Banff Mountain Film Festival

Just got back from my weekend away for the Banff Mountain Film Festival.  I saw the film tour last year when it came to Calgary and was really impressed with the quality of films.  So this year I bought my tickets early and decided to see it in Banff.

The best evening show that I saw was an interview with Peter Croft and Alex Honnold.  Timmy O’Neill was interviewing, or more appropriately ‘joking’, with the two about free soloing.  One of the questions Timmy asked that I found really interesting was how both of them dealt with fear in relation to free soloing.  Both said that when they free soloed they weren’t scared.  Which begged the question, then what does scare you?  Alex’s response was probably the best:  spiders and the ocean.  Ah, a man after my own heart.   Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to enjoy a tropical beach or two but there’s something about sand and salty water together that can rub me the wrong way (pardon the pun!).  They’re ok for sitting on to read books and/or wading but I’ll pass on the swimming.  And spiders… don’t get me started there!

One of the other things that came up during the discussion was how Alex & Peter dealt with climbs that didn’t go according to plan.  Both admitted that there were numerous times they either backed out of climbs before starting or downclimbed if they weren’t feeling it.  I won’t lie – it was a relief to hear that even they have “off” days.  This summer I felt a lot of pressure to be on top of my game every time I went out.  Some days the climbing didn’t happen for me and I really beat myself up about it.  It’s reassuring to hear that this is something even experienced climbers deal with.  Or in other words, “misery loves company” (haha).

A few of the other highlights from the festival were the the films “The Asgard Project” (climbing a big wall in the Canadian arctic), “Point of No Return” (Johnny Copp & Micah Dash’s last climb) and of course “The Swiss Machine” featuring my favorite poster boy alpinist Ueli Steck.

Only downside of the weekend was being in this gorgeous mountain town and -ironically- spending the whole time sitting watching movies about other people enjoying themselves in the mountains.  Looks like I know where I’ll be heading this weekend …