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Mt Hotham

Avalanche Warning upgraded to ‘High Danger’

UPDATE. WED August 8, 2018

MSC have issued a ‘High Danger’ warning.

They say:

“The current conditions on the range are about as bad as we have seen in the four year span of running the program. Equal to the various ‘Blizzards of OZ’ in 17 and the various other events of triggered slides swept riders and buried them, and as of the time of writing there have been no incidents. We aren’t out of the woods yet, and that’s the real cut and thrust of this message. This event will linger for the next 48hrs+ so hold the charge, and urge the rest of your immediate pow chasing mates to heed the warning until the snow has settled.”

Additionally, Mt Stirling ski patrol has closed Stanley Bowl:

‘Traditionally Stanley Bowl is considered safe from avalanches. But the conditions we have observed which include a cornice with a large fracture through it are severe enough for us to feel the need to close it’.

Bill Barker from Mt Hotham patrol says:

There is ‘considerable avalanche danger in the back-country again today. There was several reports of skier triggered avalanches yesterday, and the weak layer that produced these still exists today but it is now buried deeper in the snowpack which will result in larger avalanches if it releases today.

Continue reading “Avalanche Warning upgraded to ‘High Danger’”

Bringing the Mountain Pygmy Possum back from the brink

The Mountain Pygmy Possum (MPP) is Australia’s only hibernating marsupial. It has been declared by the IUCN Redlist as being Critically endangered. In 2000, the population estimate was less than 2,000 individuals from the three combined isolated populations that exist across the Australian Alps.

A number of ski resorts have been running possum recovery programs. They are delivering some excellent results and represent true good news stories for this critically endangered species.

Georgina Boardman is the Technical Services and Environment Officer at the Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board, where she and the rest of the Environmental Team work to protect the Mountain Pygmy Possum population on the mountain.

You can read about her story and work to protect the possum here.

Traverse Hotham cross country and snow shoe tours

Traverse Hotham is offering cross country (XC) and snow shoe tours at Mt Hotham. The aim is to make both these activities accessible to a new generation of people by offering tours of the trail network, scenic snowshoe walks and introductory lessons in XC skiing.

Hotham has a great network of XC trails but many visitors to the mountain are unaware of them. These are largely centred on the Wire Plain area including the unique Brabralung Trail right through to Dinner Plain and can be accessed via XC trail from Davenport Village or via the village bus network.

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The Living Bin program – reducing waste in the VIC Alps

The Living Bin program is an organic waste recovery program which has been running in Falls Creek and other major alpine resorts in north-east Victoria since 2011. It aims to divert food waste from being dumped in landfill.

Lauren McKechnie explains how the system works and how it benefits the environment.

Continue reading “The Living Bin program – reducing waste in the VIC Alps”

Report into climate impacts on Victorian resorts

There is no doubt that climate change is already impacting on snow conditions in Australia, and hence impacting on the industries that need snow to be viable. When it comes to responding to this existential threat, there are three key options: ignore it (in the hope it will go away), reduce our contribution to the problem (also called mitigation) or just try to adapt to the changes that the problem brings (also known as adaptation). With few exceptions, ski resorts in Australia have opted for the first and the third options. A sensible, responsible and forward thinking ski industry would be doing both adaptation and mitigation.

A report released by the Victorian government will help local resorts steer themselves along the path of adaptation.

Continue reading “Report into climate impacts on Victorian resorts”

state budget allocation to Falls to Hotham Crossing

Mountain Journal reported recently that Parks Victoria had released its final Master Plan for the Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing: a five day serviced hiking opportunity in the Alpine National Park. In the state budget for 2018/19, there was an allocation of funds to help make the project a reality.

The proposal has been widely criticised because it will help open up previously undeveloped areas near Mt Feathertop and allow private development within the Alpine National Park.

Continue reading “state budget allocation to Falls to Hotham Crossing”

Tunnel re-connects Mountain Pygmy Possum populations

The Mt Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Zoos Victoria have recently completed a tunnel under the Great Alpine Road, which aims to provide safe passage between two groups of critically endangered Mountain Pygmy-possums. The populations are separated by the road and this reduces the chances of the species remaining viable in the Mt Little Higginbotham area.

Continue reading “Tunnel re-connects Mountain Pygmy Possum populations”

Will we recognise the future?

Every time I drive up the hill from Harrietville to Mt Hotham, I feel a strange mix of joy and sadness. Its always good to get back into the mountains. But those burnt out alpine ash forests break my heart.

People will often say ‘fire has always been part of the landscape’. True. But that misses the point that fire intensity and frequency is already increasing as we lurch into the climate change influenced future. In my lifetime it has already transformed many of the landscapes I know and love best. What will the coming decades bring?

Continue reading “Will we recognise the future?”

Sustainable small towns

Totally Renewable Yackandandah is a volunteer run community group, formed in 2014, with the goal of powering their town with 100% renewable energy and achieving energy sovereignty by 2022.

One of TRY’s standout projects is the TRY Perpetual Energy Fund (PEF), which raises funds from donations that are reinvested in community projects around Yack to increase energy efficiency, generate renewable electricity and for storage. Loans are repaid from the savings made on electricity bills and the Fund is perpetuated for community sustainability projects. The first project was with Yackandandah Health Service (YHS). In 2015, TRY raised $5,000, which was loaned to YHS for the energy efficiency improvements. The connection of a 90kW solar-panel system at Yackandandah Health Service (YHS) replacement of 276 light fittings with low maintenance LED lights.

TRY is a great example of community controlled initiatives which are designed to transition to a more sustainable basis while also building a sense of community power.

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