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 Post subject: Climbing in TMNP
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:23 pm
Posts: 35
So .... I went today to go get an activity permit at TMNP offices in Tokai. The only reason why I get one is so that I can get into Silvermine for free, the R40 entrance fee is quite hefty. Needless to say its gone up by R55/20%.

So I asked the guy that I was buying the card from what the policy was for someone that was just climbing for the day I often take a friend climbing on a once off. There has been much speculation, hearsay etc around this issue. He said he thought that if you bought an entrance ticket you could climb (essentially a day permit), however he would need to check with the manager.

So once I had bought the card he took me to the manager. I didn't get her name. So I asked her what was the policy on someone that wants to just climb for the day. She told me that there is no way that you can climb for the day. The only way that you can climb (and when I say climbing I mean trad, sport, bouldering whatever) in TMNP is if you have an activity permit or if you are guided by a commercial operator or go with a club! So I had a long discussion with her about the reasoning around this. Apparently it is because of the liability issue and the commercial operator then bears some of the responsibility. Apparently TMNP are taking 5 people a day (or something like this) off the mountain because they got into some sort of difficulty, I wander how many of these people are climbers? All this apparently costs a lot of money. However, after going around in circles I didn't get a good reason. The only thing she could say was that the "problem is with my sport". I didn't ask her this question: But what is the difference between me buying an activity permit and filling in an indemnity or someone buying a day permit and filling an indemnity? The only difference is the day permit wouldn't cost R325.

When I questioned her on the MCSA letter about trad and bouldering not needing an activity permit. She said that there is no difference between the forms of climbing and that the "problem with the MCSA is that they think they own the mountain". Therefore according to her, you do need to have an activity permit to climb trad or bouldering.

Look the issue here for me is that I want to climb legally in the mountains so that we don't have access issues. However, I can't understand why they can't just have a daily permit system for a reasonable fee. Why this commercial operator only story? I said to her I have taken kids climbing, however according to her they don't want this. They want the kids to go walking only. I honestly don't think they want people climbing, thats the bottom line.

The problem I feel is that TMNP think they own the land they manage. However, how I understand it the land is there for all South African's to use and enjoy. I think this attitude towards certain user groups, just because someone in a position of power doesn't partake in that activity is BS.

I just feel so crap because there just seems that there is nothing you can do against this big organisation.


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 Post subject: Re: Climbing in TMNP
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:32 pm
Posts: 1167
Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Willem Boshoff
I would venture a guess that 90+% of rescues are for hikers.
TMNP does not "rescue" people, Mountain Rescue does. They are mostly climbers working for free.
Any doughnut with zero climbing ability can buy a climbing permit; there is no test or no accreditation required. How the permit is supposed to reduce problems beats me.

Stop feeling crap about it and ignore them (like most of us). I'm more than willing to support a fair & practical permit system though.


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 Post subject: Re: Climbing in TMNP
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:09 pm
Posts: 248
99.something % of rescues are for hikers. The rescue database can supply the decimal point.

Parks Rangers do a great job of ferrying tourists off the mountain at sunset and looking after the routine distresses.
By far, climbers (those horrible MCSA people and their smelly friends) perform rescues.
Department of Health supply the helicopter and professional medical personnel where appropriate.

Neither of the above ore bad - that's life - and done for the love of the game.

Climbing is the oldest and most legitimate use of the mountains. But it doesn't fit into national procedures and systems.

Politeness will win the day - but get out there.


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 Post subject: Re: Climbing in TMNP
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:23 pm
Posts: 35
Yea the whole liability, rescue "reason" is merely a smoke screen. They have no good reason, except that someone in a position of power doesn't like or care for climbing. People that climb are generally much more mountain savvy than someone going for "walk up the mountain". The situation is just frustrating.


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 Post subject: Re: Climbing in TMNP
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:28 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:25 pm
Posts: 204
Real Name: Wesley
GClamp wrote:
So .... I went today to go get an activity permit at TMNP offices in Tokai. The only reason why I get one is so that I can get into Silvermine for free, the R40 entrance fee is quite hefty. Needless to say its gone up by R55/20%.


What, a climber that bought an activity permit. You are the first one that I have heard of.

When San Parks starts maintaining paths to crags and funding bolting/replacing bolts, then Ill buy an activity permit. Until then San Parks wont see a cent.


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 Post subject: Re: Climbing in TMNP
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:40 pm
Posts: 3
Real Name: Guy Pike
I had an accicdent at Lower Silvermine nov 2013. Rock broke - crushed my leg, ankle + foot.
Ranger called JJ was there in 30 minutes,he did first aid and directed chopper to where I was.
All the rangers ( about 6 ) came to carry the stretcher to chopper which was in the parking lot.
Had it not for the rangers quick response I would have one foot less today


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 Post subject: Re: Climbing in TMNP
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:17 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 4:04 pm
Posts: 37
Real Name: Wesley Williams
Sounds like this woman is ignorant. I don't think what she says is policy.


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 Post subject: Re: Climbing in TMNP
PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:15 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 12:32 pm
Posts: 1167
Location: Cape Town
Real Name: Willem Boshoff
utopia wrote:
Had it not for the rangers quick response I would have one foot less today


I'm sure most of the rangers are honest, well meaning & hard working guys. High fives to them! :thumleft:

My issue is not with them; it is with an administration that implements bad policies without consulting the people they so eagerly use to get their hands dirty (& bloody) when the pawpaw hits.
As climbers we:
Build and maintain paths.
Bolt & maintain the sport routes.
Do an annual clean-up of the mountain; abseiling into those hard-to-reach areas.
Get involved in rescues where necessary.
Are generally a friendly, entertaining bunch who will also get into the fight to protect & preserve natural areas.

We deserve better, and yes dear ignorant TMNP manager, we probably "own" the mountains more than you do.
To date I have not been bothered by a ranger, and if the day comes I will be polite, but I will not be bullied off the mountain by them. Now where's my red beret..... :wink:


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