With Kendal Mountain Festival just around the corner, another round of films, talks and beer will be on tap. But the question remains: who can you expect to rub shoulders with at the bar this year? Who can you embarrass yourself in front of as you drunkenly ask them to sign your beermat/down jacket/face?
We've compiled a list of ten interesting, fun and quirky characters who will be speaking and socialising at KMF this weekend. Well, there are eleven actually, but the Wideboyz surely count as a single unit...
Since we're a climbing website and Adam Ondra is the climber of all climbers, it'd be a shame to miss Mr 9c in the Town Hall on Friday 17th November, 18.00 - 19.30. The 23-year-old Czech was the first person to send 9c (he has done more than thirty 9b climbs, more than anyone else by a long shot); he boulders V16, and he's won three World Cup gold medals and two World Championships. Hear from the man himself in this talk.
Identifying feature: A mop of curly dark hair floating above the sea of downjackets. Possibly hanging from the rafters in an attempt to keep in shape.
Canadian author Bernadette McDonald is one of the most lauded climbing and mountaineering writers of our time, with a particular interest in biographical writing and mountain culture. Her latest book Art of Freedom: The Life and Climbs of Voytek KurtykaA is shortlisted for the 2017 Boardman Tasker Award (to be announced at KMF on Saturday, 13:00-17:45) and well worth a read. Hear Bernadette talk about working with Voytek and taking on the daunting task of writing about this enigmatic climber on Saturday, 15:30 -17:00.
Identifying features: A wine-maker and talented musician, Bernadette might just be the one getting the party started at the Brewery Arts Centre this weekend.
The Wideboyz - Pete Whittaker & Tom Randall
The Homeboyz are back in Kendal town on Friday, 14:30-16:00 where they will be talking about Monster Cracks. A recent trip to the States to tackle some futuristic crack lines was comparitively unsuccessful, but as ever the Wideboyz logged the experience as masochistic training motivation for their next trip. Apparently, you can expect 'tall tales and even wider cracks.' Make of that what you will...
Identifying features: This inseparable pair could well appear in fancy dress. Don't be fooled by their previous guises: bananas, octogenarians or Minions.
Returning to KMF this year is Mr Dawn Wall, AKA Tommy Caldwell. His Boardman Tasker shortlisted book The Push will be the focal point of his visit this year. This gritty memoir follows Tommy's journey from his adventurous childhood under the influence of his bodybuilder father, through to being held hostage in Kyrgyzstan to completing the Dawn Wall and beyond. Join him in the cosy Malt Room on Saturday, 19:30-21:00.
Identifying features: Gnarly dude in checked shirt with half an index finger missing. He has a beer sponsor, so don't think about buying him a pint, as much as you'd love to.
Fanny Schmutz is an experienced climber and alpinist who is also an Aspirant Guide at the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix. Last year, Fanny had a successful trip to India. Climbing with partner Elodie Lecomte, she reached the summit of Bhagirathi III (6,856m) in the Garhwal Himalaya, via the Scottish Pillar on the Southwest Face. Fanny will be speaking as part of the Black Diamond Alpine session on Saturday, 9:30-11:30.
Identifying feature: Gnarly French woman who overtook you on that alpine route in Chamonix.
New York based music photographer Jim Herrington broadened his focus to a different kind of rock star in the last 20 years: climbing and mountaineering legends of the Golden Age. Join Jim in the Malt Room with a beer on Friday, 21:00 - 22:30 to hear stories from his rock 'n' roll days and of time spent with mountaineering heros and heroines. Jim swapped Dolly Parton for 'Dirtbag' Fred Beckey, Keith Richards for Chris Bonington and Morgan Freeman for Gwen Moffat to shed light on some rock stars and thespians of the climbing theatre.
Identifying features: The well-dressed guy who isn't wearing a down jacket, with thick-rimmed glasses and slicked-back hair. Will probably have a Leica around his neck and Dolly Parton as a date (unconfirmed).
Steph spends most of her life covered head to toe in mud: you guessed it, she's a caver! Steph is leader of the Ario Caves Project with her partner Mike Bottomley. She has been exploring the fascinating and stunning underworld of her homeland Ireland, the UK and Europe all her adult life. With a drink inside her you will be sure to hear her Irish accent extolling the virtues of cave exploration loudly across the bar. See Steph on Sunday 19th, 9.30 - 11.00 at The Ario Dream - Special Film Screening in Paul Diffley's latest offering, or in the Petzl Underground session.
Identifying features: Scrubs up better than you'd expect for a caver, so don't be fooled by her smartly dressed appearance and smooth Irish lilt.
Swiss alpinist Dani Arnold is very fast and very strong. He climbed the north face of the Eiger in just 2 hours and 28 minutes, free-soloed 1,115 feet on the Breitwangflue in Switzerland in a mere 27 minutes and soloed the legendary Matterhorn north face in just 1 hour and 46 minutes. Fitting, therefore, that he should be taking part in the Mammut Mountain Speed Session on Sunday, 13.00 - 14.30.
Identifying features: The guy with a musical Swiss accent who moves quickly. Don't blink, or you'll miss him.
Amy Gigi Alexander
Writer, artist and geocultral explorer Amy Gigi Alexander is Editor-in-Chief of Panorama Journal, a British literary journal with a modern take on travel. Amy will be leading a discussion about why mountains captivate us in a session titled Imaginary Mountains - Why Mountains Capture Our Minds on Saturday 17:30 - 19:00 alongside Helen Mort, Nahida Esmail and Ed Douglas.
Identifying features: Arguably the most well-travelled person in the room, with many a tale to tell from her adventures around the world.
Ed a highly respected voice in mountaineering and climbing writing. His latest book, The Magician's Glass - currently shortlisted for the 2017 Boardman Tasker Award - is a collection of eight recent essays exploring the paired themes of talent and tragedy, ambition vs failure, performance vs art and ego vs humility within a wider study of character and fate in the mountaineering world. Join Ed at his event The Magician's Glass on Sunday, 10:30 - 12:00 and at the Imaginary Mountains session on Saturday.
- Read our UKC interview with Ed.
Identifying features: The guy waiting in a corner for people to 'duff [him] up for something [he's] written'.
Additional KMF flora & fauna:
- Andy Kirkpatrick
A staple of the Kendal scene, don't miss the European premiere of his biopic Psycho Vertical: The Andy Kirkpatrick Story.
- Niall Grimes
A KMF stalwart, festival funnyman Niall Grimes will be hosting the popular BMC TV Breakfast Club session with films, fun and therapy for your hangover on Sunday morning from 11am.
- UKC/Rockfax team
Yes, you'll get to meet us in person (scary!) and you better believe that we're not virtual beings. We'll be at our stall in the Basecamp Village tent selling discount Rockfax guides, giving app demonstrations and graciously accepting any
compliments criticisms about the site.
- The greater spotted Beanie-and-Down jacket-wearer
Despite sweltering temperatures at the Brewery Arts Centre, these individuals still feel the need to hold onto their identity as a climber and are prepared to suffer for their cause, even if it means melting into a sweaty, feathery mess on the floor. The lesser spotted variety - often short adults and kids - often drown in the sea of down and rarely surface until outside of the building.
UKC's very own Offwidth will probably be in the bar again. He said he's buying you all a round.
Kendal Mountain Festival is an award-winning event that has grown in size and diversity over the last 17 years. It is also the main social event for outdoor enthusiasts in the UK. Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts plus media industry specialists, athletes, top brands & equipment manufacturers, artists, photographers, adventurers, explorers and inspirational speakers gather every year to share adventures and celebrate the very best in outdoor and adventure sports culture.
- Book tickets on the KENDAL MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL SITE
- DIGITAL FEATURE: Humans of Climbing: Volume 1 15 Feb
- ARTICLE: 10 Climbing-Specific New Year's Resolutions 2 Jan
- QUIZ: UKC Christmas Climbing Quiz 2017 25 Dec, 2017
- REVIEW: The Ogre by Doug Scott 22 Dec, 2017
- ARTICLE: The Yule Log(book) - A Christmas Ticklist 22 Dec, 2017
- INTERVIEW: Molly Thompson-Smith on her 2017 Season 14 Dec, 2017
- INTERVIEW: Andy Pollitt & John Redhead - Who Shot JR? 23 Nov, 2017
- ARTICLE: Holding on to Waste? A Very Rubbish Climbing Event 20 Nov, 2017
- DIGITAL FEATURE: Jim Herrington - Capturing Rock Stars of the Golden Age 9 Nov, 2017
- INTERVIEW: Reading Between the Lines - Bernadette McDonald 1 Nov, 2017