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Fred Beckey, 90 years old, climbing in JTree
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By Richard Shore
Jan 7, 2013
Eichorns Pinnacle
Just after the New Year, and less than 10 days before his 90th birthday - the man, the legend, Fred Beckey, attains yet another fine summit. The Moosedog Tower in Indian Cove, Joshua Tree, via the 3-pitch 5.6 route "Tranquility". My buddies Erik Harz and Felix Parham roped up with Fred while I soloed alongside taking photos and providing some additional assistance. Getting a 90 year-old up a 300' route is no easy task! His body may have been weakened by age, but he can still move fluidly and thoughtlessly, like he's been doing it for 70+ years! Enjoy the photos! I can only hope to still be alive and walking at his age, let alone climbing.


Fred starting up the first pitch
Fred starting up the first pitch



Fred on P1
Fred on P1



Fred maximizing a crucial no-hands, no-feet rest m...
Fred maximizing a crucial no-hands, no-feet rest mid-pitch

Fred - "I'm climbing shitty today"
Me - "You're the best 90 year old climber I've met"

Fred gives his approval as he finishes P2
Fred gives his approval as he finishes P2

"Good lead, buddy"

Felix has a laugh while Fred takes a nap at the be...
Felix has a laugh while Fred takes a nap at the belay

"Up rope!"

Fred tops out on the final pitch on Moosedog Tower...
Fred tops out on the final pitch on Moosedog Tower!



The old master atop another fine summit
The old master atop another fine summit

Hard of hearing, Fred couldn't quite understand what the name of the tower was called - "Hedgehog? Moosecock? Moosecat? Oh, Moosedog! Like the one I did in the Karakoram." HAHA



It was an honor and a pleasure to share this peak with you, Fred. You inspire us all. Here's to another decade of vibrant life and climbing - cheers!

FLAG
By Richard Shore
Jan 7, 2013
Eichorns Pinnacle
Additional notes:

This may be the oldest-age ascent of the route (or any route?)

This may also be the slowest roped and slowest free-solo ascent of the route, at just over 4 hours.

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By Owen Darrow
From Garmisch,
Jan 7, 2013
Nice view
So cool to be climbing with such a legend. I just got to see one of his slideshows and that was a cool experience but climbing with him would be great!

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By TKHouse
Jan 7, 2013
Simply inspiring, I hope I'm doing this at 90! It's great to know this isn't a sport limited to a certain age range to still go out and experience some adventure.

Thanks so much for posting

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By DrApnea
From Wenatchee, WA
Jan 7, 2013
great post

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By tom303
From anchorage
Jan 7, 2013
Wow, what a great story. Thanks for posting this.

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By Chris Norfolk
From Fredericton, New Brunswick
Jan 7, 2013
Hello MP.
A humbling ascent and what an opportunity for a photographer! To state the obvious Mr. Beckey is an inspiring hard-man. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

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By Coppolo
From Denver, CO
Jan 7, 2013
Sunrise in Stevens gulch
who the hell is Fred Beckey?!












; )

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By flynn
Jan 7, 2013
who the hell is Fred Beckey?!
Looks from your profile like you do a lot of mountaineering. You "should" know about him, the way any electric guitar player "should" know about Les Paul. Fred has done more first ascents than most of us have done climbs, period. He's somewhere between founding father and icon in that field of endeavor. Ask somebody about Fred's fixed ropes and the infamous pink Thunderbird.

I attended a slide show he gave a couple of years ago. Yeah, the body is frail, but the mind is still all there. Hope I'm that good at that age!

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By Woodchuck ATC
Jan 7, 2013
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
He's only got about 30 years on me but is still my age group hero...certainly hope to get close to his age and energy level as years go by.

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By Bob Banks
Jan 7, 2013
Really awesome post. Thanks Richard.

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By Pam Neal
Jan 7, 2013
Thanks for sharing your experience with Fred and the photos too. I only hope I can be doing the same when I am his age!

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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Jan 7, 2013
OTL
Hey Rich! Awesome trip report. He's still a badass.

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By KDog
Jan 8, 2013
This is so flippin cool. Thank you for sharing. Great post!!!

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By SICgrips
Jan 8, 2013
Thanks! - Fred is my inspiration. Now if I can just keep go'n another 28...

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By tim naylor
Jan 8, 2013
awesome. thats a stout 5.6 crux too!.

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By Richard Shore
Jan 8, 2013
Eichorns Pinnacle
Some aid was employed in his ascent, in true Fred style. 5.6 A0. At 90, the toprope can never be tight enough. "Up rope, buddy" A half move later - "Up rope!" Zero moves later - "Fucking up rope already goddamnit!"

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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Jan 8, 2013
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Ka...
Thanks for posting this.

He is a true hardman.

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By Justin Tomlinson
From Monrovia, CA
Jan 8, 2013
Summit of Mt. Langley
Cool. Way to be to there, Rich.

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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Jan 8, 2013
...
Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!...

Fucking A right on!!!...

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By Keny Glasscock
From Salt Lake City
Jan 8, 2013
I love this kind of stuff!! Climb on Fred Beckey.

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By drmartindell
From Homer, Ak
Jan 8, 2013
Very cool, thanks.

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By Muff
Jan 8, 2013
.
So rad!

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By Matthew Fienup
Administrator
From Ventura, CA
Jan 8, 2013
Photo by Marisa Fienup.
Awesome story and photos, Richard. Thanks so much for sharing. They inspire wonderful memories for me.

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By Hans
From North Vancouver, BC
Jan 8, 2013
Fred is my hero.

I ran into him twice last year: in the Bugaboos and at Washington Pass. Always a pleasure to see that he is still out there enjoying himself.

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By Erik Harz
Jan 8, 2013
The Edge of the World
Upon returning to the base to pick up our stuff, Fred discovered that while he was climbing, a little girl camped at the nearest site with her family (her dad must have told her about Fred) wrote Fred an inspirational card! Fred was stoked, and walked with his head up as high as he could back to camp, with the card in one hand and his classy mountaineer coiled rope in the other.

secret fan!
secret fan!

FLAG


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