Fred Beckey dies aged 94

© Patagonia Inc

US climbing legend Fred Beckey has died aged 94. Beckey was widely regarded as one of North America's greatest mountaineers, and perhaps the ultimate 'dirtbag', rejecting conventional security for a life devoted to climbing.

Legendary climber Fred Beckey  © Mick Ryan
Legendary climber Fred Beckey
© Mick Ryan

Taking up climbing as a teenager in the Cascade Range of America's Pacific Northwest, Beckey soon gained a reputation as a committed exploratory mountaineer, at a time when the potential of the Northwest was only beginning to be tapped.

"I was 13 when I climbed Boulder Peak in the Olympic Mountains by myself" he later recalled, "and I guess you can say that I never stopped climbing after that. For me, the appeal of climbing has many sources: a longing to escape from the artificial civilized order, a need for self-rejuvenation, a desire to restore my sense of proportion. When you are climbing, you experience freedom from constraints."

photo
Fred Beckey, the legend.
© Patagonia Inc

In 1942, aged just 19, Beckey and his brother Helmy (17) made waves with the second ascent of Mount Waddington, in British Columbia's remote Coast Range. Over a climbing career spanning seven decades, he then went on to establish one of the most prolific first ascent records in the world. He also wrote several classic guides and other books.

Fred Beckey's life is the subject of the new film Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey, showing at film festivals this year.


This post has been read 16,598 times

Return to Latest News


Support UKC

As climbers we strive to make UKClimbing.com the kind of website we would love to visit, with the most up-to-date news, diverse and interesting articles, comprehensive gear reviews, breathtaking photographs and a vast and useful logbook system. As a result, an incredible community has formed around the site - we’ve provided the framework but it’s you who make the website what it is today. If you appreciate the content we offer then you can help us by becoming an official UKC Supporter. This can be a one-off single annual payment or a more substantial payment paid monthly or yearly which includes full access to Rockfax Digital and discounts on Rockfax print publications.

If you appreciate UKClimbing.com then please help us by becoming a UKC Supporter.

UKC Supporter

  • Support the website we all know and love
  • Access to a year's subscription to Rockfax Digital.
  • Plus 30% off Rockfax guidebooks
  • Plus Show your support UKC Supporter badge on your profile and forum posts
UKC/UKH/Rockfax logo

31 Oct, 2017
Oh no! But it had to happen eventually. Incredible mountaineer.
31 Oct, 2017
RIP. 94 years old and planning another trip to the Himalaya next spring, just incredible.
31 Oct, 2017
[From the article.] “He devoted his life to advancing climbing and he succeeded,” says McCarthy. "He deserves to be venerated.” What an amazing life. Mick
31 Oct, 2017
Ah too bad, I wasn't familiar with his name until fairly recently when I saw a very good video about his life; it was amazing he was still so game.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TSLOX0RFZY
31 Oct, 2017
Have just raised a glass to a life we would all like to lead.
More Comments
Loading Notifications...
Facebook Twitter Copy Email LinkedIn Pinterest