interviews

Letter A


Alastair Lee

Multi-award winning filmmaker Alastair Lee talks about getting into the British adventure film industry (and why now’s the time to do it), what Leo Houlding’s really like, why he’d like to peel back the layers on Shauna Coxsey, what’s wrong with British TV and the idea behind his brand new Brit Rock Film Tour.

“I love the artistic garnish, the glowing layer a film can have. I had this slow motion footage of solo climber Jules Lines walking across a plateau and felt I’d really captured him. Then I put this music under it; you can tell straight away if it’s going to work, you can’t force it. Bloody hell I was so pleased with it I played it to death and still had the tune in my head when I went to bed.”

Andy Parkin

Andy’s survival story is one of the greatest in modern mountaineering. Despite suffering permanent physical disabilities in a horrific climbing accident in the 80s, he became one of Britain’s most accomplished alpinists, and received the Piolet d’Or. During his rehabilitiation Andy turned to art, and has also become one of Britain’s best-known mountain artists. His latest project is teaching art to children in Nepal, and selling their work for them.

I like first ascents as long as they’re mine. I’ve got routes that have never been repeated and I like that: it’s a secret link between me and that climb. I can still remember the feel of it. It’s similar with my art. While I’m working on a piece, it’s mine. I don’t need to sell it, but I don’t need to keep it either because I don’t want to get too precious about my work. So it can be sold, it goes on, other people now live with it – these things have a right to evolve and develop.

Letter B


Ben Briggs

The east face of the Aiguille Blanche on the Italian side of Mont Blanc is so steep it only holds snow for a few days each year. Famous steep skier Stefano de Benedetti was the first person ever to ski down it, nearly 30 years ago, in vibrant 80s ski gear. In the documentary film, Steep, Benedetti twinkles with Italian charisma while describing his death-defying descent of the 4112m mountain, and calls it his ‘perfect moment.’ It’s worth a watch.

Despite advances in technique, equipment and the popularity of steep skiing – plus the fact that the route lies within a short drive of steep skiing Mecca, Chamonix – the line lay unrepeated, gaining a legendary reputation. Until last week, when 25-year-old Ben Briggs skied it. Sarah Stirling invited Ben round for a cuppa, to tell the story, and explain why he likes skiing lines so steep that a fall would mean certain death.

J

Jon Griffith: Alpinist-slash-photographer

Jon Griffith has carved out an icy niche: he’s the alpinist-slash-photographer who brings back beautiful, scary shots of alpine climbs for us to enjoy from the warmth of our armchairs.

“Alpinism destroys your life. You can walk aimlessly about in the mountains for days at a time. When you do a big route you’re knackered for days, then all you want to do is get going again. It’s antisocial. I can’t wait to stop.”