Fred Beckey, a prolific North American climber, author, and mountaineer, passed away Monday at 94. He left behind hundreds of first ascents and legions of admirers among the rock climbing community.
Beckey left behind a legacy of ascents that inspired generations of climbers. Pick up any guidebook on mountains or crags in the American West, and you’re likely to see Fred Beckey’s name among first ascents, or emblazoned across the cover.
News of Beckey’s death spread rapidly across social media. At 94 years old, he still climbed actively. During more than seven decades of climbing, his work included several classic guidebooks and literally hundreds of first ascents.
Thanks Fred for bearing the torch; the light from which we all benefited. pic.twitter.com/r3je11IduI
— 🏔 Conrad Anker ⚓️ (@conradanker) October 31, 2017
Beckey was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1923. His family immigrated to the United States when he was 2 years old and settled in Seattle.
And it seems he never slowed down. He pioneered literally hundreds of routes. Dedicating his life to climbing, he often lived out of the trunk of his car while traveling the roads of the United States and Canada. Also renowned as the “Original Dirtbag,” Beckey is the subject of a forthcoming movie. See the trailer below.
Across social media, well-known climbers and weekend warriors alike reacted to Beckey’s passing.
Steve House (Via Facebook)
— Ahhhh Fred…Great memories of bumping into you climbing in Alaska, Washington, BC, and Alberta. You lived well. Respect!
A legend rests. Beckey 🙏🏻 R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/MwTt0zJsnT
— Sasha DiGiulian (@sashadigiulian) October 31, 2017
The Clymb (Via Facebook)
— It’s with heavy hearts that we report the passing of Fred Beckey. The climbing world has lost one of the greatest dirtbag legends it’s ever known today. Your ways and wisdom will be missed.
RIP Fred Beckey, original dirtbag. I made this video w/Fred in 2008, he was still climbing & lying abt his age. https://t.co/DLkoX2EzRB
— Sean Patrick Farrell (@spatrickfarrell) October 31, 2017
Nina Williams (Via Facebook)
— Damn. Just heard that Fred Beckey has passed away. Sad news, but he certainly lived life with 100% passion. Fred’s dedication to climbing was rivaled by few… if any. He pursued the lifestyle for 94 years, contributing hundreds of first ascents and always looking towards the next horizon. I’ve always said I want to climb my whole life; if I can do a fraction of what Fred accomplished, I will be satisfied. RIP you legend.
Off belay, Fred. We’re missing you and gratefully reflecting on your immeasurable contributions to our community. https://t.co/MjBV3eYsEB
— American Alpine Club (@americanalpine) October 31, 2017