Mountainfilm: Very Special Guest Rick Ridgeway!

Mountainfilm: Very Special Guest Rick Ridgeway!

The stoke is at an all-time high as Mountainfilm returns to an in-person festival over Memorial Day weekend in Telluride, May 26 – May 30, followed by After the Fest Online, May 31 – June 7.

Mountainfilm 2022 boasts 128 films, including 23 world premieres during its first fully in-person fest since 2019.  Special guests include renowned mountaineer and environmental activist Rick Ridgeway. Rick’s latest book, “Life Lived Wild,” is a memoir. Please scroll down to listen to his podcast. And you can purchase or order the book at or at Telluride indie bookstore Between the Covers.

Passes for both the in-person festival and After the Fest Online are now available for purchase here.

How to Mountainfilm (includes avoiding the lines by reserving programs in advance) is here.

Passholder reservation dates are as follows

Special Guest – (8) Advanced reservations – Opened May 11
Ama Dablam – (8) Advanced reservations – Opened May 11
Palmyra – (6) Advanced reservations – Opens May 16

The full schedule is here.

Go here for more on Mountainfilm.

Mountaineering legend Rick Ridgeway, a special guest at Mountainfilm 2022.

“The best journeys in life are those that answer questions that at the outset you never thought to ask,” Rick Ridgeway.

Young Rick Ridgway started out his life of mountaineering (and land and water adventures in general) as a fun hog. Sport for sport’s sake, with the inherent thrills and chills and the discovery of remote places that comes with the package. But “sport” evolved into “support” for Mother Earth, thanks to the likes of Doug Tompkins, Yvon Chouinard, scientist George Schaller, Tom Brokaw and others, who collectively helped shift Rick’s focus from adventure alone to focus on the fate of the planet and the twin threats of climate change and extinction. Because it had become abundantly clear to all that the beauty of the natural real world they loved was fast becoming increasingly degraded.

From adventurer to advocate (and still, adventurer), Rick’s journey is in tandem with the evolution of Mountainfilm, which began as a fraternity of gonzo mountain jocks, but widened its lens big time (under former director Rick Silverman) to include the preservation of endangered places, peoples and ideas.

Today Mountainfilm is dedicated to celebrating indomitable spirits like Rick Ridgway and turning talk into action to protect what remains of our planet’s wild things.

In other words, Rick Ridgeway is a poster child for the Festival, where he returns as a special guest and author. Among other topics, Rick will be talking about his latest (and seventh book), a memoir, “Life Lived Wild: Adventures at the Edge of the Map,” which features 25 stories over its 424 pages, including over 150 photographs.

“At the beginning of his memoir ‘Life Lived Wild: Adventures at the Edge of the Map,’ Rick Ridgeway tells us that if you add up all his many expeditions, he’s spent over five years of his life sleeping in tents: ‘And most of that in small tents pitched in the world’s most remote regions.’ It’s not a boast so much as an explanation. Whether at elevation or raising a family back at sea level, those years taught him, he writes, to distinguish matters of consequence from matters of inconsequence. He leaves it to his listeners, though, to do the final sort of which is which,” raved Amazon.

But more than the stories of path-breaking adventures and adventurers like Chouinard, Tompkins and Jimmy Chin “Life Lived Wild” is a love story embracing family, friends, and the natural world. Also a great introduction to a historic moments in environmental conservation with lessons in how to deal with loss.

Many credit Ridgeway for defining the era of adventure and exploration, setting the bar for future generations. Among those impacted by Ridgeway’s legacy is Jimmy Chin, climber and Academy Award-winning director of “Free Solo.” Rick invited Jimmy on his first National Geographic expedition and showed him how to film and tell a good story.

“I have always viewed Rick’s life with awe, admiration and wonder,” Jimmy says. “How could one person achieve so much in one life? Rick is a master storyteller and weaves his unimaginable life’s lessons into gifts to be passed on so we may all understand how to live life fully.”



Rick Ridgeway, more:

Rick Ridgeway,photo by JimmyChin.

Rick Ridgway is an outdoor adventurer, writer and advocate for sustainability and conservation initiatives, who started his life of adventure at age 18 when, in 1978, he joined a group of friends to sail a small boat to Tahiti.

Over the next half-century, Rick went on to enjoy (and survive) more adventures across the world than most of us could ever imagine.

After about a decade on the road visiting remote places where he and his fellow travelers were often the first Westerners on site, Rick met met Yvon Chouinard who in turn introduced him to North Face founder and iconoclastic environmental activist Doug Tompkins, remembered for his conservation initiatives throughout South America. The three legendary outdoorsmen, mountaineers, and conservationists became the core of the self-styled “Do Boys.”

“We don’t just talk about doing stuff,” Chouinard is widely quoted as saying. “We do it.”

In 2005, in his 50s, Rick joined Chouinard’s Patagonia company to run its sustainability and environmental initiatives. For 15 years, Rick worked as VP of Environmental Affairs and then VP of Public Engagement at Patagonia, Inc. While at the company, the mission statement he helped to hatch was “Save Our Home Planet.”

Rick also was founding chairman of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, developer of the Higg Index, today the largest apparel, footwear and home textile trade organization in the world.

Rick retired from his role as Vice President of Public Engagement at Patagonia in 2020.

It should go without saying that Rick is still recognized as one of the world’s foremost mountaineers. With three companions, he was the first American to summit K2, the world’s second highest mountain at 28,251 feet. And he did that without aid of an oxygen tank. That prompted Rolling Stone to describe the man as “the real Indiana Jones.” And, of course, Rick went on to complete other significant climbs and explorations on six continents.

To date, Rick has written seven books, including the best-selling “Seven Summits” about the attempt of two businessmen, both amateur climbers, to reach the world’s tallest peaks. His six mountaineering classics include, most notably,  the aforementioned “Seven Summits” (Grand Central Publishing, 1988); “The Shadow of Kilmanjaro” (Holt, 1999); and “The Big Open” (National Geographic, 2005). Rick also penned numerous magazine articles and made over 30 documentaries.

In 2008, National Geographic honored Rick Ridgeway with its “Lifetime Achievement in Adventure” Award.

“Life Lived Wild” was released by Patagonia in October 2021.

At the beginning of the fully illustrated book, Ridgeway calculates he has spent over five years sleeping in tents in faraway regions of the world. Subsequent chapters cover news-making adventures like the first American ascent of K2; the first direct coast-to-coast traverse of Borneo; the first crossing on foot of a 300-mile corner of Tibet so remote no outsider had ever seen it. He candidly shares unbelievable highs and lows that come with a life devoted to exploration – from mountaineering firsts across six continents, painful bouts of frostbite (once still recovering during an NBC “Today” show appearance), to a chance encounter in Kathmandu where he met his beloved wife Jennifer.

Yes in “Life Lived Wild” also Rick writes intimately about the joys and challenges of raising a family back home at sea level.

“Mountaineer and environmentalist Ridgeway delivers a thrilling account of his life spent exploring the far reaches of the globe. He captivates with harrowing tales of his mountaineering exploits over the past few decades, including his role as part of the first American team to summit K2, the world’s second highest mountain, in 1978. In describing that brutal experience, he narrates his thought process while struggling to breathe in the thin atmosphere: ‘Lift a foot. Look at that crescent in the snow up ahead. That’s my goal… Dizzy again, don’t panic, breathe it out.’ He also pays tribute to those who ventured out with him, including Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and his professional partner, Jonathan Wright, whose death in an avalanche is recalled in gut-wrenching detail. Other extraordinary encounters include filming a climb in the Amazon rainforest with the help of the region’s Yanomami tribe, who — at the time, in the early ’90s —  only recently been encountered by anthropologists (‘I had seen a human acting as pure Homo Sapien, an animal among other animals’). Perhaps most memorable is Ridgeway’s consistent sense of wonder at nature: ‘the beauty of the untamed world… had become a foundation for all our lives.’ Readers will be left in a similar state of awe,” raved Publisher’s Weekly.

“It is hard to imagine my life if I hadn’t met Rick Ridgeway. Rick invited me on my first National Geographic expedition and taught me how to film, but more importantly he shared how to tell a good story. In ‘Life Lived Wild’ Rick recounts the most poignant moments of his legendary career as an explorer, climber and conservationist, but mostly, as an extraordinarily observant and compassionate human being. He captures the essence of a lifetime of storytelling,” said Jimmy Chin.

In the world of corporate sustainability, Rick is emeritus board member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and on the board of its for-profit arm, HiggCo. In conservation, he serves on the boards of Tompkins Conservation, the Turtle Conservancy, One Earth and the Kiewit Family Foundation.

Rick now lives in Ojai, California, and has three children and four grandchildren.

“I find abiding satisfaction in knowing that whatever years I have remaining, I will use them to do what I can to safeguard what remains of the wild places of my cherished home planet,” Rick concludes.

Go here for more about Rick’s views on activism.


1 Comment
  • Arlene Burns
    Posted at 12:27h, 26 May

    What wise and wonderful words. I am sorry to miss the tribal gathering this year and really appreciate the glimpse from afar.

    I very much look forward to reading Rick’s book!

    Thank you Susan!