Tommy Caldwell on the first free ascent of the Dawn Wall in the Yosemite Valley. Photo: Jeff Johnson

Tommy Caldwell on the first free ascent of the Dawn Wall in the Yosemite Valley. Photo: Jeff Johnson

Organisers of one of Britain’s biggest outdoor festivals have lined up a constellation of adventure stars to keep visitors enthralled at the annual event.

Climbers, swimmers, ultrarunners and all-round outdoors athletes will join the bill at Kendal Mountain Festival in November.

Record-breaking mountaineer Kenton Cool, who has summited Everest more times than any other Briton, will be joined by Tashi Sherpa, founder and owner of the Sherpa Adventure Gear, who will update visitors on the situation in his homeland after the devastating Nepal earthquakes.

Heather Geluk who was on expedition at the time will describe her experience. All are active on post-earthquake projects and a special session aims to raise funds. All ticket revenue will be donated to the Help Sherpas Help Nepal appeal.

Also at the festival will be Tommy Caldwell, the Coloradan who catapulted to international fame last year by free-climbing the Dawn Wall on Yosemite’s El Capitan, a feat that hit the headlines around the world with even Barack Obama phoning in his presidential congratulations.

Yet in some way this is the least of Tommy’s achievements; you can find out why at his one-off lecture.

Another speaker at the Cumbrian event is Toby Storie-Pugh, who is planning the first source-to-sea descent of the Congo River by foot. He has motorcycled from Nepal to the UK and from the UK to South Africa and back, summited Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya several times, and climbed Aconcagua in Argentina.

Squash Falconer

Squash Falconer

Then there’s Squash Falconer who has climbed Mount Everest, was the first British woman to climb and paraglide from the summit of Mont Blanc, and claims to be the world’s highest ever ‘bum boarder’, a dubious title she gained on the Himalayan peak Cho Oyu. For those not in the know, that’s using a snowboard sitting down.

Two endurance athletes will be at the event: Nicky Spinks and Sean Conway. Nicky is the long-distance runner who holds the women’s records for each of the three major British fellrunning challenges – the Bob Graham Round, the Ramsay Round and the Paddy Buckley Round – as well as being the only person to have run each of them in under 20 hours. This year she beat her own women’s Bob Graham record, coming in at 18hrs 6mins.

Instantly recognisable, Sean Conway is the bearded endurance swimmer, author and professional photographer who became the first person to swim the length of Great Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats. He also recently became the first person to complete ‘the ultimate triathlon’ when he finished running the length of the country, having already cycled and swum the entire way before.

There will also be a celebration of Chamonix’s 150th anniversary of the golden age of modern mountaineering with talks by Patrick Gabarrou representing the 70s and 80s generation, modern alpinist Jeff Mercier, filmmaker Dom Green, Ian Parnell talking about the Dru, plus both Sir Chris Bonington and Catherine Destivelle reminiscing on their experiences.

Sean Conway. Photo: Martin Hartley

Sean Conway. Photo: Martin Hartley

Sunday afternoon’s lectures will see Andy Kirkpatrick deliver his ‘stand-up mountaineer’ routine, talking about his exploits over the last couple of years. Then Leo Houlding will recount his most recent project: the unclimbed Mirror Wall in Greenland on which, after 12 nights on portaledges, Leo and his team topped out on 30 July. Houlding’s presentation at Kendal will be a unique opportunity to hear him speak about this latest adventure, featuring film excerpts and special guests.

Kendal Mountain Festival will take place on 19 to 22 November. More information is on the festival website.

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