Friday, December 19, 2008


If you're a climber it's hard not to be inspired by Fred Beckey. Check out the story and especially the video (better full screen) from the New York Times. I wish I could say I'd devoted as much energy to climbing (or anything, for that matter) as Fred. I can only hope that I'll be a fraction as active when I'm his age.

My first contact with Fred Beckey was through his guidebooks. As much as we appreciated having the guidebooks, we always ended up cursing them (and him) as an innocent sounding single sentence in the guidebook routinely turned into hours (if not days) of horrendous bushwhacking or tricky climbing.

I remember some years ago we were in the parking lot at Skaha (a climbing area near Penticton) and my friend Ian Marsh suddenly started pointing at a car in the parking lot and saying "that's Fred Beckey's car!". It was a nondescript car so I couldn't figure out how he would know. The answer was that there had been a picture of Fred and his car in one of the climbing catalogs that we used to spend our time poring over when we weren't climbing. Sure enough, Fred and an entourage of much younger climbers were at Skaha that day.

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