Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps



Final call for content – Mountain Journal magazine #3

As we inch closer to winter, I have finally started working on the 2023 edition of the magazine. The theme the first year was First Nations aspirations for the high country. In 2022, it was ‘giving back to the mountains‘. In 2023, the plan had been to honour and acknowledge the people who did the hard work of getting the Alps protected. I am now feeling that I probably lack the time to really do justice to this topic, although we will certainly make a start and already have some fantastic content.

I am looking for content for this edition:

Continue reading “Final call for content – Mountain Journal magazine #3”

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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CHASING the MOUNTAIN LIGHT: A Life Photographing Wild Places

All landscapes have appeal. Some are easier to love than others. Many Australians love the beach and coastlines. Some love the desert, or wetlands, rainforests or the tall Ash forests. Some people have more obscure tastes – mangroves or mulga or gibber plains. But many of us love the mountains. And some of us express this love through writing, film, poetry, photography or other forms of communication. A new book called Chasing the Mountain Light delves deep into love of the mountains through the medium of images and writing.

The subititle of the book explains it perfectly: ‘A life photographing wild places’. The work of David Neilson, it is a glorious coffee table sized book featuring wonderful black and white images from south western lutruwita/ Tasmania, Patagonia, Karakoram and the Alps of Australia, New Zealand and Europe and other ranges such as the Andes.

Continue reading “CHASING the MOUNTAIN LIGHT: A Life Photographing Wild Places”

International Mountain Day 2021

December 11 is International Mountain Day.

Around the world, mountain environments are threatened by climate change and destruction of natural environments. It is the same here in Australia, where we are starting to see the local collapse of mountain forests – both Alpine Ash and Snow Gum – due to climate driven fire regimes (and, in the case of Snow Gum, dieback caused by a native beetle).

There is much we must do to protect these wonderful environments, including building our capacity to fight fires effectively in mountain areas.

Here are some ideas.

And please join the citizen science project if you’re planning on visiting the VIC/ACT/ NSW mountains this summer.


Climate change is coming for the Places we Love

We all remember the terrible fire season of 2019/20. Among the huge range of impacts on people and landscapes, one significant detail was that the tourism season basically didn’t happen across much of the south east that year. Mountain towns, ski resorts, even valley communities were evacuated. Lots of people missed out on summer holidays. And many workers and businesses suffered terrible economic losses (compounded soon after by covid lockdowns).

It makes you wonder what the future looks like for communities that rely on beautiful natural environments to attract visitors, who then underpin the local economy. With forecasts of longer and more intense fire seasons, and more erratic snowpack in winter, it is hard not to see a future where ecosystems and local economies don’t struggle to adapt to the changes that are coming.

This problem is likely to occur everywhere. For instance, recent research, published in Global Environmental Change, looked at how the use of state and federal public lands in the United States may change in the next 30 years under two different warming scenarios.

The biggest changes, they found, will come during the summer months. Their research showed that by 2050 it will ‘simply be too hot to have fun outdoors in many places’.

Continue reading “Climate change is coming for the Places we Love”

Stand up for the Mountain – no cable car on kunanyi

The Mt Wellington Cableway Company’s (MWCC) proposal for a commercial centre on the summit of kunanyi/Mt Wellington, aerial tramway up the face of the mountain, associated infrastructure and works is now open for public comment. Whether you live in Hobart or just love the mountain, you can make a submission about the proposal.

Local residents group Respect the Mountain – No Cable Car says: ‘The Mountain is too significant, too wild to be handed over to developers. MWCC’s plan degrades kunanyi/Mt Wellington and fails to comply with much of the relevant legislation’.

Continue reading “Stand up for the Mountain – no cable car on kunanyi”

‘Mountain Gazette’ gets another life

I can’t remember when I first discovered Mountain Gazette magazine. Somewhere in the distant past. The last time I found it ‘in the wild’ was in a mountain hut above Breckenridge in Colorado a couple of years ago, where old copies had been left by backcountry skiers and riders. MG was an inspiration for this website. I always loved its quirky and idiosyncratic take on ‘mountain life’. After a long absence, MG is finally back in print and the first edition (# 194) is wonderful.

The magazine started its life in 1966 as the Skiers Gazette. It morphed into Mountain Gazette, stopped production in 1979, then was reborn in 2000 and ran until 2012. Now, Mike Rogge has purchased the magazine and given it a new, new life. And it’s gorgeous.

Continue reading “‘Mountain Gazette’ gets another life”

Call out for feedback and stories

Mountain Journal covers anything that seem relevant to mountain environments and mountain culture here in south eastern Australia and lutruwita/ Tasmania. It has a strong outdoor adventure and environmental protection ethos, which influences what issues we cover.

As we move into the end of year reflections, I wanted to ask readers what they enjoy and what they want to see more of on the website.

Continue reading “Call out for feedback and stories”

Finding the beauty at home

So, chances are that not many of you are heading off for a skiing, walking or climbing adventure in the northern hemisphere this summer. Luckily we have lots of amazing country on our doorstep.

It’s a great chance to get out somewhere you’ve never been or go back to that place you’ve been dreaming about for years.

If you need a bit of inspiration, check here for some links to films on backyard adventures.

Where are you heading this summer and what are your plans for 2021?

Some of my plans:

  • a long walk on the central plateau of Tasmania
  • a winter camp out on The Twins
  • a long ski in over The Bluff to Mt Howitt
  • lots of hitting the groomers at Hotham
  • maybe a winter road trip to TAS to check out Ben Lomond, Rufus and Mt Field
  • an end of season trip and camp on Mt Loch

Please feel free to share yours.

Finding hope among the old trees

I don’t know about you, but my wanders in the mountains are often dominated by grief as I see places I love burnt beyond recognition. I’ve spent way too much time looking at burnt forests lately (for instance the Tabletop fire), and the realisation that as I get older, the forests are getting younger has been hard to accept.

More than 90% of snow gum woodland in Victoria has burnt at least once in the last 20 years, and we are down to a fragment of remaining old mountain forests (estimates are that we only have 0.47% of old growth alpine ash left in Victoria). Most people who are paying attention will see what’s going on, and experiencing solastalgia (the distress specifically caused by environmental change and climate change) is both natural and normal. But it can be hard to stay positive in the face of grinding and overwhelming change. And many of us, especially if we live in the bush or mountains, hold fear about the ever more intense fire seasons.

But there is so much wonderful country that remains, and we know that, given time, alpine ash and snow gum forests will recover (if we can keep the fires out until they mature).

Continue reading “Finding hope among the old trees”

Federal government accepts need for publicly owned air fleet

Since last summer, there has been a long public conversation about how we can increase our ability to fight bush fires. While this has covered everything from the role of fuel reduction burning, the impact of climate change, and the question of Cultural Burning, another important aspect has been the role of planes and helicopters in fighting fire.

There is a recent – and significant – development in this debate.

Continue reading “Federal government accepts need for publicly owned air fleet”

A chat with Jakob Kennedy

Jakob Kennedy is a content producer and nature enthusiast. He is currently involved in the development of a film called Awaken, which follows adventurers on three continents as they come to terms with the growing impact of climate change on the places they love. 

Jakob says “other than my clear love for snowboarding, it is nature, the experiences she provides and the inevitable lessons that are the reason I’m still doing this. So to be involved with a project that honours the value of these moments, by raising awareness to the importance of maintaining said environment, is a sure highlight in my career.

We only get one world and we only get one life do our best to care for it”.

The full version of the film will be released this January. You can see the trailer here.

Mountain Journal caught up with Jakob to find out about what the project and what inspires him. You can read the interview here.

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