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Is This Man the Most Prolific Climber Ever?

If you’re a rock climber, particularly one in the Pacific Northwest, then you’ve likely heard of Fred Beckey. There’s also a good chance you’ve climbed one of his routes. If you’re a rock climber and haven’t heard of him, well, it’s about time you did.

Fred BeckeyFred Beckey has likely made more first ascents of more peaks and routes in North America (and quite possibly the entire world) than anyone ever has, or ever will.

Beckey was born in Germany in 1923 and immigrated with his family to Seattle at a young age. He started climbing as a teenager in the late 1930s and not long after he began racking up first ascents, hundreds of them. Beckey has since climbed all around the world, from Alaska to Europe to China. And he hasn't stopped yet.

For an inside look at the 87-year-old legend of climbing, read through this Outside article that compiles stories and impressions from friends, family, famous climbers and the man himself. It’s a very entertaining read.

I’ve run into Fred Beckey several times over the last few years, and I’ve even seen him at a local climbing gym honing his skills. It amazes me that he’s still at it after all these years.

Have you had a chance to meet Fred Beckey? Have you run into him in the mountains? If so, let’s hear about it.

Not only is Beckey a legend of climbing, but he’s also a published author of several histories and essential guidebooks. Take a look at some of Fred Beckey’s books, including the Cascade Alpine Guide, at See also this New York Times video from about a year ago:

Posted on at 5:11 PM

Tagged: Climbing, Fred Beckey, Rock Climbing and mountaineering

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While it has been years since I have actively climbed I still remember the late 70's and early 80's in New England and we all knew about Fred from the west and Fritz from the east. While the routes they put up in their day are now the 'easy routes' with today's skills and equipment they both should always be remembered as the true pioneers to climbing in America. While I never met Fred I did have the honor of meeting Fritz at the crags and many of the climbers he mentored and he will always hold a special place in our hearts.

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