John Porter, founder of the Kendal Film Festival

One day as a tiger- climbing during the 70’s and 80’s

The acclaimed mountaineer, John Porter, stopped by the Showroom Workstation in Sheffield to provide insight into climbing during the 70’s and 80’s.

John Porter, who is the founder of the Kendal Film Festival, kicked off an exciting ShAFF weekend by giving a lecture called ‘One Day as a Tiger’ about his time as a mountaineer.

ShAFF is a unique annual Sheffield adventure film festival organised by Heason Events, an independent company run by Matt Heason.

The title of the John Porter’s lecture ‘One Day as a Tiger’ derived from an old Tibetan proverb which accurately describes the spirit of those pioneers in the 70’s and 80’s;

“It is better to have lived one day as a tiger than a thousand years as a sheep.”

The lecture showcased the breathtaking moments of climbing hand in hand with other skilled and adept personalities such as Voytek Kurtyka, Rene Ghilini and Alex MacIntyre – a generation of intrepid explorers that almost climbed itself into extinction.

Mr Porter spent a long time in the greater ranges of Asia and South America during the 70ʻs. However, pushing frontiers wasn’t only a matter of volition, it was an era of crossing borders between opposing political and economic systems.

A major experience, as he was vividly pointing out during the presentation, was the journey to Afghanistan with fake identities.

The Poles were smuggling them through the Soviet Union, but the plan did not work out. The Russians had caught them on the train and held them captive.

The arrest came as a shock for Mr Porter and his companions. Nobody knew if they would ever make it to the mountains they had been so eager to conquer. Everything was at stake.

Fortunately the Russians released them eventually and the goal was fulfilled.

A fascinating insight

This is one example of the many stories Mr Porter presented during a very gripping and emotional lecture.

The photographs of the places in Afghanistan and South America were magnificent and one can only imagine what it must feel like to be standing there on the mountaintop.

Mr Porter also explained the risks they had to face. Every climb could have been the last one and a sudden change in the weather or loose rocks imposed a danger on each ascent.

On that note, the loss of his close friend Alex MacIntyre in 1982 visibly shaped his relationship towards mountains;

“The mountain doesn’t know you are a professional.”

About ShaFF

ShAFF offers audiences more than 70 of the best adventure, travel and extreme sports films around the world. These are screened over one week in March at The Showroom Workstation in Sheffield, voted the region’s best cultural venue.

ShAFF also holds various extreme sport and adventure related activities. These include  talks by world-class adventurers on topics such as climbing, running and mountain biking.

ShAFF has been cultivating local and loyal audiences year by year. For the past seven years 100% of the audience said they’d come back again and recommended it to a friend.



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