Kendal Mountain Festival

This year’s Kendal Mountain Festival was another roaring success! This year, in a departure from the previous years of closed private, VIP only, opening ceremonies, the kick off was a grand public opening on Kendal’s main street, Stricklandgate.

The highlights of my presenting duties this year were:

  • Introducing Tim Emmett at the Town Hall on Saturday morning. Tim has a reputation for being a bit of a live-wire and up for just about any adventure. So the talk was typically entertaining!
  • Presenting, and of course watching, the winning film in the Climbing category – Wide Boyz.
  • Meeting Karen Darke and getting to see – and hold – a London 2012 Paralympic medal.
Karen and her silver Paralympic hand-cycling medal

Kendal Mountain Festival 09

Despite the amazingly bad weather, the Kendal Mountain Festival went ahead and was as massive, amazing and entertaining as usual. Not only for the films, books, pictures, art, etc., but for the mega (“tribal”) gathering of climbers and all outdoorsy people it is famous for – it’s certainly the biggest festival of it’s type in the world, and arguably the best too! The Banff festival tries to take the latter claim – but how can that be true when Kendal has more films and people watching them?

As is usual when we are at home in the Lakes (i.e. not in Australia rock climbing as last year) we got roped in to helping out as volunteers.

This year I’d landed a role as one of the Presenters. 😯 Thanks to Richard and Andy Perkins. 😀 This involves introducing the films and is extremely stressful! Not for the public speaking part which is something I’m quite comfortable with from my work, but for the incredibly tricky task of remembering all of the many many items one has to say – names of the films (up to 10 in one session) that have to be introduced, facts about each to be shared with the eager audience before each film is shown, names of sponsors, logistics for other parts of the festival, how to vote in the Peoples Choice Award, introducing film makers, etc., etc! Crikey it was hard! I think I got better at it as the weekend went on, but I’m not sure the effort is worth the pay – err, nothing? :sarcy:

Of course the best part (aside from seeing lots of great movies 😉 ) is meeting up with lots of friends. Here are just a few… Sorry to all the others who I forgot ( 😳 ) to photograph, I was far too stressed remembering my presenting duties.

Michele and Laetitia having a well earned rest from managing the doors!
Michele and Laetitia having a well earned rest from managing the doors!
Helen and Richard are all smiles!
Helen and Richard are all smiles!
Keith looking happy, but I missed Fiona - sorry!
Keith looking happy, but I missed a picture of Fiona - sorry!
Wow - a <i>Chris Sharma</i> autograph!
Wow - a Chris Sharma autograph!

The awards were:

  • PEOPLE’S CHOICE: The Asgard Project by Alistair Lee and Leo Houlding.
  • BEST MOUNTAINEERING FILM: Mount Saint Elias by Gerald Salmina
  • BEST MOUNTAIN ADVENTURE FILM: Samsara by Renan Ozturk
  • BEST MOUNTAIN CULTURE FILM: One Crazy Ride by Guarav Jani
  • BEST MOUNTAIN ENVIRONMENT FILM: Wild Balkans by Michael Schlanberger
  • BEST SHORT FILM: Afghanistan by David James
  • GRAND PRIZE (& BEST CLIMBING FILM): First Ascent – Alone On The Wall by Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen
  • ADVENTURE FILM ACADEMY WINNER: Plas Bottley Hikes Again by Andy Rees and Robbie Meade

We stayed late after the awards ceremony to watch the winning mountaineering film, Mount Saint Elias. It was fantastic, but maybe a little too long for me. Then we saw the Grand Prize winner, Alone on the Wall. It was a superb film, a very worthy winner. Watch it! But, if you’ve ever been rock climbing, be prepared for very very sweaty palms when you see it! 😛


Another sunny day so we hot footed it up to Greatend in Borrowdale. The last time we went there it was very overgrown and a loose boulder on Banzai Pipeline persuaded us to abseil down. However, “mandy” had posted a message telling us that there had been some serious gardening going on so we decided we should investigate…

Indeed, there had been some serious gardening. There were huge piles of heather and moss at the bottom of the routes.

There was already one team there, on Banzai Pipeline, so we tackled the first (and only worthwhile) pitch of No Holds Barred. Pete did it in fine style of course, despite the marginal protection in the middle, but I required a very tight rope on a couple of sections. It was quite dirty, still a bit mossy, and could probably do with a power hose drenching to remove some more of the dirt, but it was still a good route.

Nearing the belay on No Holds Barred (E2)

After that we started up Banzai Pipeline. This was much easier, but still testing. The hardest pitch for me was the jamming crack, but I successfully managed a few moves with full on hand or finger jams.

The exciting “swing” left on the final pitch of Banzai Pipeline (E1)

The exciting top pitch, where you step left off a pinnacle, wasn’t quite as scary as I thought it was going to be after I found a sneaky hidden finger crimp for my right hand.

It was a great route and we were down for 5pm. Just enough time to get back for some dinner with David before going to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A fantastic Saturday! 😀

Llanberis Mountain Film Festival

The CC sponsored the film competition at the Llanberis Mountain Film Festival (LLAMFF) this year and Laetitia and I got to go, along with Keith and Fiona, to represent the club.

It’s a fantastic local event for all things mountain with a packed programme including mountain film, lectures, art, and partying! It’s an awesome biannual gathering.

Fiona making the presentation to George Smith for the winning film, Upside-Down Wales
(The prize is the knife, not the microphone! 😉 )

So what did we think of the programme events we attended?

  • George Smith’s winner, Upside-Down Wales, was super funny – a must see film – go watch it, mandatory viewing!
  • We particularly loved Nick Bullock’s “animated” presentation! Electric Mountain will never let him loose on a table again… ❗
  • Tim Emmett was typically “extreme”. But the video of night time BASE jumps was spoilt by the fact they were at night. You couldn’t see anything but dim outlines on a black screen. Doh!
  • The Slate of the Art session was a let down – running 200% overtime (1 hour became 3) with poor slide projection of high quality pictures. Years ago, before digital pictures and projection, dim and low powered slide projectors were OK, today they aren’t. With more pace (say sticking to the planned 1 hour slot), a bit more rehearsal, and some pre-work digitising the slides and it might have been a hit…

Kendal Mountain Festival ’07


We are lucky to be able to help out at the annual Kendal Mountain (Film) Festival. We don’t have difficult jobs – door staff checking people’s tickets and other easy stuff like that. But we do enjoy the event enormously and get a privileged opportunity to see all the movies etc.

This year one of the festival’s judges was Will Gadd, who we’ve been lucky enough to spend a few days out (and under) the mountains with in Canada and England. So after a frenzy of text messages we met up for a beer at – some might say the biggest part of the festival – the Saturday evening party at the Brewery Centre! Some souls were out partying till 3am. 😯 We didn’t last quite that late, but never-the-less, I’m still completely knackered. Especially as we were up early (ish) on Sunday to go to Wilf’s café for breakfast with our friends (Vikki, Michelle and Terry) who had stayed over. Sunday was another long day and a late night watching the “best of” films in Cinema 1. I think this is called ‘burning the candle at both ends’? 😐

For those who need to know, the full rundown of prizes is here…

Kendal Mountain Festivals

This weekend was the annual Kendal Mountain Festivals event in Kendal (obviously). It used to be (just) the Kendal Mountain Film Festival, but has got a more wide ranging remit these days; adding books and art to the existing film events.

We volunteered to work as door staff at the film venues…

Great to see Set in Stone win two awards (People’s Choice and Climbing categories)! They certainly deserved them. I thought the other films were far too “dudey” – as the judges pointed out. Good to see some honest love of the Lakes and climbing; not just what seems like the search for celebrity that some of our sport’s names seem to seek.

It was interesting (?) to see how the sponsored “stars” didn’t even look up when the un-sponsored Dave Birkett took the stage to accept the award. The film mentions the lack of repeats of Dave’s routes (despite attempts by the like of Leo Houlding).

Tim Emmett’s talk was very entertaining. But what I took away was one of his first comments about climbing; when he first met Leo he said they both stated their aim was to become sponsored climbers. I wonder what Dave Birkett’s aim’s are/were?