Unlimited Adventure 2023

For the Love of the Mountains: A Film Screening, Discussion and Q&A with Michael Wirth

Fri Sep 22, 2023
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Event Video

Presented in partnership with Walking Mountains and their September 23rd event on Vail Mountain, Climb It for Climate
Cindy Engles generously underwrites the summer season of programming.
Developed in partnership with Rebecca Zweig of Business-Smart Solutions, Inc

In 2022, 25-year-old Michael Wirth undertook a daunting challenge to break the record time to run Colorado’s rugged 55-mile Elks Traverse, elevation 23,000 feet in 22.5 hours. Facing challenging conditions like steep rock faces, dangerous ice, loose rocks and unimaginable pain and fatigue, Wirth documented his effort in his film “Elks Traverse FKT,” depicting the punishing trek through some of the Rockies’ most scenic vistas — view the trailer here.

Roaring Fork Valley, Colorado native Michael Wirth loves pushing the physical limits of his body in majestic settings. In addition to his quest to run the entire 55-mile Elks Traverse in one day, the professional mountain athlete and up-and-coming filmmaker also climbed and skied the Elk Range’s 59 peaks greater than 13,000 feet in two months (including seven 14ers), during which he was the first person to ski down six previously unconquered slopes.

An avid outdoorsman himself, Jim Butterworth is a filmmaker, tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist who founded and leads the production company Naked Edge Films. Over the past 15 years, Naked Edge Films has made more than 30 documentary features that have aired on every major outlet including Netflix, HBO and Showtime and have garnered an Oscar, Peabody, two duPonts, multiple Emmy nominations and festival wins at Sundance, Tribeca and other global festivals. He produced and directed “Seoul Train,” an award-winning documentary depicting the harrowing journey North Korean refugees take through China to reach freedom. Jim attended a Vail Symposium session about the North Korean regime in 2003 and was inspired to make “Seoul Train.”

Witness the beauty of the Elk Range, located outside of Aspen, in Wirth’s short film “Elk Traverse FKT,” chronicling his Elks Traverse quest. Then join Wirth and Butterworth as they discuss Wirth’s adventures taking on nature’s most breathtaking and dangerous landscapes in Colorado and around the world as they share their insights into the art and techniques of creating and producing documentary films.

Event Video


Jim Butterworth

Jim Butterworth

Documentary Filmmaker

Michael Wirth

Michael Wirth

Ski Mountaineer, Cinematographer, Storyteller