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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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walking

The ‘Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing’ upgrade

The Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing is described as “a mid-distance hiking experience through the unique and captivating Australian alpine environment”. There are plans to re-route it to make it a 56 kilometre trip and a Draft Master Plan has been released. Public comment is welcome before December 19.

Parks Victoria says “the walk will be supplemented with high quality accommodation options and interpretation that enable a range of visitors to fully immerse themselves in the beauty and stories of Victoria’s High Country”.

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The Victorian Walking Festival

The Victorian Walking festival starts on April 1 and goes until May 8.

You can choose walks by date, theme or region. There are walks in Melbourne and regional VIC plus lots of specialised themes like night walking, food culture, natural history, etc.

The following information comes from the organiser, Stephen Ingrouille

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A Victorian walking festival

The following comes from Stephen Ingrouille.

We are planning a Melbourne / Victorian Walking Festival for the month of April, 2016 [finishing on May 8]. This inaugural festival will encourage people, groups and businesses to organise walks during the month, which can then be advertised via a website, a printed program and through social media.

Continue reading “A Victorian walking festival”

Treading softly in the bush

The Australian bush is fragile. Bushwalking Victoria has produced a brochure called Tread Softly that explains how to walk in the bush in the way that conserves Victoria’s natural environment.

Tread Softy lists 10 recommended practices that will help protect the natural environment, without detracting from enjoyment. Each practice takes the form of a commonsense and easy-to-do action.

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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.

The Bundian Way

There has long been discussion about the trail that once linked the south eastern coast of NSW to the Snowy Mountains. It is called the Bundian Way. Prior to the invasion, Indigenous people moved between the coast, the Monaro Tablelands and the higher mountains. There are other similar stories from elsewhere in the mountains: for instance, the fact that early Gippsland settlers followed established trails from the Gippsland Plains to what is now Dinner Plain and Mt Hotham, and gold prospectors followed tracks up the Howqua Valley towards Mt Howitt.

Sadly, so much of this story has now been lost. In some good news, a book is due to be released shortly that looks at the Bundian Way.

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Three Tassie eco-tourism projects approved

In theory, new eco tourism projects are a good idea, and will get more people out into wild environments in a way that doesn’t damage the environment. But when it comes to the current Tasmanian government, I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them.

The following comes from The Great Walks website.

Three eco-tourism projects have been given the green light to operate in Tasmania as part of the Government’s bid to open up the state’s national parks to eco-tourism.

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Parks Victoria volunteer track ranger program

For people with solid outdoor experience who want to share their love of wild nature with others, this is a great opportunity.

Parks Victoria is calling for volunteer track rangers who can be available to stay in key areas in the Alpine National Park on peak weekends, to be available to support people who are out walking.

The Track Ranger Program was established in 2005 and has volunteers hiking and camping at popular walking trails and campsites in the Victorian Alps during peak periods. Track Rangers will spend time hiking the trails of Mount Bogong, Mount Feathertop or the Bogong High Plains over 3 to 5 days. The program runs over the new year period, Labour Day weekend and Easter.

You will receive support and training from Parks Victoria.

Check below for a full description of the role.

Continue reading “Parks Victoria volunteer track ranger program”

Australian backcountry film festival – Spring 2014

For the past four years, the backcountry film festival has been attracting good numbers of people, and has been showing in more locations across south eastern Australia.

It seems like it might be time to have our own festival – with films made in Australia.

At previous Melbourne shows, we have added a film about skiing and boarding on The Bluff (No Lift Lines Here), and this year saw OFF GRID, a new effort on Mt Bogong from SoO Airtime.

The plan is to hold an Australian backcountry film festival in late spring 2014 with only local content. There are some fantastic film makers out there, and we hope to be able to showcase some of these.

We are seeking expressions of interest from film makers who would like to submit films.

Any human and gravity powered backcountry adventure would be welcome: walking, skiing, boarding, MTBing, paddling, climbing, …

As this is an entirely volunteer effort, with no budget, we are not able to offer payment for showing the films.

Films can be in two length categories. We hope to show an hours worth of short films (3 to 7 minutes) then up to 2 longer films (30 – 40 minutes each).

At this point we are looking at doing a Melbourne showing, with the ability to offer the festival to other places once its packaged up. The aim is to do a low fuss mini film festival, so we’d appreciate getting the films in a format that allows us to put them onto a single dvd.

If you’re keen, please get in touch: cam.walker@foe.org.au

I would also love to hear from anyone keen to volunteer their skills to turn the individual films into a package and for help with logistics.

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