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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:59 pm 
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folks, are we not missing an employment opportunity here??? ultimately, its the individual's decision if they want to take the risk, but a "ranger" stationed near the crux could offer assistance for a few bucks. that way, we put food on the table for someone and avoid some unsightley metal on the mountain ... this model could probably pay for itself and the increased ranger presence could not harm on the mountain


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:28 am 
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hija pietshot - i do not know if you have done India venster, but the dangerous section involves 3 steep parts with ledges between them; it will be quite hard for somebody to effectively assist everybody up there. it seems that most who knows the route agrees that metal handles or something similar will be the best and by far most cost effective way of making the route a lot safer. it definitely has my vote.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:53 pm 
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Real Name: Charles Edelstein
Indeed! Nobody is going to hang around there all day esp. in bad weather!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:29 pm 
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So where do we go from here?
Who is going to call up the MCSA and tell them we want to bolt a step ladder onto the Indian Venster path?

I'll be happy to assist with bolting.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:54 pm 
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Real Name: Charles Edelstein
These needs to go out on Cape Rock News.... As a suggestion.

I can put something together....And ask for comments... Or Justin you can Maybe start with Andy Davies


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:52 pm 
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Adrian20971 wrote:

Quote:
and its not just table mountain - take the chain ladder on the sentinal inn the drakensberg and thats 2500-3000m in height and I have watched people do the same as above. "But its only 4km, it wont take long, and there is a ladder"


Dude, I have personally witnessed a group getting rescued off the top of the Amphitheatre after a rough night during a snowstorm in the middle of winter, complete with a no.5 cadac gas bottle, jeans and a potjie pot! How does one police such ignorance?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:06 pm 
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You can't police it. close to 100 people die on Mont Blanc annually and lot of those that die are good climbers.

India Venster is not Mont Blanc and it aint the Berg. It has a very short section that is totally inconsistent with the rest of the route wrt danger. And it really is a matter of taking some simple steps that will dramatically improve its safety level.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:33 pm 
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Does anyone have any photo's that they could post, of this dangerous, tricky section? I've tried google but haven't had any luck. I'm planning on coming to Cape Town in the next couple months and was hoping to walk up table mountain...


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:07 pm 
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Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
Hi

In view of the stats, it would seem that not only are chains/staples required but some route marking too. Can I ask eveyone to build beacons on their way up and down? It only takes a second to pile one rock on another.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:19 pm 
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Dillon I have put a very detailed description on Wikipedia including Google earth pics of the route and I shall post pics of the scramble when next up there. Meanwhile go check out

http://www.climbing.co.za/wiki/index.ph ... dlpoom0d43


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:43 am 
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Based on the history of incidents involved with this approach over the years, I reckon introducing some safety measures (such as rungs) does warrant consideration. However, Emile's point about these measures encouraging traffic is not out the ball park. Eventually safer access will become common knowledge.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:40 am 
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Thanks for the wiki description, Snort. Way better than most of the berg descriptions!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:34 pm 
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I'm amazed that there hasn't been more input from the MCSA. This topic has been doing the rounds for years. One of the best compromises I have heard mooted, is to put a set of ladders (like in Skeleton Gorge) up the gully to the right of the 3-step section. I recently had to rescue 2 boys out of that gully. This would provide an easy, shadier, ascent for the masses, and leave the India Venster "crux" in it's current state for the purists.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:44 am 
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Not a bad idea, thanks Richard

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:10 am 
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Yeah, good one Richard! It would be way better if any security measures put in place were sanctioned and official. Preserving the rock would be preferable.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:41 am 
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Richard wrote:
I'm amazed that there hasn't been more input from the MCSA.


Firstly good suggestion :thumright

Now moving on...
I'm a member of the MCSA, but this not any kind of official statement etc etc. I am writing in my personal capacity. Why does everyone always want the MCSA to drive everything? We're not some all powerful, all seeing entity. We're simply a bunch of people who enjoy going out into the hills for a hike/wander/climb. Anything that gets done by the MCSA is as a result of one or a few dedicated people pulling their thumbs out and making things happen. Therefore: If you want something done, DRIVE IT YOURSELF, stop sitting back and asking other people to do it for you. There is nothing to stop you approaching SANParks yourself and suggesting that they make the Venster path safer.

There, rant over

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:52 am 
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Real Name: Derek Marshall
If MCSA did install ladders, rungs...would they become liable should one break or if the instalation was insificient?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:06 pm 
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Perhaps, yes.
Which is why a proposal for the route to be 'equipped with aid gear' should be submitted to SA National Parks (ideally with MCSA input) - but the 'process/action'ing of' should be placed squarely upon the shoulders of SANP.

Anyone out there who is keen to kick off a proposal document ?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:22 pm 
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Nic, like it or not, the MCSA is often seen as THE public face of things mountainous.
I know this topic has been raised and debated within the MCSA, and some very good suggestions (e.g. the one I mentioned) have been proposed. I was simply expressing surprise that, in that light, no-one from the club was offering the Club's opinion on this one. I think something like this driven by the MCSA will have a far greater chance of success than private individuals trying to get it passed by SANPARKS.

But, of-course, there are many in the MCSA, and without, who would see such modifications as sacrilege.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:29 pm 
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mokganjetsi wrote:
hija pietshot - i do not know if you have done India venster, but the dangerous section involves 3 steep parts with ledges between them; it will be quite hard for somebody to effectively assist everybody up there. it seems that most who knows the route agrees that metal handles or something similar will be the best and by far most cost effective way of making the route a lot safer. it definitely has my vote.


sure boet, been up there many a weekend when i was living under the mountain. also assisted quite a few gaper-types up there. i would also naïvely assume that if the weather is crap then there are not going to be too many people wnating to go up there, right?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:42 am 
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Location: Johannesburg
Real Name: Adrian Lamond
Check this for a warning.

This is in Vancouver, seems we are not the only ones who have problems.


Attachments:
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Beware Climbers.jpg [ 66.48 KiB | Viewed 1650 times ]
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:07 am 
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Real Name: Charles Edelstein
Most people who have commented on this thread are probably MCSA members. So it is us, the MCSA members, that need to drive this thing. The various elected members of the committees and subcommittees are merely volunteers who make themselves available for election to represent the rest of us. So the correct protocol is to propose it as a motion to be put to the appropriate committee to arrive at a point of consensus and then SANParks should be approached.

As adverse as I personally am to committees this is the correct way to do things.

If the committee members have a different view to that expressed overwhelmingly here then on an individual basis one can approach SANParks. The other players involved is the other volunteer group, many of whom are MCSA members and that is WSAR. and their buy in should also be obtained seeing as they do the dog work of rescuing people.

So if there is consensus obtained between WSAR and the MCSA, an "official" representation to SANParks would leave them little choice to refuse and especially if the views expressed here are made public and I could approach Evelyn Holtzhausen and/or Tony Weaver to publish something in the Cape Times to this effect should they refuse. I have little doubt that they would be held liable if nothing is done to improve the situation once this is done.

It is simply unreasonable and probably negligent not to improve the safety of India Venster at that one very specific section.

To start the ball rolling I shall ask our local chairman and vice to read through this post and see what they think...


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:57 am 
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I sent this to Our chairman, vice and Brent who has the rescue portfolio

India Venster route: are we liable for injury or death?


viewtopic.php?f=20076&t=4261&sid=

Dear Stephen, Brent, Bruce:

I posted the question on the Climb.co.za website and there seems to be overwhelming agreement that something needs to be done to improve the safety of the tricky scramble on the India Venster trail. I personally have been involved in rescues of individuals at this point. Including the rescue of Jeremy Hazel an MCSA member who fell and was paralyzed there about 9 years ago. He was familiar with the route and had traversed it many times before his injury.

The general consensus is to either build a separate metal ladder to the right or apply a couple of metal rungs at critical points.

There are now 52 comments about this:

Here is the last post I made:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:04 am 
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another weekend, another fatality on india venster. as recently as a month ago TMNP staff were clearing up the lower section of the path. yet the tricky scramble sections are untouched. go figure.
http://www.capetimes.co.za/?fArticleId=4901543


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:41 am 
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The alarm of this weekend’s tragedy was raised by a local climber and friend to many in the climbing community. He and his climbing partner spent the duration of the rescue at the side of the patient and her friend.

I would like to send my condolences to the family and friends who lost a loved one yesterday.
Also I would like to commend the climber for the excellent assistance he gave.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:44 am 
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The link to the Cape Times requires a login... the run up to the article reads:
A Dutch tourist was killed in a 20m fall while hiking the India Venster trail on Table Mountain yesterday.

He apparently fell at the scramble section (being discussed here)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:24 am 
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The woman, who was not named, fell about 15m after losing her hand grip on the treacherous India Venster trail. Her friend, in his 30s, also fell but was not seriously hurt.

Full report on News24.com

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:06 pm 
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Re MCSA:
On many topics, it is incredibly difficult for landowners and/or authorities to delve through the mess of opinions offered by the peanut gallery, who typically tend to be the ones with the loudest voices and most extreme viewpoints, and synthesise this into an actionable, mutually agreeable action.
The MCSA is the organisation that is best poised to be able to offer authorititive, collective and actionable opinions on an issue such as this. Having said that, the MCSA is comprised of volunteer individuals, and are not paid or obliged to tend to every concern out there. If someone wants to drive a particular initiative, approach the MCSA, who will I'm sure be partisan to guiding the process.

Re ladders.
Agreed that many tragic circumstances could and should be avoided.
I have two concerns with placing equipment on the Venster route:
If the venster route becomes 'safe' a significant portion of the Platteklip Gorge traffic will be funnelled instead through Venster. Furthermore there will be an even higher proportion of Cable-Car users who elect to descend Venster on a whim.
1) 'Sanitizing' the Venster scramble will also mandate the upgrade of the entire of the Venster path in a magnitude equivalent to that in plattelip gorge. This is in order to cope with the increased traffic. Not a no-go option, but this is part and parcel of the discussion.
Whilst indeed statistically the most tragic spot on the Venster route is the 3-step scramble, many many rescues of a serious nature are conducted on or near (or not so near) various parts of the route for people who 'thought they were on the Venster route.'
2) Increased traffic will result in increased accidents. The Venster route is inherently more taxing and dangerous, and this is not due only to the 3-step scramble. By way of illustration, Platteklip, despite being a 'safe' route, has it's own set of shocking statistics. While these differ in nature to the Venster incidents (Heart-attack and exposed to elements rather than impact injury) these will nevertheless be exaccerbated if it's traffic is funnelled via Venster instead.

If this were to be properly discussed, we need several data-points: (Which together loosely describe a Basic Environmental Assessment)
- Present traffic numbers on Platteklip
- Present traffic numbers on Venster
- Anticipated changes in traffic due to proposal
- Anticipated change in type and number of accidents
- Environmental scoping report on the impacts on the Venster route due to proposal
- Consideration of alternatives (close the path to everyone, improve signage etc)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:34 pm 
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sorry ant, but I dont agree that adding a few stainless steel 'handles' such as those on Lion's head will make the walk [sic] "becomes 'safe' a significant portion of the Platteklip Gorge traffic will be funnelled instead through Venster".

It's time to act. If the 'authorititive', mountain owning body called MCSA is going to throw the usual behind this then it will never get done. Is there a way we can bypass these clowns getting involved and propose something to the Cape parks and get this done. All the route needs is a rung above the first ledge on the scramble, and a second rung at the chimney section, to pull over the edge or lower off it.

Who would need to be contacted and spoken to to get this ball rolling? The idea of needing to [sic] "'Sanitizing' the Venster scramble will also mandate the upgrade of the entire of the Venster path in a magnitude equivalent to that in plattelip gorge. This is in order to cope with the increased traffic. Not a no-go option, but this is part and parcel of the discussion." is the usual expected response from members of this club.

We just need to act on this, so people can stop being killed on this walk. Less talk, more action.
I anyone prepared to do this? I'll personally put up the funds to supply the materials.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:44 pm 
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yeah, i sent a friendly mail to table mountain park management after the 1st section of this thread, drawing their attention to the issue and asking how we should go about addressing it. offered help and resources and all that. they did not bother to reply.

i was shocked and saddned to read the story this morning. and more than a bit p***ed off by table mountain management's lack of care.


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