Banff Mountain Film Festival

Amy, Maggie, and I met in Central Jersey yesterday to check out the Banff Mountain Film Festival on its World Tour. First, we stopped at Sourland Mountain Preserve to get in a short hike. It was Amy’s first time hiking since ACL surgery so we took it slow. We did a 5 mile loop, checking out some spots for bouldering along the way.


Then we headed to Princeton for the film festival. It was fantastic. We saw nine short films, anywhere from three to thirty six minutes long.

The Burn
A ski film, this shoots skiers going down newly cleared lines through a newly charred forest. The forest fires are so recent, some of the trees are still glowing red. The soundtrack is perfect. Watch it online here.

Return to the Tepuis
A 71 year old scientist travels to Guyana to study frogs. He is accompanied by one photographer and one climbing guide (Mark Synnott, whose guiding service I used in New Hampshire). He’s never climbed before but they rappel him two hundred feet down into a chasm and then get him back out. Watch it online here.

Sensory Overload
A blind man goes whitewater kayaking. That looks terrifying to me and I can see. Watch a promo clip online here.

High Tension
You may remember seeing something in the news last spring about climbers Ueli Steck and Simone Moro getting into a physical fight with Sherpas on Everest. The climbers were there trying to do a free climb of both Everest and Lhotse with no oxygen, and the altercation was actually caught on film. Watch the trailer online here.

Sea of Rock
Two mountain bikers make a “First Descent” of the Sea of Rock in the Austrian Alps. My jaw was dropped for this whole film. There is barely a hiking trail and they make it down on bikes. Watch it online here.

I Am Red
This is a film about the Colorado River, its beauty and endangerment. Watch it online here.

Climbers, not cyclists, Alex Honnold and Cedar Wright go on a bike trip to connect climbing all of California’s 14ers. They define Sufferfest as “An activity whereby all participants ache, agonize, ail, be at a disadvantage, be racked, deteriorate, endure, grieve, languish, and/or writhe.. but by co-misery, yet co-hesiveness, will have experienced a grand time. Often survived through sarcasm.” Watch it online here.

Spice Girl
Hazel Findlay is a trad climber, and the first woman to climb the UK grade of E9, and this film shows her doing it. She and fellow climber Emily Harrington then head to Morocco to do an eighteen pitch climb in one day. Watch a promo clip online here.

A hilarious end to the night, this is a nude ski film. Watch it online here.


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  1. We saw the film fest in Breck, but I was supposed to see it in Denver too, where Sufferfest was being played. I ended up not being able to go bc J’s grandma died. I really wanted to see that. What did you think? Also, what did you think of High Tension? That wasn’t being played at all in CO.

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