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Fred Beckey, 90 years old, climbing in JTree
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Jan 7, 2013
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.

Rock Climbing Photo: Fred starting up the first pitch
Fred starting up the first pitch

Rock Climbing Photo: Fred on P1
Fred on P1

Rock Climbing Photo: 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"

Rock Climbing Photo: Fred gives his approval as he finishes P2
Fred gives his approval as he finishes P2

"Good lead, buddy"

Rock Climbing Photo: 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!"

Rock Climbing Photo: Fred tops out on the final pitch on Moosedog Tower...
Fred tops out on the final pitch on Moosedog Tower!

Rock Climbing Photo: 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, 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
Joined Aug 17, 2009
5,370 points
Jan 7, 2013
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.
Richard Shore
Joined Aug 17, 2009
5,370 points
Jan 7, 2013
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! Owen Darrow
From Garmisch,
Joined Feb 22, 2010
1,160 points
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
Joined Apr 4, 2010
30 points
Jan 7, 2013
great post DrApnea
From Wenatchee, WA
Joined May 24, 2011
150 points
Jan 7, 2013
Wow, what a great story. Thanks for posting this. tom303
From Colorado
Joined Aug 6, 2011
130 points
Jan 7, 2013
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. Chris Norfolk
From Fredericton, New Brunswick
Joined Jan 5, 2010
80 points
Jan 7, 2013
who the hell is Fred Beckey?!

; )
From Denver, CO
Joined Jun 4, 2010
0 points
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!
Joined Feb 9, 2002
25 points
Jan 7, 2013
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. Woodchuck ATC
Joined Nov 29, 2007
505 points
Jan 7, 2013
Really awesome post. Thanks Richard. Bob Banks
Joined Aug 5, 2010
180 points
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! Pam Neal
Joined Jan 3, 2010
110 points
Jan 7, 2013
Hey Rich! Awesome trip report. He's still a badass. Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Joined Oct 20, 2010
180 points
Jan 8, 2013
This is so flippin cool. Thank you for sharing. Great post!!! Kirsten KDog
Joined Jun 25, 2010
0 points
Jan 8, 2013
Thanks! - Fred is my inspiration. Now if I can just keep go'n another 28... SICgrips
Joined Dec 17, 2012
10 points
Jan 8, 2013
awesome. thats a stout 5.6 crux too!. tim naylor
Joined Mar 18, 2004
370 points
Jan 8, 2013
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!" Richard Shore
Joined Aug 17, 2009
5,370 points
Jan 8, 2013
Thanks for posting this.

He is a true hardman.
Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Joined Mar 1, 2008
105 points
Jan 8, 2013
Cool. Way to be to there, Rich. Justin Tomlinson
From Monrovia, CA
Joined Apr 4, 2010
235 points
Jan 8, 2013
Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!...

Fucking A right on!!!...
From Yucca Valley, CA
Joined Oct 13, 2002
1,635 points
Jan 8, 2013
I love this kind of stuff!! Climb on Fred Beckey. Keny Glasscock
From Salt Lake City
Joined Sep 20, 2011
5 points
Jan 8, 2013
Very cool, thanks. sarcasm
Joined May 22, 2010
465 points
Jan 8, 2013
So rad! Muff
Joined Jul 7, 2009
40 points
Jan 8, 2013
Awesome story and photos, Richard. Thanks so much for sharing. They inspire wonderful memories for me. Matthew Fienup
From Ventura, CA
Joined Feb 18, 2006
6,283 points
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.
From Squamish, BC
Joined Oct 14, 2007
1,136 points
Jan 8, 2013
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.

Rock Climbing Photo: secret fan!
secret fan!
Erik Harz
Joined Jan 13, 2010
10 points

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