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Will Belay For Food!!!

Fred Beckey in Patagonia's Fall 2004 catalog

 "Fred Beckey has achieved enduring recognition as the most imaginative, persistent, and thorough explorer and mountain investigator of the Cascade Range Wilderness. He was noted as "one of America's most colorful and eccentric mountaineers," and is unofficially recognized as the all-time world-record holder for the number of first ascents credited to one man. In addition to being the author of the Cascade Alpine Guide series, Beckey is also the author of Mountains of North America, The Range of Glaciers: Exploration and Survey of the North Cascades, and a personal narrative, Challenge of the North Cascades."    --The Mountaineers Press


Fred Beckey

"This is a piece I wrote for Climbing's "Hot Flashes" about a trip I made with Freddie in 1995. I was quite impressed with Fred: still as sharp as a tack when it comes to logistics of an expedition, and incredibly fit. The first day we hiked over 8 miles on up and down terrain with pretty heavy packs (with only a little complaining). Of course, all his gear is archaic: frame packs, leather boots, and neoprene strap crampons.

Calvin Hebert, John Middendorf, and Fred Beckey explored a relatively unknown area of the Alaska Range and climbed the highest peak in the area: Mt Beckey (formerly peak 8500'). We climbed the peak, which is located at coordinates North 62 degrees, 52 minutes, West 152 degrees, 15 minutes, from the west.

In June, we flew into a small gravel strip at the base of Camp Creek where we met the proprietor of the Grandview Lodge, a remote hunting and fishing lodge which is accessible only by plane on the west side of the Alaskan Range. From there, we fought mosquitoes on our trek up and over a 5200' pass to the Cathedral Glacier, where we set up basecamp at approximately 4500 feet. Fred's endurance of carrying heavy loads in his ancient frame pack amazed me. Surrounding our basecamp, many beautiful unclimbed 1000 foot rock walls rose up, and although we had plenty of technical rock climbing gear delivered by airdrop, we opted instead to climb the mountaineering challenge of Peak 8500, mostly because of the unsettled weather.

While waiting for several days for the weather to clear and shuttling heavy loads of the technical gear back to the Camp Creek area, Calvin and I joked, "It's a backpacking and sleeping adventure! with your host, Fred Beckey!"--a la the 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous' commentator.

We climbed Peak 8500 on June 28th in whiteout, windless conditions. Just prior to roping up on the upper Cathedral glacier, Fred fell into a deep crevasse to his neck, and was heroically rescued by Calvin, who leaped over the crevasse in a flash and pulled Fred out. The crux of the route was a loose rock step, which Fred led (5.5X). It was nice to climb with Fred, with all his experiences in the mountains, and with whom every logistical aspect of climbing and living in the mountains was at all times thought out in detail. From the rock step a beautiful snow ridge led to the summit. The three of us had been alternating leads during the climb, and although Fred had been leading on the section just below the top, he stopped 20 feet short of the summit and allowed me to pass, in honor of it being my first Alaskan summit, whereupon I named the peak Mt. Beckey.

Fred Beckey has been climbing since the mid 1930's, and ever since his participation in the first ascent of Forbidden Peak in 1940, Fred has climbed countless first ascents all over the world. In America, Fred must be one of most prolific climbers in history, with probably over 1000 first ascents in North America alone. He was born in 1921 and climbs well to this day."
--John Middendorf, author and big wall climber


Fred Becky at the American Alpine Club meeting in Bend Oregon, 2007


Images Copyright© 2007- 2011 by Robert Speik. All Rights Reserved.

From our Calendar of Current Traditional Mountaineering Events:

Thursday through Monday, March 29 to April 2, 2007 in Bend Oregon!
The 2007 American Alpine Club Mountain Fest and Annual Meeting, The Riverhouse Hotel and Smith Rock State Park
Pre registered full weekend pass holders have access to all the events including the Saturday evening awards and presentation. The only way to attend the Saturday evening awards and presentation and/or the Friday dinner is by purchasing the weekend pass. All other events will be open on a space available basis. This includes the Direct Beckey film, the House/Anderson presentation, Climate Change Symposium, Ladies Base Camp Breakfast, clinics and closing reception.

6:00-8:00pm, DINNER, McMenamins, Bend, Welcoming dinner and reception for officials and guests.
8:00-10:00pm, "DIRECT BECKEY", DIRECTORS CUT FILM PREVIEW, McMenamins, Bend, Preview clips, photographs and rarely before seen archival footage dating back to the 1940's from the upcoming documentary, "Direct Beckey." This historic film tells the unique life story of climbing legend and prolific first ascentionist: Fred Beckey. Featuring filmmakers Dave O'Leske and Jeff Wenger with special guest Fred Beckey.





Read more . . .
John Middendorf 's personal website
Fred Becky is a living traditional mountaineering legend
Fred Beckey's classic three volume Cascade Alpine Guide

  Notable Events
Jim Angell, master trail builder, dies at age 76
Fred Beckey, "Will Belay For Food!!!
Smith Rock "Spring Thing"
About Brad Washburn by Michael Chessler
Top of the world: Bend team set to scale Mt. Everest
Wild Snowberry Adventure Race
Annapurna, a woman's place is on top
The search for Peter Starr 
Seven summits in twenty-four hours in Oregon Cascades
Mountaineers mourn Ira Spring
Climbing Legends returning for another shot at Everest 
Fred Beckey, icon and living legend 
Galen and Barbara Rowell die in plane crash
Mike Bearzi spearheads donation of rescue cache to Smith Rock 
Veteran alpinist Mike Bearzi dies while climbing in Tibet
Bend's Midge Cross with women's team on Everest!
Bend's Nancy Knoble climbs Aconcagua!
Goran Kropp killed while rock climbing in Washington

  About Alpine Mountaineering: 
  The Sport of Alpine Mountaineering
  Climbing Together
  Following the Leader 
  The Mountaineers' Rope
  Basic Responsibilities     Cuatro Responsabiliades Basicas de Quienes Salen al Campo
  The Ten Essentials         Los Diez Sistemas Esenciales



The Three Sisters and Broken Top
South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister (the sinister sister) and Broken Top in the Three Sisters Wilderness near Bend, Oregon USA
Photo Copyright© 2004 - 2011 by Robert Speik. All Rights Reserved.