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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Snowy Mountains

Concerned about feral horses in Kosciuszko? Get walking

On the 3rd November, a bunch of bushwalkers will start a 35 day walk from Sydney to the summit of Kosciuszko, to highlight the damage being caused by feral horses.

They are looking for walkers to join them for all or some of the walk. The route will follow main and secondary roads, via Camden, Mittagong, Goulburn, Canberra, Cooma and Charlotte Pass.  With the support of the National Parks Associations of NSW and the ACT, and Bushwalking NSW, they are expecting large crowds at the start and finish of the walks. More detail is available on the Save Kosci web site (savekosci.org)

You’ll be able to register as a walker or non-walking helper from early September. Watch this page for further news, or contact Linda Groom, convenor@savekosci.org

LETS SPLIT – trip to Guthega

Lets Split is a recent development in the Australian backcountry scene. They have just started to offer trips in NSW and Victoria for people to experience split boarding. They describe their trips as being different to guided tours: ‘rather they are an opportunity for like minded folk to come and experience Splitboarding, with people who are experienced on that terrain’.

The following report on their recent trip in the Snowy Mountains comes from Amine Yasmine.

Continue reading “LETS SPLIT – trip to Guthega”

Thredbo Dedicates a Weekend to Environmental Awareness, Sustainability & Education

Some significant announcements from Thredbo resort:

  • Thredbo Announces 100% of its lifting and snowmaking electricity will be offset for winter 2018 thanks to a unique partnership with Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Project (ALFA)
  • POW Australia to launch with a Hike to Kozzie and an information night lead by international free-skiing legend and POW board member Chris Davenport in Thredbo
  • To support National Tree Day (Sunday 29 July) Thredbo will be encouraging all guests to offset their journey emissions by matching all guest tree purchases / donations over the weekend thanks to Thredbo’s vehicle offset partnership with Greenfleet

Continue reading “Thredbo Dedicates a Weekend to Environmental Awareness, Sustainability & Education”

Snowy Hydro seeks ‘fast-tracked environmental approval for pilot works’

We have previously reported that it appeared that Snowy Hydro 2 was seeking to avoid full scrutiny about the likely environmental impacts of the proposal to convert the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme into a pumped hydro system.

While the concept itself is an excellent one in that it will provide a huge ‘battery’ of hydro power for the eastern seaboard, it is essential the work be done in a way that minimises impacts on the environment of the Snowy Mountains. (Check here for a summary of possible impacts of the current proposal).

Recent news reports seem to confirm fears that Snowy Hydro is trying to ‘cut corners’ on the approvals process in order to fast track the development.

Continue reading “Snowy Hydro seeks ‘fast-tracked environmental approval for pilot works’”

Snowy 2.0 hydro project to avoid environmental scrutiny?

It is being reported that the Snowy 2.0 Hydro project has been given ‘critical’ status for NSW, fast-tracking its development, amid concerns it may skirt environmental obligations.

The ‘critical’ status means the project no longer has to go through as rigorous a planning process and will only require the sign-off of the NSW Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts. However, there will still be some environmental and community impact investigations.

Continue reading “Snowy 2.0 hydro project to avoid environmental scrutiny?”

Summer events in the Australian Alps

Mountain Journal often advertises high energy events like trail running, road riding, cross country races, etc. But summer is also a good time to relax, take it easy, and chill out with friends. Here are some listings for festivals, low key nature events, and social gatherings that are happening in the Alps over summer 2017/18.

Continue reading “Summer events in the Australian Alps”

Australian Alpine Ascent, March 2018

Now that we’re well and truly into trail running season I expect that lots of people who love running events are in training. It’s always good to have something to work towards. If you’ve been a bit slow off the mark, the Australian Alpine Ascent will be held in the Snowy Mountains on March 10.

Plenty of time to get in shape!

Full details below.

Continue reading “Australian Alpine Ascent, March 2018”

What are the environmental costs of Snowy Hydro 2.0?

What are the environmental costs of Snowy Hydro 2.0?

Australia is still (sadly) stuck in a culture war over whether climate change is real. While the majority of Australians accept the fact, a significant number of political leaders are using their position to block meaningful action. This has immobilised any forward movement on developing a coherent national energy policy. If anything, the standoff between the conservatives and climate deniers on the one hand, who support more coal and gas, invoking the catch cry of energy security and reliability of supply, and those who heed climate science and understand the need to transition rapidly to renewable energy, is getting worse.

Thankfully technology is intervening to change the dynamics of the argument. The rapid development of storage technology is clearly a game changer when it comes to considering what is possible in terms of powering our nation. Domestic and commercial scale batteries and electric cars are two obvious points where the debate is changing. So is the prospect of pumped storage hydroelectricity, where a two way system is developed so water can be run through a hydro system to produce electricity, and retained below the point of generation, then pumped back up into the storage point (usually a dam) when electricity is very cheap.

As the federal government grapples with pumped hydro storage options it is becoming ever clearer that there are many places where such schemes could be established (It is estimated that there are more than 22,000 suitable locations right around Australia). But there are also plans to re-purpose the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme to be able to re-use water by creating a second pipeline system to pump water back into the storages. This is being referred to as Snowy Hydro 2.0.

On face value this seems to be a sensible option for getting more clean energy production out of the existing infrastructure. However there are obvious and very considerable environmental issues that need to be considered before the upgrade proceeds. The initial feasibility study (which is still underway) has already identified the major question of what to do with the spoil from the massive drilling operation that would be required to make the project viable. It will need 27 kilometres of tunnels, which may be up to 12.5 metes wide, and from the report below, it is clear that, at this point, the authorities have no idea where they would dump all the rock waste that would come from drilling the tunnels. It should go without saying that the Snowy scheme is within the Snowy Mountains National Park and so the waste will need to be taken outside the park.

Continue reading “What are the environmental costs of Snowy Hydro 2.0?”

Spring splitboarding mission to the western faces

This great story about a late season trip to the western slopes of the Snowy Mountains comes from Main Range Backcountry.

Antony von Chrismar goes on a Spring splitboarding mission to the western faces after getting back from a European summer.

Continue reading “Spring splitboarding mission to the western faces”

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