In this era of ever-finer specialization in mountain sports, the Banff Mountain Festival remains a refreshing celebration of all things mountain. The annual event, held every fall at the spectacular Banff Centre overlooking Banff, Alberta, has become the world’s gold standard for adventure festivals.
This image, a 35mm slide I snapped in Argentine Patagonia, has been chosen as the Signature Image for the 2010 Banff Mountain Festival.
The image was captured during an outrageous trip that included climbing three first ascents, surviving a 100-year storm in Patagonia, and watching Argentina's economy collapse from a Buenos Aires hotel window. A story I wrote about the expedition was selected for publication in the anthology Adrenaline 2002, The Year's Best Stories of Adventure and Survival.
To get the shot, I jumped across first and crouched on the icy floor of the shallow crevasse. This gave me a terrifying angle on my partner, Jared Ogden, making the leap. Like many adventure photos, the reality of the situation was not as bad as it appears. The crevasse is only a couple of metres deep, and fall would likely have resulted in little worse than a sprained ankle. However, with the granite wall above, the cloud patterns and peak in the distance, the textured walls of ice, and the un-posed action of the climber, this is the photo I have taken that best captures the electric emotion of adventure.
It is an honor to have the image selected to represent such an iconic celebration of the mountains. This honor follows my first book, Bugaboo Dreams - a story about Canadian Mountain Holidays, mountain guiding in North America, and the invention of heli-skiing and heli-hiking - which was a finalist in the 2008 Banff Mountain Festival.
The Banff Mountain Festival is an extraordinary event. Located in the heart of Banff National Park, surrounded by vast tracts of wilderness and the summits of the Canadian Rockies, the Banff Centre is a world leader in collaboration and research in the arts and culture, whose mission is “Inspiring Creativity”. The Festival highlights the best speakers, books and films telling stories of philanthropy and intercultural problem solving, hair-raising tales from the cutting edge of adventure sport, and the often beautiful and sometimes violent human interaction with the natural world.
The 2010 Banff Mountain Festival will run from October 30th to November 7th, and will attract 10,000 people from all over the globe. As in past years, attendees will be able to choose from over 30 events, including the year’s best adventure films, readings from legendary adventure authors, presentations by prominent adventure personalities, shopping in an unsurpassed adventure book collection, and a trade show featuring the latest and greatest adventure products.
If you cannot make it to the event, check out the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour.