The second Chamonix Mountain Festival is running from 29 June - 6 July. Expect a friendly atmosphere, fun event programme, bargain accommodation and discounted lift prices. Organiser Francoise Call explains more. Plus, we've got ten discounted festival tickets for BMC readers.
It's not long until the second-ever Chamonix Mountain Festival kicks off. Founder Francoise Call explains her motivation for starting up the event, and what's on the programme this year (dates are 29 June - 6 July).
What was your inspiration for starting the Chamonix Mountain Festival?
I’ve always loved the diversity of international climbing meets. When I made Chamonix my home I assumed that there must be a meet here – it’s the birthplace of alpinism! But there wasn’t.
Chamonix has something of a mythical status in the climbing community. Some people think it’s mountains are only for the elite. I created Chamonix Mountain Festival to dispel that myth and to encourage amateur climbers from all over the world to come and experience the place for themselves.
I also wanted to make the event inexpensive. This year we are offering climbers a full-board week at UCPA, including a Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass (on its this costs about 54€ a day) for the bargain price of 490€.
When did the festival start?
Last year was our first year, and we pulled the whole thing together from a standing start in about 12 weeks. We had climbers from all over the globe – about 18 countries in total. It was a fantastic week in early June. Thanks to Chamonix’s ‘endless winter’ there was some great skiing to be found as well as an outstanding mix of alpine climbing, rock climbing and bouldering depending on people’s preferences.
What kind of climbers does the festival attract?
We describe the festival as created ‘by climbers for climbers’. There’s no age limit and, importantly, no grade limit. We don’t offer technical training though: it’s more about finding like-minded people to climb with.
The festival provides a supportive environment for those wanting to get back into climbing after a break, looking to progress their alpine career or simply wanting to experience Chamonix. However, if people want additional training or guiding then we can direct them to guides who can help.
Last year was the first CMF, what were the highlights?
Domenic Kastelic and Daniel Colombo’s climb of an iconic route, the North Colouir of the Petit Dru was definitely a highlight. It was an impressive climb and made for a great video too.
GearFest was another highlight. Our tent village attracted around 20 brands from the climbing world. They all came to demonstrate their latest kit and everyone go to put some it to the test throughout the week.
The atmosphere also stood out for me. A great buzz of people sharing their love of the mountains and climbing! As we’d say in French the group was “tres convivial, tres sympa”.
What’s happening at this year’s event?
Lots! GearFest on 28 and 29 June is set to be even bigger and better. Last year’s participants said how much they valued it. So we have got brands like Mountain Hardwear, G3, Tendon, Singing Rock and Mammut bringing in gear for testing throughout the week.
So far we have climbers coming from the United Kingdom, USA, Pakistan, Romania, Spain, United Arab Emirates and many more countries. We’re also delighted that both Jerry Gore and his team from MAD (Mountains for Active Disabled) and Norman Croucher and his Norm’s Survivors Climb will be using us as their base camp.
We are also hard at working preparing a Soirée de la Montagne, focussing on what’s happening in climbing right now. It will touch on inclusivity, the impacts of climate change and latest trends - where does alpinism meet speed riding and wing suit flying?
For more information/bookings go to:
Discounted festival tickets for BMC readers:
The first 10 BMC readers to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org quoting the BMC Promo Code CMF14 will pay just 430€ each for their week at CMF2014 - a discount of 60€ on the current price of 490€.
That’s full-board accommodation, lift pass (worth about 54€ per day if bought separately) and access to all the festival events including GearFest and the chance to put some of the latest gear to the test while they are in Chamonix.
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