Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps


mountain culture

Mountain Journal turns 13

Crikey. What happened to 2022? Seemed like it went forever, yet it also felt like a blur as it rushed past.  A mild summer, a wild rollercoaster of boom and bust winter, then a wet spring. Here is the annual review.

International Mountain Day, 2022

International Mountain Day has its roots in 1992, when the adoption of Chapter 13 of Agenda 21 “Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Sustainable Mountain Development” at the United Nations (UN) Conference on Environment and Development put a milestone in the history of mountain development.

It is celebrated each year on December 11.

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Call out for content – MJ magazine #3

Over the past two winters, Mountain Journal has produced an annual print edition.

We are going to produce a summer edition (due out in January) and would welcome your content.

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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.

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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.

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Backcountry festival registrations are now OPEN!

After a long wait, registrations to the 2022 Victorian backcountry festival are now open!

Happening over three action packed days – with tours, workshops, massive speakers program, demo village, ski in outdoor bar and lots more, the festival is back in real life after two years of having to operate online. Mt Hotham resort and surrounding side country and Alpine national park.

Once you register you will be able to book in to tours.

You can register via the VBCF website.

Victorian backcountry festival 2022 – Lineup announcement

Not great news today with the massive amount of rain that has come through the mountains. However, we have some good news for you. We are excited to announce the program for the Victorian Backcountry Festival 2022

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What should be in Mountain Journal magazine #3?

For the second year, Mountain Journal appeared as a magazine. This year, the print edition was produced as a collaboration with Mandy Lamont of Lamont magazine. It was distributed across resorts and valley towns during early winter.

The plan is to keep producing a printed annual edition, and I would really appreciate your feedback about this year’s edition and your thoughts on what should be in the 2023 edition.

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The literature of the high country

Barry Lopez was a wonderful author who focused on exploring the relationship between human cultures and nature. He passed away in 2020. His famous work Arctic Dreams was the first of his books that I discovered, and I have enjoyed his essays for many years. I am currently working through Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World, which was published shortly after he died. It is a luminescent collection of essays and one really stood out for me: Out West. He embarks on a long road trip to try and connect with the western plains of the USA. As he leaves, he loads up the many books that reflect on, or are based in, the areas he would be visiting. There are many famous names and books on the list, from Wallace Stegner, Ansel Adams to Cormac McCartney. He reflects on how history is recorded, how land and place is captured in literature and art, and how our understanding of the past shifts according to the dominant narratives of our time.

That, of course, got me thinking about the books I would have with me as I started a long road trip of our mountains. This is the start of a fairly Victorian-centric list.

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The Mountain Journal backstory

Mountain Journal started out in 2010. It was born out of an appreciation for the wonderful mountains that we have here in south eastern Australia and in lutruwita/ Tasmania. Inspired by the mountain culture of the Rocky Mountains and great magazines like Mountain Gazette, it eventually made it in to print (with two annual editions so far – 2021 and 2022).

Each autumn I write a reflection on the year that was. I’m always a bit shocked that another year has whizzed past and there are always lots of issues and campaigns to report on.

Recently I got a chance to talk with Rich and Morgs from the great local podcast Those Tele Guys, now in their third season. TTG ‘is a podcast made by a couple of telemark skiers from Downunder. The show will talk tele, investigate topical issues, share our love of Australian winters and have a good laugh’.

If you’re interested, you can find the chat here.

Local gear stores. If we don’t love them, we’ll lose them

We know that lockdowns and covid has been hard on all mountain businesses. Now, many are struggling to find enough staff as Australians head to the snow in droves. The rise in interest in backcountry skiing and riding was certainly good for some businesses through the hard winters of 2020 and 2021, and this year is providing a welcome boost. But, faced with the rise in online shopping and the buying power and reach of large chain stores, it’s remarkable that there are still so many locally owned outdoor gear shops in and around the Australian Mountains.

Here are a few of them. If we don’t support them, we will lose them. And as we know, all these places offer local knowledge in a way that online stores can’t.

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Giving back to the mountains

Some chats with mountain people

These stories are taken from Mountain Journal #2, a magazine which is distributed across the mountain and valley towns of south eastern Australia (available as a pdf here).

This year we thought we would focus our stories on people who are actively doing good in and for the mountains. This is just the tip of the iceberg: there are the park rangers, the weather forecasters, the fire tower watchers, the garbos and mechanics and road clearers who keep the resorts open, the snow makers, and all the folks who keep the mountain communities open and thriving. But this is a start.

For many more stories and profiles please check here

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