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THE MOUNTAINS AND CITY FESTIVAL HOSTS INTERNATIONAL CLIMBERS AND EXTREME ATHLETES

TOP Pick: Rocking out on the rocks

"I'VE never understood why there are so few women who do free climbing on big walls," says rock climber Sílvia Vidal. "The main reasons are probably rooted in culture and society. Nevertheless, it is a very creative sport. Of course, it requires a certain level of fitness, but 80 per cent of it is in the mind."
Catalonian Vidal, 32, will be one of the guests at the annual Mountains and City (Hory a mesto) festival, taking place in Bratislava's PKO culture park from Friday April 11 until Sunday April 13. During her lecture and slide show, starting at 19:00 on April 12, Vidal will talk about her adventures climbing big-wall routes, spending nights in temporary shelters high in the rocks. One of her most acclaimed climbs was when she conquered the 1.65-kilometre Sol Solet pass in Pakistan, which took her 32 days.
Joining her as she recounts her breathtaking adventures will be American Jim Bridwell, who is among the world's foremost alpinists. Legendary in his accomplishments, he has redefined the spectrum of climbing disciplines, from big-wall climbing to free climbing on extreme rocks, his colleagues say. Bridwell's training ground is the Yosemite National Park in California, where he has more than 100 new routes to his credit. His presentation starts at 19:00 on April 11.


CANADIAN Kris Holm on his unicycle in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.
photo: Sean White

"I'VE never understood why there are so few women who do free climbing on big walls," says rock climber Sílvia Vidal. "The main reasons are probably rooted in culture and society. Nevertheless, it is a very creative sport. Of course, it requires a certain level of fitness, but 80 per cent of it is in the mind."

Catalonian Vidal, 32, will be one of the guests at the annual Mountains and City (Hory a mesto) festival, taking place in Bratislava's PKO culture park from Friday April 11 until Sunday April 13. During her lecture and slide show, starting at 19:00 on April 12, Vidal will talk about her adventures climbing big-wall routes, spending nights in temporary shelters high in the rocks. One of her most acclaimed climbs was when she conquered the 1.65-kilometre Sol Solet pass in Pakistan, which took her 32 days.

Joining her as she recounts her breathtaking adventures will be American Jim Bridwell, who is among the world's foremost alpinists. Legendary in his accomplishments, he has redefined the spectrum of climbing disciplines, from big-wall climbing to free climbing on extreme rocks, his colleagues say. Bridwell's training ground is the Yosemite National Park in California, where he has more than 100 new routes to his credit. His presentation starts at 19:00 on April 11.

An essential part of the event is a festival of international mountain and adventure films, which will be shown throughout the weekend. As varied as the adrenaline sports they present, the short- and long-feature documentary movies are divided into different sections. Some feature water sports, such as white-water rafting and diving with sharks, others focus on mountain biking and climbing adventures from all over the world.

An exclusive feature of the festival is the screening of the documentary film Into the Thunder Dragon at 10:00 on April 13, about a mountain unicycle journey across the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Canadian Kris Holm is the current World Unicycle Trials champion and official world-record holder in unicycle high jump at 90 centimetres. Holm will talk about his courageous unicycle rides across very demanding terrain.

The organisers promise that Holm will also show some of his astonishing riding skills live in the PKO park. Another live event of the festival will be the Visegrad Four Cup in Bouldering - a free-climbing discipline where it is "the difficulty of the wall that matters, not its height" according to organisers. Slovak adventure travellers will give a number of lectures on this theme, presenting pictures from across the world, and there will also be an exhibition of mountain photographs.

The Mountains and City festival runs from April 11 to April 13 at the PKO (Park kultúry a oddychu) Culture and Leisure Park, Nábr. L. Svobodu 3. Tickets (Sk50-80 for one event, Sk299 for the weekend) are available in advance at the PKO box office on Špitálska 25. For more information visit www.horyamesto.sk or call 02/5292-5023.

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