Kendal Mountain Festival 2015: Report

The biggest UK mountain festival is over for another year. This weekend, Kendal was once again the hub for a gathering of outdoor enthusiasts, artists, filmmakers and authors united in a love for both mountains and copious volumes of beer. With headline speakers such as Tommy Caldwell and Catherine Destivelle, hundreds of film screenings, a rejuvenated Basecamp Village and more free events than ever before, Kendal 2015 certainly had a lot to offer.

Kendal Mountain Festival 2015, 192 kb
Kendal Mountain Festival 2015
© Ola Stepien

The film programme was chock-full of a wide variety of genres with appearances from filmmakers and athetes from all over the world. Tommy Caldwell's Saturday night lecture sold-out and was well received by an audience intent on listening to his Dawn Wall adventures, told with a perfect mix of honesty, humour and self-deprecation. A special event marking 150 years of climbing in Chamonix was well attended and saw talks from Sir Chris Bonington, Catherine Destivelle and Jeff Mercier.

UKC's very own Rob Greenwood hosted the Petzl Rock Session. He commented:

"It was a great honour to host this year’s Petzl Rock Session. Neil Gresham did a psyche-inducing presentation on his long road to 8c, featuring some classic pictures of lycra and training/dieting faux pas throughout the 90’s to the devastation of his first 8c (Welcome to Tijuana) being downgraded to 8b+. The presentation ended with a showing of ‘Freakshow’, which documents the first ascent of the film’s namesake at Kilnsey. Nina Caprez kicked her set off with the first UK screening of her film Orbayu, which shows both the highs and lows of hard multi-pitch sport climbing in an alpine environment. What was most interesting was Nina’s attitude and approach, never comparing herself to others and staying focussed on enjoying the process - in her own words you should be having fun most of the time. Finally, Chris Blakeley gave a quick summary of the charity work of The Petzl Foundation and how they have invested several million Euros into projects to do with access, community and safety all over the world."

Tommy Caldwell describes receiving a message from President Obama, 90 kb
Tommy Caldwell describes receiving a message from President Obama
© Alan James

The KMF International Film Competition was won by a variety of nationalities, with British success coming in the form of Operation Moffat - directed by Jen Randall and Claire Carter - which took home both Best Climbing Film and People's Choice trophies, and Tashi and the Monk for Best Culture and Environment Film, directed by Andrew Hinton and Johnny Burke. 91 year-old Gwen Moffat - the star of Operation Moffat and Britain's first female mountain guide - was present at a Q&A session in the Lowe Alpine/Rab yurt in which she amused and inspired the audience with her wit and wisdom.

A busy Basecamp Village
© Ola Stepien

The Basecamp Village replaced the old Basecamp marquee as a more vibrant social hub for the event, combining a new bar and seating area with a stage where free talks and events were on offer almost constantly throughout the weekend. Outdoor industry brands were present as ever in a more engaging and cosy Himalayan village-like set-up, including our very own UKC/Rockfax stand where Rockfax app demonstrations were provided and guidebooks on offer.

Natalie Berry and Martin McKenna take charge of the Rockfax/UKC stall, 90 kb
Natalie Berry and Martin McKenna take charge of the Rockfax/UKC stall
© Natalie Berry

Other fringe events such as the Kendal Film Academy, the Filmmaking Summit, live music shows, art exhibitions and the 10km Trail Race added to the multifarious nature of the festival.

Lots to do at this year's KMF...
© Ola Stepien

WINNERS - KMF International Film Competition 2015

Best Climbing Film: Operation Moffat (Directed by Jen Randall & Claire Carter) 

Best Mountaineering Film: Tom (Directed by Angel Estaban & Elena Goatelli)

Best Adventure & Exploration Film: The Adventures of Dodo (Directed by Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll)

Best Culture & Environment Film: Tashi And The Monk (Directed by Andrew Hinton & Johnny Burke)

Best Adrenaline Film: High And Mighty (Directed by Nick Rosen, Peter Mortimer & Josh Lowell)

Best Short Film: Denali (Directed by Ben Knight)

Best Sound: Freefall (Directed by Aimard Alexandre)

Best Visual: Eclipse (Directed by Mike Douglas & Anthony Bonello)

Grand Prize: K2 Touching The Sky (Directed by Eliza Kubarska)

Judges Special Prize: The Rider And The Wolf (Directed by Nathan Ward)

People's Choice: Operation Moffat (Directed by Jen Randall & Claire Carter)

Film Active winners:

School category: Expedition Club 2015

U15 category: My Open Water Swimming Blog

Family category: We're Going On A Wild Camp

15-18 category: Speed

What were your Kendal highlights? Tell us in this thread here.

For more information on the festival, visit the KMF website.

Watch the trailer of Grand Prize winner K2 Touching the Sky below:



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