Aaron Rice was a couple years out of college, ski bumming through winters and scraping together work over summers, but getting sick of resort crowds and feeling a little aimless, like he needed to pick a direction. The direction he eventually settled on: Up. Rice set out to become the first person to ski 2.5 million human-powered vertical feet in a year, which is the equivalent of climbing from Everest Base Camp to the summit over 200 times. Through fatigue and injuries, excursions to South America and storms, he climbed and skied. Along the way, he learned a lot about self-determination, grit and what’s possible if you set your mind to it.
After becoming the first American to summit an 8,000-meter peak in winter — a harrowing experience that was the subject of the film Cold (Mountainfilm 2011) — Cory Richards’ career as a climber and photographer took a sudden upward trajectory. He began shooting regularly for National Geographic, became a prominent North Face athlete and set out on expeditions to places like Myanmar, Antarctica and Botswana with some of the biggest names in the sport. But as his star rose, his personal life unraveled into divorce, addiction and depression. In this unflinchingly honest presentation, Richards will chart a journey through PTSD, mountaineering, personal growth and professional development. From Everest to Africa, his visual narrative will illuminate our connectedness and examine the nature of risk, consequence and the unlikely manifestations of reward.
In Person: Cory Richards
David Breashears: Rivers of Ice
When David Breashears was a young boy, he saw a picture of Tenzing Sherpa on top of Mount Everest in a book, and that image sparked a passion that ended up steering his life. Today, Breashears’ career is so entwined with Everest that his name is nearly synonymous with the mountain. In 1983, he transmitted the first live television footage from the top of the mountain and two years later, became the first American to reach the summit more than once. He is well known for guiding Dick Bass to the top of Everest, thus completing Bass’ ascent of the Seven Summits, and was filming on the mountain during the infamous blizzard of May 10, 1996, that left eight climbers dead. The accomplished filmmaker has more than 40 projects under his belt, including the IMAX film Everest and Storm Over Everest. He has deep ties to Mountainfilm that go back to the festival’s early days, including a stint on the board. Breashears is also the founder and executive director of GlacierWorks, a nonprofit that uses art, science and adventure to raise public awareness about the consequences of climate change in the Greater Himalayan Region. Breashears’ presentation, “Rivers of Ice,” will examine climate change and its impact on glaciers of the greater Himalaya, illustrated with super high-resolution photography.
In Person: David Breashears