Wednesday 15 May 2013

Moving pictures

Last night I had 11 adventures - and I wasn't even asleep - thanks to the Banff Mountain Film Festival world tour, which is in Australia until late June (see dates), presented by my favourite adventure tour operator, World Expeditions.

I go every year, but this year’s selection of 11 short films, ranging in length from 2 minutes to 44 minutes, are the best I can remember. Here's the trailer:

Some are epics, like the one about disabled climbing team The Gimp Monkeys – three climbers with four legs and five arms between them – tackling El Capitan in Yosemite.

There's Scottish trials rider Danny Macaskill’s incredible balletic bike skills in an old ironworks, in Industrial Revolutions. Some are exploratory - about whitewater kayaking in NZ, and first descents of slot canyons in the Grand Canyon.

Coming out of the Cremorne Orpheum (where it was a full house, I might add), I felt like running all the way home (which would have taken a while) and was still buzzing this morning. So I thought I'd revisit three of the films still whirring around in my head...

Pic by Cas and Jonesy
1. Crossing the Ice, which won three awards at the Banff Mountain Film Festival in November. "Epic" doesn't even come close. This sequel to Crossing the Ditch, in which best mates Cas and Jonesy kayaked from Australia to New Zealand, is about their 89-day, world-first, unsupported trek 2275km from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole – and back. It’s honest, raw, funny and moving; there’s even a crazy Norwegian, Aleksander Gamme, providing some narrative tension to rival Scott and Amundsen 's race for the pole 100 years ago.

2. Honnold 3.0 is about uber-free-climber Alex Honnold’s latest big “objective”: climbing the three biggest walls in Yosemite - Mt Watkins, El Capitan and Half Dome - within 24 hours. A-ma-zing.

3. Lily Shreds Trailside – about a Jack Russell terrier who loves to chase mountain bikes – on single track. She runs so fast, she flies through the air on jumps and even banks on turns. Click the link to watch Lily fly. So cool.

If ever there was a celebration of being alive on Earth, this digital record of people doing astounding things in wild and spectacular natural places is it. The only thing missing is water - unless you count the clip of another crazy Norwegian diving into some while ice-skating. Those Norwegians...


  1. Ropeless climbing - oooh no! I held my breath watching the trailer.

  2. I know, incredible, particularly on the big screen! People are amazing animals...