Behind the scenes of “Mountaineer” and climber Marc-Andre Leclerc

Mountaineer, on September 10th, capture some of the most intimidating free solo climbing shots ever on rocks and ice. Directors Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen Sender movies, the primary climbers who have documented the sport for 20 years, tell the story of Marc-Andre Leclerc, considered the greatest mountaineer in history.

After getting information that the young climber was navigating his way across the Trans-Canada Highway and making impressive ropeless ascents of tricky ice roads, Mortimer and Rosen, producing Valley uprising (2014) and dawn wall (2017), find Leclerc living in a tent in the woods in Squamish, BC with his girlfriend and professional alpine climber Brett Harrington. They follow him for two years to understand the leadership of the young climber.

Along the way, they pick up Leclerc’s solitary, free-standing vertical rock in Squamish, known as Yosemite Valley in Canada. Here, he glides over the stone with such grace and intuition that it’s like watching a ballerina carry out a perfect routine – only he’s cordless and risks death at every step. In one scene, he climbs over overhanging rocks and ice naked, stopping frequently to gently grab dust with one finger before placing a single dog point on an invisible ledge.

In another section, Leclerc climbs a patch of seemingly empty limestone to reach an overhanging mass of ice. Near the top, he cuts his feet off the stone and dangles, effortlessly from one arm, leaving the filmmakers dumbfounded and muttering, “Holy shit, dude.” Leclerc awkwardly ignores the experience and explains that it’s just another day in the mountains. “Don’t forget,” he said before smiling.

The movie also shows his loose and frisky side, including the ring with his best friend Heavy Duty, an older British expat with multi-colored hair and living the mantra: “Climb, eat, dance, repeat.”

Climber Marc-Andre Leclerc
Scott Serves

The Otherworld is one way to describe Leclerc’s character. He started taking hallucinogens as a teenager, preferring to take higher doses than his peers and disappearing for days on end. He’s a bit awkward and often doesn’t stare at anything in particular.

Driven by incredibly deep and athleticism, Leclerc was clearly free from the limits of this world. Whether it’s his past visual experiences or those that enrich real life in the mountains, he’s going his own way. And part of what makes this movie so successful is that he doesn’t care much about the movie and his being the central character in it.

Mortimer and Rosen give him a cell phone so they can call the budding wanderer, which he naturally lost in the wild before disappearing. The absence drives the filmmakers crazy, especially after Leclerc climbed Mount Robson in the Canadian Rockies, considered one of the most difficult solo climbs in the Alps ever, and left them outside. When they asked him why he didn’t tell them his plans, he came back clearly, “It wouldn’t be so lonely if you were there.” Fortunately for viewers, he agreed to return to climbing as the cameras rolled, and the filmmakers captured scenes of the ropes-climbing in the highest caliber on one of the most recognizable and intimidating peaks in North America.

After Robson, the film piles up with Winter Leclerc, the solo ascent of Tori Egger in Patagonia, a complex-scale tower known for having the world’s worst weather.

Climber Marc-Andre Leclerc
Jonathan Griffiths / Red Bull Media House

Here accompanied by a film editor and a friend Austin Siadk, which follows Leclerc through deep snow, down a stream of thin ice, and across exposed granite where the straps creak and scratch underfoot. Halfway through, Leclerc continues on its own, making it a few hundred feet to the summit before bending over a snowy ledge. That night, he taped himself from his tent, telling Harrington he loved her before putting the camera away. Soon a storm broke out over the range that pushed Leclerc down, torrenting and back to camp destroyed but intact. Instead of turning, when the storm is gone, it goes back up.

Leclerc was born in 1992 in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and disappeared in March 2018 while descending Mindenhall Towers in Alaska. During his short 26 years on land, he has chronicled the climbs he ascended to the top of his field, including the solo ascent of Cerro Torre and Torre Egger in Patagonia, Mount Slesse in the Cascade Mountains in British Columbia, and Emperor’s Face on Mount Robson in the Rocky Mountains Canadian.

mountain climber is sProduced by Red Bull Media House in association with Sender Films. The movie will be released by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Roadside Attraction on September 10.

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Written by Joseph

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