Mike Mamacos passes on

We are greatly saddened by the passing of Mike Mamacos, on 17 January 2014, aged 84.  Mike was, quite simply, a legend in the mountaineering community in the Western Cape.  He leaves a legacy of bold, classic trad climbs, which led the development of climbing when opened during the late 1940s to early 1960s.  He was also a highly accomplished skier.  An architect by profession, he has left his mark on a number of spectacular huts in the Western Cape mountains, including his own hut above the slabs at Waaihoek, the UCT Mountain & Ski Club’s much-loved Hoare Hut at Waaihoek, the Ski Club of SA’s Main and Peak Huts at Matroosberg, and the MCSA Cape Town Section’s very own Agtertafelberg Hut.

Our thoughts are with Audrey, Peter, Mico, Kimon, Lexi and their families at this time of bereavement.

Mike Mamacos

Three generations at Mamacos Hut: Mike, Lexi, Kimon, Audrey & Thandiwe, 5 May 2003
(Photo: Marian Oliver)

Related:  Forum thread with more insight into Mike’s climbing

Climbs opened by Mike with various climbing partners include:

Table Mountain

Breakaway Route (21.9.49), with J. Graaff
Fountain Corner (Oct ’49), with C.C. Butler
Africa Cracks (15.11.49), with C.C. Butler & E. Weir
Valken Edge (1.12.49), with D. Mitchell
Cableway Crag (18.5.50), with C.C. Butler & H. Mey
Valken Corner (20.5.51), with JE Henry
Jacob’s Ladder (19.1.53), with G.W. Rose, C.C. Butler & H. Davis
Beeline (7.1.62), with M. Millard, J. Johnson & R. Baillie
Moonrake (22.2.62), with B. Cliff & R. Baillie
Bloodstone (10.3.62), with R. Baillie
Double Take (14.7.62), with B. Clark

Du Toit’s Peak

North-West Face (17.12.49), with C.C. Butler [“The route is long, extremely concentrated, and devoid of escape ledges.”]
Smalblaar Ridge (23.12.52), with B. Davies, J. Graaff & F. Villa


Zebasberg: Grey Ridge (May ’53), with J. Chevalier, A. Lanz, A.M. Cormack, D. le Jeune & D. Rutovitz


The Spout: South Face (23.2.49), with C.C. Butler & W.L. Dowsley
Tafelberg: Maidens’ Prayer (Jan ’52), with F. Villa
The Spout: South Face New Route (21.1.62), with R. Baillie

5 Responses to Mike Mamacos passes on

  1. Henkg Jan 19, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    RIP. And thank you for many great routes.

  2. Mario Jan 21, 2014 at 10:11 am #


    Condolences to all the family

  3. Steve B Jan 22, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    Agreed. What a legend. You don’t get much better than opening Jacobs Ladder on lead in 1953! Also, I love the layout of Hoare Hut. I can’t think of a better mountain hut anywhere. RIP

  4. megan Jan 22, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    sad to hear about the passing of a great south african climbing legend. condolences to his family. we have the joy of repeating his routes as a tribute to his eye for a line

  5. Gosia Jan 23, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

    Thanks for all the great routes. Your spirit is imbedded in the legacy of routes you’ve left for us. RIP

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