BLOG: Why Mountain Media is Important

After a hectic weekend at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival (KMF), I find myself flung back in to my home life of DIY, work and dreaming of climbing. Once again I’m back from the festival with a head full of ideas of where my next adventure may lie.

As a much younger climber I had little time for events like KMF. “I’d much rather be out on the mountain than stuck in a pub talking about being on a mountain.” was my thinking.

Pete Waite-shores, my first alpine climbingpartner from many years ago, shown year on the crux of Vent du Dragon this autumn. Climbing again with Pete after a 10 year hiatus was fantastic, and one thing it showed me was how much we have both changed in the intervening decade. Older, yes. Wiser, maybe not! Actually, yes, we are both certainly wiser than the young alpinists almost freezing to death in the deep winters of the early 2000's.
Pete Waite-shores, my first alpine climbing partner from many years ago, shown here on the crux of Vent du Dragon this autumn. Climbing again with Pete after a 10 year hiatus was fantastic, and one thing it showed me was how much we have both changed in the intervening decade. Older, yes. Wiser, maybe not! Actually, yes, we are both certainly wiser than the young alpinists almost freezing to death in the deep winters of the early 2000’s. This time round I wasn’t climbing in motorbike gloves for a start!

But now I realise that films, books, photographs, facebook posts, guidebooks, topos, articles, they are all important to our sport. Sometimes they inspire, sometimes they really don’t, but the concept of sharing of information, of ideas, and of the beauty of the mountains is important.

I’ve written literally hundreds of articles, and I’ve climbed hundreds of routes too and I look back on both with a similar eye. They often blur in to one. Maybe I just need glasses! Anyway, I’ve forgotten many routes I’ve climbed, and I’ve forgotten many articles I’ve written. But some routes, and some articles will always be special to me.

A couple of years ago a friend climbed the Brandler-Hasse route on the Cima Grande in the Dolomites. Arriving on a ledge they found a small cache, left by some previous climbers. In that cache was a print out of an article I wrote in June of 2007. It was the first article I put together for UKClimbing.com, and when I heard that someone had printed the article and used it around five years later, I was pleased and proud.

The same thing happened this year, a different friend came across another article of mine, this time stashed in the Argentiere Hut, beneath the Courtes North Face. Again I felt pleased and also proud, and to be honest I had forgotten I had even written that one!

 Jack Geldard on the summit of Les Courtes. An old photo this one, taken by Adrian Jebb. Our ascent was nothing special to the wider world of climbing, but we had an adventure and a lot of fun. I remembered the route but not the article I wrote some years later, although the article was probably more useful to other climbers!
Jack Geldard on the summit of Les Courtes.
An old photo this one, taken by Adrian Jebb.
Our ascent was nothing special to the wider world of climbing, but we had an adventure and a lot of fun. I remembered the route but not the article I wrote some years later, although the article was probably more useful to other climbers!
Thanks Aide for the good times.

So where am I going with this ramble? 

Media makers out there – it has never been easier to ‘share your passion’. The internet has married almost cost-free publishing with the possibility of reaching a potentially endless audience. But before you write your article, or post your photograph – just think for a second; “Why?”.

Does your post inspire, inform, entertain or educate? What is the purpose of your film? Why are you telling this story? Is it for yourself, or is it for your audience, whoever that may be.

There is nothing wrong with vanity publishing of course (look at this blog!), but the media that stands the test of time will be that which grabs the viewer with both hands and drags them out of their seat and on to the mountain. That which shows them the stunning vista from the summit of a remote peak, and gives them a hint on how to get there themselves. Or that which shows and then inspires in others the true determination and human spirit needed to achieve the seemingly impossible.

So I say this: Climb a mountain and write an article or make a film. But try and include at least a little bit of ‘look at this’ as well as a good bit of ‘look at me’. I dare you!

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