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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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backcountry

‘Finding the Line’ launched

Finding the Line is a ski ‘film about fear, it’s paralyzing grip on humans and how it affects our decision-making’. It stars Australians Nat and Anna Segal. They were filming last winter on the western slopes of the Snowy Mountains as part of the production.

‘Fear. Unless you’re insane, it’s a very natural and necessary part of life in the mountains. Fear can keep us alive and finding a way to understand and either overcome or bow to our fears is where much of the adventure lies.’

The film is now finished. It is having a launch in Whistler this week (this has a great background to the film). Stay tuned for details on the Australian launch.

More info available here. This site will have details on screenings as they are organised.

You can watch the trailer here.

Image: GUY FATTAL PHOTO / FINDING THE LINE

Backcountry film festival lineup 2018

The backcountry film festival is going to be great this year. We will have shows in Melbourne (March or April) and Bright (July) and probably NSW.

There is a great line up of films (details here), eight in total, covering a range of continents and aspects of backcountry skiing/ riding and snow culture. Stay tuned for full details closer to winter.

Have you made an Australian backcountry film?

The Backcountry Film Festival (BCFF) is produced each year as a celebration of the human-powered experience and a gathering place for the backcountry snowsports community. The 2018 Melbourne showing for the Backcountry film festival will be held in March or April 2018.

Most years we also show a short Australian film. These have included:

  • The Hunt for White October, about a late season mission to Mt Loch
  • No Lift Lines Here, about a mid winter trip to The Bluff
  • Find Your Line, about snow boarding on the western slopes of the Snowy Mountains
  • OFF GRID, focusing on a backcountry trip to Mt Bogong

If you have a film you would like to be included with the BCFF this year, please get in touch.

Continue reading “Have you made an Australian backcountry film?”

Winter 2018!

As another wave of hot weather beats down on us, of course its time to think about winter. I don’t know about you, but I find that life is crazily busy, so if I don’t lock trips in they don’t happen.

Here are early details on two planned events for winter 2018.

Continue reading “Winter 2018!”

A non profit system for mountain huts?

One of my key addictions in life is to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Wonderful mountains, fantastic snow, endless terrain, cool towns. And one of the best backcountry hut networks on the planet.

10th Mountain Huts is a non profit that owns and rents out backcountry cabins to skiers, hikers and mountain bikers (they also rent out a number of privately owned cabins). Most are fairly similar: they are based on a log construction and built on two levels, and they have everything you need for multiday trips: a kitchen with gas burners and all the gear you need to cook, a wood fired stove with large basin for melting snow, a small solar PV system for basic lighting, and even a small library (and mattresses – sheer luxury!). It means you can do multi day trips without the need for tents, stoves and fuel, and cooking gear. Many of the huts are above 11,000 feet asl, in mind blowingly gorgeous locations. And because you need to book them, you’re guaranteed of getting a bed.

Which, of course, gets me thinking about our hut system here in Australia. I’m not suggesting we set up a similar network. But as a non profit, 10th Mountain fills an interesting gap in the network of backcountry huts that tend to exist in mountain environments.

Continue reading “A non profit system for mountain huts?”

Make the season last

Its always a delight to have snow in October.

There’s so much snow out there still. As Bruce Easton from Wilderness Sports noted today, there’s still plenty of snow on the Main Range and ‘it’s not going anywhere’ quickly (his shop in Jindabyne is still open for ski hire). It’s the same in the High Country of Victoria.

I’m planning to get out into it this weekend. I hope you are too. I’d love to see your photos from your late season trips. Please post pics on the MJ facebook page or email to cam.walker@foe.org.au

Have fun out there.

Skiing The Slot at Mt Field

Recent heavy snowfalls briefly created perfect conditions in the Tasmanian mountains for touring and some serious descents. One classic line with potential is a steep gully in Mt Field National Park called The Slot.

It was briefly in condition, and Ben Armstrong was out there to ski it.

These photos come from Ben via the Australian Backcountry facebook group.

Continue reading “Skiing The Slot at Mt Field”

Have you seen avalanches in the mountains this winter?

This map, of the north eastern mountains of Victoria, shows all the known significant slides that have occurred so far in 2017, with the categories of each. Mountain Sports Collective would love to know if there are any others that you may have come across in your travels this winter?

As a guide: C2 would bury a car, C3 would bury a bus. It’s probably the C1 (just big enough to bury a person, the small slides we are missing).

If you’ve got photos please post them through a report on the MSC website, and please location tag them with a date You can also just add a description on the Snowsense Instagram account.

MSC would also like to know about slides outside this area – elsewhere in Victoria or in NSW.

This information will be used to review the reporting standards that MSC is using. Thanks for your help.

Become a founding member of the Mountain Sports Collective

If you ski or ride in the backcountry, you’re probably already using the resources provided by Mountain Sports Collective (MSC). MSC was created by the amalgamation of the nation’s foremost alpine safety platforms Snowsafety.com.au and Snowsense.org. These sites offer an Alpine Travel Advisory, and issues information regarding alpine travel safety across all aspects of the prevailing conditions above snowline from 1 June – 31st October each year. Snowsafety and Snowsense have joined forces to create MSC not only with the goal of delivering a more streamlined and concise picture of the conditions in the mountains, in one single easy view, but we are now also a legal entity, established as a not-for-profit association.

MSC aims to be the voice for the human powered backcountry community in Australia. While there are similar organisations overseas (for instance the Winter Wildlands Alliance in the USA) there is no single voice for all forms of human powered winter backcountry adventurers here in Australia. There are a range of walking clubs, Nordic ski climbs, climbing organisations and so on. We feel that, with an ever growing number of people heading into the winter backcountry, the time is right for a group that can help co-ordinate and focus the voice of this diverse community.

Continue reading “Become a founding member of the Mountain Sports Collective”

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