing the picnic area to the resort over the river called Mount Amanzi. Thus new access arrangements had to be made, however good news was that Mount Amanzi was keen to allow climbers and were keen to invest money into security. They promptly have extended their electric fence across up to the canal and installed guards with radios in the picnic area. Then phase 3, we all trekked down there again for a meeting with the management of with Mount Amanzi on the 28 March.
A great meeting with Mount Amanzi, they were keen to accommodate us and will do their part to keep the place clean and safe. A small committee consisting of Peter Speed (Chair), Janavi Jardine (environmental), Thabo Matlhobogwane (community link), Sharifa Modise (outreach) and myself attended these meetings. We discussed detail as to how things will work from here.
Then last Sunday phase 4, the first work meet. We set the meeting time a bit early, but later that morning we had 10 eager climbers all digging, scraping, chopping, and sawing. Alard lent us his “chill out” bakkie to carry the bridge. Thanks to Hilton Fryer who made the new bridge. Also thanks to Darryl, Evan and Alex who came all the way from Benoni. Thanks also from
Shutup and climb Marike and Will and Jason and his girlfriend, for making the time and petrol to come out to help.
Above: erecting of the new bridge.
- Two planks wide for those who needed that extra security, drilled in at each side to be solid.
- Us all working on the awesome new path. A path much shorter, shade almost the whole way, no loose scree.
In a nut shell this is how things will work:
- Climbers go first to Mount Amanzi Reception. This is on the same side of the road, just on the other side of the river. Every person signs an indemnity register and pays R30 per person (or R50 if they want to use the pool or other great facilities in the resort). Only climbers who are part of a recognised club such as MCSA, SANCF, Varsity clubs who have a identity via a membership card with a photo will be allowed in. Each will be allowed to take one guest.
- They get a wrist band (like Rory and Rock Rally) which will be a different colour from time to time.
- Mount Amanzi will radio one of the guards to open the gate and let you in. Then you park in the new spot directly underneath the Harry Potter crag by the toilets which are half way along the road. Much more parking room, nice lawn to park on, not stones like the other old spot and guard with radio there, funded by Mount Amanzi.
Then they walk up the brand new shorter path to the crags to meet a community guard at the crags. This guard Thabo will organise from the local community church, he or she will report at Mount Amanzi every Sat and Sun morning to collect a radio from the charger and go up and patrol across all the crags.
This guard will ask anybody without wrist tags to please go back to the Mount Amanzi reception to pay and sign the indemnity. When he is finished just before 6pm he returns the radio to Mount Amanzi, gets R5 per climber plus the tips given to him up at the crag by those there who can afford it.
We have contacted the MCSA Magalies and JHB section to contribute towards the guard to supplement their salary to make it worthwhile for him/her. This way they he/she will feel it worth wile and do a good job. If any companies wish to also supplement the guard’s salary, they like the MCSA will have their logo embroidered onto the guard’s top. This money is proposed to be paid direct to Mount Amanzi who will pay him/her on your behalf.
We also looking for ways to reduce costs for students, one option we working on is if a varsity club takes a group of under-privileged climbers with them to teach them to climb, they get free entry and credits for other free entries. This is still in the planning phases.
There are a number of other things we need money for: Poles etc for stabilising paths, Bridge, Neat Outfit X2 for guard, decent hiking shoes for guard, radio for guard, hire of bush cutter, signage and other.
Total costs are estimated to be around R7 000 to R8 000.
Francois Venter has also taken the initiative to start a fund to raise money to support the program. Huge thanks Francois. Quite a lot of people have put money in already. Additionally if anybody cannot make the final work meet them self, but they would like to add about R110 to pay one labourer, in their place, you welcome, just say so on the reference. Please pop the money into:
Standard Bank Branch: Killarney, Branch code: 7205
Account number: 001678957,
* Please use your name and the word ‘Choss‘ afterwards as a reference, in case Francois spends the money
Final work meet and Grand Opening.
From here we are going to have one last work meet (Phase 5 and grand opening) on the 22 May.
Meet at Mount Amanzi parking. This time we plan to finish the path and have a braai afterwards where we will invite the owners and Mount Amanzi management.
By then we plan to have all systems in place and then Choss will be better, safe and open again.