Rival Antarctic explorers headline 2013 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival

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Banff, Alberta, September 16, 2013 -- It wasn’t the first time a wily Norwegian had beat close rivals to the South Pole (see Amundsen, Roald), but it was probably the craziest. In 2011, while long-distance ocean-kayakers James Castrission and Justin Jones were at the mid-point of attempting the first unsupported ski across Antarctica from Hercules Inlet to the Pole and back, they were surprised to find Norwegian explorer Aleksander Gamme on the same airplane headed for the same journey (“You’re doing great!” he said to them enroute, over the howl of gale-force winds). The expedition became even more memorable when, after 87 days, Gamme waited so the three of them could cross the finish together.   

On November 1, Jones (also known as Jonesy) will share the stage with Gamme at the 2013 Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, to talk about rivalry, friendship, and the unexpected noble gesture. It’s one of dozens of events over nine days that marks the largest festival of its kind, a gathering of filmmakers, photographers, writers, adventurers, conservationists, and fans for screenings, talks, readings, and exhibitions.  

Other special guests slated for the 2013 Festival, October 26 to November 3, include Australian adventurer Tim Cope, who returns to Banff October 27 with the companion book to his epic film series On the Trail of Genghis Khan, which tracked his three-year nomadic journey across the Eurasian Steppes. On October 31, legendary mountaineer Apa Sherpa, the first person to summit Everest 21 times, a conservationist and educator, will be in conversation with Canadian author and adventurer Bruce Kirkby. Climber and high-altitude physiologist Dr. Tom Hornbein, whose first ascents include Everest’s West Ridge in 1963, will sit down with local writer, climber, and psychologist Geoff Powter for the popular Voices of Adventure interview series on November 1.  

In 2012 Catalan climber Silvia Vidal spent 32 days solo on the 1300-metre face of the Serrania Avalancha in Patagonia, in pursuit of another big wall solo ascent and new route. On November 1, she’ll be in Banff with stories and pictures from a few of her big adventures. Cecilie Skog was the first woman to complete the explorer’s “grand slam”, getting to both Poles, and standing atop the highest peaks on all seven continents. In 2008 she summited K2 with her husband, Rolf Bae, who was killed on the descent on what would become one of the deadliest days in mountaineering history. Skog will present her story in To the Ends of the Earth at the Festival on November 2.  

Also appearing on the 2nd, English climbers Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall, known also as the Wide Boyz, will share their stories of completing the first free ascent of the most difficult off-width wall crack known, Utah’s Century Crack.       

Created 38 years ago, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The Festival 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 extreme sports as presenters and speakers. More than 60 films will screen during the nine-day festival, and an international jury will award over $50,000 in prizes.   

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About the Banff
Mountain Film and Book Festival:
 Created 40 years ago,
the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its
kind in the world. The Festival 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 extreme sports as presenters and
speakers. More than 80 films screen during the nine-day festival, and an
international jury awards over $50,000 annually in prizes.  

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Thousands of artists, leaders, and researchers from
across Canada and around the world participate in programs at Banff Centre
every year. Through its multidisciplinary programming, Banff Centre provides
them with the support they need to create, to develop solutions, and to make
the impossible possible. Moving forward, the Centre will disseminate the art
and ideas developed in Banff through initiatives in digital, web, radio, and
broadcast media.