Sky High

The Alpinist
Stars: Marc-Andre Leclerc, Brette Harrington, Alex Honnold, Reinhold Messner and Barry Blanchard
Director: Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen
Composer: Jon Cooper
Cinematography: Jonathan Griffin, Brett Lowell and Austin Siadak
Roadside Attractions
Rating: PG 13 for language
Running Length: 92 Minutes 

Rock climbing/mountain climbing has become a popular sport in recent years. Having a rock wall to climb inside a building is quite the thing. Going outside in the weather elements is another thing.  A few years ago, the documentary “Free Solo” showed us Alex Honnold, who  was famous for free climbing the 3000 foot El Capitan at Yosemite National Park in the United States.  Now, we have Marc-Andre Leclerc, who climbed solo and with  minimum equipment  This is truly man against nature, or in the case of an Alpinist, man with nature. 

Marc-Andre Leclerc became interested in rock climbing as a child with a climbing wall in a mall. This wasn’t enough, so he began going into the wilderness by himself and eventually found an ally, girlfriend Brette Harrington. Marc began traveling the world in search of places to rock climb or man-against-nature, eventually having his triumphs in the Andes in Patagonia with “The Corkscrew,” before going to Alaska. He has been quoted as saying when he is out climbing alone, he finds what is important to himself and what is not. 

As you can imagine, the photography is spectacular and not for the faint-hearted to watch. This is no climb-the-backyard-tree-with-bare feet kind of climbing, it is in all weather conditions, cold or hot and subject to injury at any moment. Rock is rock and there is no flexibility, no give and take. The cinematography team has to have nerves of steel, also, and the drives home at the end of the day were cotton candy compared to hanging on to a rock ledge. 

Why does man do this?  In ancient times, to escape animals or enemies, or,  to prove something to oneself? The impossible can be done? One look at El Capitan,  or a remote Andean peak for example, would make people hang on to something for support even though they could be miles away. There will always be the daring, whether sitting on the propulsion system of a rocket going into space, or diving 10,000 feet into the pressurized ocean to see what is there, or climb a mountain bare-handed. 

Makes you think, and in this documentary, you see an individual to whom fear was a word in a dictionary.  


Copyright 2021 Marie Asner