Mountainfilm Festival unveils 2010 line-up

Organizers for this year’s Mountainfilm Festival, scheduled to take place from May 28th through the 31st in Telluride, Colorado, have announced the line-up of films scheduled to be screened during the event. The list of films deal with some very diverse, and often provocative, subject matter, with topics ranging from the war in Afghanistan to the impact of plastic on our lives and the environment to the looming extinction crisis, and beyond. Whether you’re a budding climber, an active environmentalist, or just have a love of good cinema, you’re sure to find something in the line-up that well peak your interest.

The most well known film on the list is, without a doubt, The Cove, which made the rounds on the film festival circuit last year before going on to win the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary. The movie struck a chord with viewers and critics alike for its no nonsense, and often graphic, portrayal of the annual dolphin slaughter in Japan. The Cove returns for an encore showing at the Mountainfilm Festival this year after having a single, surprise screening last year.

Other intriguing films to make the cut include an intense and personal look at life on the front lines of the war in Afghanistan entitled Restrepo and a climbing film called Point of No Return that follows mountaineers Jonny Copp and Micah Dash on what would ultimately be their final climb. The festival will also mark the U.S. debut of The 10 Conditions of Love, a documentary about Rebiya Kadeer, an activist from the Chinese province of Xinjiang. Kadeer has been very vocal in her criticisms of the Chinese government, and as a result she was thrown in prison for more than six years. The film explores her activist lifestlyle and the toll it has taken on her family.

The films being screened at Mountainfilm are just one element of a very active weekend in Telluride. In addition to the movies, there is the Moving Mountains Symposium on the opening day of the festival. This year’s topic is the Extinction Crisis, and there will be a number of speakers on hand to discuss this very important subject. In fact, there will be great speakers attending the festival all weekend long, with the likes of Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea and Ed Viesturs, America’s preeminent mountaineer, on hand to share tales of their adventures.

Passes are still available for the film festival in a variety of packages. Click here to check out the details. And for a complete list of the films that will be screened at Mountainfilm, click here.

Mountainfilm Festival announces special guests for 2010

The Moutainfilm Festival, held annually in Telluride, Colorado, is an amazing mix of art, culture, adventure and environmental responsibility. Now in its 32nd year, the festival has become one of the top spots for photographers, filmmakers, explorers, and adventurers of all types to congregate and share their latest creations, while discussing important issues of the day.

One of the centerpieces for Mountainfilm is its Moving Mountains Symposium, which focuses on a different environmental issue each year. For 2010, the topic of the symposium, which will kick off a full weekend of events on May 28th, is the Extinction Crisis. Speakers will include mountaineering legend Rick Ridgeway, philanthropist Greg Carr, and National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, amongst others. These speakers will host lectures and discussions covering the alarming rate at which plants and animals are dying out on our planet. It has gotten so bad in fact, that some scientists are predicting that as many as 30-50% of all species on Earth could be gone by the middle of the 21st Century.

The festival has announced a host of other special guests who will be making their appearance in Telluride on that weekend as well. Those guests come from a wide variety of backgrounds ranging from environmental activists, social anthropologists, photographers, writers, and more. A few of the big names that will be on hand include Greg Mortensen, author of Three Cups of Tea, National Geographic Explorer in Residence Mike Fay, who once walked 2000 miles across Africa, and America’s top mountaineer, Ed Viesturs, who has summitted all fourteen 8000 meter peaks without the use of supplemental oxygen.

If you would like to attend the Mountainfilm Festival, which runs from May 28th-31st, there are a wide variety of options when it comes to buying passes, including excellent discounts for students and teachers. More information can be found by clicking here. The Mountainfim website also has good information for travelers who are planning to attend, with details on the best ways to travel to the town and where to stay when you get there. That information can be accessed by clicking here.

But if you’d really like to get involved in one of the best adventure film festivals anywhere on the planet, perhaps you’d consider volunteering. Volunteers have the opportunity to help make this one of the best events around, and earn themselves passes to attend any of the films being screened and take part in the other wonderful events that will be taking part that weekend.

And if you simply can’t make it to Telluride in May, then keep an eye on the Mountainfilm on Tour page, where they’ll announce dates for when the films will be arriving near you.

Summit Day on Everest!

After several false starts, over the past week or so, Summit Day has finally arrived on Mt. Everest, with dozens of climbers reaching the top of the highest mountain on Earth earlier today. Summit Day is the culmination of weeks of preparation that includes a process of acclimatization that prepares the climbers for their final push to the top.

Typically, Summit Day begins late at night, with the mountaineers setting out from Camp 4, located at 26,000 feet, around midnight or so. They’ll climb throughout the night, hoping to top out the next morning, reaching the summit in daylight. Once there, they’ll spend 20-30 minutes at the summit, taking photos, resting, and enjoying the view, before turning back down the mountain. They know that getting to the top of the world is only half the journey, and a successful climb isn’t complete until they are safely down.

Amongst the climbers who reached the summit of Everest today are Ed Viesturs, whose return to the mountain we wrote about awhile back, and Peter Whittaker of the First Ascent Team. For Viesturs, this is his seventh trip to the summit of Everest, and adds to his already impressive resume that includes him being the only American to reach the summit of all fourteen 8000 meter peaks, doing so without the use of supplemental oxygen. For Whittaker, this is his first Everest summit on his third attempt.

Congratulations to all the climbers for a job well done!

Update: The summit teams from earlier today are all safely down the mountain and resting at Camp 4 before completing their descent to base camp. More teams headed to the summit today.

Ed Viesturs, America’s Top Mountaineer, Returns To Everest

Yesterday we mentioned that Kathmandu has become a very busy place this week as climbers and trekkers heading to the Himalaya arrive in the city before setting out on their various adventures in the more mountainous regions of Nepal. Amongst those making the journey once again this year is Ed Viesturs, who many consider to be America’s premiere mountaineer.

Viesutrs has a long, and storied career climbing mountains, and has topped out on some of the most famous peaks in the world, including Rainier, Denali, and of course Everest, which he’s successfully summitted six times. Back in 2005, on his third attempt at the mountain, Viesturs added Annapurna to his resume, completing his Endeavour 8000 project, which was a decade long mission to reach the summit of the world’s 14 8000 meter peaks. Not only did Ed finish this task, becoming the first, and to date only, American to do so, he topped out on each of the mountains without the use of supplemental oxygen.

After finishing the Endeavour 8000 project, Ed vowed to retire from climbing the big peaks, saying that he had accomplished everything that he had ever hoped to do on those mountains, and for a time, his attention was drawn to other adventures. But the lure of the Himalaya is strong, and Viesturs is once again in Kathmandu, planning to make an attempt on Everest, and claim his seventh summit on the world’s tallest mountain.

For this attempt, Ed is part of an all-star team of climbers, that includes Dave Hahn, who has 10 Everest summits to his credit already, and Peter Whittacker, son of legendary climber Lou Whittaker and nephew to Jim Whittaker. The team was put together by gear manufacturer Eddie Bauer, who are launching a new line of outdoor gear uner the First Ascent label.

There will be few teams on Everest with as much experience as this one. But they’ll have to still go through the same process if they hope to successfully reach the top of the mountain. Over the next few weeks they’ll be acclimatizing, establishing their high camps, and preparing to make their summit bid. With any luck, Viesturs will soon be adding another chapter to his already substantial legend, standing at the Roof of the World for the seventh time.