/ NEWS: Marc-André Leclerc dies aged 25 in Alaska
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. He was a dreamer, a man who had a smile for every occasion and a passion for people as much as he did for climbing. I didn't know Marc as well as many people on this planet but from my time shooting him and capturing part of his life's story I was really struck by his character. I really enjoyed hanging out with Marc and our endless drives through the Canadian highways talking about everything under the sun. I remember telling him after driving out of The Ghost, that I was glad I'd spent all this time in a car with him talking otherwise I would have thought he was actually crazy having watched him solo the stuff he does. A hidden gem of a man, always flying way under the radar. I have so many fond memories of Marc and yet I only spent a few of weeks with him, but in those short few weeks I grew to respect a man ten years younger than me for the way he treated those around him and the way he engaged with the mountains. A legend in every single way.
Desperately sad news so sincere condolences to all of Marc and Ryan's friends, family and loved ones.
I met Marc on the Ben Nevis day captured in the news item video 'Sioux Wall in a storm'. The weather really was as terrible as it looked (my partner's sack for instance was swept away in an avalanche) but Marc was in his element - after he'd finished Sioux Wall he went on a mini soloing quest nipping up and down different bits of the number three gully area. Even though he had no knowledge of what routes he might be on, he seemed completely at home just free-form climbing over grade V and VI ground... in a raging blizzard! It was at once remarkable and terrifying to witness - a real glimpse into his stratospheric levels of skill. When reports over the years had come through of his solos of Cerro Torre or the Emperor Face on Mount Robson - I was like everyone impressed, but it was difficult to comprehend what was really involved. Watching him soloing on the Ben was a real insight into just how good someone had to be to pull off all the amazing climbs he did.
As well as his climbing mastery, the way Marc approached that day left a real impression. Conditions were so horrible that I was really questioning why I'd bothered heading out. Marc's un-showy desire to make the most of the challenge, when most locals were tucked up inside, together with his light heartedness - an almost childlike sense of play - lifted the tone amongst all of us there. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and found myself joking and laughing along with him at the preposterous reality that you could be out making fun out of such terrible conditions. Thank you Marc for the lesson.
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