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The Road From Karakol Wins Top Award at 5Point Film Festival

2 Minute Read

Sponsored by Outdoor Research, film about Kyle Dempster’s solo trip to Kyrgyzstan was never intended to be a film in the first place.

SEATTLE, Wash. – Faced with uncertainty in everything from perilous river crossings to tense encounters at military checkpoints, alpinist Kyle Dempster turned to his POV camera to maintain a video journal during a solo bike and climbing trip through remote parts of Kyrgyzstan in 2011. The camera gave him a place to reflect on the intensity of the journey – one where he didn’t see anyone else for weeks at points during the trip.

When he was in Kyrgyzstan, Dempster had no idea his solo bike and climbing trip would be the subject of an award-winning film two years later, but that’s exactly what happened at the 5Point Film Festival this past weekend.

The Road from Karakol, edited by Fitz Cahall and his production company, Duct Tape then Beer, and sponsored by Outdoor Research, won the Five Point Film Festival jury’s Best of the Festival Award for 2013 this past Saturday night.

“With any of that footage, I never intended for anyone to make a film out of it,” Dempster said. “It’s all just a little unexpected and totally awesome. I did film a lot on the trip, but strangely it was because I was solo, and there were some scary moments, and (taking a trip on a bike) was a new kind of trip for me. I’m more used to alpine-climbing trips. And so I just sort ended up maintaining this kind of video journal. It was very personal.”

Those personal moments yield a gripping 25-minute film that depicts very pointedly what it’s like to put oneself in situations where the outcome is far from certain.

After he returned, Dempster, who an athlete ambassador for Outdoor Research, put together a very basic film of his own from the footage to show at the 2012 Ouray Ice Festival. There, Christian Folk, grassroots marketing manager for OR, saw the footage, and asked Dempster about submitting it to Cahall to edit and make into a longer film. Dempster had so many clips he had to send Cahall a hard drive brimming with content.

Cahall spent the better part of year, in between other projects, sorting through the short clips and pulling the The Road from Karakol together, working right up to the film festival deadline. When Dempster went to the film festival this past weekend, he hadn’t even seen the film; he watched it for the first time along with the rest of the festival audience.

“I think it’s pretty cool that in this age of everyone pushing for bigger and bigger budgets and more expensive filming equipment that you can go out there with a $200 camera and win an award like this,” he said. “It shows that a lot of it has to do with the editing skills, which Fitz and his crew are quite talented at.”

Following his solo cycling and climbing trip in Kyrgyzstan, Dempster rode his bike from Kyrgyzstan through western China to Pakistan to meet two climbing partners and subsequently make an attempt on K7.

Known more as an alpinist than an adventure-seeking cyclist, Dempster, along with climbing partner Hayden Kennedy,earlier this month won a 2013 Piolet d’Or Award for their ascent of the Ogre in Pakistan, a peak that has only seen three ascents since its first ascent in 1977. Dempster also won a 2010 Piolets d’Or Award for the first ascent of the north face of 6,422-meter Xuelian West in China.

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