Mountainfilm Blog

Mountainfilm's blog has evolved quickly and steadily to become the engine that drives 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.

Celebration and Loss for the Alagados Project

In 2008, Mountainfilm in Telluride screened the short documentary Alagados, which tells the story of a charming young Brazilian man named Renato Santos who has enormous potential and a penchant for living on the edge. “Alagados” means "flooded" in Portuguese and is the name of the tough neighborhood where Santos and his family dwelled. The film ends on a hopeful note, but director Sylvia Johnson was clear in her Q&A at Mountainfilm that she was concerned about the future of her main character. Unfortunately, her worries were validated late last week as she relates in the following note:

Friday March 22, 2013, was a day of celebration for the Alagados Project. On the day of her 29th birthday, Joice [one of the Alagados Project scholarship students] received her college degree and celebrated her graduation. It was a major milestone for her, the Project, and the community, and we couldn't be more proud of her.

Rules of Thumb for Eco Drinking

Buying local and organic food is now de rigueur for many people, but what about alcohol? Firewater doesn’t get as much ecological press as food, but the majority of Americans do imbibe, averaging roughly four drinks per week (according to a Gallup pole on the subject from August of 2012, which we suspect is skewed toward the low side because how many Americans report honestly about their drinking habits?). The challenge is: If you don’t have a winery, brewer or distillery down your street, what’s the greenest booze for the liquor cabinet?

Thankfully, Mother Jones did the homework for us a while back in a story titled “Which Kind of Booze is Best for the Planet?” Based on this article, we offer the following few rules of thumb:


Helmet Cams = Painful Videos

Yard sale. Auger. Rag doll. 

For many, that’s an innocuous set of words, but for skiers, it can spell doom. Falls, however, invariably happen in the sport when pitch, gravity and the slightest error combine to send one tumbling ass over teakettle.

And now with the abundance of helmet cameras, people record these falls to watch in perpetuity. So brace yourself for two nasty falls: one by a snowboarder and another by an ice climber.

The snowboarder and his group got in, admittedly, over their heads and made some bad decisions. Then as you can clearly see, it gets worse (especially around 2:09), although astonishingly, he was unhurt.

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.