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Stewart Green

Fred Beckey Climbs Joshua Tree National Park Route at Age 89

By January 13, 2013

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Earlier this month, 89-year-old Fred Beckey, one of America's most prolific climbers and mountaineers, tied into a rope with Erik Harz and Felix Parham and seconded the three-pitch route Tranquility (5.6) on Moosedog Tower at Indian Cove in Joshua Tree National Park. The ascent was a few days before Fred's 90th birthday on January 14. Pretty darn amazing ascent for an old guy!

Richard Shore soloed alongside the trio and shot a series of photographs that he posted on MountainProject.com Richard wrote, "Getting a 90 year-old up a 300' route is no easy task! His body may have been weakened by age, but he can still move fluidly and thoughtlessly, like he's been doing it for 70+ years! Enjoy the photos! I can only hope to still be alive and walking at his age, let alone climbing." He also noted, "Some aid was employed in his ascent, in true Fred style. 5.6 A0. At 90, the toprope can never be tight enough. 'Up rope, buddy.' A half move later. 'Up rope!' Zero moves later, 'F---ing up rope already goddamnit!'"

Shore said that Fred, who is hard of hearing, said after getting to the summit, that he "couldn't quite understand what the name of the tower was called -- 'Hedgehog? Moosecock? Moosecat? Oh, Moosedog! Like the one I did in the Karakoram.'"

Erik Harz also wrote, "Upon returning to the base to pick up our stuff, Fred discovered that while he was climbing, a little girl camped at the nearest site with her family (her dad must have told her about Fred) wrote Fred an inspirational card! Fred was stoked, and walked with his head up as high as he could back to camp, with the card in one hand and his classy mountaineer coiled rope in the other."

Good work fellas! It's great to see Fred still out there cranking on the rocks. He's a real inspiration to keep on climbing.

See all the photographs at MountainProject.com.

Photograph above: Fred Beckey finishes up the last pitch on Moosedog Tower at Joshua Tree National Park. Photograph courtesy Richard Shore.

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