RIP Fred Beckey in Climber's Board Posted November 5, 2017 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.