Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps


mountain culture

The Mountain Pygmy–possum

We have ‘adopted’ the Mountain Pygmy–possum as the symbol for the first Victorian backcountry festival.

Like our snowfields, this small, mouse-sized nocturnal marsupial is unique. And just as our alpine areas are threatened by climate change, the possum is now listed as being Critically Endangered because of a range of threats to the species survival.

As part of the festival, we will be raising funds for efforts to protect the possum.

For details on the festival program (being held at Falls Creek over the weekend of September 1 and 2) please check here.

And for information on the possum please check here.

Australian backcountry festival. September 1.

This winter we will be co-hosting a backcountry gathering.

It has grown out of the World Telemark Day gatherings that have been happening at Mt Hotham in north eastern Victoria each September.

This year we have moved to Falls Creek resort and broadened the focus to cover all forms of human and gravity powered backcountry travel, including telemark skiing, split boarding, cross country, snow shoeing and alpine touring.

Continue reading “Australian backcountry festival. September 1.”

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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.

Mountain Journal turns eight

Another year has zipped by. We had a great winter, mild summers without big fires, and lots of changes going on in the mountains. Here’s the annual reflection. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Kerouac, Alaska and that book in my backpack

In my teen years I became obsessed with skiing, climbing, Alaska and the Rocky Mountains. My first multi day walk (the southern circuit at Wilsons Prom) propelled me into the outdoors. Me and my mates would ride our bikes out of town to go camping, we went on family trips to the snow, I did lots of hiking with a bushwalking group we set up at school, and then eventually discovered the Victorian Climbing Club, which opened up new horizons for adventures. I did my first summer of mountaineering in NZ/ Aotearoa when I was 18.

This was about getting outdoors and having adventures in the wild. But I quickly realised that I liked outdoor culture. I started to meet older people who had spent their lives pursuing climbing and skiing, and (as someone explained it to me), ‘the people of the little tents’, long distance hikers. I knew that a big part of having a healthy life was to be outdoors, to have the skills to travel through big landscapes safely and the ability to be with yourself and enjoy your own company. Solo trips became ever more important for me. Time on my own in wild nature made me spend a lot of time on the internal work that we all need to do.

Continue reading “Kerouac, Alaska and that book in my backpack”

Bright Mountain Film Tour. December 28 – Jan 6.

The Bright Mountain Film Tour (BMFT) is a celebration of mountain culture and those who embrace it. Over five nights, the best adventure films from around the world are showcased amongst the alpine communities of North East Victoria.

This​ ​year​ ​BMFT2​ ​will​ ​‘feature​ ​some​ ​epic,​ ​home-grown,​ ​Aussie​ ​adventures​ ​and​ ​some​ ​awesome female​ ​adventures,​ ​recognising​ ​the​ ​diversity​ ​in​ ​adventure​ ​sports’.

There are five shows over the Christmas/ New Year period.

Continue reading “Bright Mountain Film Tour. December 28 – Jan 6.”

Happy international mountain day!

December 11 is designated by the UN as international mountain day.

In the promo for the day, the UN notes:

“Almost one billion people live in mountain areas, and over half the human population depends on mountains for water, food and clean energy. Yet mountains are under threat from climate change, land degradation, over exploitation and natural disasters, with potentially far-reaching and devastating consequences, both for mountain communities and the rest of the world”.

True. But today I feel like ignoring the (very real) threats to the mountains we know and love, and instead focus on how much the existence of mountains improves our lives.

Continue reading “Happy international mountain day!”

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?”

Winter road trip bliss

What’s winter without a decent road trip? As I wrote earlier this year, I reckon the ultimate Australian winter snow road trip is the journey between the Snowy Mountains and the Victorian Alps via the Alpine Way.

There are lots of ways to cross the Alps or link up different mountains. But the Alpine Way has a special appeal I think, as it brings you under the western face of the Snowy Mountains, surely the most impressive alpine views on mainland Australia.

Continue reading “Winter road trip bliss”

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