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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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mountains

Lamont magazine

Any skier, rider or MTB enthusiast who has travelled in North America will know that there is a wealth of mountain themed magazines and media on that continent. Journals that celebrate the people and culture of mountain towns, the outdoor life, and the landscapes that make it all possible. Australia, with a much smaller population and a lot fewer mountain towns, has traditionally been a bit sparse when it comes to this type of media.

So, it’s a real delight to see a new magazine which is seeking to explore and celebrate the ‘mountains and the people whose lives and loves are in them’.

Lamont magazine is the brainchild of Jindabyne-based photographer Mandy Lamont, and describes itself as a ‘mountain lifestyle magazine’. Having worked hard to make her life in the high country sustainable through pursing a range of ventures, she is now sharing her love of the mountains with others through this magazine.

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As we get older, the forests get younger

In recent weeks we have heard the astonishing news that ‘up to half’ of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef may have died in the past two years. This confirms the worst fears of environmentalists and scientists and has led to an outpouring of grief by many people. It seems that, day by day, our world gets poorer as we lose iconic landscapes.

Many people know it: they can see landscapes that are disappearing or changing before their eyes. ‘Climate tourism’ (‘see the glaciers before they melt’) is actually a thing. Yet we continue, as a society, as if everything is normal.

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The romance of the fire lookout

As a mountain obsessed teenager, I naturally drifted towards working in the mountains. I planted trees on the Monaro Tablelands, did some fire crew work, applied for jobs at ski resorts. I found myself the dream job for a few months, helping renovate a 100 year old store in a town in the mountains of eastern Alaska … But the ultimate romantic job was fire lookout, of course.

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World Mountain Day

World Mountain Day is on December 11. While it has a theme each year (see below), for me it’s a chance to reflect on how much mountains influence my life and how much I enjoy being in them.

Wherever you are, I hope you have a great day.

According to the United Nations, the theme in 2016 is:

“Mountain Cultures: Celebrating diversity and strengthening identity”

Covering around 22 percent of the earth’s land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth. They not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to 915 million mountain people around the world, representing 13 percent of global population, but mountains also indirectly benefit billions more living downstream.

Mountain Cultures

This year, the celebration of this Day aims to highlight Mountain Cultures. Mountains host communities with ancient cultures and traditions, and are places of religious worship, pilgrimage and rituals all over the world. The concept of traditional heritage, culture and spirituality is intrinsically linked with peoples’ livelihoods in the mountains, where it is often traditional lifestyles that determine the way people make a living and subsist.

[IMAGE: Mt Geryon in Tasmania is one of my favourite mountains].

 

The Mountain Legacy Project

The Mountain Legacy Project, or MLP, is “an interdisciplinary collaboration focused on exploring change in Canada’s mountain environments. Utilizing over 140,000 images taken by land surveyors from 1861 – 1953, MLP researchers seek to re-photograph these images as accurately as possible and make the resulting image pairs available for further investigation”.

It compares the original landscape shown in the early photos with ones taken in the same place over the past few years. It allows you look at the changes in many thousands of places – mountains, valleys and so on – over time. And the results are incredible. While it documents the development of towns, roads, changes in land management, the impact of logging operations and wildfire, etc, the most striking aspect is the change to snowpack and ice fields during this time.

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Highline Magazine signs off

One of the inspirations for Mountain Journal was a magazine that came out of Colorado called the Mountain Gazette. The Gazette lived through various incarnations from the early 1970s onwards and was, in the words of one of its founders, “generally about the mountains”. Quirky, alternative, sometimes very political, and with fantastic writing about life in the mountains and the landscapes that sustain and draw people to that part of the world. It had fantastic covers, with wonderfully evocative art work.

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International Mountain Day 2015

December 11 is designated by the UN as International Mountain Day.

Here’s a few facts from the UN:

“Covering around 22 percent of the earth’s land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth. They not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to 915 million mountain people around the world, representing 13 percent of global population, but indirectly benefit billions more living downstream”.

Where ever you are, I hope you’re out in the hills and having a great day. Please feel free to post some pics of your favourite mountains on our facebook page.

Appreciating the Home Range

As a keen skier and walker I love to visit some of the higher ranges around the world. But having done lots of overseas trips I figure I’ve consumed well beyond a fair share of carbon, and tend to stick close to home for my adventures nowadays.

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Mt Geryon

I don’t know any Indigenous stories about Mt Geryon, in the southern end of Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. But I do often wonder what it must have been like for the people’s who lived and passed through the incredible mountain country of central western Tasmania. To approach this mountain up Pine Valley and finally to reach the small clearing (the old ‘climbers camp’) where the bulky western face suddenly reveals itself is always an impressive, and to me, spiritual, experience. I wonder if they climbed this peak.

So many of the features of this region have been loaded down with Biblical titles or names from the Greek Classics, something that irks me whenever I scan the map or skyline. There are some great names: I love Innes High Rocky in the south west. And closer to Geryon, there is Fury Gorge, Pencil Pine Bluff, Cathedral Mountain, High Dome, Walled Mountain, The Never Never, and the beautifully appropriate Pool of Memories. These names evoke something of the place. Peaks named after early explorers also make sense. But just reeling off a list of names from western mythology seems lazy and disrespectful. But I can live with Geryon. The three-bodied giant of Greek Mythology.

It is such a dramatic mountain, squeezed up the end of Pine Valley up against the Ducane range, and hidden in behind the bulkier looking Acropolis when seen from lake St Clair. It provides a dramatic and other worldly aspect to dinner when you’re sitting in Bert Nichols hut on the Overland track. If the word charismatic can be applied to a mountain, then it certainly applies to Geryon. Its dramatic rocky faces on the east and west constantly change their moods and even from The Labyrinth it presents itself as a ‘real’ mountain, with another thousand feet of cliffs and dramatic skyline above the Labyrinth plateau. It can be mild in The Labyrinth and storming up on Geryon and the Ducane Range. The Cephessis scree, which runs from the base of the western face down almost to Cephissus Creek, is an amazing feature, and acts as a giant staircase that leads you right to the cliffs.

Full story here.

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