Another year has slipped by in a blur. I have to say I have really enjoyed writing for the journal these past 12 months. Trying to keep regular posts going means I track lots of the media from around the Alps and this has been giving me a sense of what’s happening right across the mountains, rather than just the corners I mostly hang out in.

As we start to ease into autumn, I feel grateful that we have had another mild summer with no major fires. Last winter started strong but dwindled off to a whimper. The summer flowers have been amazing, and I feel lucky to have been out in some great country, slowly filling the gaps in my experience ‘map’ of the Alps.

Visitation to the site continues to grow at a modest but steady rate. The alpine grazing debacle has been – by far – the most visited part of the site over the past year. Sadly, this saga drags on, with the Victorian government having recently decided they are going to ‘test’ the federal government’s decision to ban grazing in the Alpine National Park.

In order, the most visited sections have been

  • Alpine grazing
  • The backcountry film festival (coming again soon, please check the site in the next week or so for dates, at least in Melbourne)
  • The sidecountry skiing/ boarding guide to Mt Hotham – this is a perennial favourite. I like how visitation often goes up pre winter as people start to plan their trips for the season
  • Requests for help with revegetation and weed control work in the Alps (especially the Parks Victoria work to remove Hawkweed). It’s nice to see people wanting to put back into the landscapes they obviously love.
  • Tributes for Graeme Nelson (see below)
  • Community attempts to stop logging in the state forests near Toolangi in Victoria.

I started to include posts from Tasmania over the past year, mostly informal reports on particular areas that I love. I have been really surprised by the many visits to the track notes on the Ducane Traverse. This is a remote, and reasonably hard traverse of an alpine ridge in the Cradle Mountain Park, and it seems that there are a lot of folks planning to visit there if the site stats are any indication.

In terms of feedback, my posts on mountain cattlemen, a business at Dinner Plain that has been trashing native vegetation, and writings by artist Ben Laycock have generated the most email traffic. While most people enjoyed Ben’s somewhat irreverent take on life in the rich enclave of Dinner Plain, a few readers failed to engage their sense of humour before responding.

There have been a growing number of farewells to mountain identities who have died over the past year, but the passing of Graeme Nelson really impacted on me through my connection with the backcountry ski community.

Graeme died in an accident while skiing at Mt Feathertop. He was a well known and much liked member of the backcountry forum, as well as being an excellent skier. His death leaves a real gap in our community and he will be missed. Memorials to Graeme have been kept on the backcountry forum here.

So, as we slowly swing into autumn and (I hope) an early winter, I just want to say thanks for coming along on this journey. As always please feel free to contribute items for the site. Hope to see you out on the slopes or the trails sometime in the next 12 months.