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Ladies who rock….climb.

The NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival will showcase an incredible line up of female directors, authors, speakers and adventurers. The women are leading the charge in adventure sports and their stories are being told through film and literature. Many women are pushing the limits of not only the females’ records but also of new frontiers overall.

Sequoia Schmidt (USA) is a bestselling author, adventurer and speaker. She is an entrepreneur and a publisher who takes “conference calls at the crag, my Skype and author meetings at base camps, my board commitments from the ski slopes”.

Schmidt’s highly anticipated second book will premiere in NZ at the NZ Mountain Film and Book Festival. Changing Gears; Ups and Downs on the New Zealand Road, tells the story of her 2017, 28 day solo cycle across New Zealand’s South and North Islands. The book describes her experiences of grief, loss and recovery, interwoven with adventures on the roads of NZ, as she returns to her homeland to re-connect with Aotearoa.

Her debut book, Journey of Heart; A Sojourn to K2, was a finalist in the 2016 International Book Awards and chronicles Schmidt’s journey through Pakistan to the mountain that claimed the lives of her brother Denali and father Marty Schmidt on K2. The Denali Foundation, set up by Schmidt to honour her brother, is a non-profit corporation offering scholarships to young artists and is working toward establishment of an art and educational facility in Nepal.

Schmidt is business minded and driven and has adventure in her blood. She is a passionate skydiver and mountaineer and her love of bike riding sets the scene for her latest adventure and book. She will speak at the festival on Wednesday 4 July in Wanaka.

Margo Hayes and Maureen Beck are two memorable, gutsy ladies leading the way in rock climbing. Maureen Beck was born missing her lower left arm, but that hasn’t stopped her from having an impressive rock-climbing career. Beck has won four national titles, and she claimed the IFSC Paraclimbing World Championship title in 2016. She won her first IFSC Paraclimbing World Cup title in September 2017.

Maureen Beck does not want to be known as the one armed rock climber; she says, “I don't have a disability. I have a different ability.” Beck features in a film called ‘Stumped’ that follows her on her mission to conquer a 5.12 nemesis. The film is showing on 29 June on opening night of the festival.

The winner of the Best Film on Climbing, ‘Break on Through’ is a film about Margo Hayes, a 19-year-old rock climber from Boulder, Colorado. Hayes is leading the way in modern rock climbing achieving a 5.15 (NZ 37), equaling some of the highest-level routes ever climbed by men or women. Directors Matty Hong, Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen follow Hayes as she pushes her mind and body to the limits and shows her dogged approach to achieving her goals. The film shows in both Wanaka on Tuesday 3 July and Queenstown on Saturday 7 July.

Director Teresa Hoerl’s film ‘Choices’, is a story on rock climber, BASE jumper and wingsuit flyer Steph Davis. Davis, a law student, left school in her early twenties and made the choice to follow her passion for rock climbing, earning a number of climbing achievements from Yosemite to Patagonia. She has endured many losses, including the death of her husband Mario Richards in a wing suit accident. This film reflects on Davis’ decision to choose an unconventional way of life and the risk and reward that comes from those choices. The film features in the Mountain Culture Show in Wanaka on Saturday 30 June.

These films and speakers will feature in the 2018 festival in Wanaka from June 29 to July 4, Cromwell on July 4 and Queenstown from July 5 to 7. Programmes available at Paper Plus in Wanaka or The North Face Store at 38 Shotover Street in Queenstown. Tickets are available at mountainfilm.nz

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