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Australian Alps

Federal government rejects key recommendation from Royal Commission

Australia’s fires over the summer of 2019/20 were unprecedented in scale and level of destruction. Fuelled by climate change, the hottest and driest year ever recorded resulted in fires that burned through more than 17 million hectares, killed up to 3 billion animals, and affected nearly 80% of Australians. This included the tragic loss of over 450 lives from the fires and smoke.

Aerial firefighting capacity – planes and helicopters – are an essential component of Australia’s ability to respond to bushfires. This was demonstrated in the 2019-2020 bushfire season, when an unprecedented use of aircraft occurred. However last summer also showed that we simply don’t have enough aircraft to fight fires in a bad season. This puts landscapes, people, towns and houses, and fire fighters at risk.

The recent Bushfire Royal Commission report recommended the creation of a national publicly-owned aerial firefighting fleet, which can then be allocated to the states “according to greatest national need”.

Continue reading “Federal government rejects key recommendation from Royal Commission”

‘State of the Climate 2020’ – what does it mean for mountain environments?

The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO have just released their updated ”State of the Climate’ report. This is produced every two years and provides an update on what is happening with the latest climate science. As in previous report’s, the impacts of climate change on the Australian landscape are clear. There are also some specific details for people concerned about mountain environments.

Continue reading “‘State of the Climate 2020’ – what does it mean for mountain environments?”

Increased air capacity needed to fight the fires of the future

Over June and July 2020, Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) hosted Australia’s first virtual bushfire and climate change summit to coordinate a national response to the Australian climate and bushfire crises. The 2020 National Bushfire and Climate Summit brought together hundreds of participants from across the country, and the world, to share their experiences, and to formulate recommendations to address the worsening risk of devastating bushfires fueled by climate change. The Australian Bushfire and Climate Plan is the culmination of that effort.

The Plan provides a broad plan and practical ideas for governments, fire and land management agencies and communities to help us mitigate and adapt to worsening fire conditions. The plan’s 165 recommendations include many measures that can be implemented right now, to ensure communities are better protected. There are a range of proposals specifically around aerial support for fighting wild fire.

Continue reading “Increased air capacity needed to fight the fires of the future”

Expedition Climb8 heading to VIC

Expedition Climb8 is an all-female 800km winter traverse of the Australian Alps, for climate action.

They started their journey on 5th July in Brindabella National Park in the ACT and intend to finish at Mount Baw Baw in Victoria, 8 or 9 weeks later. ‘We aim to be the first winter team to summit all 28 named and unnamed peaks and knolls above 2,000m in the Kosciuszko National Park and the highest 10 peaks in the Victorian Alpine National Park’. They have had  some very difficult conditions and injuries, but keeping on moving. They are almost 4 weeks into the trip.

They are currently getting close to the VIC/NSW border.

Continue reading “Expedition Climb8 heading to VIC”

What are the ecological costs of this summer’s fires?

In late November, fires started in East Gippsland as a result of lightning strikes. As noted by Peter Gardner, these went on to become major blazes. On new year’s eve, lightning storms started fires across the Victorian mountains and fire season came to the Alps with a vengeance.

Since then, huge areas of the Victorian Alps and Snowy Mountains have burnt. As at January 14, many of these are still going and, of course, the key priority is containing them.

But once it’s all over, we will need to count the ecological cost of these fires. Some areas in the Alps have now burnt three times in about 15 years. There is no doubt that longer fire seasons, driven by climate change, are already impacting on mountain and foothill environments.

The short answer at this stage is that we just don’t know what the full ecological impacts of these fires will be.

The following is a fairly random collection of reports on local impacts of the fires on mountain areas. It focuses on ecological values and impacts. Of course, this does not mean that human and economic impacts don’t matter. The narrow focus here is simply to try and share some information about what the impacts will be on natural systems, as the other stories are already being told widely in mainstream media. It will be added to as areas are re-opened to the public. I would welcome your reports for inclusion: please email text and stories to cam.walker@foe.org.au

Continue reading “What are the ecological costs of this summer’s fires?”

A winter traverse of the Alps – you can be involved

Climb8 will be a long distance snowshoe expedition which is being planned for the winter of 2020.

It aims to travel from Namadgi in the ACT to Walhalla in Victoria via the Australian Alps Walking Track. It will cross 36 summits, visit 8 ski resorts and carry out climate change research along the way. It will start on June 6.

Organiser Terra Roam has announced that there are now opportunities to be involved in the expedition.

Continue reading “A winter traverse of the Alps – you can be involved”

A long solo walk. 660 km across the Alps.

The Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) is the premiere long distance mountain trail in Australia. It crosses the Victorian Alps from Walhalla to the NSW border, then passes through the Snowy Mountains before finishing in the ACT.

AAWT2Anthony Sharwood has just started the AAWT from the southern end. He is doing the 660 km trip solo, walking from Walhalla, Victoria to Tharwa, A.C.T. This trip is made more challenging by the fact that two sections of the track are currently closed because of bushfires.

Anthony has been posting images and updates as he goes.

You can follow his journey on twitter here.

Background info and links on the AAWT available here.

‘Climate Cycle to Canberra’ to cross the Alps twice

The Climate Cycle to Canberra is an unsupported, adventurous, ‘non-charity’ bike ride from Melbourne to Canberra in aid of emergency climate action in Australia.

Unlike a standard charity ride, riders ask supporters for pledges of ‘action’ rather than money. These actions are aimed at moving us towards our political goals.

The riders say: ‘we want to create the conditions in which an effective, society-wide response to the climate crisis is possible. The first step is to get our politicians to declare a climate emergency’.

The main ride will be departing from Federation Square in Melbourne at 9am on Saturday the 23rd of November.

Continue reading “‘Climate Cycle to Canberra’ to cross the Alps twice”

The Australian Alps Walking Track in winter

Mark Oates has made some great backcountry films. The following is an update about his most recent winter traverse of the Australian Alps Walking Track, which he did with his brother last winter. He will be uploading a ‘snap shot’ video of each day of the trip, starting today. Check the link for a daily update of mountain goodness.

Continue reading “The Australian Alps Walking Track in winter”

Climb8: 700 kms across the Alps on snowshoes

Climb8 will be a long distance snowshoe expedition planned for the 2020 winter.
It aims to cross 36 summits, visit 8 ski resorts and carry out climate change research along the way.

Continue reading “Climb8: 700 kms across the Alps on snowshoes”

On The Hunt: a 1,000 km journey by bike across the Australian Alps

It’s 2019! A new year. Always a good chance to reflect on life. And what’s a good life without some plans for some new adventures? In any field of adventure, there are epic journeys which serve to inspire us. As a long distance walker, you might day dream about the South Coast Track in Tassie or the Australian Alps Walking Track, a backcountry boarder or skier may have their eyes on the western slopes of the Snowy Mountains, or a XC tourer may dream about doing the Kiandra to Kosci crossing.

If you’re a bike packer, then surely the ultimate trip in Australia is the Hunt 1000.

Its described as a 1,000 km journey by bike ‘through the rooftop of Australia along backcountry trails, across exposed high plains, through snow gum woodlands and among tall native forests. The trail links two of major cities (Canberra and Melbourne) with limited resupply points and some of Australia’s best high country campsites’.

The Hunt 1000 is envisaged as a 7 day bike packing ride. It is the brain child of Daniel Hunt.

In this story packed with great images, Adrian Davis shares his experience of riding the Hunt 1000.

You can read the story here.

Alpine Australia – A celebration of the Australian Alps

This recently released book features 150 images from across the Australian Alps. The publishers describe it as a ‘coffee table pictorial (which aims to) bring this magnificent region to a wider audience.’

Although I haven’t seen the book yet, the excerts below look gorgeous. You can find it in bookstores or online.

Continue reading “Alpine Australia – A celebration of the Australian Alps”

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