Dirtbag – The Legend Of Fred Beckey

The story of a rebel athlete

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.

But Beckey burned bridges, eschewed fame, and stayed unencumbered so his only obligation would be to conquer 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 climbing until he passed away in October 2017 at the age of 94.

Director Dave O’Leske filmed with Fred for almost a decade before his death, and with access to nearly a century’s worth of precious photos, personal journals, and rare films entrusted to Dave by Fred, the resulting film is a fascinating, emotional, and funny insight into a truly captivating unsung legend.

Released in the UK 10th August 2018

  • Director: Dave O’Leske
  • Year: USA 2017
  • Duration: 96 minutes.
  • Genre: Adventure documentary
  • Production company: Through A Child’s Eyes

Official website

“Dirtbag’ Is Peak Documentary Filmmaking… beautifully captures the romance inherent in Fred Beckey’s lifelong passion. It finds affectionate, oddball humour in latter-day Beckey’s cantankerous eccentricity but it also illustrates with bracing clarity the thin line between following your dreams and being consumed by them.”

Tony Kay
CityArts Magazine

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