Monday, July 26, 2010

More skiing

Another day trip for back country. This time meeting Richard at Thredbo for a day out past Ram's Head, down into Leather Barrel, across Swampy Plains River and up Mt Kosciusco and back over Ram's Head and home through Thredbo.



View leather barrel in a larger map

Monday, July 19, 2010

Out back Guthega

Originally posted on Life in the South

I had the most outstanding day in the back country skiing yesterday. Thanks to Sunshine for letting me escape baby duty for the day :)

Here's the video on Youtube (and on Blip)

The video is pretty long and indulgent on my part sorry (8.46min). It captures a memory for me, so I don't mind so much... a had-to-be-there thing. Hope you all get through at least one sitting. The music should see you through at least, 2 tracks from CCMixter:
  1. "Just so Picky" by Speck
  2. "Through the Edge" by PorchCat
I watched the weather all week, with a large low pressure front chock full of moisture coming down to dump a bunch of snow on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by a dry high pressure Southerly to keep the conditions cold and dry, but letting the sun shine through to soften off any crust. I was skinning my way out back bright and early on Saturday morning :)

Here's the photos on Picasa (and Flickr).

Eve woke at 5am - quick nappy change and pass to mummy in bed, and I was out the door for a 3 hour drive to Guthega. Skipped Cooma for a more reasonably priced breakfast at Berridale, then on past Jindabyne and up the range. Was on skis and crossing the Guthega dam wall at 9am.  

Here's the map.

View Mount Tate and Mount Anderson in a larger map

From Guthega Village (the lift station) drop down the road to the Dam. Cross the Dam and follow the track to the upper reaches of the North arm about 1km until you see a foot bridge crossing the Guthega River. Either continue on the east bank of the river to access the pass, or cross the bridge and continue on the river bank up to access Mount Tate. Others seem to head straight up the East face of Tate East Ridge and follow the ridge line from there.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wanna talk wikis? RecentChangesCamp Canberra - August 11


RecentChangesCamp, Canberra was held at the University of Canberra, Building 7, Room 7XB37 on 11 August 2010.
(RecentChanges for these conference pages)

RecentChangesCamp is an Open Space Technology format unconference on wikis and collaborative practices. The conference is named after the "Recent changes" feature that is found in most wikis. Recent Changes Camp follows an unconference model, being: free to attend, having a program that is determined on the day by attendees, with the aid of a facilitator.
The aim of this event is to draw together interested locals, contributors and users of online collaborative academic spaces, such as education and research wikis. We hope to share knowledge, projects, issues and possibilities for ongoing development.
  • Recent Changes Camp Canberra - TBC
  • 10am - 5pm, Wednesday 11 August. 2010
  • University of Canberra, Building 7, Level C, Room 7XC37
  • Contact Leighblackall
  • Tags: #RCC and #UC-RCC

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Open education and research at the University of Canberra

Myself and James Neill have been asked by the University of Canberra's Office of Development and Engagement to speak at the Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia Annual Conference 2010, 9-11 Nov 2010, on open academia.


It is proposed that open academic practices be used by the University of Canberra to establish a significant point of difference in its research, development and teaching. The University has a role to play in leading the Australian sector towards a renewed era of knowledge creation, sharing and networking.

This paper outlines a number of significant problems with existing practices of knowledge protectionism and commercialisation, and demonstrates how open academic practices can address these problems and further the University's role in society. It explains evident risks and benefits in the adoption of these practices, and sets out policy, procedures and services that the University and its staff should use to leverage its position and capitalise on the opportunities available.


Leigh Blackall and James Neill are long time advocates and practitioners of open academic practices. Their recent collaboration at the University of Canberra has resulted in several events and submissions on policy, procedure and practices that are gaining wide attention within the University.

Leigh is an educational developer, focused on open education using popular media for networked learning. He is a Custodian on the English Wikiversity, and has maintained a popular education blog since 2004:

James is an an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Applied Psychology at the University of Canberra. He is a Custodian and Bureaucrat on the English Wikiversity.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Down to Earth Designs

Back in 1996, I tried my hand at designing and making tents and packs and things. I had access to an industrial sewing machine then, and with a little help from my dad, I managed to make 3 packs, and a few accessories. I designed a hell of a lot more though, some day I'd love to make this tent for example.. I just need to meet the right people with the right motivation.

I made this pack for my Dad 14 years ago! 12 ounce canvas, YKK spiral zips, 1 inch webbing, internal frame.. all double stitched, seam sealed, and designed for simplicity, to last, and be easily repaired.

The over sized shoulder straps and lumber pad where requested by my Dad.. the ultra delux padded version :) He's taken it all sorts of places over the years.

I hadn't seen this pack for some time. Seeing it today was like opening an old diary. Discovering old ideas that were new and not on the market at the time. Made me want to start making more, and use all those ideas I've drawn since, that are still yet to go to market mind you.

I like the modest tones and simplicity, compared to the glow in the dark, lunar landing gear in the shops today. I'd refine this design a little, but over all I think its a good solid bag, that functions well, and has lasted a long time.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

First ski Australian slopes

Originally posted on Life in the South

Pretty disappointing first ski in Australia. Love the backcountry atmosphere, hate the massive fees and over done resorts.

Got up early, easy driving to Cooma for breakfast and take away lunch (will stop at Berridale next time), lovely sunrise coming into Jindabyne. Stopped at Paddy Palin's for a map, then onto the Park gates for the nasty surprise of a $27 fee for a 1 day pass! Then a few ks up the road, a random chains check!!!? No warning signs back at Jindabyne, no snow anywhere near the road, no forecast of snow for days, if not weeks. They wouldn't hear it, and turned me back to Jindabyne to get chains! Another $25 hire, so I bought a set for $160. There went my early start, budget well blown.

Finally arrived at Perisher to find the road to Charlottes Pass closed with no snow on it! $48 for a 15min bus ride.. forget it! Perisher was crowded out with only man made snow runs open, yet they were charging full fee lift passes at $110 for a day! I just wanted to get out back, but their $28 single lift pass is not available for people with skis!

So skinned up Back Perisher Mountain for good views out to Main Range. Looked like good cover out over Carruthers Peak and Blue Lake, probably a strong crust on it though, and having not gone through to Charlottes, the walk was huge! Very patchy cover on the ridges Mnt Perisher to Blue Cow - fun for cross country. I dropped down to Blue Calf, and up Blue Cow for one run down a crowded Kamikaze.

Tired and broke, I walked back to the car and drove home. Studying the map for less expensive access alternatives. Fuel from Canberra return is about $60, park entry is $24 per day. This cost would be less if the Snowpool website works out, leaving a little for a lift pass, or a bus to Charlottes to access the backcountry for a day trip.. otherwise it's a long walk and a sleep out.. but then the park fees build up!

I hear Victorian parks are all free entry...

Some photos of this trip.. forecast says a dump to come late next week!