Sunday, 12 November 2006

Banff Mountain Film Festival

Diff delivering a persuasive argument about something or other during the wee small hours (all photos Hot Aches images)

So… We took E11 to the Canadians to see what they thought. The Banff festival is a hard one to get your head round, coming from Scotland with not so many climbers. Its... like... a proper event. With 900 seater cinemas sold out day after day. It’s hard to get an impression of the size of the sport of climbing, but going there you realise there are a fair few of us out there. So it was a little intimidating pulling onto Banff on the Greyhound bus from Vancouver and wondering how things would go. The Banff centre has a fairly sizeable team of full time staff working on the festival – and does it show! I’d recommend anyone go out there next year. There’s just so much going on. I listened with great respect to Simone Moro’s moving description of life and death in the Himalayan winter. I almost got psyched myself for a bit of ledge shuffling, but the video of the weather at base camp was enough to make anyone think better of it. Simone became an honorary Pole by climbing an 8000er in winter, the first non Polish to manage this feat of extreme cold and pain endurance. Grim.

The lunchtime panel discussions were probably the highlight of the talking events for me. Especially as Sundays discussion was about couples doing adventurous things together. Wisdom to manage this type of relationship is worth its weight in gold and plenty of it was shared. Will Gadd was there with Kim and both providing those dead pan but delightfully simple expressions that Canadians seem to have a talent for. “Real life is f**king annoying” said Will. He’s a hard man to disagree with. I found myself thinking “why can’t we have this sort of event in the UK?” On Saturdays discussion I was really struck by the power of Nando Parrado’s thoughts on religion and survival from his experiences. He talked about following a god that allows you to doubt. It really reminded me of the corrupting influence of any large institutions.

Emily Long of the Telluride festival administering the power, so I had to get the next round in

I didn’t see too many films as I studiously sneaked off to the climbing wall to rescue some fitness from the routine of non-stop partying by night. By the weekend I was having to train until 10pm to get a delayed drinking start. That way I could just about keep up the pace with folk until the quite awesomely late closing times. The Sunday night dancing to a local rock band would have been quite a sight to anyone not thoroughly intoxicated. I decided a whisky was a good strategy to enter the zone. Quite a few dancefloor wipeouts were witnessed but thankfully not by Pete Mortimer who chose the top of the band’s amp stack for his bopping spot. It gave him more room to swing his T-shirt in the air.

Some amateurs in the bar...
The festival audience seemed to be psyched by E11, although they had some trouble translating the Glaswegian, and understanding what E11 means. “E11 7a, that means he had 7 attempts I think? Either that or it’s 5.11”

Favourite films from Banff
Ride of the Mergansers

Cobra Crack

1 comment:

  1. Heh - very funny! Sounds like a top event. Looking forward to more on your training blog too, Dave. Just wanted to let you know people are reading!