One of the most influential climbers of all time, 94-year-old Fred Beckey is the original American “Dirtbag"—a mountaineer who abandons societal norms and material comforts in pursuit of a nomadic lifestyle. This exciting documentary presents the untold story of a true American icon, whose name today evokes simultaneous mystery, adulation and vitriol.
Throughout the 20th century, Beckey’s accomplishments exceeded those of anyone in the sport. He shattered records with a string of superhuman first ascents, bushwhacking trails and pioneering routes thought previously impassable. A rebel athlete with myopic focus, Beckey burned bridges, eschewed fame and thrived as a loner so that his only obligation would remain conquering the next summit. Over the course of his exceptional life, he kept meticulous personal journals in which he mused on everything from arcane geology to his many romantic dalliances to the myriad sunrises he witnessed from vantage points unoccupied by anyone else on earth.
Beckey—who, at age 94, is still defiantly climbing today—became an environmentalist before there was such a term, and his legacy includes 13 essential books that act as blueprints for generations to come. He has entrusted director Dave O’Leske with not only his writings from 1933 to 2015 but also rare archival footage and photographs; O’Leske is, in fact, the only person ever to gain Beckey’s cooperation for a cinematic profile.
Producer: Jason Reid, Andy McDonough, Colin Plank, Dave O'Leske | Editor: Jason Reid, Darren Lund | Cinematographer: Dave O'Leske
Cast: Fred Beckey, Timothy Egan, Jim Whittaker, Reinhold Messner, Conrad Anker