Reinhold Messner to attend 2019 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival

BANFF, AB, September 26, 2019 – Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival is excited to announce mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner will be attending the 2019 Festival. The Great Peak: 150 Years Climbing History, is his latest film and will screen as part of the Festival evening program on Thursday, October 31. Along with the Book Awards and a presentation by Canadian climber Sharon Wood, the evening will include an on-stage interview with Messner following the screening of his film.

Messner is one of the most prolific mountaineers of his generation. He was the first person to climb Mount Everest solo, and along with Peter Habeler was the first to summit without the use of supplemental oxygen. He was the first mountaineer to complete ascents of all fourteen 8,000 metre peaks without supplemental oxygen, a feat that took him 16 years to complete. He is also known for the first ascent of the difficult Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat where tragically his brother died on the descent. In 1989, he completed a 2,800 kilometre overland crossing of Antarctica on skis, and 15 years later succeeded on a 2,000 kilometre journey across the Gobi Desert on foot. 

He has written more than 75 books, and in 2006 he established a museum committed entirely to mountains and mountain culture. More recently, Messner has turned his hand to filmmaking. Still Alive, a documentary about an extraordinary rescue on Mount Kenya, was screened at the 2017 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival. 

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Reinhold Messner attending this year’s Festival. Messner is truly an icon of the global climbing community and he is a pioneer of mountaineering ethics. It is wonderful that we are able to have him join us as a last minute addition to our already inspiring program.”

– Joanna Croston, Festival Director, Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival

The 44th Annual Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival takes place from October 26 – November 3, 2019 at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. Over nine days, the Festival showcases tales of remote journeys, groundbreaking expeditions, and remarkable achievements, told by adventurers, photographers, authors, and filmmakers from around the world. Over 100 films will be presented with North American and World Premieres. Film finalists will be announced by October 4.

Highlights include personal appearances by: Polish mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel, US climber Sasha DiGiulian, Swiss adventurer/explorer Sarah Marquis, US mountaineer/writer Mark Twight, Canadian climber Sharon Wood, and mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner.

Schedule Highlights:

October 26 – Climbing Through Barriers

Panel discussion featuring climbing mentors Kai Lightner (professional climber), Mikhail Martin (Brothers of Climbing), Erynne Gilpin (Indigenous Womxn Climb) and Bethany Lebewitz (Brown Girls Climb) who are all working to bring diversity to climbing and bridging gaps so that we can celebrate an outdoor community where everyone is included. Hosted by James Edward Mills.

October 31 – Sharon Wood, Reinhold Messner, and Book Awards

In 1986, as part of a Canadian team, Sharon Wood became the first woman from the Western Hemisphere to summit Mount Everest – and the first woman in the world to do so via a new route from Tibet and without Sherpa support. She brings to Banff her latest book Rising, which is steeped in six decades of life experience rich with adrenalin, change, reflection, and humility.
We are thrilled to announce that Reinhold Messner will be attending this year’s Festival and will screen his new film, The Great Peak: 150 Years Climbing History, as part of this program. Geoff Powter will conduct an on-stage interview with Messner following the screening of the film.

November 1 – Sasha DiGiulian

Sasha DiGiulian has spent her life on rock. Climbing since the age of six, she now has a long list of accomplishments to her name including Best Female Overall at the World Championships. She’s the first North American woman to climb 5.14d, has completed groundbreaking multi-pitch routes, and has accomplished over 30 first female ascents. Recently she completed the “Canadian Trilogy” – ascents of Castle Mountain, Mount Louis, and Mount Yamnuska, all 5.14 big walls in the Canadian Rockies. The World Premiere of the film The Trilogy will be followed by a presentation and on stage interview with Sasha.

November 1 – Sarah Marquis

When Sarah Marquis was eight, she left with her dog to spend the night in a cave without telling anyone – and so her journeys began. She walked more than 16,000 kilometres over three years, beginning in 2010 in Siberia, across Asia and then across Australia, scrounging for water in the desert and surviving dengue fever alone in the Laos jungle. Sarah returns to Banff to share her latest walking adventure to the edge of the earth, a remote traverse of Tasmania she attempted in 2018.

November 2 – Andrzej Bargiel

Andrzej Bargiel traded two table tennis paddles and a pocket knife for his first pair of wooden skis. From humble roots as one of eleven children, he became the three time Polish champion in ski mountaineering, and has skied all the highest peaks in Russia. He is renowned for his cutting-edge ski descents from four 8,000 metre peaks, including an impossible ski descent of K2. This fall he’ll attempt a world record ski speed ascent and descent of Mt. Everest. He joins us in Banff along with his brother, filmmaker Bartek Bargiel, for an on stage interview.

November 2 – Chantel Astorga and Anne Gilbert Chase

Chantel Astorga and Anne Gilbert Chase are amongst the top alpinists in the world. Over four days they made the first female ascent of the 2,700-metre Slovak Direct route on Denali. Following their Alaskan expedition they journeyed to the Indian Himalaya where, along with Jason Thompson, they made the first ascent of the unclimbed Southwest face of Mt. Nilkath. They received a special mention at the 2018 Piolets d’Or for their innovative climb. The dynamic duo joins us on the Banff stage for a look into the tough and unrelenting world of high alpine ascents.

Authors in attendance for this year’s Banff Mountain Book Festival include Craig Childs (Atlas of a Lost World), Frank Wolf (Lines on a Map), Mark Twight (Refuge), Jeff Smoot (Hangdog Days), Kate Rawles (The Life Cycle), Sharon Wood (Rising), Corey Rich (Stories Behind the Images), Mark Synnott (The Impossible Climb), and Caroline Van Hemert (The Sun is a Compass), as well as Book Competition finalists Jenna Butler (Magnetic North: Sea Voyage to Svalbard), Geoff Powter (Inner Ranges), and David Smart (Paul Preuss: Lord of the Abyss).

For more information on the 2019 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival and to view the schedule, please visit

If you’d like to provide media coverage of the 2019 Festival, please submit a media accreditation application form (submissions open until October 1).

For more information and image requests, please contact:          

Jess Green
Media and Communications
Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival
107 Tunnel Mountain Drive
Banff, Alberta
T1L 1H5        

About Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival: Created 44 years ago, Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The nine-day Festival at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Canada, showcases the world’s best films, books and photographs on mountain subjects – climbing, culture, environment and natural history, exploration and adventure, wildlife, and sport – and attracts the biggest names in mountaineering, adventure filmmaking, and explorers as presenters and speakers. An international jury will also award over $40,000 in prizes for films and books submitted to this year’s Festival competitions. 

Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival Partners: The 2019 Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival Presenting Partners are: Rab and Banff and Lake Louise Tourism. The Festival is also sponsored by Deuter, Clif Bar & Company, Mountain House, Oboz Footwear, Yeti, BUFF®, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Kathmandu, Smartwool, NOLS, World Expeditions, Kicking Horse Coffee, Lake Louise Ski Resort and Summer Gondola, and MEC.

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home on Treaty 7 territory in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach.