Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey
Dave O'Leske, Colin Plank, Andy McDonough, Jason Reid, Adam Brown
Fred Beckey, Helmy Beckey, Yvon Chouinard, Eric Bjornstad, Conrad Anker, Timothy Egan, Reinhold Messner
Presented by Patagonia
Country / Nationality
Our Judges say:
Fred Beckey lived his whole life to climb, still getting up routes at 93. This film looks at his considerable achievements and explores his unique character and drive. Featuring many of the well known climbers that tied in with him and some of the best locations to climb in the world.
An honest portrayal of obsession.
Claire Carter Writer, Film Officer for Kendal Mountain Festival, 'Creative Consultant'.
Hailed as one of the most influential climbers of all time, Fred Beckey is the original American “Dirtbag"–one who abandons societal norms and material comforts in pursuit of a nomadic mountaineering lifestyle. This rebel athlete’s lifetime of accomplishments set the bar for the entire sport. He shattered records with an unparalleled string of superhuman first ascents, bushwhacking trails and pioneering direct routes thought previously impassable. Beckey burned bridges, eschewed fame and thrived as a loner so that his only obligation would remain conquering the next summit. He kept meticulous personal journals where he mused on everything from arcane geology to his romantic life, to the myriad sunrises he witnessed from vantages not seen by anyone else on Earth. An environmentalist before there was such a term, Beckey’s legacy includes 13 essential books that act as blueprints for new generations. He defiantly continued to climb until passing away on October 30, 2017 at the age of 94. Throughout the 20th Century, Beckey’s accomplishments exceeded anyone in the sport. A rebel athlete with myopic focus, he shattered records with an unparalleled string of superhuman first ascents, bushwhacking trails and pioneering direct routes thought previously impassable. An environmentalist before there was such a term, Beckey’s legacy includes 13 essential books that act as blueprints for new generations. Beckey has entrusted director Dave O’Leske with volumes of his personal journals, rare archival footage, photographs and writings dating from 1933 - 2015. O’Leske is the only person ever to gain unfiltered access to Beckey and have his full cooperation to create a feature film about his life. This 96-minute documentary reveals the untold story of a true American icon. Director Dave O’Leske spent the past decade filming Fred Beckey with unprecedented access, getting to know the mythical man in the mountains of China, across North America and in his Pacific Northwest home. In 2015, O’Leske partnered with a crew of award-winning filmmakers––Producers Jason Reid, Andy McDonough, Colin Plank and Adam Brown, Executive Producer Colin Baxter and Editor Darren Lund––whose past credits include the hit climbing documentary K2: SIREN OF THE HIMALAYAS (2012), the Emmy® Award-winning MAN ZOU: BEIJING TO SHANGHAI (2010), the Webby Award-winning SONICSGATE: REQUIEM FOR A TEAM (2009), and the narrative drama EDEN (2013), which won Audience Awards for Best Narrative at SXSW and the Milan International Film Festival. O'Leske's first film, SPIRIT OF SNOW (2002), won a Special Jury Award at Mountainfilm in Telluride and Best Short Documentary at the Golden Film Festival.