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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Author

Cam Walker

I work with Friends of the Earth, and live in Castlemaine in Central Victoria, Australia. Activist, dad to Tali & Mia, mountain enthusiast, climber & would be telemark skier.

Vail commits to zero net emissions by 2030

Unless we act decisively now, climate change poses an existential threat to life as we know it. For people who love the outdoors or whose livelihood relies on good snowfall or a healthy environment – the skiing and outdoor industries – there is an added incentive to be engaged and active.

No person, business or sector can solve the problem on their own, but that’s kind of the point: we need all hands of deck to deal decisively with this looming threat.

It’s good to remember that many in the community are taking action. Around the world there is a growing willingness to be actively involved in responding to climate change – through mitigation (reducing the production of greenhouse gases), supporting behaviour change, engaging in advocacy, and developing cleaner production methods.

Here are two good news stories from the USA.

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Snow shoe shuffle at Baw Baw

This event is organised by the Friends of Baw Baw National Park, and will be on August 13.

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TAS government legislation would bring Mt Wellington/ kunanyi cable car closer

The ongoing attempt to build a cable car up the face of Mt Wellington/ kunanyi in Tasmania is at a turning point. This project would cause major visual scarring to the mountain and many localised ecological impacts. It represents an old fashioned ‘Disneyland’ approach to tourism and is widely opposed by the community in Hobart.

Mathew Groom, member for Denison and also a close friend of the cable proponent, has now released legislation which would allow for land to be acquired on Mt Wellington. This would bring the project much closer to being realised. There is a short window of time to express your concerns about this legislation. Please see below for details.

Continue reading “TAS government legislation would bring Mt Wellington/ kunanyi cable car closer”

Blade Ridge, Federation Peak. In Winter.

The iconic ridge on an iconic mountain – Blade Ridge on Federation Peak in south west Tasmania. Any climber who has been in there will have marvelled at that incredible spine of rock. Normally the thought of just getting to the base of the ridge through relentless scrub is enough for you to put it in the ‘Yeah. No’ category of dream trips.

But one group of climbers have been in to the Blade to climb it, in winter. They are now making a film about the trip and have launched a crowdfund campaign. Check below for full details.

Continue reading “Blade Ridge, Federation Peak. In Winter.”

Australia’s first women’s adventure film festival goes on tour

We all love outdoor films: skiing and riding, climbing, paddling, walking. It’s all good. Inspiring us to get off the couch and into the Big Wild.

But women are still radically under represented in this genre of film. While the situation is slowly changing, and there are ever more outdoor films that do feature women, we still have a long way to go.

That’s why this film festival sounds so great: The Women’s Adventure film tourfeatures some of the world’s most inspiring women in adventure’. It draws on the women specific entries from the Telluride Mountain Film Festival, and is showing nationwide in ten locations in September and October.

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Jeremy Jones at Mt Buller, July 23

GET HIGHER WITH JEREMY JONES

23 JUL 2017

Internationally renowned big mountain snowboarder Jeremy Jones is highly regarded for what he can do on a snowboard and now also for his important work leading the non-profit organisation “Protect Our Winters” (POW) championing awareness and action on climate change.

Jeremy is visiting Mt Buller and will present his award-winning snowboard film “Higher” on Sunday 23 July at 7.15pm.  He will also speak about his passion for protecting the mountains he loves and why ‘we need winter’.

 

Higher is the third in an inspiring trilogy of films that started with “Deeper” and “Further” and documents Jeremy taking on extreme snowboarding adventures deep, far and high into the mountains starting near his home in Squaw Valley, then Jackson Hole Wyoming, Alaska and Nepal.

Many snow films, including some he’s made earlier in his career, use helicopters to access the lines they ride and film.  In “Higher” Jeremy climbs each peak under his own steam working with his brother Todd and Steve at Teton Gravity Research to create the film.

***The night will book out quickly with tickets on sale at the Rip Curl store and Photo Shop at Mt Buller ***

Jeremy will take part in a Q&A and talk about his snowboarding career, his work with POW and his passion for riding which has seen him create his own snowboard range and spend time riding with his wife and children.  He is on holiday in Australia but accepted an invitation from his friend Tony Harrington to come and speak.  Jeremy is planning a ‘ride’ day in which he looks forward to exploring Mt Buller with local boarders and experiencing snowboarding amongst the snow gums.

Protect Our Winters began ten years ago. Since founding the organisation Jeremy has grown the awareness and action of POW to include a global network of over 130,000 supporters and engaging with 60 million + snowsports enthusiasts.  As Jeremy explains,

Though we can dress up for meetings, in the end we are pro athletes, dirtbags and diehards; for us, winter is not just a passion, but a way of life.  Right now, we have the luxury of worrying about how climate change might impact the outdoor industry. Right now, we get to help dictate the outcome rather than react to a foregone conclusion. If we sit on our hands for the next two decades, we won’t be worried about powder days, tourism or having fun. We’ll be worried about the stability of our environment, our jobs and our economy.”

 

Continue reading “Jeremy Jones at Mt Buller, July 23”

What is happening with the lease at Perisher?

In Victoria, ski resorts operate on designated permanent Crown land reserves, each managed by a Resort Management Board appointed by, and responsible to, the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water. The Boards are responsible for the development, promotion, management and use of each Alpine Resort. In contrast, the resorts in NSW exist within the Kosciuszko National Park and operate through negotiating a lease with the government through the Parks Service (NPWS). They are then required to develop an environmental management system (EMS), which seeks to regulate and minimise the impacts of the operation on the natural environment.

As has been reported widely in regional media, it has been recently announced that the Parks Service has not granted any company a new head lease arrangement for Perisher Range in their recent Governance Review. Having a head lease allows the holder of the lease to then sublet to other businesses such as venues, accommodation, family lodges, etc.

This has caused a lot of anxiety among businesses, both in the park and adjacent communities who are reliant on the smooth functioning of the industry. While it is obviously essential that the conditions of the lease ensures minimal impacts on the surrounding environment, the uncertainty in terms of the future of Perisher and Charlotte Pass is very stressful for people whose livelihoods depend on these operations. One local owner said “NPWS made the announcement publicly before the stakeholders knew that it was off the table ….this means that clubs are unable to accept bookings for the following year or budget, invest or plan due to lack of vision first & foremost.”

The following article written by Steve Cuff comes from the Snowy Mountains Magazine, and provides a comprehensive overview of what the delay means for businesses (and hence the ski industry in general).

Continue reading “What is happening with the lease at Perisher?”

Big slide on Mt Bogong

After a slow start to the winter, we’re getting some serious top up to the base in the backcountry. Whenever you get sun affected snow covered by fresh, there is a chance you will get the potential for avalanche conditions to form on any steeper slopes at higher altitudes. This week there were reports of a ‘monster avalanche’ on Mt Bogong. What makes this concerning is the fact that (as Snowsense puts it) ‘from observations at Hotham and Falls, we had no indicator that Bogong was ready to let rip’.

This highlights the need to check conditions both before you head off and while you’re out in the mountains. Luckily there is a fantastic website to help with this: brought to you by the Mountain Sports Collective.

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Backcountry film festival Sydney July 2017

NSW Nordic Ski Club presents the 2017 Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival.

Following on from our screening last year, this year we are having an intimate screening of the Winter Wildlands, 2017, Backcountry Film Festival at the McMahons Point Community Hall, 165 Blues Point Rd, McMahons Point, on Wednesday 26, July. It is a public event open to everyone to celebrate all things snow and the human powered mountain experience.

Wednesday 26 July, 7.30pm, McMahons Point  Community Hall, McMahons Point/North Sydney

All welcome.

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