Kendal Mountain Festival - What's On and Why You Should Go

This weekend is the Kendal Mountain Festival - the biggest and best annual gathering of climbers, mountaineers and hillwalkers in the UK. In case you missed it, here is a reminder of the main attractions this year. There are still tickets available to some events.


For a preview of some of the blockbusting films that are also on show, have a look at this KMF Film Preview Article

For more info on the Mountain Equipment Pub Quiz on Friday evening, check out this article.


Fred Beckey, Ines Papert, Liv Sansoz, Paul Rose, Robert Jasper, Leo Houlding, Gordon Stainforth, Tom Randall, Pete Whittaker, Karen Darke and now British Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, Tim Emmett, Will Gadd and what's this? Irish comedian and hill walker, Ed Byrne is now appearing at this years Kendal Mountain Festival.



Alistair Brownlee and brother Jonathan are appearing at the adidas Terrex Endurance Session on Friday., 154 kb
Alistair Brownlee and brother Jonathan are appearing at the adidas Terrex Endurance Session on Friday.
© Brownlee collection

The Kendal Mountain Film Festival has been on the go since 1980 when John Porter, Jim Curran and Brian Hall initiated this annual celebration of climbing and mountaineering. It ran until 1985 and then returned from 1999 onwards. Read on for the full scoop on this years Kendal Mountain Festival.

This year the Kendal Mountain Festival - a mix of films, lectures, interviews and exhibitions; and of course socialising - starts Thursday, 15th November and runs until Sunday, 18th November. Make sure those dates of this annual tribal gathering are in your diary.

Whilst climbing and mountaineering is at KMF's core, it now features a whole spectrum of adventure sports: snowsports, watersports, flying and adventure racing. There really is something for everyone.

Before Clive Allen, one of the directors of KMF, introduces what is on we have a couple of news flashes.


Tickets Are Now Available Online

Importantly you can now peruse the four day programme and buy tickets online at

Or call 01539 725133.


Campers Welcome

Secondly, KMF have organised a campsite for those looking for a budget alternative to staying overnight. Keep your eye on this page for details.


Four Olympians At KMF


Big News just in is that the Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, will be appearing at KMF courtesy and on behalf of their sponsors, adidas, who along with Mountain Equipment, are now a the major sponsors of KMF.


“We still can't believe that we've got not 1, not 2, but 4 olympians/paralympians coming this year Josh Dueck, Karen Darke and the Brownlees!” KMF Tweet.

Wide Boy Tom Randall does Century Crack, 130 kb
Wide Boy Tom Randall does Century Crack
© Alex Ekins

Wide Boyz Premier

You definitely need to be there on Friday night when things get busy. First up will be the world film premiere of Wide Boyz, the latest Hotaches Films release documenting Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker's inspirational trip across the USA searching out the widest, dirtiest and hardest offwidths that this planet has to offer. The London Metro said, “Jammed in a Crevice”. The Daily Mail said, “They've Cracked It” and The Star stated “It's Tough at the Top”. We say, “Don't miss it!”. Tom and Pete plus filmmaker Paul Diffley will be on stage to describe the adventure.





Marmot Night: Robert Jasper


Next up is Marmot Night, with John Horscroft again presiding over events. This year Marmot is bringing the star in their European stable of sponsored athletes, Robert Jasper. The German ice and mixed specialist is renowned for climbing outrageous lines, in particular an obsession for the North Face of the Eiger which he has climbed 16 times including the first ascent of currently the Eiger's hardest route Symphonie de Liberté 8a (X-). Robert will also talk about his recent adventurous ascent of the 'Shark's Fin', Monte Giordano in Tierra del Fuego's Cordillera Darwin.




Mountain Equipment Pub Quiz

Last year's inaugural Mountain Equipment Pub Quiz was a night to remember. Kendal at its best; funny, anarchic and slightly out of control. Once again this year Andy Kirkpatrick is at the helm, while topics will range far and wide - including some rounds that may have nothing to do with mountains! Teams of six, with around 20 tables available, book early to avoid disappointment.




Karen Darke

Saturday continues the blockbuster theme with Berghaus taking over the Brewery's theatre for the evening, for two big draws. First Karen Darke describes her journey as an outdoor addict, paralysed from the chest down after a climbing accident, finding new ways to access the outdoors. Handcycling across mountains, kayaking 1,200 miles of the Alaska coastline and climbing El Capitan in Yosemite. All perfect preparation for being selected as part of the British Handcycling Team for the London 2012 Paralympics.



Autana: Leo Houlding and friends do Venezuela, 184 kb
Autana: Leo Houlding and friends do Venezuela
© Alastair Lee/Posing Productions



Leo Goes Nuts In Venezuela

Earlier this year, top adventure climber (and Kendal patron) Leo Houlding hatched a plan; to make a first ascent on a Venezuelan tepui, approaching through thick jungle and climbing the wall ground-up in the best possible Heart Of Darkness style. And speaking of style, there to record the epic was adventure filmmaker extraordinaire Alastair Lee. Fighting through 100% humidity, 35-degree heat and torrential downpours combined with mosquitos, flies and the menace of tarantulas, scorpions and snakes the team forged a 400m route graded E6 6b, A1. The film is called Autana and for the Festival, Leo and Al present lots of behind-the-scenes stories and action, deleted scenes and bloopers including a 'Behind the Trees' rib-tickler where filmmaker Al Lee does an on-stage character assassination of the rest of the crew. Not to be missed!


Adding to speakers already announced – Fred Beckey, Ines Papert, Liv Sansoz, Paul Rose, Robert Jasper, Leo Houlding, Tom Randall, Pete Whittaker, Karen Darke etc - there's a big new list of people to get excited about.




Ines Papert on the classic 8a/+ crack of Super Cirril, Ticino, 192 kb
Ines Papert on the classic 8a/+ crack of Super Cirril, Ticino
© Kendal Mountain Festival Collection
Ex-world champion and 8c+ climber Liv Sansoz, 222 kb
Ex-world champion and 8c+ climber Liv Sansoz
© Kendal Mountain Festival Collection
Fred Beckey - Photo by Blake Harrington, 246 kb
Fred Beckey - Photo by Blake Harrington
© Kendal Mountain Festival Collection
Paul Rose - Photo by Ian Kellet, 76 kb
Paul Rose - Photo by Ian Kellet
© Kendal Mountain Festival Collection

Ed Byrne, 110 kb
Ed Byrne, hill walker and comedian is instantly recognisable from regular appearances on Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week, Have I Got News For You, dozens of other TV and theatre performances plus his sell-out stand up tours. He is at KMF on Sunday


Andy Cave, Tim Emmett and Will Gadd

There's the UK's favourite ex-miner, alpinist and author Andy Cave bringing us up to date on his latest projects, including a short film from top filmmaker Alastair Lee. The UK's most enthusiastic climber and adventurer Tim Emmett is fresh back from a climb/BASE expedition to Trango Tower and brings us the story, with contributions from Liv Sansoz who joined him on the trip. Another of Tim's partners in adventure, ace Canadian alpinist Will Gadd, talks about his 'Survival Strategies for High-Risk situations' although Tim may butt in when Will gets onto their joint ascent of Helmcken Falls, billed the hardest ice route in the world.





Jim Blyth

Mountain guide and ski-mountaineer Jim Blyth has skied every continent - as he says, “If an area is safe and has mountains and snow, it needs to be skied!” Jim talks about putting turns in where few others do, from Mongolia to Chile, Lebanon to Argentina, Iceland to Japan.




Comedy and Hill Walking With Ed Byrne

And now for something completely different. Ed Byrne, the Irish comedian (Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week, Have I Got News For You etc) is big hillwalker and general outdoor enthusiast and was keen to come to Kendal on the proviso that they found him a sensible, level-headed person to share the stage with. So they've teamed him up with Andy Kirkpatrick. What could possibly go wrong?



Finally for now, news that many Festival–goers will applaud is that camping will be available for the first time for both tents and camper vans – more details on the Festival website.

White Water, 175 kb

Kendal's Specialist Sessions focus on specific outdoor sports, bringing the best speakers and films together

This year's Santa Cruz Bike Session features MTB endurance rider Rob Dean, young World Cup hero Josh Bryceland and that's not all - we are honoured to welcome homegrown filmmaking legend Alex Rankin with a can full of cinematic surprises plus an audience with master skill-smith Chris Akrigg - BMX, Trials, Single track or downhill, you name it he can do it better than most.

Coming across especially from Whistler for the Haglofs Snowsports Session, the 'Godfather of free skiing' Mike Douglas is one of the most influential people on snow. Douglas spent the first part of his career skiing moguls on the World Cup circuit before turning to the backcountry, big mountains, and now filmmaking – his much-anticipated new film Tempting Fear will see its European premiere at Kendal. We will also have the skier and star of the film Andreas Fransson and skier producer Bjarne Sahlén on stage to talk about the story behind the film.

The KEEN Wild Water Session is back! An exclusive mix of the best paddlesports action, from wild river running to remote sea kayak expeditions, this year featuring top new films plus one of Ireland's top paddlers, Adrian Durrant. Adrian competes and coaches whitewater and freestyle, as well as high-performance coaching for K1 Sprint, Marathon, WWR and Slalom disciplines. Adrian is the current Irish Freestyle Chairman and Team Manager.

The adidas Terrex Endurance Session promises two big draws. Headlining the event will be the 'Famous Brownlee Brothers' - fresh from their success at London 2012. Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee will give us insights and stories from that famous day in London and what makes them the dominant force in world triathlon. The Dojo will be buzzing! Plus Kath Jackson and two Kendal Mountain Rescue colleagues will set out during the Session to attempt a circumnavigation of the team's area boundary in under 24 hours, biking, running and kayaking the 175km - progress will be live tracked during the Festival.

Finally the Ozone XC Free Flight Session features everything new and best in the world of paragliding and BASE, hosted as ever by top Lakes flier Jocky Sanderson. Jocky will also present the first ever showing of his superb new 'Security in Flight II' with unseen behind the scenes insights and footage from this 2 year project. Mike Cavanagh will present his views and tips for XC flying in the UK plus his latest news and trends from the business end of the Free-Flight industry.


Dates are 15-18 November with tickets available now.


The Kendal Mountain Festival 2012

Kendal Mountain Festival, 74 kb


The dates are 15-18 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.

New this year is a camping field with basic facilities - more info.

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.

Kendal Mountain Festival Sponsors 2012, 51 kb
Kendal Mountain Festival Sponsors 2012

Gear News and Outdoor Industry News at UKC and UKH presents climbing, walking and mountaineering equipment and stories that will be of interest to our readers. They are not gear reviews and are provided by companies that advertise with UKClimbing Limited. Please feel free to comment about the stories and products on the associated thread.