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Mountain Air


Overview

Mountain Air is a podcast about outdoor people. In this series, produced especially for UKHillwalking, Dan Aspel talks with a range of fascinating interviewees, from unlikely adventurers and high achieving enthusiasts, to dedicated professionals in the outdoor industry. Each episode focuses on a different individual with a unique tale to tell. They all have one thing in common: a love of places high, wild, and free.

4. Renan Ozturk on the Sanctity of Space

In the latest episode of Mountain Air, we sit down with Colorado-based Renan Ozturk to discuss his new film "The Sanctity of Space", the allure of Alaska, and his early days as a dirtbag climber.

Traversing the Moose's Tooth  © The Sanctity of Space
Traversing the Moose's Tooth
© The Sanctity of Space

It's going to be hard to top the experience of drawing our bodies across that beautiful skyline

The film not only celebrates the stunning landscapes of Denali National Park, the Alaska Range and the film-makers' carving of a new skyline route across the Moose's Tooth peak (3150m), but also pays heartfelt tribute to legendary explorer and aerial photographer Bradford Washburn, whose life's work provided inspiration for the entire project.

 

But there's time for more than that too. Renan - a sponsored expedition climber, landscape artist, and previous "National Geographic Adventurer of the Year" - has had a busy career so far. You may recognise him from his previous film projects "Meru" and "Sherpa" (both 2015), or perhaps from his back catalogue of arresting mountaineering photography.

If you always save half your dinner, you're never going to run out of food

Possibly you're one of his million-strong Instagram followers, or you met "dumpster diving" at Trader Joe's in southern California, or he offered you a lift in the "technobago" whilst you were both enjoying your dirtbag climber phase. But don't worry if not, this interview will provide the perfect introduction either way.

"It's such a random storm of luck and opportunity that's led me here"  © Renan Ozturk
"It's such a random storm of luck and opportunity that's led me here"
© Renan Ozturk

All this and much more in Mountain Air, episode four:

Washburn's stunning work inspired Renan to make the film  © Bradford Washburn
Washburn's stunning work inspired Renan to make the film
© Bradford Washburn

Podcast timestamps

00:00 - Introduction

03:05 - Welcome

04:14 - "The Sanctity of Space" - Brad Washburn, the sharing of exploration, finding an antique plane, "feeling the magic" in Washburn's camera

11:20 - "I think what he created still stands up against the highest resolution digital cameras"

11:59 - Gyro-stabilised gimbals

15:33 - The Moose's Tooth: "… it's going to be hard to top that experience of drawing a line with our bodies across that beautiful skyline."

18:40 - "The factors are always stacked against you in the mountains"

19:11 -  Top backcountry tip: "...just as long as you always save half your dinner, you're never going to run out of food"

20:30 - The allure of Denali National Park: "there aren't many places in the world that are as alive as the Alaska Range"

26:13 - The challenges of film-making: needing "the same optimism you have when you're doing a climb"

26:58 - "It's impossible to answer the question of why you climb, and why you suffer, and why you put yourself in these crazy situations… as artists we always want to package it in different ways where the art itself answers the question, these images give people heart-palpitations or goosebumps in a way that you can never do in a conversation at the bar."

28:48 - Growing up in Rhode Island, discovering mountaineering at College, "I wasn't one of these kids that grew up with ​​Yvon Chouinard as an uncle"

32:30 - The "technobago", a duffel bag, a backpack, an "endless summer" of climbing for seven or eight years

34:00 - Painting, not "struggling with technology", dragging a 10ft long canvas around the landscape of Nepal

39:15 - "Dumpster diving" in Trader Joe's in southern California, career thoughts

44:07 - Greatest mountain memory: the end of the Mooth's Tooth traverse "moving for some 30-odd hours… hallucinating without drugs… the summertime in Alaska where it doesn't really get dark"

46:00 - All the time, money, freedom… what do you do? "I'd still be doing what I'm doing now. It's such a random storm of luck and opportunity that's led me here"

With cumbersome equipment he created photos of incredible detail  © Bradford Washburn
With cumbersome equipment he created photos of incredible detail
© Bradford Washburn

Washburn's Alaska work is suffused with a sense of vast scale  © Bradford Washburn
Washburn's Alaska work is suffused with a sense of vast scale
© Bradford Washburn

When you discover a big climb that's never been done, it's kinda like falling in love..."


Mountain Air

Mountain Air podcast is made, recorded, hosted, edited, released and occasionally sworn at by Dan Aspel (he didn't, however, do the theme tune). Dan has teamed up with UKHillwalking to produce a new series, his second, and we'll be publishing regular episodes over the next few months. You can listen to the ten episodes of his first series here:

Website: mountainairpodcast.uk

Instagram: @mountainairpodcast

Twitter: @MtnAirPod

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