Rockies locals shine at Banff Mountain festivals

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It’s the largest mountain culture festival in the world and it’s happening in Banff this week, running through Sunday (Nov. 5).

The 42nd annual Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival features 82 films, selected from 382 entries from 36 countries, and includes Living With Wildlife, by Canmore filmmaker Leanne Allison, which played on Oct. 29.

It also includes 28 book competition finalists – narrowed down from 171 entries from 11 countries.

Audiences will be treated to films, photographs and live presentations by some of the most accomplished mountain adventurers, conservationists, filmmakers, writers, photographers and storytellers from around the world, and this year’s lineup includes an impressive roster of local Rockies and Bow Valley talent too.

Alongside featured presenters Sir Chris Bonington, U.K. climber Nick Bullock, biologist Doug Chadwick, alpinist Tamara Lunger and arctic adventurer Sarah McNair-Landry, these highly accomplished locals will share their own books, songs, adventures, images and interviewing talents.

Thursday (Nov. 2), 2 p.m.

World-class alpinist and part-time Canmore resident Steve Swenson presents his book, Karakoram: Climbing Through the Kashmir Conflict.

A veteran of more than 20 expeditions to Asia, including ascents of K2 and Everest without supplemental oxygen, Swenson shares tales from high-altitude climbs set against the backdrop of harsh conflict between China, India and Pakistan for control of Kashmir in his new book, Karakoram.

Nov. 2, 4:30 p.m.

Rockies climbing writer and historian Chic Scott hosts his popular Old Style Storytelling event, featuring tales from Cochrane-based MD, humanitarian and adventurer Bill Hanlon; Canmore climber, author and Gripped magazine editor, Brandon Pullan; Canmore Olympic cross-country skier Sara Renner; Rockies personality Bridget Jones (wife of guiding pioneer Ken Jones) and Banff resident Jim Thorsell, senior advisor for World Heritage at the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Friday (Nov. 3), 10 a.m.

Canmore climber, author and interviewer par excellence Geoff Powter continues his delightful Voices of Adventure series with U.S. author and climber David Roberts. Among the best known and most prolific climbing writers of his generation with 28 books and hundreds of magazine articles to his credit, despite coping with Stage IV throat cancer, Roberts continues to write and contribute to climbing literature.

Nov. 3, 12:30 p.m.

Multi-award-winning Banff author Bernadette McDonald presents her latest (award-winning) book Art of Freedom: The Life and Times of Voytek Kurtyka.

Considered one of the greatest alpinists of all time, Polish climber Kurtyka’s visionary approach resulted in numerous renowned ascents, including what many have dubbed the ‘climb of the century,’ an unrepeated alpine style ascent of the Shining Wall on the West Face of Gasherbrum IV.

Nov. 3, 4:30 p.m.

Words and Wine: A Mountain Reading

Canmore resident, doula and singer-songwriter Julia Lynx will mesmerize and entertain at this popular reading/wine tasting event.

Also featured is long-time Canmore resident Sharon Wood, first North American woman to climb Mount Everest – in 1986, by a new route that remains unrepeated, and without any high-altitude Sherpa support. In addition to having founded Mountain Gate Community School, Wood is a skilled and talented writer.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes as audiences take in all those films, books and stunning photographs, kudos go to competition jury members, including Canmore climber and professional photographer Crista-Lee Mitchell (photo essay competition), and Rockies alpinist and writer Ian Welsted (book competition).

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