Let's Hear it for Fred Beckey!

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Chico

Trad climber
Mt. Shasta, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 30, 2007 - 05:56pm PT
I just got my mitts on the new Patagonia catalog, and it has a great shot of Fred Beckey on the cover. What an amazing guy! At 83, he still climbs more than me!

I don't know Fred personally, but one of my favorite books of all time is "Challenge of the North Cascades" by Mr. Beckey. I can't think of anybody else who has been as prolific a climber for as long as Fred. I think he deserves a collective round of applause from all of us. There is that old saying: There are old climbers and there are bold climbers, but there are no old-bold climbers. Well, exhibit A for the defense...Fred Beckey. There is also the old joke that after the nuclear holocaust there will be nothing left, except cockroaches, and Fred Beckey.

Either way, the guy is a legend. I'm inspired!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jun 30, 2007 - 08:45pm PT
I thought it was cockroaches and Beckey's progeny.
Ricardo Carlos

Trad climber
Off center, CO.
Jun 30, 2007 - 08:52pm PT
My vote is Todd Gordon the next Beckey only with wife and kids!RZS
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jun 30, 2007 - 09:00pm PT
This is a never published photo of Fred and his little brother, Helmut. Btw, I think Fred is 84, not 83, years young.



Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Jun 30, 2007 - 09:25pm PT
Still going strong as an octogenarian! First ascent of a friction route, "Bartering with Beckey", in Baja, 2004.



Fred Beckey travels to Mexico for a climb of Volcán Citlaltépetl (Pico de Orizaba) 18,410' (5,610m). No turning back now... December 18, 2003
Watusi

Social climber
Joshua Tree, CA
Jul 1, 2007 - 01:05am PT
Yeah! Fred Beckey is the MAN! I always remember he was also quite the ladies man as well...
hossjulia

Trad climber
Eastside
Jul 1, 2007 - 11:31am PT
my all to brief encounter with Becky at an OR winter show can attest to the "ladies man" title.
I was having dinner with Paul Ramer, Florian Wells, Jim Ruch, Fred Becky and others. Fred positioned himself next to me, the only woman in attendance, and I remember Paul cracking a snide remark about behaving himself.
He waited until the beer had been served, then put his hand on my leg to talk to me. It stayed there a little too long, so I picked it up and put it on the table, which caused a lot of laughter.

I really wanted to go climbing with him, but it never happened. He is an amazing inspiration, and when I start to grouse about getting old, I should rememeber Fred!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jul 1, 2007 - 11:45am PT
His longevity as a player is one of the most remarkable feats going.

8 Cheers for Fred Beckey!!!!!!!!
rockermike

Mountain climber
Berkeley
Jul 1, 2007 - 11:57am PT
Damn, He was old when MY father started climbing. Now none of us have an excuse. I guess never getting married has its advantages; save that life energy for things worthwhile. ha ha
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Jul 1, 2007 - 12:20pm PT
One time an age ago, I drove my '72 Ford Pinto approach vehicle down remote Mexican dirt roads and sandy washes to the Gran Trono Blanco. We spent about a week down there and saw no other people on the 30 miles of dirt road from the main highway or at the crag. When it came time to go home, the trusty Pinto would not start, due to a dead battery. The four of us tried to push start it, but the tires did not have enough traction in the sandy soil to turn over the engine. After much despair and gnashing of teeth, two of us had just started the long, hot hike out to the main road, when we saw a plume of dust and a vehicle approaching. Well, you can imagine our surprise when the ubiquitous Fred Becky, along with Eric Bjornstad got out of the van that pulled up. Mr. Beckey was already a legendary character, so it was a thrill, as well as a great relief, to see him.
They were kind enough to push start the Pinto with the van and get us on our way back to LA.
Thanks again for the rescue, Fred. You are an inspiration to all climbers.
ryanb

climber
Seattle, WA
Jul 1, 2007 - 12:54pm PT
A friend of mine who works in the local gear shop hear in Seattle says he comes in occasionally to convince them to photocopy rout descriptions...out of his own guide books!

You know you're a dirt bag when...

I also saw him in the gym a few times this winter, seemed quite with it judging by the care with which he helped his (younger more female) climbing partner tie in.

I totally saw him step on a hold taped orange while he was climbing the purple route. What a maverick!
TYeary

Mountain climber
Calif.
Jul 1, 2007 - 03:10pm PT
So I'm stepping into an elevator in a hotel in Boulder, Colo, while attending an AAC meeting there sometime in the early- mid '90's. The door opens and in a flash I'm floored by some dude who in a rush to exit the elevator, has knocked us both on our butts. I look up and it's none other than Fred Beckey. The man and the myth, right in front of me. So we gather up all his spilled papers as he's explaning about his presentation and how he's got to get it typed ect.., a quick hand shake(which I forced out of him)and he dissapeared in a rush down the hall. I'm thinking; I just shook the hand that has touched more rock than I'll ever see. I was in awe. Twenty minutes later I see Fred in the hotel office , all over some secretary at a type writer. He is in the process of convincing her to type his program for him. As I go by the door, Fred looks up to see me, and with a sparkle in his eye, never misses a word in his smoozing of the gal at the desk.
Some time later it dawns on me that I shook the hand of a climbing myth who has fondled more figures than I could dream of as well. On that trip I met two of my heros: Had a pint or two with Doug Scott and witnessed Fred in "action". It dosn't get much better than that.
Tony
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jul 1, 2007 - 03:18pm PT
Wasn't that at the Harvest House in December, '89?


Smoozing?
Hand on leg?


Chico

Trad climber
Mt. Shasta, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 1, 2007 - 03:22pm PT
Tony, that was a really funny post. I'm cracking up over here. That must have been cool clinking pint glasses with Doug Scott. One of these days I'll make it to an AAC meeting. My banjo instructor was just at the Telluride Bluegrass festival where he did some workshops. Sitting in a tent about five feet from Bela Fleck and Emmy Lou Harris. Priceless if you are a Bluegrass picker. I think the AAC meeting is about equivalent for Alpinists.
ec

climber
ca
Jul 1, 2007 - 03:46pm PT

DM, you mean this guy?

 ec
TYeary

Mountain climber
Calif.
Jul 1, 2007 - 04:00pm PT
Ron,
Correct on all three counts. Memory ain't what it used to be I guess. Too many pints and bunk weed ! What you going to do?
Tony
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jul 1, 2007 - 04:02pm PT
Fred developed an interest in Touchstone after we went up on the first 60m in the early '90s. I hear he has returned repeatedly to try it and indeed the last time I saw him was on the Zion shuttle heading upcanyon.

But back to the 90s; he stayed with me for a while during which we had a discussion about women (big surprise huh?). At the time my circle of friends included a group of very liberated women in southern Nevada, a detail I was very careful not to mention to the Fredster.
I guess I did however give the impression that I found women around Vegas to be, well, friendly.

He had apparently discretely filed away that piece of info because later when his visit ended and he said he had to drive back to the NW I suggested that he might want to remain around for another ten days because there was going to be a big climbers party in Vegas at Mike Clifford's and gave him the place and time.

Ten days later after Fred left I showed up at Mike's about three hours early to show him a new gun and use the shower to get nice and clean for the ladies.

Being a regular visitor I knew to pull into the vacant lot next door to park and as I pulled in I could look through the kitchen window. Long before any of the female company arrived, every one of whom would be interviewed, there was Fred ready to conduct them.
nick d

Trad climber
nm
Jul 1, 2007 - 04:18pm PT
In the early 80s Mr. Beckey gave a slideshow at a private high school here in Albuquerque. He was pretty much half in the bag the whole time he was here, even, as I recall. drinking a cocktail during the show. Partway through he fell off the stage, a good five feet to the floor, landing hard, full length sprawl. Didn't miss a beat, staggered back onto the stage and continued speaking as if nothing had happened. I wish my body was as durable as his!

Michael
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jul 1, 2007 - 04:28pm PT
So which actor should play the title role in The Fred Beckey Story?
hamid

Trad climber
Berkeley, California
Jul 1, 2007 - 07:06pm PT
My Fred Beckey story:

My friend Jason Kuo and I ran into him right past Sam Mack meadow on the way up to the Palisades Glacier. At first I didn't recognize him. We both passed him, and we looked at each other with that look: "DUDE!!! That's Fred Beckey! I mean who else could it be?". So I went down again to him and asked him a couple of stupid questions just to start a conversation....it didn't really go anywhere. He was tired from Altitude, etc...a little hard of hearing as well! BUT MAN! What an inspiration! No excuses! Get out there!

May we all gather energy and inspiration right from the elements!

RAW!!

-Hamiz
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