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olyclimber

RIP Fred Beckey

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black napkin, more like.

 

Who has one of those plain B&W

 

"Fred Beckey

 

 

Climber"

 

 

business cards? lotsa route details written on the back of those.

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Raindawg here.... coming out of cc.com exile to pay tribute to Mighty Fred. I have a lot of memories including inviting him to give a lecture or two at my place of employment. Fueled up on coffee. he always gave a rapid-fire retrospective of almost every climb he ever did..one slide per ascent...."almost died on that one"...."she was a cutie..." etc. and by the end of it, a couple of hours later, the audience was both exhausted and impressed beyond belief.

 

One of my star-struck students once asked Fred with great expectation...."uh....whhhhhat kind of boots do you wear, Mr. Beckey???" expecting specific instructions from the maestro.

"Well, you go to the REI or wherever...you put some on...and if they work out that's good." Another time, Fred showed up at my house asking for advice as to whether he should go back to school and get a Master's Degree so he could get a job teaching history or geography at a community college. He was well over 70 years old at the time and my feeling was that he should have already had some sort of national achievement stipend for all he had already accomplished, and to encourage him to continue.

 

If you knew Fred, you knew about his secret book of numbers, the pay phones, the random calls and appearances, and his unstoppable drive to do new things. If you read his guide books, one can only conclude that he was an eccentric genius, and his Cascade guides probably shaped the lives of most everyone reading this. They did mine.

 

I'm delighted he made it to 94.....most don't reach that age but he did it with vigor, always reaching for dreams in his own eccentric way.

 

Thanks Fred. Raindawg/Dwayner/Don

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Raindawg here.... coming out of cc.com exile to pay tribute to Mighty Fred. I have a lot of memories including inviting him to give a lecture or two at my place of employment. Fueled up on coffee. he always gave a rapid-fire retrospective of almost every climb he ever did..one slide per ascent...."almost died on that one"...."she was a cutie..." etc. and by the end of it, a couple of hours later, the audience was both exhausted and impressed beyond belief.

 

One of my star-struck students once asked Fred with great expectation...."uh....whhhhhat kind of boots do you wear, Mr. Beckey???" expecting specific instructions from the maestro.

"Well, you go to the REI or wherever...you put some on...and if they work out that's good." Another time, Fred showed up at my house asking for advice as to whether he should go back to school and get a Master's Degree so he could get a job teaching history or geography at a community college. He was well over 70 years old at the time and my feeling was that he should have already had some sort of national achievement stipend for all he had already accomplished, and to encourage him to continue.

 

If you knew Fred, you knew about his secret book of numbers, the pay phones, the random calls and appearances, and his unstoppable drive to do new things. If you read his guide books, one can only conclude that he was an eccentric genius, and his Cascade guides probably shaped the lives of most everyone reading this. They did mine.

 

I'm delighted he made it to 94.....most don't reach that age but he did it with vigor, always reaching for dreams in his own eccentric way.

 

Thanks Fred. Raindawg/Dwayner/Don

 

:tup:

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if nothing else, fred's death, if only momentarily, allows us all to agree w/ raindawg about something - well said :)

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An old mountaineer and math teacher, Mr. Moe, advised our high school's hiking club. He taught us how to kick steps and use an ice axe.....but I was just a kid with no money and no idea of how to get started (I worked on a bean farm near Othello in 1984 and came home with $80, hopped on a bus to Seattle and bought a pair of Boreal Fire rock shoes from the Swallow's Nest). No money, no transportation....but I did have a library card. The Beckey guides and Challenge of the North Cascades were never on the library shelf because I checked them out for weeks, months probably. Those B&W photos of Mt. Stuart and Chimney Rock were my cocaine. Freedom of the Hills was my Bible.

 

In 1985 I enrolled in the Mountaineer's basic climbing class. I missed Prom because of a mandatory snow-cave field trip, and I learned some basics that would round out my climbing skill set (like the hip belay, with which I stopped my friend Mike after falling 150 feet on Guye Peak). I finally knew just enough to give Mt. Stuart a shot.

 

I was never very interested in history, but when Beckey taught a Cascade History class in the early 1990's, my girlfriend and I attended night school at GRCC. For weeks he lectured about miners, trappers, railroads and military expeditions, never looking at his notes. During the last ten minutes of the last lecture, he summarized the conquest of the 3 or 4 highest peaks, not once mentioning his own achievements. Fred Beckey was obsessed with climbing mountains, but his scholarly knowledge of the Cascades can't be overstated. He loved the Cascades, and I remember him liking my girlfriend.

 

 

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I only met Mr Beckey twice, once after a solo of chair peaks east face on a beautiful summer day of 93. He was hiking up the scee slope slowly with another man, so we chatted awhile. After he asked me what i did, he kinda scolded me, saying he wouldnt of done it without a belay. when hiking out, thinking of what he said, I tripped on the boulder field and went head over heals, hurting my shoulder bad, I was hoping he didnt see me! The second meeting was in 07 on tiger mountain, I was going up and passed him going down, so I cut my hike short to chat with him. My mind was swirling trying to think of which climbs to ask him about and I descided on the1st winter ascent of mt Robson 1961(?) and mt hunters west ridge with heinrich herrar(1954) I also aked him what Herman Ulrich was like as I read about his early ascents in the cascades and admired him. He was polite and anwsered my questions. At the parking lot he asked me if I wanted to head to Canada for some ski touring/climbing, he was already 84ish at that time!! I regretably told him I had to work the next day and we exchanged emails. I wish I would have gone though. RIP

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He loved the Cascades, and I remember him liking my girlfriend.

 

The best epitaph for old Fred.

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