Stanley Bowl, Mt Stirling
Stanley Bowl, Mt Stirling

It’s autumn, and so it must be time for the annual reflection on the Journal. Hard to believe its half a decade old!

Much of my motivation in starting MJ was simply to create a forum where I could appreciate our mountains and the people who are drawn to live and play amongst them. Early on, I did a few interviews with people I admire, and always love to run stories on people getting out amongst our wonderful mountain environment.

Over the past few years, the visitation has swung towards politics and backcountry adventure. This was certainly the case in 2014 in terms of visitation. Sadly this is probably because there have been so many negative decisions taken by the Victorian Coalition government as it relates to the High Country. With the election of the ALP in November, the key threat to the Alpine national park – alpine grazing – has again been stopped.

While MJ was never really planned to be a ‘track notes’ type site, it has been interesting to see very strong visitation to the few trip reports that have been posted.

In terms of visitation, the top stories of 2014 were:

The ‘sidecountry stash’ at Mt Hotham, a list of areas for boarding and sking close to the resort. Its been a perennial favourite.

  • The backcountry film festival (yes, I have been slack this year. I’ve struggled to find a suitable venue, but its now looking like it will happen mid next month in Melbourne, and will also be showing at the Splitboard festival in Jindabyne in August).
  • Watsons Crag in winter, a story about boarding on the western slopes of the Main Range by John Blankenstein
  • Year of the avalanche – the winter of 2014 saw a number of deaths in the backcountry, lots of avalanche activity, and some reflection on the way our relationship with the backcountry is changing.
  • Toolangi logging – the long running saga to see protection of these forests in the Central Highlands of Victoria
  • The Ducane traverse – my favourite alpine traverse in Australia
  • The Stockman mine, proposed for the headwaters of the Tambo River in Victoria
  • Trip notes from the Central plateau in Tasmania
  • The proposed Nowa Nowa mine in eastern Victoria.

It seems that people like the site: visitation almost doubled over the previous year.

Its been great to have more people writing for the site, including John Blankenstein, Andrew Stanger and Louise Crisp. I’ve also been running various stories from the excellent Huck & Dyno website.

Please feel free to send articles or news items, and like the Journal on facebook.

Let’s hope 2015 is the year we finally see the creation of the Great Forest National Park in Victoria. And I hope to meet some more of you out on the trails or the slopes in 2015.

Regards, Cam