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The Last Great Climb: Beautifully bold and epic

The Last Great Climb: Film Review


Alastair Lee’s feature documentary film, The Last Great Climb, is an epic climbing expedition based in the mountains of Queen Maud, Antarctica. Once again, the adventure climbing team consisting of Leo Houlding, Sean “Stanley” Leary and Jason Pickles attempt another ambitious first ascent on the majestic Ulvetanna Peak (2,931 m), one of the most technically demanding climbs among one of the toughest environments.

Ulvetanna Peak pictured on the right among the Southern Drygalski Mountains
Wikimedia Commons: Photo by Wilfried Bauer

The Last Great Climb is an inspirational mountaineering film that tells the story of a climber’s lifelong dream to reach one of the world’s most remote and difficult summits. It also tells the story of the mountain and the fact that it was only discovered back in 1994. The film captures the lively and humorous team who are no strangers to untouched peaks and unclimbed territory as they’ve ventured together conquering other first ascents that included Mount Asgard on Baffin Island and Cerro Autana in Venezuela.

The cinematography in the film is absolutely stunning and breathtaking. For such a harsh environment, Queen Maud, Antarctica has spectacular beauty and Ulvetanna seemed as if it was just calling out to be summited. Leo Houlding, Jason Pickles and Sean Leary answered that call. The team experienced good weather on some days, but the inevitable cold and cruel conditions eventually broke through, testing the team’s stamina and determination to complete the climb. Several parts leave you holding your breath as each climber takes on another pitch and one simple mistake could lead to serious if not fatal consequences. The team kept their spirits high throughout the climb to defy the odds.

The film has taken on a slightly different significance now with the tragic passing of Sean “Stanley” Leary this past March. Ulvetanna Peak would be his “last great climb” behind the filming of Alastair Lee and with this talented team of climbers. Stanley’s passion for adventure, his generous smile, and undying enthusiasm was, once again, captured and immortalized on film with The Last Great Climb.

If you haven’t seen The Last Great Climb yet, put it on your list of “must-see” climbing films. It is an absolutely remarkable portrayal of a gorgeous, yet intimidating, peak among the extreme conditions of Antarctica that brought an outstanding team of adventure climbers together to conquer it. Be prepared to be inspired and amazed with this unforgettable expedition.

A memorial fund has been set up for Sean Leary’s wife and their unborn child. If you’d like to donate, please visit and give what you can.

Visit for more information and to purchase The Last Great Climb.

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