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Climbing Mont Blanc – 15,781 ft, Western Europe’s Highest Mountain

Jeffrey Donenfeld Trips Leave a Comment

Mont Blanc is the highest peak in Western Europe, resting on the Italian/French border and towering over the alps at almost 16,000 feet above sea level. It’s slopes are clad in thick glaciers, and it’s buffeted by constant wind. Last week, my brother Jason and I traveled to Chamonix and climbed it. Here’s the story. The week before we had spent in Cassis, Southern France relaxing on beaches and hiking around mellow coastal rocks. We were ready for a challenge, so we rented a car in Nice and drove through Italy to Chamonix, France. For the next week, accompanied with veteran mountain guide Magnus Strand, we climbed icy peaks and treacherous ridges, all leading up to a final summit push straight to the top of Mont Blanc. Video clips of the climb are coming soon…    

DSC02921-2014-08-30 Telluride Film Festival-Donenfeld-Full-WM

The 41st Annual Telluride Film Festival

Jeffrey Donenfeld Culture Leave a Comment

This year, I attended the 41st annual Telluride Film Festival. In order of preference, here’s a quick overview of my festival this year, with a few remarks. Program Guide (PDF) Opening Announcement (PDF) Birdman Easily the best movie of the festival. Birdman was technically excellent, well acted, with an interesting, surreal, otherworldly story. I’m still not totally sure what it was about, but it was great. The presentation as a mostly continuous steadycam shot was brilliant – it took me a bit to realize what was going on, and the single shot tied everything together. Seams between shots were brilliant, and I loved Emma Stone! The Imitation Game The cinematography was technically excellent, story was interesting, and the acting was good. Not sure I’d see this again, but I definitely enjoyed watching. I appreciated the three color themes, keeping track of the three time periods. ’71 99 Homes The Gate Rosewater Magician Forbidden Films Night Will Fall Wild Foxcatcher Where Eagles Dare

Exploring the Parc Floral De Paris

A Lap Through France: Cities, Beaches, Mountains, and a Wedding

Jeffrey Donenfeld Trips Leave a Comment

This August, I had the opportunity to travel back to France to see family, and friends, explore a few new parts of Paris, and attend a friend’s wedding. We started off in Paris, where my brother lives. Paris is a great city, and especially since family lives there, always feels comfortable and welcoming. After a few days in Paris, my brother, parents, and I took the train and then a rental car south to arrive in our favourite beachside town, Cassis. It was beautiful as always, with gorgeout beaches, rugged hiking, and deep blue water filtering inland through the Calanques. Ben and Cynthina’s wedding in Beaucaire was beautiful as well. The ceremony and reception took place on the grounds of an old farmhouse, and we had a great time frolicking in the open fields, picking pears, and dancing all night with the newlyweds. Congrats Ben and Cynthia! Official photos from the wedding were done by Laurent Brouzet. I’ll let the photos and captions speak for themselves – France in the summer is wonderful. Next up after the south, Jason and I ventured northward to Chamonix and Mont Blanc.

We made it to the top!

Climbing Mt. Sherman – 14,035 Feet

Jeffrey Donenfeld Travel and Adventure, Trips Leave a Comment

Another great Colorado 14er weekend – this weekend Amy, Shannon and I headed up to Mt. Sherman, in Colorado’s Mosquito Range. We headed up Saturday evening and camped at the Fourmile Campground, just below the Southwest Ridge trailhead. Luckily the light rain stopped right as we got our fire going, and we enjoyed a great night cooking and hanging by the fire. Sunday, we woke up early and met a few more friends at the trailhead before heading up to the top. Hiking up Mt. Sherman wasn’t particularly strenous, and the views at saddle and on the top were great. GPS Track, recorded on Garmin Forerunner 310xt and uploaded to Strava: (Photos on Flickr)

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Discovering Cosmopolitan Lebanon

Jeffrey Donenfeld Travel and Adventure, Trips Leave a Comment

I never expected to travel to Lebanon, but after being dropped off at the Amman Airport by a friend I met at the Bedouin Camp, I decided to buy a same-day ticket from Amman to Beirut, and see what happened. Overall, I was extremely impressed with Lebanon. The country and people were absolutely wonderful, and despite the reputation with war and conflict in the region, I found it peaceful, comfortable, and beautiful. Beirut stood out as a hip, cosmopolitan capital with a distinct French colonial vibe, happening nightlife, vibrant arts and entertainment scene, and thriving international culture. Photos from Lebanon, on Flickr

Mt. Massive Summit Group

Climbing Colorado’s Mt. Massive – 14,429 Feet

Jeffrey Donenfeld Travel and Adventure, Trips Leave a Comment

This past weekend, I traveled with a good group of friends to Leadville, Colorado to camp at the base of and climb Mt. Massive, one of Colorado’s 14ers, and the 2nd highest peak in the Rocky Mountains. Driving to Leadville Our awesome camping group! Fun by the campfire as the sun sets View to Elbert, from our campsite at Half Moon Creek Campfire Starting out in the morning – very early! Making progress Summit ridge Lots of flowers Made it to the top! Route Description, from 14ers.com: Leave the parking area and begin hiking up the Colorado/Mt. Massive trail – Photo #1. Cross South Willow Creek (Photo #2) after 2 miles and continue another mile before crossing Willow Creek (Photo #3), at 11,000‘. Both of these crossings are fairly easy unless the rocks are submerged or icy. Continue northwest up a hill and to reach a trail junction at 11,300‘ – Photo #4. Turn left onto the Mt. Massive Trail. Hike approx. 1/4 mile up a hill and through some small clearings to reach 11,600‘ where the terrain flattens out and you can finally see portions of Massive ahead – Photo #5. Continue to 11,800‘, zigzag through willows and ascend Point 12,466‘ -Photo #6 and Photo #7. Reach easier ground near 12,400‘ where most of the remaining route is now in view to the west – Photo #8. With 2 miles remaining, the summit is still a long way off. Your next goal is to reach the saddle between “South Massive” and the summit ridge. Continue up the excellent trail as you gradually gain ground and eliminate distance – Photo #9. Keep hauling to reach the 13,900-foot saddle – Photo #10, Photo #11 and Photo #12. Turn right at the saddle and follow a small trail up toward the summit …