Base Camp

We are very excited to launch the multi-award-wining film 40 Days at Base Camp on SteepEdge. Canadian documentary filmmaker Dianne Whelan immersed herself in the whirling Base Camp culture of the world’s highest tourist destination to examine our obsession with Everest. Also this week we review four other films that document the human and environmental impact of the oft-proffered mantra Because it’s there’.

40 Days at Base Camp

40 days at Base Camp

‘Because it’s there’ was George Mallory’s response to a  New York Times journalist, who in 1923 demanded to know why he risked life and limb on a foreign hill top: Everest. Mallory perished on the mountain the following year, yet his death did not discourage others from attempting the summit and Everest has become a surreal tourist destination, with a sprawling shanty-town of a base camp at its heart.40 days is the effective duration of the Everest climbing season and also a traditional period of spiritual reflection. Dianne Whelan spent 40 days observing the rituals and routines of Base Camp. The resulting cinéma vérité documentary exposes the strange, controversial and beautiful experiences of today’s Everest pilgrims, and quietly and insistently probes the validity of Mallory’s now clichéd repost. Watch now

Andy Parkin, A life in Adaptation

Andy Parkin

Artist and renowned alpinist Andy Parkin creates location sculptures in the mountains from found and recycled materials, designed in the most part to be obliterated by the environment, the next storm or avalanche.
You’ve had your fun but there is no way you can actually offend anyone by leaving tracks’
Life in Adaptation gives a sensitive insight to the reasons why Parkin continues to seek out both risk and artistry in the mountains, despite a traumatic climbing accident in the Alps.
‘All thought it’s nearly killed me, and it’s killed a lot of my friends, I still owe it such a lot.’
An incredibly personal film. Parkin is one of the most engaged minds of mountain culture. Watch now >>


For six weeks John Bowermaster and his team explored the Antarctic Peninsula by sea kayak, sailboat, foot and small plane, observing up close the fast-changing evolution of one of the most remote places on the planet.
Impacted by climate change temperatures have warmed along the Peninsula faster than anywhere on the planet. During the past 50 years this part of Antarctica has also experienced a boom in tourism and nations are fighting over who owns what as its ice slowly disappears. This National Geographic-sponsored exploration is a one-of-a-kind look at Antarctica from a unique perspective: sea level.Celebrated enviromental filmmaker Pete Mcbride is a key member of the team. His most recent project Chasing Water is also available SteepEdge. Watch now>>

In the Shadow of the Mountain

Prompted by the death of a climbing friend, Hugh Barnard sets out to discover just what drives people to this seemingly selfish pursuit. His quest leads him on a mountaineering trip with Everest climbers Lydia Bradey and Dean Staples, ice-climbing on frozen waterfalls in the far south of New Zealand and on an introspective journey that questions his own and other climbers’ attitudes to risk.The film features stunning footage of climbs from New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Time lapse, aerial and long duration scenic shots allow space for the viewer to fully inhabit the landscape of the film, and so appreciate the strange nature of a deathly but beautiful, and most importantly, spiritual pursuit. Watch now>>


When the work is done

Stand up BMC

Access is an issue assumed by the mantra ‘because it’s there’, yet the growing popularity of some wild places threatens freedom of access as the potential for financial gain is realised by investors.

Stanage, the renowned gritstone outcrop in Derbyshire, UK, is the most popular crag in Britain, perhaps the world, but decisions are being made that could change it significantly. The Peak District National Park Authority is short of money and wants to generate more income, and the BMC are concerned that this could become its priority, over and above conservation and freedom of access.

When the work is done by Guy Van Greuning is a short free film that demonstrates the daily enjoyment a local resident gains from Stanage Edge.

Sign the petition and ensure access for the future.

Watch now for free >>


SteepEdge will be joining up with Vertebrate Publishing to host the Film and Lecture Cafe at the upcoming Alpkit Shakeout, an outdoors festival for all the family held at Thornbridge outdoors centre in the Peak District on the 27th to the 29th September.

Alongside bouldering workshopsmountain bike skills sessions, a micro brewery and pole lathery courses (of course!) SteepEdge will be showing excerpts of our best films, and Vertebrate will be presenting some special guests. Did someone mention ‘Big Ron‘?
Tickets are selling like hotcakes, or cold beers, so get on the Shakeout site quick and book yours.



This week we’ve twinned classic books from acclaimed adventure publisher Bâton Wicks with top SteepEdge films. Watch the expedition footage, read poetry inspired by the first ascent and get the secret beta. Here are five definitive climbing titles and their on-screen companions.


K2 Triumph and Tragedy and The Kurt Diemberger Omnibus


The events that took place on K2 in 1986 have gone down in the annals of mountaineering history. Jim Curran’s K2 Triumph and Tragedy was created from footage he recorded as he attempted follow the British expedition to the North-west Ridge. A severely frost-bitten Kurt Diemberger survived the indescribable conditions of that summer, and his story is related in The Endless Knot, included in his candid three-part autobiography.


The Long Hope and A Dream of White Horses


Edwin Drummond was the first ascentionist of St John’s Head, a wild and remote 1,150 foot sea cliff. In his collection of essays and poems A Dream of White Horses, he narrates the climb as the haunted and claustrophobic vision of an anthropomorphic gull, who watches ‘Ed’ and his companion battle with the sea. In The Long Hope Ed, now in his late sixties, revisits St John’s Head to encourage a challenging free ascent by Dave Macleod.


The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl and Anderl Heckmair, My Life


Heckmair’s 1938 ascent of the North Face of the Eiger was considered one of the finest moments of alpinisim and was duly appropriated by the Nazis, who named Heckmair a hero of the German Reich, much to his discomfort. Also a favourite of Hitler, though perhaps with less complaint was filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, who found fame in the success of her fashionable, fantasy style mountain film, or ‘Bergefilm’, ‘Das Blaue Licht’. Riefenstahl starred as ‘Junta’, a young lady with a mysterious talent for climbing, neatly fulfilling the Teutonic ideal of the courageous, action-oriented woman.The relationship between these two climbers, with disturbingly opposing politics, is revealed in Heckmair’s autobiography, and Ray Muller’s biopic.


Everest the Hard Way and Himalayan Climber


Everest the Hard Way, the classic expedition documentary of the 1975 British Expedition up the South-west Face of the world’s highest mountain, describes the historic summit bid made by Doug Scott and Dougal Haston. Their ascent sparked a revolution, as climbers began to adopt a rapid ‘Alpine’ style of ascent. In his typically understated style, Scott relates his memories of this and other expeditions throughout his career in the beautifully illustrated Himalayan Climber.


Out of Sight and Fontainebleau Bouldering Off-Piste

newFontainebleau-Bouldering 2

Finding the best boulder problems in the mystical forest of Fontainbleau can be a complex business. In the beautifully-filmed Out of Sight, Neil Hart follows a group of the world’s best climbers as they explore hidden boulders in rarely stumbled-upon parts of the forest. The maps and boulder layouts in the guidebook Fontainbleau Bouldering Off-Piste, together with the crucial local knowledge and advice of Jack Godoffe, who features in Hart’s film, are an indispensable aid to unveiling the forest’s secret treasures.


Bâton Wicks is relaunching this autumn, so follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook to keep up-to-date with new editions, new titles and perhaps a film tie-in or two…