Alpinist Kyle Dempster’s documentary screens Tuesday at Ute Mountaineer

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times
“The Road from Karakol" details Alpinist Kyle Dempster’s run-ins with heavy drinking locals, border guards and the Kyrgyz wilderness. An accomplished climber, Dempster won the 2013 Piolet D’Or award with Hayden Kennedy for climbing the 23,901-foot Ogre I.
Courtesy photo |

In the summer of 2011, alpinist Kyle Dempster took a solo bike ride through Kyrgyzstan. Maneuvering abandoned Soviet roads, crossing overgrown rivers and climbing some of the region’s most notorious peaks, he filmed the footage he wasn’t sure he would live to share.

“The Road from Karakol,” which details Dempster’s run-ins with heavy-drinking locals, border guards and the Kyrgyz wilderness, shows at the Ute Mountaineer on Tuesday. The film starts at 7 p.m., with a $5 suggested donation for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Dempster, 30, who drove to Aspen from the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, will appear for a Q-and-A after the showing.

The film begins with a naked Dempster, his gear in front of him, uncertain about a vicious river crossing. At one point in the film, the Salt Lake City coffee-shop owner begins speaking to his family and girlfriend, as if to say goodbye. His personality, and everything he experiences, makes for a gripping tale, full of intense scenes and emotion.

Crossing various provinces, he doesn’t always have the right identification to pass, and interactions are further hampered by the fact that he knows ten words of the local language. As Dempster pushes deeper and deeper, he finds that the roads he’s mapped out for his circular route no longer exist, and panic sets in.

“It’s a great film to see,” said Susan Jackson, of the Ute Mountaineer. “It’s a good segway into winter.”

She added that the film is a great fit for Aspen’s climbing and adventure contingent.

The screening at 201 S. Galena St. will include prize giveaways, beer, wine and cheese. The film, which has appeared all over the U.S., was previously shown at Carbondale’s 5Point Film Festival.


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