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 Post subject: Via Ferrata in the berg
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:22 pm 
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I climbed the via ferrata/cable climb in the berg. It is situated on Beacon Buttress just behind the sentinel. The hike from the witsieshoek car park is about 1hour. The Climb is about 400 meters long and if you dont pull on the cable the grade is about 16. There is a cable running along the full length of the route, so you need a helmet, harness and a shock absorbing lanyard to attach yourself to the cable. As you climb the lanyard slides along the cable. The beauty of the route is that you can climb in the berg without having to be worried about trad leading on berg rock. You get great views of the sentinel and the tooth with huge exposure. An amazing route. for more info check out http://topknot.co.za/viaferrata/


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 8:18 am 
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WOW!

How about some history about this route?
Who was involved in the construction, when was the first ascent, etc etc.

By the way, is this the R S of A's first proper Via Ferrata?

Again, WOW!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:32 am 
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Awesome!! :thumleft:
As Hann says, would be great to have some more background info!?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:34 am 
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The route had its opening ascent on the 18 Dec.
Via Ferrata means via metal, so there are several small via ferratas around. The chain ladders that are about 800 meters away were probably the first via ferrata in the country. But this one has great climbing and is about 400m long.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:35 pm 
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Location: KZN
Real Name: Gavin Raubenheimer
This Via Ferrata has unfortunately been placed in a wilderness area and in a World Heritage Site. Those who have made it have caused untold damage to the climbing community, as it has caused all kinds of problems between Ezemvelo / KZ-N Wildlife and climbers and in particular the Mountain Club of SA. The very organisation who the climbers in KZ-N rely upon for access to climbing and for co-ordination and payment of rescues and one who many of us go out of our way to keep good relations with. I was asked what I thought of the idea of a Via Ferrata on Beacon Buttress and warned Alard that it was in the park and that there will be huge probelms if it goes ahead. Those hassles have only just begun. This has been a very stupid and thoughless undertaking.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:04 pm 
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Sigh...........

Once again we head into this minefield.

Can somebody please explain the mindset of type of individual who would put up such routes after being warned to caution.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:30 pm 
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..............


Last edited by Hilton on Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 6:57 pm 
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Real Name: Gavin Raubenheimer
Hi Hilton
I think first the people who were involved need to take stock of exactly what they did and how it has affected a whole lot of others and years of PR. I would like to see that those people who put it up, get together and sort this mess out, which will involve lots of angle grinders and coloured cement (and a guess lots of humble pie). Gavin


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:24 pm 
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I definitely agree with Gavin on this one. In my opinion a via ferrata in the berg defaces the beauty of the area and the opportunities for climbing in the area. The fact that this destroys long term relations with people conserving the area makes it even worse.
Brandon


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:35 am 
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Real Name: Jacques Breitenbach
At the risk of being lynched by this forum, is there not some case for this 'thing' to be left in place for people to enjoy?
This may sound hypocritcal, as I have been one of the first people to condem the bolts on arrow final and the 'joke" about bolts on Hawks Eye. I suppose if it where done here on TM I might feel differently, but its far away in Natal?

Anyway my point is just that there is some part of me that feels that making something like this accessable to people who would not normally get into the mountains so that they can experiance something 'ama zing' can't be all bad? Are those of us who profess that 'if you can't do it the hard core way then you can't do it at all' not being a little selfish?

I know that some of you are freaking out right now and can't wait to let me have it, but my point here is not to infuriate anyone nor to have some meaningless rude opinionated responses (which never help anyone or anything). So lets not debate that this will kill climbing as we know it and that suddenly every route in SA is going to have a piece of ferrata running its length. Instead try to keep your emotions calm and actually contemplate what I've said. I don't know that I do agree with it and maybe it should go. But there is a small something inside me that feels that life is about giving and sharing not taking and keeping!

May the new year bring some AMA ZING and safe climbing to all of you, no matter your style.
Jacques


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:53 am 
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One has to question Gavin's motives on this one I am afraid. Sorry to say this as I respect him immensely as a climber & guide (one of the advantages of anononimity that you swabs always slate is that I can be objective without having to offend someone personally :thumright )

So, back to the point, parks board probably do not & would not give a dash about this if Gavin wasn't motivating this - they neither go up there or care about a remote piece of hillside high up in the berg! & before you others all get your knickers ina knot lets get some perspective - this is not a pristine rock face that would be free climbed one day - it is a piece of ignored mountainside that would never have been climbed.

The idea here was a good one. Most of us would not have ever ventured up there, even if it was because the rock up there makes good pro a bit of a scarcity.

Yes I know if this was good climable stuff I would be siding with the guys who want it down but get real - this is not your precious Table Mountain - by all accounts it barely qualifies as a 13! Which means it is what it is - an access route up a bit of mountain that would never be ventured on otherwise - sound familiar to those of you who have been up Lions Head or ventured on to various other parts of Table Mountain where chain & staples & rungs have been placed even recently!

OK so why do we normally object as climbers to the bolting of a mountain? Ask yourself this? Is it to preserve future trad climbs - no one was ever going to trad climb this on a regular basis. Ok so what else then- to preserve a clean rock face - this is not that! Ok to prevent an eyesore then - NO.

So I question your motives you happy choppers - surely you need a better reason than that it offends your principles. Is it a precedent- possibly, but this is the Berg.

Gavin I suggest that you go & motivate to Parks board that there is no real harm to the Park done & that only those who use it will even know its there, never mind its limited impact on the environment. I suspect Parks board would be pleased if you told them it could be a tourist attraction.

Please lets be rational about this stuff - its not like someone has gone & put bolts on a classic on Table Mountain - oh yes someone has already done that!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:53 am 
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Neither the Arrow Final bolts nor this via Ferrata would be a problem if the correct permissions were in place.

But this is a matter of principal.
Not a principal of bolts vs nature, but a principal of individual climbers going around like proper cowboys and f@cking up access and relations with nature conservation bodies and land owners for the rest of the climbing community.

If the creators of this via Ferrata applied for the correct permissions from the correct authorities they would have been commended and gone down in South African climbing history as heroes.

Now, having done this like naughty schoolboys, jeopardizing said relationships they will now simply be remembered as fools.

So solution is two fold:
1) this via Ferrata needs to be solved.
2) climbers need to be educated that illigal bolting is not cool.

So, to make an example I also will donate money to have this via Ferrata chopped.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:08 am 
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Real Name: Albert Smit
The idea of a via ferrata does appeal to me, and out of a viewpoint of making mountains accessible it carries some merit.
It is a pity though that these guys did not use the appropriate channels and ways for the installation.
If though it is installed propperly and safely, shouldn't we objectively argue the merit for it to stay, rather than scarring the rock further by efforts to undo it..?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:19 am 
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Real Name: Gavin Raubenheimer
Just for the record. I did not motivate Ezemvelo to get angry. They came to me and asked me what the hell the climbers/MCSA thought they were doing. And no its not some obscure mountainside that they do not care about. They care big time, they are also the same people who had to stop 4x4s driving the edge of the Tugela Falls, not far away. The people who do not care are those who put it up.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:20 am 
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........


Last edited by Tristan on Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:39 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:08 pm 
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Tristan, you points are valid.

However,
We cannot continue with the "do first, say sorry later" mindset.

Yes, a via Ferrata would be great.
But in constructing a VF without the relevant support/permissions from controlling-agencies/land owners a problematic president is being established.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:35 pm 
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Real Name: Jacques Breitenbach
Thats the short reply Tristan? Gana need a pot of coffee when i read the long one :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:09 pm 
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...


Last edited by Tristan on Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:27 pm 
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Location: JHB
Hi all. Happy new year.

Some facts:

So the initial research showed the following:

go to this website

http://www.kznwildlife.com/index.php?/R ... -Park.html .

on that page go down to the map then click on hybrid on the top of the map so that you see terrain and writing. Then on the map scroll left and down a little and you will see the words "chain ladder" and "Sentinel reserve". There one can see Beacon Buttress.

According to this Beacon Buttress is very definitely NOT in Royal Natal National Park.

So then a bunch of us started the route and then I was given a hiking map which showed that the route probably starts in Orange Free State(OFS) and probably ends in Royal Natal.

Now the route was half way complete.

It was at this stage that I chatted to Gavin.

He was the first person in I am guessing 100 people that I spoke to, that was against the route.

It would have been silly to leave a half finished route, so the route was completed.

The Route was not put up for financial gain.

The route was put up by about 10 VERY keen individuals on a voluntary basis.

I had soloed most of the route up and down except for the traverse before we started the route, so it was basically climbed ground up before we started.

I love the mountains and so do all the other guys that were involved.

The route was put up with good intentions...... with the hope for people to enjoy the mountains.

If the route does fall into Royal Natal I am very sorry. This was not the intention.

A surveyor has taken readings of the route and he is waiting for the Surveyors General office to open and will let us know very shortly exactly where the route lies.

If there is a way that all people interested and concerned can live with the route then fantastic.

If not...... I love being in the mountains and would have to spend more time on Beacon Buttress......

PLEASE PLEASE go and climb the route so you can give accurate comments.

Alard


Last edited by alard on Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:32 pm 
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here is the link again but split over two lines

http://www.kznwildlife.com/index.php?
/Royal-Natal-National-Park.html

and a pic of the link[attachment=0]P1040066.JPG[/attachment]


Attachments:
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:48 pm 
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@ Tristan,

Make no mistake, I am for this particular route and I am looking forward to climbing it in the near future.

However,
I stand by my point:
In this instance it seems the constructors of this route has done their homework and indeed it seems to be a legitimate and 'legal' route.
If so I will retract my earlier statement and hail them as heroes.
The point is that slipping bolts in under the radar will cause strain on the relationship between landowners/conservationists/administrators and climbers.

Also. I don't reed Eenglish very well, so so you can explain and convince me otherwise some other time.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:26 pm 
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Real Name: Dylan Morgan
When I heard about a VF going up in the 'Berg, I was really excited (in the good way). One of these trips back to SA, I hope to take a run up it. Putting up a route like this is COMPLETELY different to retro-bolting an existing classic, or even an existing pile of choss - I'm glad to see most people aren't confusing the two. Whatever the story is on the permissions side, here is kudos to Alard for the effort in actually putting the thing up.

I don't know the politics of who said what to who, but it seem there are two sides to the permission soap-opera. On the one hand I am not a fan of "seeking forgiveness rather than permission", but, on the other, it doesn't sound like anyone was helping Alard find the proper channels, and he honestly seems to have felt he was outside the park.

What would be very useful, to help avoid this kind of snot en trane in the future, is if Gavin could tell us what the procedure is to obtain permission for such an undertaking, and the contact details of the correct person to start the process. (From his work, he must know how to start the process and who the generic contact person is, at least, even if the this person just refers applicants to the correct person.)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:13 am 
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Real Name: Gavin Raubenheimer
Ok, guys I am off to the Berg for 7 days and am out of here. However lets get the persective right here. This is NOT a debate about whether VFs are good, nice or ugly. This is about climbers and MCSA members knowing full well what they were doing. When Alard phoned me I explained these facts to him. So let me run through them for everyone.

The Ezemvelo park managers are actually our allies. We the climbers, hikers and MCSA members in KZN work well and closely with them. They good and resonable people. They see all the climbers, including the JHB Section people who put this VF up, as all one community. As we are. So here is the stuff up for those who cannot work it out.

There is a clear and worked out bolting policy for the Berg. Its easy to find and if Alard did not have a copy, then he just needed to ask. However I am sure he does know the rules anyway. So here we have a bunch of people who go , knowingly that this is going to cause huge trouble, between the park managers and them and the climbers as a whole.

The 3 senior people who have been outraged by this action, (two of which live in the valley below) are: the very people who we in KZN tell do not need policing, as climbers are the "good guys" . We are out to conserve and look after the park just as much as they do. At this very time KZN MCSA is drawing up a long MOU with them about how the two organisations work together. You can imagine what this VF action has done to the trust.

Then: The same individuals hold the key to climbers access to Tooth and Tunnel Caves and our access by road to Cambalala Hut and the hut itself.
They also to a large extent hold the purse strings to our annual goverment grant to run rescues in KZN and the Berg.

They give the go ahead for rescue helicopters to be paid out of Ezemvelo Funds. (even I may add, when people are illegally in the park or just outside of it.)

The Gauteng rescue members who have helped and promoted this whole VF, seem to forget that it is the same individuals who every year grant them free rain to train on their land at Dragon Peaks.

Now that its spelt out, I hope that the likes of Alard can begin to see what they have done.

Gavin


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:21 am 
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First of all my apologies to you Gavin for having misread your take on this.

Secondly I would like to say that I do think Hiltons comments are relevant & approaching on correct, however as Gavin has spelt it out this is going to come to a head & not slip quietly under the radar.

Is there room for the Park Services guys to evaluate this one under Merit? Are they reasonable enough to meet & look at the actual offending site before passing judgement. It seems that Gavin places them in a very reasonable light, so possibly the result can be negotiated to a good conclusion for all.

I do not think we should just tell them its not on their land as this will infuriate them, rather than healing the rift. As Gavin says we need to win back their trust as 'generally good guys'.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:09 am 
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Real Name: Alan Jarvis
I live in Europe now, and I've climbed a few VF's.
I'm Canadian born and also hold SA citizenship.
I've been very involved in the safety issues of various mountaineering issues, including bolting both in RSA as well as internationally. And have had some input into the safety standards for VF's in Europe, specifically on the updated European VF Standard.

There have been some very good points made here.
And in fact I think that both Gavin AND Alard are making the same ones.
At first glance it looks like they are in opposition but when you think about it they are not.

And remember, altho this was not put up as an MCSA project, if you look at the MCSA's "objects", it says "The Club....conducting all its activities in a manner that is for the benefit of, and widely accessible to, the general public".

Hmmmm....interesting, hey?

The way I see it, the main issues here are:
- controlling how SA Mountains, and in this case Parks land, is modified by humans: that is housing, paths, erosion, bolted routes etc etc.
- keeping up good relationships between the various organizations involved (well done Gavin for your efforts here)
- ensuring that any "approved" VF's, indeed ANY bolts, are installed safely, and USED safely
- the siting of VF's

I suggest that we use this as a way to get something good out of all this:
- How about we work with the Park's people to draft a specific VF Policy?
- Insist that any APPROVED VF's are constructed according to a high standard
- Request SABS for a standard: I'd recommend that they adopt the European one: why re-invent the wheel?
SABS will definitely import standards: they've already imported the Mountaineering ones related to industrial access.

I'm not saying disregard the need for considering environmental impact, but do the EI in advance, for a generic VF. And decide what a VF has to have to qualify for APPROVAL, and not what would PREVENT it.

Be positive.

I don't think we'll suddenly have VF's all over the show. But a few more to give more people access to the beauty of the mountains would be a good thing.
Be a bit less "elitist".
It's like rafting in whitewater. Kayakers generally support rafting because it widens what might otherwise be an elitist sport. More support for access, support against dams etc etc. VF's are the same for mountaineers.

VF's have been a good thing in Europe, but they had a bit of a rocky learning curve. Initially there were some very sketchy VF's put up. Let's not be afraid of this, but rather make sure it gets done well in RSA from the start. Learn from their experiences.

Happy New Year!

Alan Jarvis


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:12 am 
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I climbed this route along with the opening party; it was FANTASTIC! Haven't been climbing very much in the past couple of years (too much other fun being had!) but the route re-awakened the climbing bug.

I also helped put up the route, and now I am looking at some of these arguments, and trying to contain my emotional response. I can see why some people are upset, and why the authorities want to take exception to the apparent cavalier manner in which this route has been put up.
What has actually been done here is something visionary; something bold that took guts, vision, leadership and a considerable amount of effort. Alard inspired a whole bunch of people, through his drive, dedication and enthusiasm, into helping to put up a phenomenal first in Southern Africa that will be used by generations to come- and he did this for free.

What he has done ascribes to the highest ideals of the MCSA:
“The Club is a 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 of its activities in a manner that is for the benefit of, and widely accessible to, the general public.” Taken from the MSCA Journal.

One day the whole story will come out about what actually went into putting this route up- there were some pretty unique and quite amazing things that all came together to make this happen; so much so that I, even having been part of it, can hardly believe that this route was put up in such a short time and with such minimal fuss (here I am talking about fuss around getting people to donate time, effort and materials, not this present fuss).
Here are some of the basic figures around that effort:
400m worth of steel cable, worth around R10,000.00; donated by two different parties
A whole lot of steel bar, crossby clamps, glue and other bits and pieces, worth around R12,000.00; some donated and R8,000.00 paid for by Alard.
Some 40 man days of hard labour, not your pick and axe type, but hard graft as well as work that requires rope access and other quite hard to come by skills. You can figure out what that would cost.
Around R7,000.00 was incurred in just direct costs for other vital activities; something that would probably have cost between R35,000 and R45,000 had it been charged professionally.

Now some talk about the permission thing. I have been involved in a couple of other activities that have some parallels. I am Chairman of the Dabulamanzi Canoe Polo Section in Johannesburg. Dabulamanzi is the biggest Canoe Club in the country and 1 year ago we put up a canoe polo ‘pitch’ made from a special floating dock/ jetty. We did this to promote and foster the sport of canoeing and kayaking, to create an arena in which anyone interested could come along and try it out- for free. The dock is worth around R40,000; the man hours that have gone into putting it up and getting it working around the same. When we put this in it created a similar furore, with local ratepayers shouting on about permission, interested and affected parties and so forth.
We apologised, took the dock off the water and stored it on the bank. It had been a damn fine looking thing on the water, adding a sense of place and order and it had attracted much interest in the sport. On the bank it was just an eyesore. A year later, after I don’t know how many emails, meetings, phone calls we still do not know how to get this “approved”. The “authorities” cannot, or more correctly, will not, or do not seem capable of, providing us with any sort of direction on how to get this approved. This after they told us that we needed to get it approved by them before we could continue. The only progress that has been made on the approval process has been through our drive to get answers- and even then, we still do not have even the basic framework of an approval process from these authorities.
After the initial outcry 99% of the ratepayers and interested and affected parties now have no objection to the jetty and many agree that it is actually quite an asset in the area (towards the end of 2011 we put it back up and started using it). It has boosted our sport tremendously and has introduced a whole lot of people to kayaking.

I have another example of something similar in which, had we waited for the “authorities” to make a decision, we would never even got off the ground in what we wanted to do; 5 years after the fact the authorities are still trying to figure out how to approach the issue. In the meantime we have gone and done it; but had we followed the ‘process’ …. well, you get the idea.

From both of these things has come something reasonably positive though (which I will explain in a moment), and I would appeal to the parks board and people who are opposed to the route, to step back a bit and take stock.

Let’s be pragmatic about this and take something forward from it. Aside from the permission thing, I think that 98% of people recognise that this route is something quite amazing; that it opens up all sorts of opportunities, both in terms of climbing and just simply exploring the ‘Berg- that most beautiful and wonderful place that we love and are proud of.
In the opening ascent two reasonably experienced German climbers joined us, completely by happenstance; their comment was that it was an excellent via ferrata; well placed and well protected.

The positive side of the two activities that I have referred to is that they have provided a vehicle through which we have been able to engage the authorities with; something that we could talk around and perhaps find a good future solution for similar activities in the future.
It would be fantastic if we could indeed have applied for permission; if the turn around time to grant/ deny/ discuss that permission matched the time that it took to put the route up, but lets not fool ourselves here- had permission been sought we would still be here 5 years from now arguing about the finer points of the font that would be used to draw up the application form.

There is certainly a demand for more such activities in the ‘Berg; the number of trails and hikes illustrates that. Let’s use this as a vehicle for figuring out how to approve future projects.
We have the amazing opportunity of having Southern Africa’s first via ferrata that has been put up for FREE, for all to use, just sitting waiting to be sanctioned and then enjoyed by all and sundry.

How about the authorities, with the encouragement of the MCSA, figure out how to make good use of an asset that has not cost the Parks Board or the tax payers a cent. How about they make use of it to introduce people to the wonders of the ‘Berg so that we get more people who want to conserve it. How about they generate some income to fix up the embarrassing eyesore that is Whitsieshoek car park; one of the most used entrances to this part of the ‘Berg. How about they stop looking a gift horse in the mouth and see how to turn it into the goose that lays the golden egg?

Alard is a friend of mine and I would be remiss not to mention that. He is also an enthusiastic visionary who has opened many routes in Waterval Boven and some in the Berg, and elsewhere. He is a tremendously well respected climber and well respected person amongst his friends, and others who know him. He ascribes to a high set of ethics and holds the beauty of the outdoors close to his heart. He is not an elitist and his drive and enthusiasm has opened the door and paved the way for many young, and old, aspiring climbers and outdoor enthusiasts.

This route is not an ill considered and irresponsible “stuff you I’ll do what I want” project. Alard knew that it would cause controversy; he hasn’t tried to evade responsibility for it and he put it up in a place that will allow access for thousands of tourists, not somewhere that only the elite can get to. He had the time, the drive and some spare cash. He researched what had been done elsewhere and made sure that the route was spectacular and that the protection was put up so that it measured up to the best practices. He did it knowing full well that it might cause him a lot of trouble and he did it for no gain to himself, other than the joy of sharing.

I admire him for that and I salute him.

Climbing has long been seen as an elitist sport and few understand the beauty that is the driver for many of us. Via ferrata routes are becoming more and more popular because they allow more people access to the beauty that inspires all of us; this in turn brings a whole bunch of people onto the side of conserving the mountains. So instead of just us climbers who are there trying to stem the tide, we’ll have all those people who get to climb that amazing route who will feel a bond to the mountains and who will lend their support to the conservation of them.

In Europe some via ferrata’s have been put up in a haphazard and uncontrolled fashion, without reference to any sort of standard. This one has been put up to the best practices for these routes and provides us with a great opportunity to set the future standard for such routes. Let’s use it for exactly that purpose.

Don’t kid yourself, there are going to be more of these; the pressure on the mountains is enormous and that is simply the way things are going to happen. Let’s grab the opportunity presented here and be proud of being part of a start of a good tradition of excellent South African via ferratas.

Jay Hyde
Almost Ex-Climber


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:08 pm 
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...


Last edited by Tristan on Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:24 pm 
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Real Name: Henk Grobler
You make a lot of sense Oddball. (except maybe that climbing is an elitist sport).

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:00 pm 
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Real Name: Dylan Morgan
Jay - thank you for the in-depth opinion.

I hear what you say about disfunctional "approval" processes (my company spent several years, ahead of the Eskom rolling black-outs, trying to get an IPP, basically a power station, licence, as an example - it didn't go so well.) There is a saying "if God wants to stop something, he appoints an approvals committee." However, is this the case with the 'Berg bolting policy? Would it be as applied to a VF? I don't know... I have no experience, even second-hand.

If it is utterly disfunctional, then you have substance to your argument in favour of "civil disobedience" (which is basically what it is, then). If it is smooth and efficient, then Gavin has substance. I suspect the truth is somewhere in between. Just intended as a personal thought, not judgement on anyone.

However, I would like to know how to get hold of the 'Berg bolting policy, in the highly unlikely but wonderful situation where I am able to go new routing. (Actually, I am asking so that other people, who are more likely to do the hard yards, don't have to look hard - see next paragraph.) Therefore, Gavin, when you get back from your time in the 'Berg, could you please post a link to the policy and process document, or the contact person's details and a brief outline of the process? Also, what is your experience on how long the process takes? (I am assuming it isn't so silly as to require environmental consultants or general community consultation or similar... but there must be a specified process and a timeline.)

My search... I went onto the KZN MCSA website, and found nothing about the 'Berg bolting policy - just the same "we don't want to be responsible for other people's bolting, and please don't bolt in stupid places" wording that the other sections have (I think the correct approach for the MCSA). There was even less on the park's websites - I could find out how gay-friendly they were, and how they have a great loyalty program, but nothing on new development policy. Then I started Googling. One website (http://www.vertical-endeavour.com) said they had the fixed protection policy, but you had to be a registered member to access it. Eventually, I found a draft of wilderness area management plan somewhere on the KZN wildlife site (automatic download from Google - can't give you a URL, but Google "drakensberg bolting policy") - Admin Edit - link inserted: click here to download the PDF.

The section on fixed protection (Appendix 10) simply re-quoted the MCSA definitions and policies, and stated that this was the only way to manage bolting... I couldn't find anything about either needing permission or how to obtain it. If I wanted to put up a new route, this would lead me to believe that all I had to do was talk to the opinion-leaders in the climbing community to get the "grey-beard permission", then go for it. If Gavin says there is a process, there must be a formalized, written document somewhere... but on-one is doing a good job of making it accessible online.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:30 pm 
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Real Name: Justin Lawson
Happy New year everyone.

Henk, just to be clear Oddball says "Climbing has long been seen as an elitist sport".

Via Ferrata's are a great way of introducing people to the mountains. They are hugely popular in Europe (for many good reasons).
It would be of great value to educate the Ezemvelo park managers as to exactly what has been placed at their doorstep, including the many benefits that this infrastructure would bring.

Click here to download the Draft copy of the Wilderness Area Management Plan for Drakensberg - mentioned by CanadianConnection (above)

And... Ezemvelo Distances Itself From The Recently Erected Via Ferrata Route

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