Telluride Mountainfilm: The Climbing Life

Telluride Mountainfilm: The Climbing Life

Telluride Mountainfilm 2016, like all Mountainfilms past, means Telluride’s summer season of chockablock festivals is off and running. Established in 1979 Mountainfilm was named by Moviemaker in 2015 as one of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals. The one-of-a-kind weekend is dedicated to preserving and protecting endangered people, places, and ideas, using film and talks to move individuals to action. Mountainfilm’s theme is “Celebrating the Indomitable Spirit,” an example of which is Mike Libecki, subject of the film “Poumaka,” writer of the following blog: “The Climbing Life: An Incurable Addiction.”

Note: Mountainfilm 2016 is nearly sold out. Go here to purchase your pass now. You snooze, you lose.

It used to be something I joked about with friends and family. But now, at age 43, it’s time to just come out and say it: I’m obsessed with remote, first-ascent climbing expeditions. Maybe even addicted, yes, addicted, that’s better. Each year, I plan multiple exploratory trips to unclimbed rock formations in remote and harsh environments. At some point, there’s always a choice: go or don’t go. And I always go — knowing there will be suffering. Knowing I could die (well, not really, what I do is 100-percent mathematically safe). Even knowing I will leave my 13-year-old angel of a daughter, Lilliana, for months at a time (though she’s going with me on some trips and has been to 17 countries and all seven continents). I believe anything worth doing takes compromise and sacrifice.

So far, my “exp-addiction” has led to more than 65 expeditions in almost 100 countries. My goal is to complete 100 expeditions by the time I reach 100 years in age. And it all dates back to a day when I was just 6 years old.

It was 1979, at my home in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, less than an hour’s drive from Yosemite National Park: My first expedition began on a normal Saturday morning after hot chocolate, Honeycomb cereal and Bugs Bunny cartoons. I had seen mountain lions sneak into the woods on my two-mile walk to the school bus stop, so I grabbed my Red Bear bow and arrow and pump pellet gun and went to find one of these wild cats. I headed off into the forest without telling anyone where I was going.

Amazingly, I did see a mountain lion that day (with two cubs).

Continue reading here.

And watch the trailer for “Poumaka” here:

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