Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps


Mt Hotham

The Victorian Backcountry festival is back for 2022

After two disappointing winters, where the Backcountry Festival had to go on line, we are excited to announce that planning is well underway for a big gathering at Mt Hotham this year.

The 2022 festival will happen over three days in early September (2, 3, and 4). It has been extended to three days to allow people to attend more tours and workshops.

Continue reading “The Victorian Backcountry festival is back for 2022”

Snow Gum citizen science field trip – January 2022

Snow Gums face a massive threat from the spread of dieback which is caused by a native beetle – and also super charged by climate change, and localised collapse of snow gum woodlands due to more frequent fires.

Last winter Friends of the Earth (FoE) published An Icon at Risk, which considers the many threats to the mountains of north east Victoria (the report is available here).

FoE will be hosting a field trip to map impacts of fire over four days in January 2022 in the Mt Hotham region.

Continue reading “Snow Gum citizen science field trip – January 2022”

Mt Hotham recycled glass program nominated for Premier’s Sustainability Award

Mount Hotham Resort Management Board (MHARMB) has a number of great environmental initiatives. The long program to restore the population of Mountain Pygmy Possum on the mountain is probably the best known.

Now, MHARMB’s innovative treatment and re-use of recycled glass has been recognised in the 2021 Premier’s Sustainability Awards, with the organisation announced as a finalist in the “Waste Reduction and the Circular Economy” category.

Continue reading “Mt Hotham recycled glass program nominated for Premier’s Sustainability Award”

VIC backcountry festival cancelled – here’s to 2022!

With the announcement from the Victorian government that the current lockdown will be extended beyond thursday September 2, the organising committee have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Backcountry Festival at Mount Hotham. Given the extended COVID-19 restrictions, we have no option but to cancel.

We have set the dates for next year – September 2, 3 and 4, back at Mt Hotham.

We are, of course, deeply disappointed to have to make this decision. A huge amount of effort goes into planning events like this and it has been especially hard with a constantly changing situation with lockdowns. Many businesses and individuals have come on board to back the event and we thank the Mt Hotham community for the support and good will they have offered the festival.

Continue reading “VIC backcountry festival cancelled – here’s to 2022!”

Skiing in the Pyrocene (*)

It was probably a year ago that I saw this photo in Powder magazine. It broke my heart to think that an image of a skier making lines through burnt forest is now just a regular thing in the times that we live in.

The other day I was out pottering around, aiming to ski to Mt Tabletop near Mt Hotham, taking advantage of the excellent snow base at present. I skied out along JB Plain and cut into the trees to the edge of the 2020 fire, then decided to follow the open terrain down on the south side of the escarpment, onto a steepening slope that ended where the Alpine Ash started to dominate. Its early August but it felt like spring: forgiving granular corn, south facing slopes, mellow turns. Doing wide loops through the dead trees, looking out to the Dargo High Plains, I felt at home in these mountains that I love. This used to be thick regrowth forest and you never would have thought of skiing here. But now its open, and with a good cover, its enjoyable moderate terrain. The Ash are dead, as are a lot of the Snow Gums.

Continue reading “Skiing in the Pyrocene (*)”

VIC backcountry festival registrations now open

The Victorian Backcountry Festival will happen at Hotham over three days (3, 4 and 5) in September (fingers crossed!).

Registration for the festival is now open.

Continue reading “VIC backcountry festival registrations now open”

Victorian Backcountry Festival 2021 Speakers Program Launched

As part of the 4th Victorian Backcountry Festival, we once again have a speakers program. As with other festivals, the program covers a range of mountain-related topics and great line up of presenters.

The program is being hosted by The General and Jack Frost, in Hotham village. It is being held over two days, the saturday and sunday.

The festival will run over three days: September 3, 4 and 5, 2021.

Continue reading “Victorian Backcountry Festival 2021 Speakers Program Launched”

Victorian Backcountry festival 2021 program launch

Here is the draft program for the 2021 Victorian Backcountry Festival, which will happen in and around Mt Hotham resort over September 3, 4 and 5. This will be the 4th year the festival has run.

Registration for the festival, and for the tours will be announced shortly – the program is being launched so you can get a sense of what’s on offer.  

Continue reading “Victorian Backcountry festival 2021 program launch”

Jaithmathang Senior Elders reconnect with their original Country

Jaithmathang Original Country elders are returning to the mountains to reconnect with their Yerto (meaning land/country high up). This story was produced by North East Catchment Management Authority and reproduced with their permission.

Jaithmathang Senior Elder, Loreman and Songman, Goengalla Jumma Myermyal Minjeke looks out over Yerto (meaning land/country high up) while standing on Mt Loch and reflects on a separation from Jaithmathang Original Country that has lasted generations. Mt Loch is within Shared Yerto of the GunaiKurnai and Jaithmathang Original Peoples’ Country. 

Continue reading “Jaithmathang Senior Elders reconnect with their original Country”

Fourth Victorian backcountry festival – September 3, 4 & 5

Backcountry festival back at Hotham in 2021

 The fourth Victorian backcountry festival will happen at Mt Hotham over September 3, 4 and 5. This is a media release from the group organising this year’s festival. Continue reading “Fourth Victorian backcountry festival – September 3, 4 & 5”

Mountain winter events 2021

Recent snowfalls across the Alps has got every snow lover excited about winter. Here is an initial list of snow related events happening across Victoria, NSW and the ACT this winter.

Please check here for a list of tour guides, all avalanche training providers, and gear hire options.

Continue reading “Mountain winter events 2021”

Good news for the Mountain Pygmy Possum

The mountain pygmy possum (MPP) is a small animal of The Australian high country. Since, 2008, it has been declared by the IUCN Redlist as Critically endangered. Population estimates totalled less than 2000 individuals from the three combined isolated populations in 2000.

They are reliant on Bogong Moths to build up reserves for winter and for successful breeding. The lack of moths has had a significant impact on breeding in recent summers. But there is some good news from the 2020/21 summer.

Continue reading “Good news for the Mountain Pygmy Possum”

Blog at

Up ↑