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Behind the Scenes of ‘The Alpinist’ and Climber Marc-André Leclerc


The Alpinist, out September 10, captures among the most awe-inspiring free solo climbing footage ever seen on rock and ice. Filmmakers Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen of Sender Movies, core climbers who’ve documented the game for 20 years, inform the story of Marc-André Leclerc, considered the most effective alpinist in historical past.

After getting a tip that the younger climber had been hitchhiking his manner throughout the Trans-Canada Freeway and ticking off spectacular ropeless ascents of demanding ice routes, Mortimer and Rosin, producers of Valley Rebellion (2014) and The Daybreak Wall (2017), discover Leclerc dwelling in a tent within the forest in Squamish, B.C. together with his girlfriend {and professional} alpinist Brette Harrington. They observe him for 2 years to grasp the younger climber’s drive.

Alongside the best way, they seize Leclerc free soloing vertical rock in Squamish, generally known as the Yosemite Valley of Canada. Right here, he flows up the stone with such grace and intuitiveness that it’s like watching a ballet dancer execute an ideal routine—solely he’s ropeless and risking loss of life at each step. In a single scene, he climbs overhanging rock and ice barehanded, regularly pausing to softly mud holds with one finger earlier than inserting a single crampon level onto an invisible edge.

In one other part, Leclerc ascends a swath of seemingly clean limestone to achieve an overhanging block of ice. Close to the highest, he cuts his toes free from the stone and dangles, effortlessly from one arm, leaving the filmmakers dumbfounded and mumbling, “Holy shit, dude.” Leclerc awkwardly shrugs off the expertise and explains it’s simply one other day within the mountains. “A memorable one,” he says earlier than injecting a half-smile.

The movie additionally exhibits his footloose and fancy-free aspect, together with hula-hooping together with his shut pal Hevy Obligation, an older British expatriate who usually has multi-colored hair and lives by the mantra: “climb, eat, dance, repeat.”

Scott Serfas

Otherworldly is one technique to describe Leclerc’s character. He started taking hallucinogens as a teen, preferring to take increased doses than his friends and disappearing for days on finish. He’s a bit awkward and sometimes stares off at nothing particularly.

Deeply pushed and extremely athletic, it’s clear Leclerc was freed from the confines of this world. Whether or not it was his previous visible experiences or real-life enriching ones within the mountains, he’s on his personal path. And a part of what makes this movie work is that he might care much less concerning the film and being its central determine.

Mortimer and Rosen gifted him a mobile phone so they might contact the nascent wanderer, which he naturally misplaced within the wild earlier than disappearing. The absence drives the filmmakers loopy, particularly after Leclerc climbed Mount Robson within the Canadian Rockies, thought-about one of the vital troublesome alpine solo ascents ever accomplished, and left them out of it. Once they ask him why he didn’t inform them his plans, he returned plainly, “It wouldn’t be a solo should you had been there.” Fortunately for viewers, he agrees to return to the climb with cameras rolling, and the filmmakers seize scenes of ropeless climbing on the highest caliber on one of the vital recognizable and intimidating peaks in North America.

After Robson, the movie builds as much as Leclerc’s winter, solo ascent of Torre Egger in Patagonia, a fancy tower within the vary identified for having the world’s worst climate.

Climber Marc-André Leclerc
Marc-André Leclerc

Right here he’s accompanied by movie editor and pal Austin Siadak, who follows Leclerc via deep snow, over skinny ice runnels, and throughout uncovered granite the place crampons squeak and scratch underfoot. At midway, Leclerc continues alone, making it inside a number of hundred toes of the summit earlier than bivying on a snow ledge. That evening, recording himself from his tent, he tells Harrington that he loves her earlier than placing the digicam away. Quickly a storm erupts over the vary that drives Leclerc down, the place he rappels via the torrent and returns to camp battered however intact. As a substitute of turning tail, when the storm clears, he goes again up.

Leclerc was born in 1992 in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and disappeared in March 2018 whereas descending the Mendenhall Towers in Alaska. Throughout his temporary 26 years on Earth, he tallied up a resume of climbs that skyrocketed him to the highest of his discipline, together with solo ascents of Cerro Torre and Torre Egger in Patagonia, Mount Slesse in B.C’s Cascade Mountains, and the Emperor Face on Mount Robson within the Canadian Rockies.

The Alpinist is produced by Pink Bull Media Home in affiliation with Sender Movies. The movie shall be launched by Common Footage Residence Leisure and Roadside Points of interest on Sept. 10. 

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