Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps


mountain culture

VIC Backcountry Festival 2020

Lots of people are asking whether the Backcountry Festival will happen this year. The short answer is YES, providing Mt Hotham is open and backcountry access is allowed.

With the COVID-19 pandemic requiring society wide shut down of non essential activity, it is not yet certain whether the 2020 ski season will happen. Obviously, like all other snow lovers, we are anxiously waiting for the government announcement on whether ski season will proceed, and if it does, in what form.

Because the festival is not scheduled until the end of winter (September 4 – 6), we are hopeful that the festival will be able to proceed.

Continue reading “VIC Backcountry Festival 2020”

Mountain Journal highlights, April 2020

Some highlights from MJ’s stories during April 2020. More fire news than I expected, with some reflections on the impacts of last summer and post logging burning in full swing. Plus new research into alpine zones and efforts to help Alpine Ash forests recover through aerial seeding. And Mountain Cosmos – a website dedicated to podcasts about the mountain life.

  Continue reading “Mountain Journal highlights, April 2020”

The Mountain Cosmos – stories from the mountains

Mountain Journal is a celebration of mountains and the mountain life. Apart from covering issues relating to the Australian Alps and Tasmania, we have tried to acknowledge and celebrate mountain culture, for instance through running interviews with people who have long and deep connection with the hills.

So it was a delight to discover The Mountain Cosmos website, which hosts podcast interviews with people whose lives are focused on mountains, here and overseas.

It is the work of Rouchelle Gilmore.

Continue reading “The Mountain Cosmos – stories from the mountains”

Mountain Journal turns ten

Woah. What a year. We had a good winter – third in a row, despite a late start (the first month of winter 2019 was the sort of winter you would expect under climate change scenarios) although not on the scale of the previous two. We saw some erratic weather (and even Australia’s largest recorded avalanche) but it turned into a decent season, followed by a mellow spring.

But then, fire, fire and more fire. Huge impacts on people and mountains. Then, finally coming out the other side and back to normal life, along came the Coronavirus/ COVID-19 pandemic. And who knows if the lifts will run this winter. The last decade has gone so quickly. Strap yourselves in, it’s going to be a crazy couple of months.

The annual reflection is here.

(I thought we needed a cheerful image. This one from the Climate Strike action at Hotham last September. Image: Karl Gray).

Mountain Journal highlights – March 2020

This summer it was all about fires. Then, as the mountains started to open up and the weather cooled down, along came the Coronavirus, and things are locked down again.

Here is the monthly summary of key stories that have been featured on Mountain Journal. Enjoy.

Continue reading “Mountain Journal highlights – March 2020”

Supporting mountain communities. From afar.

Coronavirus/ COVID-19 is affecting everyone, including the outdoor community. Parks are closed to camping, mountain towns are in lock down, outside people are being encouraged to stay away from regional centres so they don’t put a burden on local health services. Outdoor stores and other small businesses are closing.

It is great that governments are stepping in and providing stimulus packages to support businesses. There is also so much we can do as a community.

Continue reading “Supporting mountain communities. From afar.”

Stay Safe. Be Well. Be Kind.


Day by day we get closer to society wide lock down as a way to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus/ COVID-19. It will be a long 14 days once we’re all inside. Here are a few ideas and resources that might help keep you sane and inspired.

Look after yourselves, neighbours and communities in these coming weeks and months. I can’t say it better than TGR did: Be Safe. Be Well. Be Kind.

Continue reading “Stay Safe. Be Well. Be Kind.”

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Backcountry festival 2020: planning & film night

As you will probably know, we have turned the 2020 Victorian backcountry festival into a three day event, from Friday – Sunday Sept 4, 5 and 6. Things will kick off on Friday morning so hopefully you can make a long weekend out of it. After receiving strong positive feedback, we will be running another guided trip straight after the festival, probably to Mt Bogong.

Quite a lot of people have expressed interest in getting involved in planning the 2020 festival.

So, if you’re in Melbourne, please come along to this BC Festival get together.

Wednesday March 4.

Continue reading “Backcountry festival 2020: planning & film night”

Backcountry film festival – Melbourne 2020 screening

unnamedANNOUNCEMENT: Melbourne screening cancelled for now

With the Andrews government now announcing a State of Emergency for Victoria, we feel that the responsible thing for us to do is to cancel this screening of the festival.

We will monitor the situation and re-schedule when it’s appropriate (hopefully May or early June to ensure pre season stoke!).

In the meantime, stay safe, walk some trails, look out for each other, and wash your hands!


The Backcountry Film Festival is produced each year by Winter Wildlands Alliance as a celebration of the human-powered winter experience and a gathering place for the backcountry snowsports community.

The Melbourne show will happen on Wednesday 25 March.

TIME: Please feel free to arrive from 6.30pm. Films from 7pm – 9.30pm.

VENUE: Building 80, Level 1, room 2, Melbourne.

445 Swanston Street Melbourne (between Franklin and A’Beckett streets). Easily accessible by public transport (trams on Swanston Street or trains via Melbourne Central).

TICKETS: Suggested donation: $8 conc & students/ $15 waged. There are no online sales. Tickets available at the door. There will be plenty of room. Sorry, cash only sales on the night (there are ATMs nearby). There is a seating capacity of 180 people.

Co-hosted with RMIT Outdoors Club.

All proceeds will go to the Friends of the Earth climate campaign.

We will start the evening with some short locally made backcountry films.

The BCFF program features 10 films (check here for details).

Facebook event page here.

MARCH 13: Coronavirus update: The Australian government has cancelled all gatherings of more than 500 people. We will keep an eye on government recommendations and make a call on whether to proceed with the screening a couple of days ahead of the event. Check this page or the facebook event page for updates closer to the 25th.

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