Living Legend

Over 200 people gathered to celebrate Fred Beckey’s 86th birthday on January 24.

By Rock and Ice | January 27th, 2010

Over 200 people gathered to celebrate Fred Beckey’s 86th birthday on January 24.

Fred was born in Düsseldorf, Germany, and immigrated to the United States at age 3. He ended up in Seattle,  near the Cascade Range wilderness, in which he has explored and climbed tirelessly, even to this day. In fact, Beckey is unofficially regarded as the all-time record holder for first ascents. He is also a prolific guidebook author, whose scholarly works are rich with historical detail.

Beckey’s close friend Megan Bond organized the epic birthday party to celebrate his life and contributions, inviting many of Beckey’s partners, a stunning number of them well into their 80s. Many people from out of state attended. Corey Rich and Todd Offenbacher gave a hilarious photo presentation about their adventures with Beckey. Lowell Skoog showed digitized film clips of rare (and in some cases unseen) climbing footage of Beckey from the 1930s and 1940s. Yvon Chouinard (not able to attend) contributed a documentary film detailing their first ascent of the north face of Mount Edith Cavell, in 1961. Beckey was particularly amped on the party because he found a few more climbing partners. And in true Beckey form, just in case he had the opportunity to climb something during the party, he brought his rock shoes.

—Jane Courage

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