A recently-released documentary following the high-flying feats of one of Agassiz’s most legendary and fearless athletes is getting rave reviews from locals.
Last week, Amazon Prime released “The Alpinist,” a documentary following the climbing adventures of the late Marc-Andre Leclerc.
Leclerc’s mother, Michelle Kuipers, said the documentary, which was released in theatres earlier this year, is already highly praised by critics, nominated for two 2021 Critics Choice Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Sports Documentary and film review website Indie Wire also considers it a contender for an Oscar.
“This young man lived more in his short lifetime than most people would in 1,000 lifetimes,” Nate Simmons wrote. “Truly inspiring. Can’t wait to watch with the kids.”
“What an amazing film,” wrote Jessica Dyck on Kuipers’ post. “I never knew Marc-Andre very well, and this was an amazing glimpse of him. You must be so proud of him.”
Veteran filmmaker Peter Mortimer is the man behind “The Alpinist,” both director and producer. He has a number of adventure documentaies to his name, including “Black Ice” “Valley Uprising” and “The Dawn Wall.”
Before his untimely death at the age of 25, Leclerc was already one of Canada’s most accomplished climbers. Born in Nanaimo, he started his climbing career indoors at a Maple Ridge, winning a national title at 12 years old. The first mountain he climbed was Welch Peak in the Cheam Mountain Range.
One of his most legendary climbs took place in 2015, when he completed a winter solo climb of the northeast buttress of Mt. Slesse without ropes, climbing the route in five hours. A previous attempt in 1986 took climbers seven days.
By age 22, Leclerc climbed hundreds of peaks and more than earned his reputation and legacy as a courageous trailblazer with a unique connection to nature and zeal for living in the moment. Leclerc conquering climbs from B.C. to Patagonia and beyond. He’s also been featured in Climbing Magazine. The teaser for the documentary called Leclerc “an unknown moutaineer raising the bar on ice climbing” and “a new master.”
In March 2018, Leclerc and his climbing partner, Ryan Johnson, 34, were returning from a climbing excursion up the Mendenhall Towers when a snow storm hit the day they were supposed to return. The bad conditions hindered immediate search and rescue efforts. The duo’s climbing equipment was found, but avalanche risks and other safety hazards prevented recovery efforts and the pair is presumed dead.
You can read about a portion of Leclerc’s adventures in his own words at marcleclerc.blogspot.com.