Kendal Speaker: Andy Parkin on his latest artwork

Andy Parkin at work on one of his sculptures, 59 kb

This is the fourth in a series of articles about Kendal Mountain Festival speakers. The first was Glen Denny, Yosemite in the Sixties then Chris Sharma, Life At The Top and the third was Jerry Moffat on John Bachar.

Last year the film 'Andy Parkin: A life in Adaptation' won the Judges' Special Prize at the Kendal Mountain Festival and it later went on to win the Best film at ShAFF in March 2009. This year Andy is appearing at three events at Kendal:

The Accidental Art of Mountaineering
Saturday 21 November at 11:30 in The Dojo, Parkside Business Park
TICKET: £7.50. Click to Buy

Spirit or Sport - Panel discussion
Sunday 22 November at 13:30 in the Town Hall, Highgate
TICKET: £10. Click to Buy

Creating Our World - Panel Discussion - Literature Event
Sunday 22 November at 16:00 in the Parish Hall, Kirkland
TICKET: £5. Click to Buy

About Andy Parkin:

Andy Parkin is one of the UK's most accomplished Alpinists. His travels have taken him to the USA, the Alps and into the bigger ranges.

The summer of 1984 saw Andy's life take a dramatic turn. Aged 29, during his mountain-guide training, the rock he was climbing broke. Andy fell without any protection, smashing into the belay ledge. Told by the doctors he was dying, his family flew to his bedside in order to say their final farewells. Through exceptional fitness and his belligerent determination, he fought against the odds and survived.

Unable to climb, Andy rediscovered and rekindled his love of painting and sketching. However, again quite miraculously, Andy gradually rediscovered the ability for cutting edge climbing. Despite permanent disabilities he fought through finally reaching wider recognition in 1994 by winning the Piolet d'Or with Francois Marsigny for his epic climb in Patagonia on Cerro Torre – one of the greatest survival stories of modern mountaineering and a testament to his unquenchable spirit.

Still climbing, he continues to pursue the purest, most aesthetic and risky of styles –solo. His climbing and art have now matured into a wide, diverse creative practise touching many subjects and themes. Andy's media vary from painting to sculpture and site-specific installation, depicting places, people and ecosystems under threat. Major sculptural commissions and solo exhibitions indicate his mature creative voice, one of the most authoritative in his field.

Film Preview: Andy Parkin – A Life in Adaptation

Initially the DVD will go on sale as a special edition boxed with one of these pieces of original artwork created specially for this DVD release.

About the film: Andy Parkin – A Life in Adaptation

'A Life in Adaptation' is a documentary that creatively profiles Andy Parkin's life and work, giving a powerful insight to the life of a remarkable man, regarded as one of the world's finest alpine climbers. Despite suffering a near fatal climbing accident in 1984, when many believed his love affair with mountains was over, Andy learned to climb again. His slow, painful rehabilitation involved painting and creating amazing sculptures of the mountains that nearly claimed his life.

Dominic Green accepting the prize for the Best Film at ShAFF 2009 - Andy Parkin: A Life In Adaptation, 159 kb
Dominic Green accepting the prize for the Best Film at ShAFF 2009 - Andy Parkin: A Life In Adaptation
© Alan James

Through adapting to the demands of his damaged body, Andy's incredible recovery saw him awarded the Piolet d'Or, in 1994. However, in parallel with continued climbing feats, Andy Parkin has become known for his inspirational artwork. A recent commission saw him complete a major, 7-metre high sculpture, which has been installed on the shores of Lake Geneva.

The documentary was shot over 2-years, aiming to reflect the full spectrum of Andy's remarkable achievements. Its co-producer, Dominic Green of Weekday Productions comments: “Our film was a very special collaboration between film-makers, and artist. This enabled us to create a result that gave deeply personal insights to Andy, his life and achievements. It was a journey of discovery for both Andy and the team; the documentary evolved to create an unusual and moving film. We see it having an appeal beyond the climbing and mountaineering fraternity.”

The Kendal Mountain Festival 2009


The dates are 19-22 November and tickets are available now. Book online - - or by phone 01539 725133 - news as it happens at


Easily accessible from the M6 and by train and there are plenty of accommodation options in and around the town but you need to be on your toes as they fill up very quickly over the Mountain Festival weekend.

For all your questions, accommodation and travel needs go to here you will find all the information you should need for your visit to Cumbria, alternatively call the accommodation booking line on 0845 450 1199.

Berghaus logo, 11 kb

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