MCSA response to Table Mountain Bolts

Table Mountain Bolting

Arrow Final bolts

Recently a Climb ZA member reported on the forum that bolts had been installed near the top of Arrow Final on Table Mountain.

Most people probably did not believe it, however pictures of the offending bolts soon appeared.  There was much confusion as to who and for what purpose these bolts were placed?  The one bolt had also been poorly installed.

56 or so replies later a well known Cape climber and guide owned up to placing the bolts for guiding purposes.  Discussion regarding the bolts ensued and they were chopped (removed).

Table Mountain bolts

Below is the official response from the Mountain Club of South Africa regarding the bolts.


Dear all,

On 14 October 2011, the MCSA was made aware that new anchors had been installed on the 2nd last stance of Arrow Final on Table Mountain. During the early 1990’s bolting debate and subsequent development of a sport climbing management plan for the peninsula, it was agreed with the South African National parks and the climbing community that Table Mountain is a bolt free zone. It was also agreed for safety reasons that a limited number of abseil anchors were to be installed on Table Mountain.

The new anchors on Arrow Final breach the agreement with SANP and the currently accepted ethics within the climbing community. The MCSA does not condone this kind of action.  As the only active representative body of climbers, the MCSA has facilitated removal of these bolts.

The MCSA recognises that preservation of Table Mountain and safety are both of high priority.  We are currently processing a bolting policy for Table Mountain which will provide clarity on this subject. If you would particularly like to be involved with drafting it please get hold of me directly.  We will make this proposed policy available shortly.

The MCSA would like to caution individuals against activities that could contradict landowner agreements.  The actions of one or two people can result in loss of access for everyone as has happened in other areas.

Yours in climbing,
Julia Wakeling
Chairman – MCSA Cape Town Rock Subcom


Related links:

Arrow Final’s Bolted Anchor

Table Mountain Bolting Policy

“Upseiling” for novices on TM. Appropriate? Safe?



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2 Responses to MCSA response to Table Mountain Bolts

  1. ant Oct 25, 2011 at 1:21 am #

    Considering that the forum thread is locked, I do believe that some clarification on guiding is neccesary. This is in direct response to the issue of bolting on Table Mountain for supposed guiding activities – if anyone want’s information, or to debate guiding in a general sense, please start a separate thread on the forum…

    – Matt is NOT qualified or registered to be guiding on multi-pitch routes*
    – Matt’s qualification is for single-pitch environments only*
    – As part of the assessment process, guides have to demonstrate adequate knowledge of the prevailing laws and ethics regarding access, and also an appropriate ethic regarding the impacts of their activities on the environment, and on other users
    – All qualified and registered guides should carry their badge and ID card at all times. Members of the public are entitled to ask a guide to see these at any time. The ID no is on both, and usually starts “WC ####” (for Western Cape) and the card outlines the activities for which a guide is qualified. Qualified guides should be only too happy to show you, and should thank you for checking-up.
    – Unqualified (therefore illegal) guiding, or unethical guiding practices should be reported to the provincial registrar at the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. (Physical offices are in st Georges Mall)

    *I have made sure to check this with Adventure Qualifications Network – the registered training authority for mountaineering related guiding unit-standards.

  2. Justin Oct 25, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    See comment from Matt here:

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