Mountainfilm Blog

Mountainfilm's blog has evolved quickly and steadily to become the engine that drives Mountainfilm.org. This steady current of images, words and action carry global news about Mountainfilm themes, issues and personalities. Please join in the conversation, and let us know what you think about the cultural, environmental and socio-political issues and  heroes of adventure and activism that we highlight.

I Will If You Will

Climate change. Plastic. GMOs. Elephant tusks. Refugees. The list goes on, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by today’s issues and wonder where to start. That’s why I Will If You Will, an Earth Hour global challenge campaign, is particularly refreshing.

Earth Hour describes the concept like this: “The idea is simple. Someone makes a promise to do something if a certain number of people commit to take an ongoing action for the environment….”

The action can be big or small, and anyone can participate — “from a kid in a classroom to a president of a nation — to become the inspiration to their friends, family, colleagues and communities by sharing what they’re willing to do to protect the planet."

Here are a few recent examples:

Bicycle Shorts: Two Films for the Die-Hards

The skiing in our home of Telluride, Colorado is exceptional right now, but with the invention of monster fat tire bikes, some locals whiz around the backcountry on two wheels all winter. But even those of us who prefer skis or snowboards with our flakes can’t help but think about bike season, which is just around the corner.

To feed a die-hard bike appetite this time of year, we recommend taking a few minutes to watch two shorts:

1. Racing to the End, where bikers rise at an ungodly hour to poach the L.A. Marathon course, competing on 26 miles of L.A. streets with no traffic.

2. The Man Who Lived on His Bike, in which Guillaume Blanchet eats, sleeps, showers, shaves, works, cooks and even dates — all from atop his man-powered machine.

50 Years on Everest

On May 1 in 1963, Jim Whittaker became the first American to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. He was part of a team led by Norman Dyenruth that made a multi-pronged ascent of the mountain, including a daring route by Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld of the previously unclimbed West Ridge.

Last month, almost fifty years later, the American Alpine Club gathered a few of the surviving members of the expedition in San Francisco to celebrate their accomplishment. In attendance were the expedition leader, 95 year-old Norman Dyenruth, who flew in from Austria; Jim Whittaker (who appeared at Mountainfilm 2009); Dave Dingman, who did not summit but was a key part of the team; and Tom Hornbein, who displayed a jar that held Willi Unsoeld’s toes to the audience. The event was presented by Eddie Bauer, which provided the original gear used by the alpinists.

You x 2

How did you find us on Facebook? Are you a fan of the festival or simply someone who likes our social media content? The reason we ask is that, while we’re grateful for the roughly 5,500 “likes” on Facebook, we'd like to reach more people with our news about climate change, viral behind-the-scenes videos, inspiring art and the other content we share.

Which brought us to the next question: What if each one of you on Facebook convinced at least one friend of yours to like us? That would, obviously, double our readers. Reaching over 10,000 people would be magnificent.

Fresh Guacamole: Oscar Nominee

The 2013 Oscars are over. The press has critiqued Seth MacFalane’s performance as host, and over 100,000 people have watched Jennifer Lawrence on YouTube as she trips on her dress while climbing the stairs to receive her award. But what’s really worth review is the short film Fresh Guacamole, which was nominated for Best Animated Short.

At just 1 minute and 40 seconds long, Fresh Guacamole is the shortest film to have ever achieved an Oscar nomination. We showed it at Mountainfilm in Telluride in 2012, and although it didn’t win an Academy Award for its stop motion animation, the film, which reveals the making of a bowl of guacamole without any food ingredients, is well worth 100 seconds of your appreciation.

What Inspires the Inspired?

From climbers who wiggle up near-impossible first ascents to artists who illustrate cultural or political issues from a new perspective, our guest roster is always filled with individuals who tackle a variety of challenges.

We, and our audiences, find inspiration in their stories, but what inspires the inspired? We offer this quiz to test your mettle. (Answers with links to the sources follow.)


1. Who or what led Paul Watson to devote his entire adult life to the defense of whales and other creatures of the sea?

  • A: Jacque Cousteau
  • B: a boyhood sailing trip
  • C: a whale’s eye
  • D: Saturday morning cartoons

2. Author, environmentalist and climate change activist Bill McKibben found inspiration from…

Hey Mountainfilm, I’d Like You to Meet…

Our festival director, David Holbrooke, often says, “It takes a village to make Mountainfilm.” And if you’re reading this blog, you’re part of the village. We announced the topic for the 2013 Moving Mountains Symposium recently, but we’re still in the planning stage for the festival, so we’d love to hear about the people you admire. Who do you think we should bring to Telluride, Colorado, as a guest for Mountainfilm 2013?

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