Movie on legendary climber Fred Beckey playing Saturday in Stateline
Climbing legend Fred Beckey will be the star Saturday, Jan. 6, in a feature film shown in Stateline.
Beckey, who died in October, is the original American “Dirtbag” climber whose name has evoked mystery, adulation and vitriol for more than 70 years, according to a press release from the film’s associate producer Todd Offenbacher. Offenbacher and fellow South Lake Tahoe resident Corey Rich were friends of Beckey and involved for years in the making of “Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey.”
The life story of Beckey, a rebel athlete who inspired generations of climbers to head for the mountains with his monumental first ascents and books, is told for the first time in this documentary film.
Beckey’s adventures began in Washington’s North Cascade range with his brother Helmy in the 1930s. In 1942, the Beckey brothers cemented their place in climbing lore when the teenagers survived a second ascent of Mount Waddington — considered the most difficult climb in North America at the time.
This success marked the beginning of Beckey’s tear of first ascents around the world, during which he became the consummate “Dirtbag” climber: defined as one who forgoes the pursuit of material comforts and defies societal norms in order to pursue a nomadic mountaineering lifestyle, according to the press release.
Through the 1950s and 1960s, Beckey shattered records with a string of superhuman first ascents, bushwhacking trails and pioneering direct routes that were thought to be previously impassable. He eschewed fame, sponsors, family life and the politics of the sport so that his only obligation would remain conquering the next summit, the press release states. Beckey’s individualistic attitude led to him being passed over when the first American team was formed to summit Mount Everest in 1963, but the exclusion drove Beckey to seek more summits.
Beckey slowed physically in his 90s, but his zeal for the outdoors never waned.
Film director Dave O’Leske spent the past decade filming Beckey with unprecedented access, getting to know the man in the mountains of China, across North America and in his Pacific Northwest home.
O’Leske partnered with a crew of award-winning filmmakers — producers Jason Reid, Andy McDonough, Colin Harper Plank and Adam Brown, executive producer Colin Baxter and editor Darren Lund — whose past credits include the climbing documentary “K2: Siren of the Himalayas” (2012), the Webby award-winning “Sonicsgate: Requiem for a Team” (2009), the Emmy award-winning “Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai” (2010) and the narrative drama “Eden” (2013), which won Audience Awards for Best Narrative at South by Southwest (SXSW) and the Milan International film festivals, according to the press release.
More than 30 additional interviews with some of the world’s greatest climbers — including Yvon Chouinard, Layton Kor, Conrad Anker, Royal Robbins, Reinhold Messner and Jim Whittaker — attest to Beckey’s legendary stature and iconic impact on the alpine world.
The movie will be shown at 7:30 p.m. in the MontBleu Resort and Casino’s showroom. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the cost is $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the showing.
For more information, visit dirtbagmovie.com. Tickets are available at montbleuresorts.com/events.