WTMC film night fundraiser explores a mountaineering legend

We’re excited to be hosting the Wellington screening of the award-winning documentary film Dirtbag – The Legend of Fred Beckey. The film night is a fundraiser for the WTMC Scholarship programme.

Fred Beckey is the original “Dirtbag” climber whose stubborn, singular quest to conquer peaks meant a solitary life on the road, where he left a long trail of scorned climbing partners and lost lovers in his wake. This film isn’t just another story of amazing feats, but explores the impact of an obsession with mountaineering. The Seattle Times wrote

“It’s at its best, though, when examining the costs of single-mindedness (neglected relationships) and in exploring aging as Beckey embarked upon ambitious climbs into his 90s.”

When: Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Where: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision at 84 Taranaki St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

Tickets: $14, Must be purchased online in advance from Eventfinda (no door sales). You can also purchase them by phone from Eventfinda at 0800 BUY TIX (289 849) or in person at one of their ticket outlets.

*The Cafe at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision will be open from 5pm for snacks and drinks. Film starts promptly at 6pm. Run time is 96 minutes. Seating is limited.

For questions, email

Watch the movie trailer


A little more about Fred…

Fred Beckey’s adventures began in the North Cascade range of the US with his brother Helmy in the 1930s. In 1942, the Beckey brothers cemented their place in alpine lore when the teenagers survived an incredible second ascent of Mount Waddington –– considered the most difficult climb in North America at the time. This success marked the beginning of Fred’s epic tear of first ascents around the world, during which he became the consummate “Dirtbag” climber: defined as one who forgoes material comforts and defies societal norms in pursuit of a nomadic mountaineering lifestyle.

Throughout the 20th Century, Fred shattered records with an unparalleled string of superhuman first ascents, bushwhacking trails and pioneering direct routes thought previously impassable. He eschewed fame, sponsors, family life and the politics of the industry so his only obligation would remain conquering the next summit. Fred continued climbing until he passed away on October 30, 2017 at the age of 94.

Throughout his exceptional life, Fred kept meticulous personal journals where he mused on everything from arcane geology, to his wild road adventures and many romantic dalliances, to the myriad sunrises he witnessed from vantages not seen by man before. An environmentalist before there was such a word, Fred used these journals as the basis for 13 essential books.

Animations of Fred’s personal journals, guidebooks and photographs combine with aerial photography, motion graphics and rare archival footage to weave together the tapestry of this complex man’s life. More than 30 additional interviews with some of the world’s greatest climbers and authors – including Timothy Egan, Yvon Chouinard, Layton Kor, Conrad Anker, Royal Robbins and Reinhold Messner –attest to Fred Beckey’s legendary stature, environmental advocacy and iconic impact on the alpine world.

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