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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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mountain life

Victorian Backcountry festival 2021 program launch

Here is the draft program for the 2021 Victorian Backcountry Festival, which will happen in and around Mt Hotham resort over September 3, 4 and 5. This will be the 4th year the festival has run.

Registration for the festival, and for the tours will be announced shortly – the program is being launched so you can get a sense of what’s on offer.  

Continue reading “Victorian Backcountry festival 2021 program launch”

Daily mountain news

As the dispute continues between Facebook and the Australian government over the media licensing laws, Mountain Journal has been caught up in the cross fire. All the content has been removed from our facebook page. This has happened to many other community, environmental, snow and outdoors related groups.

Until we get our page reinstated, I thought I would add mountain related news stories here on a daily basis. Newest content will be at the top. Continue reading “Daily mountain news”

Call out for feedback and stories

Mountain Journal covers anything that seem relevant to mountain environments and mountain culture here in south eastern Australia and lutruwita/ Tasmania. It has a strong outdoor adventure and environmental protection ethos, which influences what issues we cover.

As we move into the end of year reflections, I wanted to ask readers what they enjoy and what they want to see more of on the website.

Continue reading “Call out for feedback and stories”

Victorian Alps relief auction

Your chance to give back to Victoria’s Alpine Region, hit hard by bushfires and Covid-19. 

The Victorian alpine community has a special place in all of our adventure hearts, filled with beautiful mountains, great people and businesses, amazing food and memories shared through generations. 

But the community we all love is hurting – first with the bushfires, then the cancellation of the 2020 ski season due to Covid-19. They need our help. 

Which is why the team at Amer Sports have brought the Australian outdoors and snow industry together to create an online auction for you to support the alpine businesses doing it tough in Victoria. 

Continue reading “Victorian Alps relief auction”

Celebrating the Winter that (almost) Wasn’t

What a winter! After several early starts – good snow falls in May and early June, it turned into a roller coaster of a ride, with continual boom and bust – big storms dropping impressive amounts of snow, then warm weather and rain hammering the snow pack. While the NSW mountains fared much better than in Victoria, conditions were often a bit ‘ordinary’ – icy, windy, etc. Tasmania had its usual boom and bust conditions, but with some fantastic snow pack, often an elusive and brief reality on that mountain island.

Because of the lock down, resorts closed early in VIC then never re-opened, so resorts have resembled ghost towns for much of the season, and businesses, who were suffering after a terrible fire season, had almost no trade. Lots of small business owners have been forced very close to the wall economically, and all businesses that managed to stay open had to get creative.

Now, as we move into Mud Season, the resorts in VIC are opening again as regional Victorians are allowed to travel. The good news is that the national parks are opening as well. Stalwarts are chasing the runs still to be had on Bogong and other high peaks in VIC, and the Main Range still has a good base in many places.

Hope the remaining ‘winter’ is a good one for you and that you manage to get out and enjoy it. And remember to support your local mountain business! Here’s to a better Winter of 2021.

Chillfactor 2020

After two great winters, we all knew 2020 was unlikely to be awesome snow-wise. But some of the early forecasts were for a ‘slightly better than average’ season. Then the snow started. We always get early winter snow in the alps, but this year it seemed more consistent. When we got that burst in late May I wondered if this was our base and it would indeed be capital letters Awesome ™

Sadly, June was different. NSW has fared better so far than Victoria, but this probably isn’t one of the winters we will reminisce about in 20 years’ time. But we will be talking about the COVID-19 lock down.

Chillfactor magazine just came out. Chillfactor – in its 21st year – is a mountain institution that has seen both fantastic and some pretty ordinary winters, and has always celebrated a broad cross section of Australian mountain culture.

Continue reading “Chillfactor 2020”

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”

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).

Stay Safe. Be Well. Be Kind.

Victoria is now under lock down as a way to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus/ COVID-19. Here are a few ideas and resources that might help keep you sane and inspired until it’s over.

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

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

2020 fires: get into the mountains and spend up big (when you can)

Up until Christmas, there hadn’t been a lot of fires in the High Country, either in Tasmania or on the mainland. That all changed on New Years Eve. Lightning storms triggered fires across Tasmanian, Victoria and NSW. What followed has been nothing less than an absolute disaster as huge areas of the mountains have burnt – and continue to do so.

With large areas evacuated, the economic impacts on local economies has been devastating. This is peak tourism season, yet entire areas are under evacuation orders, businesses are closed and events are being cancelled. The flow on effects on many people’s income will continue for months. 

I am seeing many people who are struggling because their region or business is closed. Even where a town is open, the ever present smoke in many places is not very enticing to tourists.

So once the fires are under control, please have a think about doing a trip to the High Country. Aim to head off with your wallet full and your stomach, esky and food basket empty.

Continue reading “2020 fires: get into the mountains and spend up big (when you can)”

Backcountry gathering in Melbourne

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 Fest get together.

Thursday NOV 28.

Upstairs at Friends of the Earth, 312 Smith St, Collingwood. Enter via the side, on Perry Street, and head up the stairs.

We’ll start at 6.30pm, have a quick chat about how you can get involved (there will be a series of working groups taking on different parts of the festival like the touring program, the speakers program, the outdoor bar, etc). Please bring your ideas and enthusiasm about what you want to contribute next year to make it bigger and better.

Then from 7 til 8pm (ish) we will drag a few classic backcountry films out of the vault and enjoy on the big screen (ingredients likely to contain Jeremy Jones shredding big lines in Alaska). Please feel free to BYO drinks. Free event.

Facebook event page here.

Come along and catch up with the BC crew.

If you can’t make it along, remember that you’re welcome  to complete a brief survey about the festival and what you would like to see next year.

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