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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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The Bluff

The Bluff – Mt Howitt ski guide

This is the premier backcountry touring destination in Victoria.

The high ridges that stretch from The Bluff to Mt Howitt sit to the south and east of Mt Buller ski resort in north east Victoria. The Bluff ridge stretches towards the Great Divide, where Mount Howitt provides incredible backcountry skiing. From here the impressive Crosscut Saw leads north to Mount Speculation and more forested plateau country to Mt Cobbler. The area has a feeling of winter induced remoteness (no trail bikes or 4WDs in winter!), wonderful skiing and camping, and relatively easy access.

An average trip would involve a minimum of four days, as the approach is slow (from the Snowy Plains to the south, via the Howqua River on the Mansfield side or in through the Cobbler plateau to the north).

Track notes available here.

A half century of change in the Central Alps

Anyone who has hiked and skied the mountains between Buller and Stirling, and from The Bluff to Howitt and Cobbler and is over 30 probably knows the wonderful maps of Stuart Brookes.

Stuart has produced maps of the Alps and other popular walking areas since the late 1940s. As a teenager on my first walking, snow shoeing and skiing adventures in the area around the Howqua River, I fell in love with Stuart’s black and white map ‘Watersheds of the King, Howqua & Jamieson Rivers’. It had basic landform details shown through shading and all the features that a walker needed: good campsites, places where you could get water on the high ridges, routes and cairned trails rather than just the marked roads. I would get a new version every couple of years, and later versions were in multi colour and had contours. But they still had a sense of richness that are rare in modern maps. This was country that Stuart knew intimately and the maps evoked a rich sense of place.

Continue reading “A half century of change in the Central Alps”

The Bluff

Looking over The Bluff and Mt Eadley Stoney towards the Crosscut Saw

If you have ever skied or boarded at Mt Buller, the Bluff is probably familiar, even if you don’t know its name. It’s the prominent and rocky, long mountain out on the skyline on your right as you ski back to the village down Bourke Street.

Unlike some of its neighbours, like Mt Buller and Stirling, The Bluff doesn’t have a road or other developments on it, so retains a wildness that is lacking on some other peaks in the area. It is an atmospheric mountain, with loads of character. It has great walking and backcountry skiing and boarding.

The following is an appreciation of this gorgeous mountain.

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