What’s Up With Marc-Andre Leclerc? An Exposé on the Hungriest Canadian.
In the last year Marc-Andre Leclerc has pulled off a string of truly amazing climbs. Last summer he free-soloed three routes on Mount Slesse in a day and on a recent trip to Patagonia he climbed the first enchainment of the reverse Torre traverse and the first integral ascent of the north face of Cerro Torre, both with Colin Haley, before soloing the Corkscrew Route on Cerro Torre, which has been called the boldest solo in Patagonian climbing history. Since returning from Patagonia he simultaneously completed the first winter solo ascent and the first free winter ascent of the Northeast Buttress of Slesse. It is also worth mentioning that at various times he has held the speed record for the Grand Wall in Squamish. Based on this evidence I think it is entirely fair to ask with some incredulity, what is up with Marc-Andre Leclerc?
There are of course the standard answers – that in any generation there will be standouts and that in a pool of climbers as large as that of the greater Vancouver area with as amazing of a “home crag” as Squamish, prodigies will emerge – but I find these unsatisfying. In fact, I find something deeply disturbing about Leclerc, and that is his age. The man is 22 and the problem with that is that it’s two years younger than myself. When I used to look at the rising stars of PNW climbing I could take comfort in the fact that they were older than me – it was ok that they were badasses and I was not, they had been at it for longer. The achievements of men like Blake Herrington and Jens Holsten are not upsetting to me; it is the Hayden Kennedys and Marc-Andre Leclercs of the world that make me feel so insignificant. For Hayden Kennedy the issue is resolved by his inheritance, if my dad was Michael Kennedy it would have been me out there pulling off the first fair means ascent of the Compressor Route instead of him; I’m just sure of it. For Leclerc however, there is no such easy explanation.
What follows is the result of extensive research across three continents. My conclusions are tentative but I think the discerning reader will find my arguments persuasive. Marc-Andre Leclerc is not human like the rest of us, he is, in fact, an immortal old world vampire whose existence can be traced back at least 500 years. What first clued me in was the similarity between his name and that of Andy Deklerk, the noted Index Town Wall climber. What are the chances, after all, of two men from the same region having such similar sounding names and talents? My sources have confirmed that they have never been seen together and, predictably enough, Deklerk declined to be interviewed for this exposé. Leclerc’s poise and composure on the rock fairly reeks of old-age wisdom. Meanwhile, his boyish appearance and perpetual effervescence and energy are more representative of his claimed age of 22 years. According to Occam’s Razor – which dictates that the simplest explanation is always the best one – we are compelled to conclude that Leclerc maintains his enigmatic nature by periodically consuming human blood in a ritualistic ceremony.
The mystery deepened however, when I consulted some documents I made while studying abroad in the Sorbonne, in France. Last autumn I was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to conduct research into monastic records from the late middle ages as they related to the investiture conflict, and part of my project was to create a database to digitize guestbook records from dozens of monasteries across western France. This has allowed scholars to track Papal dignitaries as they traveled across the region. My work on this subject brought to my attention a certain Andreas a’Clercus as he migrated around Northwest France between the years of 1513 and 1721. Using this information I was able to consult other monastic records which verified that a’Clercus was a fair-skinned young man who was often observed scaling monastery walls and even cathedral towers before disappearing in the middle of the night. These vanishing acts regularly coincided with the disappearance of a young novice, whose desiccated body was occasionally found weeks later with bite marks on its forearms. The last record, from 1721, was from the monastery of Calais, making it more than plausible that the vampiric creature boarded a ship for New France, eventually finding his way to Vancouver, British Columbia in the coming centuries.
I was then faced with the task of verifying my findings. Reaching out to Leclerc/a’Clercus himself was out of the question, as he would never admit to his eldritch ways and making accusations would undoubtedly establish myself as the prime target for his next feeding. His climbing partners seemed the most likely prospect, especially if they had suspicions of their own. The problem was that Leclerc/a’Clercus solo climbs so frequently that finding people who can actually prove that they have roped up with him is rather difficult. The only solid lead I had was Colin Haley, who rebuffed my initial proddings but eventually submitted to a short conversation on Microsoft Messenger (Haley is a bit behind the times).
JS: So you have climbed fairly extensively with Marc-Andre Leclerc?
Haley: Yes, sort of. Who are you?
JS: I’m an independent researcher. Would you mind talking to me about Leclerc personally?Haley: I don’t know. What do you want to know?
JS: How long have you known him?
Haley: I met him a couple years ago but we hadn’t spent much time together until this winter.
JS: Have you observed any signs of Leclerc aging?
Haley: He’s like 22. What are you talking about?
JS: How about strange eating habits? How does he feel about rare meat?
Haley: He’s not a vegetarian.
JS: Has he ever tried to bite you?
Haley: What the hell? This conversation is over.
I consider this evidence to be inconclusive. There are three possible explanations: 1) Leclerc/a’Clercus is adept at hiding his evil ways from his partners and Haley actually had no idea what I was talking about; 2) Leclerc/a’Clercus has unsuccessfully attacked Haley and later threatened to return and feast on his still warm flesh if he ever told anyone; or 3) Haley is protecting him of his own free will, possibly because a Leclerc/a’Clercus has shared with him the secret of his regenerative youth. Which of these cases is correct should be easily ascertainable over the next several years as Haley either ages normally, sickens and dies, or regains his youthful splendor. In any case, I will be keeping a close eye on Skagit Alpinism, and would suggest that others do the same.
Regarding Leclerc/a’Clercus there is little we, as a climbing community, can do without more solid evidence; and ostracizing him seems only likely to incite his rage. However, if you find yourself on a climbing trip with Leclerc/a’Clercus I can offer a few safeguards: avoid shedding any blood – don’t crack climb without tape gloves, offer him the lead on any offwidths, if ice climbing use one of those weird visors; safety in numbers – invite a third or, better yet, a fourth and fifth, confuse Leclerc/a’Clercus with additional victims; eat lots of garlic – nothing kills the appetite of a Canadian like the rancid sulfurous stench of an herbaceous onion relative.
Fringe’s Folly would like to thank the author, and researcher of this article – our trusted correspondent, Sacob Jmith, who asked that a moniker be used in place of his real name for security purposes. Thank you, Sacob.
As always, Fringe’s Folly is proud to bring you important news, and objective journalism. If you have any extraterrestrial phenomenon in the climbing world to report on, please use the contact form, and send us your story. As always, be safe out there, and use garlic for protection.