Our Top Picks for Kendal Mountain Festival

© Kendal Mountain Festival

This year's edition of the Kendal Mountain Festival has almost begun, with a line up of fantastic adventure films, top guest speakers from the outdoors world, and free events throughout. The team at Kendal HQ have done an incredible job of curating four days of adventure and discovery, and we've chosen our top picks from a stacked schedule.

Here are our top picks for the festival:

Damian Hall & Rob and Craig Matheson

Damian Hall - We Can't Run Away From This

Thursday 17th November, 5pm

I've spoken to Damian a few times over the years, often about his impressive running achievements; however, I'm going to be gratefully sitting in the audience for this one, where he's going to be talking about something a little different. His new book 'We Can't Run Away From This' isn't an autobiography, it's a toolkit aimed towards making us better understand the environmental impact we have within the running that we do, looking at kit, food, travel and much more - then going on to suggest how simple changes can make a massive difference.

CLICK HERE to buy tickets

Rob and Craig Matheson

Saturday 19th November, 7:30pm

Maybe I'm a bit biased about this one, not least because I'm a big fan of both the Mathesons, but also because I'll be the one sat opposite them on stage asking the questions. Rob's (aka. Angry Pensioner Productions) latest '50 Years On' films seem to have resonated with a lot with people, partly because they feature such classic routes, but also because of how unbelievably psyched Rob is to get out and about, repeat them, and seemingly do so with ease. Craig is similarly inspirational, as his thirst for top level new routing throughout the Lakes seems to know no end. This culminated in the first ascent of Hard Cheese (E10 7a) earlier this year, which features a jaw-dropping level of difficulty (in/around French 8c) coupled with an unfathomable level of commitment required. The familial banter they have is something pretty special too!

CLICK HERE to buy tickets

The Last Forgotten Art, a film by Jessie Leong

Jessie Leong - Film Collection: Climb - Red

November 17th, 8pm
November 18th & 20th, 12pm

Inverted crack climbing at Ramshaw  © Jessie Leong @jessielphoto
Inverted crack climbing at Ramshaw
© Jessie Leong @jessielphoto

It's hard not to be swept up by Jessie Leong's passion for climbing and the characters that make our climbing community special. Despite being a relatively new face in the world of climbing media, Jessie's latest film 'The Last Forgotten Art' - shown as part of the Montane Film Collection: Climb - Red - delivers a heartwarming, feel-good, crack climbing experience.  She spends a warm summer's day following three crack-climbing enthusiastic friends around Ramshaw in Staffordshire who are trying to complete a legendary 'Cracker's Dozen'!

CLICK HERE to buy tickets

Stephanie Case, Seb Berthe & Paul Pritchard

Stephanie Case - Film Collection: Rise Up

Sunday 20th November, 12:30 p.m.

Stephanie Case.  © UKC Articles
Stephanie Case.

In 2012, Canadian human rights lawyer and ultra-runner Stephanie Case was working for the UN in Afghanistan and fundraising for a local women's shelter via sponsored races. When women asked her about taking up running, she realised how the sport could empower women and girls in their ultra-conservative country and founded Free to Run, a non-profit developing female leaders in conflict regions through adventure sports. Stephanie is one of those people who seemingly manages to juggle many things while helping others in the process and still managing to achieve personal goals. 

The film Free to Run follows Stephanie as she trains for and competes in the TOR450, the gruelling 450km Tor des Glaciers trail race in the Valle d'Aosta. In August 2021, Stephanie and the women in her care face a devastating challenge as the Taliban return to power in Afghanistan. She fights to maintain Free to Run's operations and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the women and girls supported by the non-profit and - despite the emotional turmoil - surpasses her own expectations in the TOR450 just one month later.

CLICK HERE to buy tickets

Seb Berthe - Patagonia Climb Session

Sunday 20th November, 12:30 p.m.

Sébastien Berthe: style first.  © Damien Largeron
Sébastien Berthe: style first.
© Damien Largeron

Seb started climbing at the age of 7 and has won multiple national titles in Belgian competitions and has participated in over 50 IFSC international events. On rock, he's redpointed 9a, freed The Nose and more recently ticked pretty much every hard multi-pitch in Europe. Alongside his passion and talent for climbing, Seb has competed at national level in trail running, athletics and triathlon events, becoming Belgian champion in a half-marathon event in his early twenties. He's also sailed across the Atlantic and speaks out on environmental issues.

While this CV might conjure thoughts of a serious sportsman, Seb has an excellent sense of humour and can often be witnessed wearing tight and bright clothing on his climbs, accompanied by inflatable animals. His session will inspire and make you laugh in equal proportions.

CLICK HERE to buy tickets

Paul Pritchard - The Mountain Path: A Climber's Journey Through Life and Death + Boardman Tasker Awards

Thursday 17th November, 9 p.m.

Paul at home on Kunanyi, Tasmania  © Matthew Newton
Paul at home on Kunanyi, Tasmania
© Matthew Newton

British mountaineering legend Paul Pritchard is touring his fourth book, The Mountain Path. The book begins and ends with ascents of the Totem Pole in Tasmania, 18 years after he had a devastating brain injury on the sea stack which left him hemiplegic. Despite his physical impairment, Paul refuses to consider himself disabled and has an inner strength and optimism that few manage to muster. His philosophical approach to life and ciimbing is a core theme of both his latest book and his latest presentation. The Mountain Path is also shortlisted for the 2022 Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature, which will be announced at an event on Friday evening at 7 p.m. (tickets here).

Paul premiered his new talk at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Banff, Canada earlier this month, which ended in rapturous applause and a standing ovation. You won't want to miss it at Kendal!

CLICK HERE to buy tickets to The Mountain Path event

Molly Thompson-Smith, Roxy Furman, & Zofia Reych

Molly Thompson-Smith - Petzl RocTrip - World Premiere Feature Film + Special Guests

Friday 18th November, 7:30pm

At just 25, Molly has been at the top of the British and international climbing scene for more than a quarter of her life. With multiple IFSC Lead podiums to her name, a third place finish at this year's British Bouldering Championships, and outdoor ascents up to 8c sport and 8B boulder, Molly's climbing ability on both plastic and rock is clear to see. That's not to say it's always been smooth sailing though, from struggling with the absence of mixed-race role models in climbing and being singled out due to her race, to recovering from three ruptured pulleys in a single finger (click at your own risk - pulley surgery is not pretty!) Molly has shown resilience and determination to forge her way to the top of the sport, and stay there.

Despite being back on the road to recovery - this time from a badly broken ankle - Molly will be up in Kendal for a number of sessions, including the Petzl RocTrip - World Premiere Feature Film, where she'll be talking about a trip to Manikia in Greece, where a group of world class climbers came together to develop new lines in an area of uncharted potential.

CLICK HERE to buy tickets

Roxy Furman - Roxy Furman presented by Jack Wolfskin and WaterBear

Friday 18th November, 2pm

Award-winning wildlife filmmaker and zoologist Roxy Furman brings two films to Kendal, both of which revolve around a deep and long-held love for nature and conservation. Shot in Mexico, the two films focus on two very different subjects. The first of these is the largest fish in the ocean, the whale shark. In this film, Roxy explores the impact of ecotourism on the whale sharks of the Yucatan Peninsula, and how the right balance between ecotourism and conservation is yet to be found. Her other film looks upwards, focusing on the spider monkeys of the Mexican jungle, and following Dr Anja Hutschenreiter as she explores the extent to which these monkeys and humans can coexist.

This event features a further two films from Jack Wolfskin and free-streaming service WaterBear, which explore the function of wolves in rewilding our world, and the lives of a family living deep in the wild of the Carpathian Mountains.

CLICK HERE to buy tickets

Zofia Reych - Born to Climb

Saturday 19th November, 6:15pm

Zofia has a life-long love affair with the mountains: 'As soon as I could walk, my mother packed her walking boots, a huge bag full of things apparently necessary for toddlers, our dog and my three-year-old self, and headed to the mountains'. Now, as a climber, anthropologist, and founder of Fontainebleau's annual Women's Bouldering Festival, Zofia is well placed to guide us through the cultural history of rock and competition climbing, from its origins in the eighteenth century, through the rise of climbing legends such as Wolfang Güllich, and to the dawn of climbing as an Olympic sport, and the superstars of climbing today.

In conversation with Imogen Sykes, Zofia walks us through the fascinating past of rock climbing, and draws our focus to the areas that are all too often overlooked.

CLICK HERE to buy tickets

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