Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps


Australian Alps Walking Track

Climb8: 700 kms across the Alps on snowshoes

Climb8 will be a long distance snowshoe expedition planned for the 2020 winter.
It aims to cross 36 summits, visit 8 ski resorts and carry out climate change research along the way.

Continue reading “Climb8: 700 kms across the Alps on snowshoes”

Meet Susie Hale, the new VMTC president

The Victorian Mountain Tramping Club is a legendary presence in the Australian outdoor community. It recently celebrated it’s 70th anniversary. Many clubs are aging, and in a refreshing move, the VMTC appointed 29-year old Susie Hale as its new president.

Earlier this year, Susie completed a 153-day solo trip on the 4,280km Pacific Crest Trail which she completed in 153 days. Other major accomplishments on her impressive walking CV include leading a VMTC group who completed the Australian Alpine Walking Track in 42 days.

There is a profile on Suzie and what inspires her, which is available here.

Connecting Melbourne and Canberra to the Australian Alps Walking Track

The Australian Alps has hundreds of fantastic trails. The iconic long distance trail is the Australian Alps Walking Track, which stretches from Walhalla, east of Melbourne, almost to Canberra. The AAWT was created in stages, starting with the Victorian Alpine Walking Track, which was developed in the 1970s as part of a larger vision of linking the Australian Alps with a three-state trail. The dream of a long distance track was only fulfilled after years of work and a lot of ‘big picture’ thinking by many people.

Now there are plans to extend the track network all the way to Melbourne and right into Canberra. There are two alternatives for the track from Melbourne, and a proposed route into Canberra, which are outlined below. This well researched proposal identifies gaps in existing tracks and a number of options for connecting up with the existing AAWT.

Continue reading “Connecting Melbourne and Canberra to the Australian Alps Walking Track”

Australian Alps Walking Track Clearing – Baw Baw National Park

Long weekend in March (2 – 5 March)

Help clean up the Australian Alps Walking Track where it traverses the Baw Baw plateau. There will be a variety of work to undertake, requiring a range of skills and experience, including chainsawing, brush cutting, clearing debris, transporting equipment and fuel, clearing water bars and replacing/adding track markers.
Parks Victoria will supply all food and water, so please provide us with the days you will attend and any special dietary requirements. You will need to bring all your camping gear (tent, sleeping bag and mat etc.).

We will camp at Jeep Flat Track, a short walk from the Mt St Gwinear carpark. Remember, we will be in alpine conditions, so bring appropriate clothing.

Come for a day or stay the entire four days. To help with planning and catering please book by Thursday 16 February.

Contact: Convenor Peter Maffei, Bushwalking Tracks and Conservation, Bushwalking Victoria by email at or phone 0418 149 465

The Australian Alpine Refugee Walk

The Australian Alps Walking Track, formerly called the Alpine Walking Track, stretches more than 600 kilometres through the mountains of Victoria and New South Wales.

Isabel Brown is planning to walk the track to raise awareness about the treatment of refugees in mandatory Detention in Australia.

Continue reading “The Australian Alpine Refugee Walk”

Australian Alps Walking Track Projects – volunteer places available

Conservation Volunteers have two Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) projects remaining for the 2014/15 season, with some spaces left on the respective teams.

They are both base camping projects in the Victorian high country:

Bogong High Plains March 1 to 7 2015

Work involves Track definition and surfacing using rubber tiles, and creating drains.

Omeo region March 22 to 28 2015

This will involve a mix of track clearing, brushcutting, drainage installation, and track marking.

If you are interested it will be fantastic to hear from you.

To express interest, please contact Adam via email, on 03 54440777 or on 0427 507 004.



Australian Alps Walking Track maintenance program, 2014/ 2015

Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) and Parks Victoria are embarking on their 3rd year of a joint maintenance program of the Australian Alps Walking Track from November 2014 to mid-March 2015. They are looking for fit and strong outdoor volunteers to join the program, committing 6 days to support the track maintenance activity.

Ross Grant, Parks Victoria Ranger in Charge, says the volunteers will be working in some of Victoria’s most spectacular scenic locations on a variety of projects.

Continue reading “Australian Alps Walking Track maintenance program, 2014/ 2015”

the Alpine Walking Track in winter

This trip is from several years ago but remains an impressive effort: a traverse of the Alpine Walking Track (AWT) from near Canberra through to Walhalla in winter.

This short video gives some highlights of a trip done in 2005 by two brothers, Andrew and Mark Oates. The main ranges images are lovely, but it’s the earlier stages of slogging through the wet plains of the northern Snowies and fording flooded rivers that is perhaps the most impressive.

They say of their trip:

Our first seven days involved walking and carrying our skis, with pack weights around 35 kg. We first put on our skis just after Kiandra and apart from one or two days of pure walking we were able to ski most of the way from there to Hotham. A 60 cm dump of light dry snow near Thredbo helped keep us on our skis but it also made the first few days afterwards extremely challenging. Even with the fattest touring skis available we were still sinking at times thigh deep in snow with our skis on.

After crossing the three highest peaks in the ACT, NSW and Victoria we reached Hotham after four weeks. Unfortunately though the snow did not last – our fifth week out, from Hotham to Howitt saw us experiencing a week of solid rain and strong winds. This resulted in much of the existing snow along the remainder of our route melting away before our eyes.

There is a 4min 40 sec short version of their adventure available here.

Check Mark Oates vimeo page for the 2 longer videos. He also has a youtube page.

The AWT remains the quintessential trail through the Australian Alps, and at 680 km in length remains a committing project with complex logistics, because of the need for multiple food drops along the route. You can find some extra info on the track here.


Australian Alps Walking Track – volunteers needed

Mt Clear from The Bluff
Mt Clear from The Bluff

Thanks to Wild magazine for this one

Conservation Volunteers Australia and Parks Victoria are calling out for volunteers to help restore remote sections of the 650-kilometre Australian Alps Walking Track.

Last summer saw helpers spend 120 days in Alpine National Park Across repairing 23 kilometres of track, laying 930 metres of rubber matting and installing eight water bars to prevent erosion at locations including The Knobs, Mount Sunday and Mount McDonald.

Park ranger Nigel Watts said: “It’s a win-win situation for us and for them; an opportunity to get out into the Alps, help with managing this area and enjoy this beautiful landscape.

“Remote sections of the track are difficult to maintain over time and help is needed to clear fallen timber off the track, install rubber tiling, brush-cut overgrown vegetation and to install crucial signage and symbols to help guide bushwalkers on their adventures in the Australian Alps.”

The first three projects in Januray and February are rated easy walking but require volunteers who are especially fit and strong to lay rubber tiles and use heavy mattocks over five full days. Accommodation will be provided in Falls Creek.The track work is all on the Bogong High Plains.

The last three projects in March and April are rated hard walking, and involve remote camping in the King Billy/ Mt Magdala/ Mount Clear/Knobs areas.

Full details here.

For more info, contact volunteer engagement officer Adam Smolak on

‘Trekking 4 Autism’ along the Australian Alps Walking Track

Image: Peter Hosking
Image: Peter Hosking

Peter Hosking, 31 lives near Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains.

In the summer of 2014/15 Peter will be trekking from Walhalla in Victoria to Tharwa in the ACT. He will be walking along the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT), to raise money and awareness for Autism.

Peter says:

After nearly losing my life in a blizzard in 2012 and being a sufferer of ASD, I want to raise money for Aspergers and Autism. My cousin is full autistic. I want to raise awareness not just for Autism but also for anyone who wants to go into the backcountry, to be prepared for all weather conditions and eventualities. My intention is to raise awareness for ASD sufferers so the general public see our condition in a positive not negative or “taboo”.

You can find out more, and support the walk via his website.

Climate Change and the Ski Industry – an Australian perspective

Mt Loch, VIC

This article was written by David Bain orignally published as the first of the Global Snapshot series, bi-weekly essays written by Protect Our Winters (POW) supporters, which give their local perspective of climate change.

The home of our snow industry is a unique and highly specialised sensitive alpine environment. So sensitive is much of our alpine environment that motorised vehicles of any kind are basically not allowed outside of the resort boundaries.

This environment is unique partly as a result of the old age of the mountains and lack of mountain building, being in the middle of a continental plate. Only minor glacial activity has occurred, being last present between 10,000 and 30,000 years ago. The total area of the true alpine environment (above the tree line) is small, approximately only 770 km2, which is found as a series of ‘islands’ on top of mountains within a sub-alpine ‘sea’. In the order of some 6,500 km2 of alpine and sub-alpine areas annually receives some snowfall. Our endemic alpine species have largely evolved in isolation from other continents and often on isolated mountain tops only tens of kilometres apart.

The essay is available here.

The Twins

Mid summer. Time to be out in the hills. I have been out exploring some of the less known peaks in the Vic High

Twins summit

Country, like Big Hill, south of Mt Beauty, and Mt Sugarloaf just near the old ticket station on the Mt Hotham road above Harrietville.

The stand out mountain so far has been the Twins, a bulky, almost hump-backed mountain just south-west of Mt St Bernard in the Central Alps.

Although it is generally seen from the Great Alpine Road, this peak really presents itself from the south side, with impressive slopes and wonderful views and a sense of remoteness despite being barely 9 km in a straight line from Hotham village.

There are some on notes here.

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