Lake Mountain skiers show their mettle

Two Lake Mountain cross country skiers are showing their potential for the international stage by snapping up major Australian national titles this season and with the promise of more to come.

Twenty-year old Casey Wright and Kat Paul, 19, recently won their first open women’s national titles at Perisher which Kat quickly followed up with a clean sweep at the Junior National Championships at Falls Creek on the weekend of August 1 and 2.

There is a profile on Casey and Kat available here.

The Bundian Way

There has long been discussion about the trail that once linked the south eastern coast of NSW to the Snowy Mountains. It is called the Bundian Way. Prior to the invasion, Indigenous people moved between the coast, the Monaro Tablelands and the higher mountains. There are other similar stories from elsewhere in the mountains: for instance, the fact that early Gippsland settlers followed established trails from the Gippsland Plains to what is now Dinner Plain and Mt Hotham, and gold prospectors followed tracks up the Howqua Valley towards Mt Howitt.

Sadly, so much of this story has now been lost. In some good news, a book is due to be released shortly that looks at the Bundian Way.

Continue reading The Bundian Way

The Bluff – Mt Howitt ski guide

This is the premier backcountry touring destination in Victoria.

The high ridges that stretch from The Bluff to Mt Howitt sit to the south and east of Mt Buller ski resort in north east Victoria. The Bluff ridge stretches towards the Great Divide, where Mount Howitt provides incredible backcountry skiing. From here the impressive Crosscut Saw leads north to Mount Speculation and more forested plateau country to Mt Cobbler. The area has a feeling of winter induced remoteness (no trail bikes or 4WDs in winter!), wonderful skiing and camping, and relatively easy access.

An average trip would involve a minimum of four days, as the approach is slow (from the Snowy Plains to the south, via the Howqua River on the Mansfield side or in through the Cobbler plateau to the north).

Track notes available here.

In praise of huts 2

Mountain Journal has previously covered the issue of huts in the high country. As we said then:

Huts in the mountains can be a vexed issue. Huts will tend to attract people and so tend to concentrate visitation within a larger area. As one example, most people who climb Mt Bogong tend to then turn towards Cleve Cole hut rather than head across to the Hooker Plateau. This tendency to influence visitation can be both good and bad.

They are part of the cultural history of the high country, and reflect major stages in the post colonisation era: cattle grazing, forestry, hydro, even fire watch towers and, more recently, huts built for recreational purposes. We also have a number of strange and random anomalies, ones that don’t really make sense: Craig’s hut near Mt Stirling as an example, which was built as a set for a film. There are, of course, those whose primary function is safety, such as Seaman’s hut near Mt Kosciusko, and huts that belong to clubs or even schools (Geelong Grammar on Mt Stirling)”.

With growing risk of wildfire, and many huts simply ageing and starting to fall apart, there is the chance that the overall number of huts will decline in coming years. Some are carefully looked after (the Kosciusko Huts Association lists the known caretakers of huts in the Snowy Mountains) but others are falling into disrepair.

I am more interested in indigenous history of the high country than huts, but I do appreciate the cultural value they hold for many people and the practical value of refuge huts.

Continue reading In praise of huts 2

Climate change, snow sports and mountain environments

There can be little doubt that our fragile alpine environment is at risk from multiple sources, including feral animals and pests, inappropriate development, logging and climate change.

What is strange is that amongst major users of our mountain environments there is so little discussion about climate change. Ski resorts generally ignore the issue, while hunters, 4 Wheel Drivers and trail bike riders are no where to be seen. Many green groups are working to head off Australia’s contribution to climate change, but the snow industry is a stand out in it’s silence on the issue given they have so much to lose if predictions of dwindling snow falls are correct.

The following is a listing of articles from Mountain Journal that

  • cover the ecological and economic problems associated with climate change, and
  • initiatives by individuals, organisations and businesses to tackle the problem.

Skiing the High Plains

This is one of the finest books written about the Australian Alps. Self published by Harry Stephenson in 1982 and long out of print, this compilation of essays about the development ok skiing in Victoria is exhaustive. Coming in at almost 500 pages, it must have been a massive effort. It is an incredible cultural history of skiing, based on a series of stories and recollections from key players in the development of skiing in the state. While we are generally offered a cattle grazing heavy history of the Alps, this book fills in details on some of the other actors in the early days of European settlement.

It’s various chapters cover the developments at key mountains across the state, from Buller and Hotham to Donna Buang, where skiing was popular in the 1920s. It doesn’t neglect wilder and more distant areas like Bogong or Mt Howitt. And it is inter-spaced with fantastic photo galleries by a range of photographers.

There is a review available here.

Feral deer damaging Alpine National Park to be culled in Parks Victoria trial

This article is by Darren Gray, writing in The Age newspaper.

Image: Deer damaging an Alpine bog on the Bogong High Plains Photo: Parks Victoria.

Wild deer causing significant environmental damage in the Alpine National Park will be culled in a three-year trial program aimed at tackling a population estimated to number in the thousands.

The deer – whose numbers are believed to be on the rise – trample through, drink from and wallow in fragile alpine spaghnum bogs, damage waterways, graze on native flora and contribute to erosion. They are damaging some of the most sensitive parts of the high country.

Parks Victoria, which is co-ordinating the shooting program, has reported a “marked increase” in deer activity in the park. It will be  the first deer cull to be undertaken in the huge national park to address conservation needs.

Continue reading Feral deer damaging Alpine National Park to be culled in Parks Victoria trial

Splitfest 2015

The NSW Splitfest DownUnder will be held on weekend of the 21-23rd of August in the NSW main range.

You can
Register here.

We will be holding the Friday night entertainment at the Banjo Paterson Inn in Jindabyne, Starting @ 6pm
1 Kosciuszko Road, Jindabyne

The weekend will be spent out on the Main Range.

You have the option to stay in Jindabyne, camp in the National Park or out on the peaks.

There will be rental gear available to those who need it. Jump on board and meet some new touring partners, the more the merrier!

This is a free event, there are no guides so you must be able to make your own terrain decisions.

Further information available here.


Sugar Mountain: Australian High Country Tour Announced

Sugar Mountain is an Australian ski film set in the wilds of Alaska. Described as a ‘cosmic ski odyssey’, its a great film about a bunch of Australians who head to Alaska in search of the mythical peak. It is directed by Richard James, and produced by Oscar and Watkin McLennan.

Now its being toured through the Australian Alps, with three shows planned for this winter.

“Now is the time to hit the Australian slopes and here is where you can couple your Aussie skiing adventure with a quite or rowdy night at the movies”

MT Hotham – With DJ EDDY 

Get Hotham Tickets

      • MON . JUL 13 | The General, Mt Hotham | 8:00 pm

Mt Buller – Cinema 

Buy Buller Tickets

      • SAT . JUL 18 | Cinema, Mt Buller Community Centre | 8:00 pm


Get Jindi Tickets

      • SUN . JUL 26 | Banjo Paterson Inn | 8:00 pm


Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps


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