His was the first free-solo, and he linked it with French Reality 5.8 WI6 150m and Nemesis WI6 160m. He returned with Jon Walsh and Jon Griffith to re-solo the hard mixed sections for the camera. In 2015 Kadatz and Smith had traveled to Baffin Island together on a grant from the Alpine Club of Canada. There they became the first all-female team to free climb the South Buttress of Mt. Loki, which they ascended in just over twenty-four hours. The climb is remote and difficult to access, surrounded by a moat of crevasses and sagging snow bridges.
I took off my outer boots to give my feet a break and I began snacking on my remaining food hoping that the calories would help me stay warmer through the cold windy night. I shivered inside my flimsy bivy sack and pondered my position, alone in an ice coffin on the summit of the Rockies highest peak at night. Despite the discomfort it was undeniable that the situation was quite stupendous. One of the great contradictions of climbing writing is that the bigger and deeper the experience the more difficult they tend to be to write about.
It sounded to Harrington like that was it; that they were calling off the search. This is not OK.She booked a flight and started planning her own operation. She made lists of the gear they’d need and locations to search.
How Did Marc
‘Perhaps when Marc soloed the Corkscrew route on Cerro Torre; or when he climbed a direct new route on the same mountain with Colin Haley; or when he soloed Aguja Standhardt.’ And so on. Leclerc embodied what it means to be an alpinist – a climber so dedicated to his passion, to the mountains, and to doing what others had never done that he’ll take it to the edge and beyond. He didn’t just push alpinism, he changed it all together.
The camping in the valley beneath was as lovely as the climbs themselves with plentiful bouldering and scrambling opportunities, vibrant green grass and a deep blue lake. A few minutes later I was at the initial ice pillar of ‘Infinite Patience’. The pillar was in thin conditions, and I decided that I would tag up my back pack to make the vertical climbing easier. The steepness took me by surprise and I had to stop to shake out several times through the crux section before the angle slowly eased off. I pulled up my bag and continued up easier, but still not trivial terrain and gained the easy angled slopes leading up towards ‘Bubba’s Couloir’.
touching The Void: Would You Cut The Rope To Survive?
There aren’t many climbers today who can merge the styles at a high level and go big in the alpine. Still, despite his prowess, for Leclerc it’s remained about nature and the experience. I met Marc on the Ben Nevis day captured in the news item video ‘Sioux Wall in a storm’.
Serra V is considered by many to be the hardest peak in BC to climb, harder even than the nearby Mt. Waddington. By this time Marc was a sponsored Arc’teryx athlete and was one of the team’s shining stars. Marc was without a doubt the most humble and one of the most talented climbers I ever met. I’ve never seen someone so at ease soloing hard mixed terrain, yet at the same time so quiet and unassuming about it. He was a role model for the modern narcissistic climber; a real dirt bag who lived for the adventure but would never boast about it because it just wasn’t in his nature to even think about boasting about climbing.
Back In Patagonia
When he was visiting the Canadian Rockies, he would sometimes sleep on my couch in Canmore. The same year, we met in Chamonix for work with our sponsor and in Verdon where he was on a climbing trip with his girlfriend Brette Harrington. We made plans to meet next spring in the Canadian Rockies for some alpine climbing. In February 2015, Leclerc soloed The Corkscrew linkup on Cerro Torre.
The route was undoubtedly one of the highest quality ice outings I had ever climbed, and it had been such a cool experience to climb it onsight-free solo with the entire Torre Valley to myself. Crossing glaciers without a rope, rightly known to be a harzardous activity, is the one aspect of alpine soloing that I fear the most and enjoy the least. Luckily the snow conditions were iron hard and my crampons barely left scratches in the surface. After ascending a few hundred meters by the light of my headlamp I found myself in an icefall that I did not remember from my two previous times on this glacier. I tried several different options, but found my way barred by gaping crevasses or towering seracs each time. Eventually I sat down in a relatively safe zone and waited for the first early morning light to orient myself.
Willie became one of Kadatz’s biggest supporters and inspirers, emailing her tick lists of “must climbs” and encouraging her to keep trying new things in the alpine. In November 2017, a month before Willie died, Kadatz sent him an email to check in on how he was feeling, sensing that something wasn’t right. She wrote that she loved him, something she’d never said to a guy friend before.
I had only expected to make a day trip to Lillooet but after swinging my tools for an afternoon I booked a room and ended up staying five. All five days were awesome, conditions were quite good and I manage to climb several great routes I had never been on before. The three days skiing were also really fun, by the third day I was feeling substantially more comfortable but there were embarrassing moments.
Rime was growing all over my gear, my outer boots and my bivy sack. I forced my frozen outer boots back on, and with numb hands and feet I climbed back over the edge of the summit plateau and into the upper west face. I did not have any sort of phone, clock or technology with me aside from an MP3 player and my headphones. I decided that I would rely on my intuition in order to wake up and start climbing at the right time. Tom Livingstone pens a tribute to Marc-André Leclerc, who died earlier this month near Juneau, Alaska together with his climbing partner Ryan Johnson whilst descending from the Mendenhall Towers .
After being introduced to a climbing gym at 9 years old he found his calling. The star was Marc-André Leclerc, a relative unknown in the climbing world for good reason. He genuinely didn’t care about spraying his achievements.
In music it’s said that the amateur practices until they can get it right. The professional practices until they can’t get it wrong. Seems like that would apply to climbing and free soloing. ‘Our cinematographers are also skilled alpine climbers, the best in the business’ … a shot being set up. ‘He was just having these outrageous experiences by himself in the mountains’ … Leclerc summits an icy peak. ‘The things Marc-André was climbing often fall down at the end of the day’ … the Canadian takes the ice route up.
As a young writer, Krakauer had himself climbed the east ridge, but as I soon learned, no one had ever ascended via the 6,500-foot northwest face. In 2003, Guy Edwards and John Millar, two top-tier Canadian climbers, had disappeared on that face during a week of bad weather and frequent avalanches. After a six-day search, Alaska state troopers gave up looking. And though Leclerc’s time with us was fleeting, we are lucky, thanks to The Alpinist, and the generous insights and anecdotes from his family and friends, to have ever known him at all. Leclerc’s main desire when on a mountain was to experience an adventure, to enjoy the simplicity of climbing without chasing any sporting achievement, recognition or reward beyond communion with his environment and his inner self.