Mountains on stage brings the great outdoors to Britain's cities

Mountains on Stage has been running in France since 2013 and following the successful transition over to the UK in 2016, the festival returned for the Summer Edition for the third year in a row. The Summer Edition brings together 5 inspiring documentaries from across the world. Over the course of the evening you follow the exploits of alpinists, base-jumpers, high-wire walkers and even crystal diggers. The film that had the audience the most engrossed was that of 19-year-old American, Margot Hayes, who became the first female to ascend a 9a+ (or a 5.15a) climb. Twice. With the name of a rockstar, she’s certainly on her way to becoming a climbing legend.

 

Surf The Line

For pure, unadulterated joy and video montages to die for, ‘Surf The Line’ is your film. Anicet Leone and Tancrede Melete, who are part of the Flying Frenchies group, decide that it would be a great idea to surf on a zip wire between two cliff edges, 500 metres apart and 500 metres off the ground. The film is touched with tragedy however, as Melete is killed in a training accident. Understandably the project is put on hold as the group come to deal with their grief, but with the blessing of Melete’s wife, they continue to work on the adventure.

Leone speaks of his raw emotions following his friend’s passing, but also of how he could feel Melete’s influence on the project right up to its execution. Many films such as this one only show the million dollar clips, but the real beauty here is when Leone speaks of the risks involved and of how they are managed. 

He says: “Fear is there to protect us by indicating the presence of danger.” But it is once all the risks are controlled or minimised where the Flying Frenchies really have their fun. Surfing down the zipwire at 80km/h in clown outfits, they leave a trail of feathers and base jump off for the grand finale. Aesthetically-speaking, there really is no better film in this Summer Edition.

The Flying Frenchies Surf and BASE Jump From a Zipline

 

Break on Through 

The film charts the progression of climbing, speaking with female climbers who broke records 30 years ago. fast forward to early 2017 where Margo Hayes travels to Spain to tackle the infamous ‘La Rambla’. The two male climbers accompanying her were only able to complete the climb after Hayes, who tackles the face on the first day. Each fall is met by an even greater will to reach her goal. Obsessing over her moves and holds, day in and day out, after only one week in Siurana and with unparalleled skill, determination and sheer positivity, she becomes the first woman to send a 5.15a climb.However, she says: “if someone can do it, I can do it” and ‘La Rambla’ fades into the background, replaced by a new goal. She moves to Aix-en Provence where she links up with legendary climber, Arnaud Petit to tackle another 5.15a; ‘Biographie’. Spending the summer visualizing the route and assessing her moves, she sends ‘Biographie’ in September to the clamour of the climbing world. In the process, she smashes the ceiling for female climbers everywhere in the hope of seeing more women pushing the boundaries of climbing in all of the genres.

 

The Mountain of the Crystal Diggers

Based in Chamonix, the film follows four friends who have a passion for climbing and for finding crystals. In 2015, they discover a crystal oven which transforms their lives. During the following two years they keep returning to the site (a slight crack in the rock face hundreds of metres above the ground) to excavate the mineral by hand, using only chisels. Although the crystals are put on display at Chamonix museum, the film evokes questions about man’s relationship with nature. One of the crystal diggers claims that every year there are hundreds of rockfalls, thus potentially turning the crystals to dust and that with their excavations, they are saving these crystals from ruin. This is a film about passion, friendship and the extraordinary ability for nature to produce sheer beauty.

La Montagne des Cristalliers-Teaser

 

Notes from the Wall

Three friends aim to tackle one of the ‘Big Walls’ in Patagonia’s Torres del Paine region. The wall they choose has only been completed once, but never by free climbing. Taking enough food to last 15 days, the men stay on the wall for 19 days after poor weather and struggle to overcome Pitch 13. Beautifully narration and with a stunning combination of humour, music, teamwork and soul-searching make this film truly unique amongst the others.

Lunag Ri

The story of David Lama and Conrad Anker’s attempted ascent of Lunag Ri (a virgin summit on the border of Neapl and Tibet) is a lesson in setting and re-thinking personal goals. After a unsuccessful attempt the previous year, the two men return to summit the peak but Anker suffers a heart attack and is air-lifted to Kathamandu. Lama, himself half Nepalese, questions his motives after Anker’s heart attack, and attempts to solo climb Lunag Ri. Although he too, is unsuccessful, he speaks about how it is not a question of success or failure, but rather the ability to push your individual boundaries and re-assess your goals.

Eight lucky people won pairs of tickets to the show through Ski Club competitions. Stay in touch with the Ski Club channels so you know when the tickets for the Winter Edition are released! In the meantime, you can read our review of the Winter Edition here