Alpinist, The: Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen’s Docu of Ace Climber Marc-André Leclerc (Telluride)

The Alpinist (dir. Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen) offers an intimate portrait of a young visionary who followed the trail of his passion despite the riskiest consequences.

As climbing progresses from the niche pursuit of few individuals to the fame of nightly news and the Olympics, Marc-André Leclerc climbs alone, far from the limelight.

The free-spirited youth, who’s 23, ascends massive and remote alpine faces that represent some of the boldest climbs in the sports’ history. But he draws scant attention. With no cameras, no rope, and no margin for error, Marc’s determined approach defines what real adventure is.

Marc-André Leclerc in The Alpinist.
The Alpinist © MARC-ANDRÉ LECLERC
Upon hearing of the modest but extraordinary climber, veteran filmmaker Pete Mortimer (The Dawn Wall)  decided to meet him.
Marc is living in a tent in the woods with his girlfriend, Brette Harrington, an elite climber in her own right.
Pete learns of Marc’s background and films him on a series of jaw-dropping solo climbs on rock and ice. But to Marc these incredible climbs are just preparation for his true passion: solo expeditions on big, frozen peaks.
Impressed by Marc’s talent and ambition, Pete becomes determined to capture him redefining what is possible in the mountains.
Marc, however, proves to be an elusive subject, nomadic and publicity-shy. He still lives a simple life with no phone or car, hitchhiking from peak to peak to pursue his vision of solo climbing.
Marc sees the alpinism as more than just a sport; it’s a sublime, obsessive calling, a calling he’s been following since he was young boy. He’s far more focused on chasing his climbing dreams than making a chronicle with Pete.
Pete struggles to keep up with Marc and capture his journey on film, Marc’s solo ascents begin to attract attention. Some believe he’s the next great climber, while others criticize his approach as too dangerous.
In the end, Marc embarks on a solo climb in Patagonia that’s more ambitious than anything he’s done before.