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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

Mountain Journal magazine #2 published

For the second year, we have produced a print version of a magazine, based on content from the Mountain Journal website. In 2022, the magazine is a collaboration with Mandy Lamont of Lamont magazine. Distribution of magazines across mountain towns and resorts starts on June 7.

Continue reading “Mountain Journal magazine #2 published”

Featured post

An Icon at Risk: current and emerging threats to the Victorian Alps

Snow Gums (Eucalyptus pauciflora) are the classic alpine tree of the High Country, generally growing at heights between 1,300 and 1,800 metres asl. Anyone who has visited the Australian High Country will know – and probably love – these trees.

In recent decades, wildfire has been devastating huge areas of the Snow Gum forests, with significant fires in the Victorian High Country in 1998, 2002/3, 2006/7, 2013 and 2019/20. More than 90% of Snow Gum habitat has been burnt at least once in the last 20 years.

The species can survive fire. However, climate change driven fire seasons are leading to more frequent fire, which is causing more death of trees and changes to forest structure. In some instances, localised collapse of Snow Gum woodlands is now being observed. As climate scientist Michael Mann describes it, we are now seeing climate change play out in real time.

We must ask whether we are now seeing the start of the collapse of Snow Gum woodlands, one of Victoria’s iconic vegetation communities.

Continue reading “An Icon at Risk: current and emerging threats to the Victorian Alps”
Featured post

New book ‘WILD LIGHT’ will show case Tasmania’s landscapes

Well known Tasmanian landscape photographer Grant Dixon self-published his book WINTER LIGHT, featuring the Tasmanian mountain landscape in the winter of 2020. This book was generously-described by Paul Hoelen, NZIPP Grand Master of Photography, as possessing “some of the most exquisitely perfect production qualities I have ever seen in a landscape photography book”. Winter Light is now out of print, but Grant was inspired and encouraged to work on a second book of similar quality drawing on his other Tasmanian material.

Grant has recently announced the publication of this new book, WILD LIGHT, and it can be pre-ordered now at the pre-publication price of $85 (RRP will be $95), and he is relying on such pre-orders to make publication viable. The book will be available in November 2022.

Continue reading “New book ‘WILD LIGHT’ will show case Tasmania’s landscapes”

Walk to the Little Dargo, November 2022

The fires of 2019/20 burnt huge areas of north eastern Victoria. The remaining unburnt forests are more important than ever. One of these areas lies in the headwaters of the Little Dargo River, just south of Mt Hotham. It is a pristine area, without roads, and containing mature forest, much of it dominated by Alpine Ash. It is an area of state forest that lies right next to the Alpine National Park.

The state government logging agency, VicForests, intends to log a total of 11 “coupes”, or sections, of mature forest in the upper Little Dargo River, possibly starting in the spring of 2022 once the roads are opened after winter. These coupes are located in a series of clusters, where separate sections of bush will be harvested, creating a large zone of cleared land over time. Extensive roading networks will be needed to access the coupes.

Despite a strong community campaign, as of September 2022, the coupes remain on the VicForests Timber Release Plan, meaning they could be scheduled for logging at any moment. We do, however note that the planned logging road through the Alpine National Park has now been removed from the plan.

If you missed our previous trip to visit the Little Dargo, you have another chance to see this special place.

In conjunction with the Treasure family, we are hosting a walk in to the valley over the weekend of November 19 and 20. You are welcome to arrive on the saturday, and the walk will happen on the sunday.

This free trip will offer:

  • A shorter ( 2 – 3 hour) walk in to the edge of the Little Dargo headwaters
  • A longer (5 – 6 hour) walk into Fred’s Flat on the Little Dargo river
  • A chance to hear from Christa Treasure and Ray Anderson about the cultural value of the Little Dargo and surrounding area
  • The opportunity to help set up a potential base camp should the government continue with plans to log this precious area and protest becomes necessary

We will also be educating people driving through the area about the threats to the Little Dargo and looking for a team to be out on the Dargo High Plains road to engage with people driving past to explain the threat posed by logging.

Details

The Dargo High Plains is about a 6 hour drive from Melbourne, and accessed via a good 2WD road from either the Great Alpine Road or the township of Dargo.

You will need to be self sufficient in terms of food and camping gear and have suitable gear for the walks (we will circulate a list prior to the trip).

Please rsvp here so we know how many people to expect.

WHEN

November 20, 2022 at 8:30am – 2:30pm

WHERE

Dargo High Plains
Dargo High Plains road
Dargo High Plains, VIC 3862
Australia
Google map and directions

P1040195
CONTACT

Cam Walker · cam.walker@foe.org.au · 0419338047

Huw Kingston finishes a winter traverse of the Australian Alps

On September18,  adventurer Huw Kingston finished his long journey skiing and walking the 700km length of the Australian Alps, in the process raising over $62,000 for Save the Children’s Our Yarning project.

Yesterday afternoon, 52 days since his journey began with a Smoking Ceremony and ski at Victoria’s Lake Mountain resort, Huw Kingston could finally take off his pack and put down his poles. Fittingly the end of his journey was at the historic old ski area of Mt Franklin Chalet, high above Canberra in the Brindabella Mountains and, fittingly again, he enjoyed fresh snow to serenade him to the finish line.

Continue reading “Huw Kingston finishes a winter traverse of the Australian Alps”

Help protect the Alpine National Park from development

The Falls to Hotham Crossing is a lovely three day walk from the resort town of Falls Creek, across the Bogong High Plains, to Mt Hotham. Managed by Parks Victoria (PV), you need to book to use the designated campsites near Cope Hut and Dibbins hut. It is a hugely popular walk.

There are also plans to extend and reroute the Crossing, turning it a five day ‘serviced hiking opportunity’ in the Alpine National Park.

The Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) opposes the commercial aspects of this proposal, and says There is already too much pressure on parks: invasive pests and weeds, increased bushfires and climate change impacts, and rapidly growing visitor numbers. That’s why they were set aside to protect nature in perpetuity. This insidious attempt to commercialise the Alpine National Park and compromise its carefully considered management plan must be stopped. But we need to work together if we’re going to protect our precious Alps.’

Continue reading “Help protect the Alpine National Park from development”

Why should Murdoch have all the fun? Mountain Journal to produce summer edition of the magazine

Over the past two winters, Mountain Journal has produced an annual print edition (2021 available here and 2022 here – this was a collaboration with Mandy Lamont’s La Mont magazine).

Based on the feedback we have been getting, I decided to produce one over summer as well – and this is your chance to get involved.

Continue reading “Why should Murdoch have all the fun? Mountain Journal to produce summer edition of the magazine”

‘Alpine Odyssey’ crossing of the AAWT finishes soon

In a journey expected to take some 50 days, Huw Kingston, 59, is skiing and walking the 700km length of the Australian Alps this winter and, along the way, skiing at each of the 12 snow resorts. His Alpine Odyssey aims to raise $50,000 for Save the Children’s Our Yarning project.

Huw hopes to take the final steps of Alpine Odyssey to finish at the Namadgi NP Visitor Centre in Tharwa, ACT on the afternoon of Sunday 18 September.

Continue reading “‘Alpine Odyssey’ crossing of the AAWT finishes soon”

Seminar – Climate change, fire and the Victorian Alps

A report from the ‘Climate change and the Victorian Alps – preparing for the fires of the future’ seminar, which was held as part of the speakers program for the 2022 Victorian backcountry festival at Mt Hotham on September 2.

Speakers included an academic, a local landcare representative, Parks Victoria and DELWP.

Continue reading “Seminar – Climate change, fire and the Victorian Alps”

Where are the old snow gums?

Snow Gums (Eucalyptus pauciflora) are the classic alpine tree of the High Country, generally growing at heights between 1,300 and 1,800 metres asl. Anyone who has visited the Australian High Country will know – and probably love – these trees.

In recent decades, wildfire has been devastating huge areas of the Snow Gum forests, with significant fires in the Victorian High Country in 1998, 2002/3, 2006/7, 2013 and 2019/20. More than 90% of Snow Gum habitat has been burnt at least once in the last 20 years.

The species can survive fire. However, climate change driven fire seasons are leading to more frequent fire, which is causing more death of trees and changes to forest structure. In some instances, localised collapse of Snow Gum woodlands is now being observed. As climate scientist Michael Mann describes it, we are now seeing climate change play out in real time.

We must ask whether we are now seeing the start of the collapse of Snow Gum woodlands, one of Victoria’s iconic vegetation communities.

Continue reading “Where are the old snow gums?”

A diary from the 2022 Backcountry festival

Back in the depths of time, I used to organise an annual World Telemark Day get together at Mt Hotham in early spring. It happened for 5 or 6 years and eventually some friends convinced me to shift it over to Falls Creek because of the strong tele community there.

In moving it over, world tele day became the first Victorian backcountry festival and happened in early 2018. It was a fantastic couple of days, based out of the Windy Corner Nordic shelter. There is a report here.

Now, in 2022, the 5th festival is about to get under way.

Continue reading “A diary from the 2022 Backcountry festival”

VIC backcountry festival happening this weekend!

After two years of cancellations due to covid restrictions, the stoke is building for the 2022 Victorian backcountry festival, which will happen over three days – September 2, 3 and 4 – at Mt Hotham resort and the surrounding terrain.

While the tours are now booked out (you can go on a wait list), there is still heaps to do.

Continue reading “VIC backcountry festival happening this weekend!”

Introducing the Victorian Backcountry Companion

Simon Murray is one of those quiet legends of the backcountry community. You may not know his face, but if you do get out of resort in winter, you will know his work.

He was the brains behind the creation of Mountain Sports Collective, MSC (now the Mountain Safety Collective) which produces the daily backcountry conditions report. He produces the amazing maps sold via MSC, and initiated the ‘Slay Academy’ – training sessions in the high country. He is ridiculously talented at design, and came up with the ‘Barry’ image used for the Victorian backcountry festival and, back in the day, produced a great climbing guide for the Buffalo plateau (‘the Definitive guide to the granite paradise of Mount Buffalo).

Apart from organising the tour program for the 2022 Victorian backcountry festival, and getting some epic backcountry trips in, Simon has recently released the Victorian Backcountry Companion, which features an incredible range of tours, from beginner to expert.

Continue reading “Introducing the Victorian Backcountry Companion”

Deep powder. The long arc of climate change. And the beauty that lies between.

After a day of grey clouds and drizzly rain, I woke up to the silence of deep, dry cold powder snow across the mountain. I jumped on the skis and meandered up through the old trees to one of my favourite hills, to be greeted by views of the higher mountains. It was pure, blissful magic. The world felt perfect. If you have ever seen the psychedelic ski film Valhalla, the words will come back to you: you can always find ‘brilliance, awe and magic running through life‘ if you wish to see it.

Two days later, more rain and a warm burst, and the snow was gone from the lower elevations and I was walking through green forest. It is mid August – when snow pack should be at its deepest. After that brief moment of bliss at feeling that things were ‘right’, I felt back in the ‘real’ world, where climate change is coming for all the places and people we love.

If you’re paying attention to what’s going on in the mountains – longer fire seasons, more erratic weather, variable snow pack and shorter winters – then its natural to feel anxious and depressed. It’s a human reaction to what is happening to the world – and the specific places – that we love. It’s the same story everywhere, from the deserts to the rainforests to the mangroves, to the forests of the Central Highlands and south west WA.

Continue reading “Deep powder. The long arc of climate change. And the beauty that lies between.”

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