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Paying Tribute to Helmy Beckey


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I'm often asked "what happened to Helmy?" or about the whereabouts of Helmy, Fred Beckey's brother.

I was able to spend time with Helmy on two lengthy visits to Munich: the first in 2014 and then in 2018.

This is a link to his obituary, on the Mountaineers website:


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The climb of Index's North Peak was originally made by Lionel Chute & "company" in the late 1920s - exact year and partner's names unknown. It was later climbed by Otto Trott and Eric Larson in 1941. It's likely that Trott & Larson actually made the first "complete" summit, but that the specifics were not entirely documented, as could have Chute.

It was proposed in later years by Harry Majors that Fred & Helmy made the first "complete" ascent of the North Peak, as the write-up by Fred in the 1946 AAJ made mention of continuing to the true summit; Chute's homemade-metal match summit register was found at the "false" summit.

Fred never made the FA claim himself.

Edited by Puma
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Thank you for posting. There was a lot in the write up about Helmy that I didn't know. I'd heard third-hand that Fred referred to him as the smart one for going back to Germany and having a family. Don't know if that true, maybe Megan is around and will chime in.

Helmy, Fred, Dee, et al were real trailblazers and true adventurers in the Cascades. Having completed new routes on Johannnesberg, Formidable, and Little Tahoma, I can say that going where no one has been before, where there is no description or cairn or tat, etc. is a very different experience. And in those cases we followed an established route down. What they did in terms of first summits with far less road access...man, that's an order of magnitude more commitment.

Cheers to them all, and thank you for blazing those trails and routes that so many have joyfully followed.

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Re: the Beckey Family

Hi JasonG,

In 1966, prior to his move to Munich, Helmy married a young woman who had come from Austria to care for his and Fred's mother. That marriage ended in divorce about seven years later. In interviews with his former wife, she has positive memories and affirmative things to say about Helmy, Fred, and their mother. They had no children; neither Fred nor Helmy had any offspring. They (Helmy, Fred and their mother , whose name was Marta Maria) remained a tight-knit family over their lifetimes.

Helmy spent the last dozen years or so in the company of a woman (a former opera singer) who died shortly after he did.


- Megan Bond

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