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Fred Beckey, 90 years old, climbing in JTree


Original Post
Richard Shore · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 6,607

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 on P1

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
"Good lead, buddy"

Felix has a laugh while Fred takes a nap at the belay
"Up rope!"

Fred tops out on the final pitch on Moosedog Tower!

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, Muztagh! Like the one 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!

Richard Shore · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 6,607

Additional notes:

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

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

Owen Darrow · · Garmisch, · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 1,805

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!

TKHouse · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 30

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

DrApnea · · Wenatchee, WA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 250

great post

tom303 · · Colorado · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 160

Wow, what a great story. Thanks for posting this.

Chris Norfolk · · Fredericton, New Brunswick · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 190

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.

Coppolo · · Denver, CO · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 10

who the hell is Fred Beckey?!

; )

flynn · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2002 · Points: 25

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!

Woodchuck ATC · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 3,110

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.

Bob Banks · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 180
Really awesome post. Thanks Richard.
Pam Neal · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 115

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!

Matt N · · Santa Barbara, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 276

Hey Rich! Awesome trip report. He's still a badass.

Kirsten KDog · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 80

This is so flippin cool. Thank you for sharing. Great post!!!

SICgrips · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 80

Thanks! - Fred is my inspiration. Now if I can just keep go'n another 28...

tim naylor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2004 · Points: 370

awesome. thats a stout 5.6 crux too!.

Richard Shore · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 6,607

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!"

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Thanks for posting this.

He is a true hardman.

Justin Tomlinson · · Monrovia, CA · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 255

Cool. Way to be to there, Rich.

Locker · · Yucca Valley, CA · Joined Oct 2002 · Points: 2,265

Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!...

Fucking A right on!!!...

Keny Glasscock · · Salt Lake City · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 95

I love this kind of stuff!! Climb on Fred Beckey.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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