Fred Beckey is one of the world’s most accomplished climbers and turned 93 on Jan. 14, 2016.

Born on Jan. 14, 1923, Friedrich Wolfgang Beckey has established new routes all around the world, authored a number of best sellers and continues to get out into the mountains.

Fred Beckey.  Photo Alain Denis

Fred Beckey. Photo Alain Denis

In 1961, Beckey played a large role setting the stage for hard alpine routes in Canada with The Beckey/Chouinard on the South Howser Tower in the Bugaboos and The Beckey/Chouinard/Doody on the north face of Mount Edith Cavell near Jasper.

Some of Beckey’s first ascents.

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1939 Mount Despair, North Cascades.

1940 Forbidden Peak, North Cascades – with brother Helmy, Lloyd Anderson, Jim Crooks, and Dave Lind.

1946 East Ridge Devils Thumb, Alaska with Bob Craig and Clifford Schmidtke.

1947 North Peak, Liberty Bell, North Cascades.

1948 North Ridge of Mount Baker, North Cascades Fred Beckey, Ralph and Dick Widrig.

1954 Northwest Buttress to North Peak, Mount McKinley, Alaska (May 27) with Donald McLean, Charles Wilson, Henry Meybohm and Bill Hackett.

1954 Mount Deborah with Heinrich Harrer and Henry Meybohm.

1954 West Ridge Mount Hunter (Alaska) – with Heinrich Harrer and Henry Meybohm.

1959 Yocum Ridge, Mount Hood, Oregon, USA with Leo Scheiblehner.

1961 North Face of Mount Edith Cavell, Canadian Rockies, Canada with Yvon Chouinard.

1961 The Beckey/Chouinard Route on South Howser Tower, Bugaboos, Canada with Yvon Chouinard.

1963 Northeast Buttress of Mount Slesse, British Columbia, Canada with Steve Marts and Eric Bjornstad.

1963 West Buttress IV 5.8 A1 Musembeah Peak, Wind River Range, Wyoming, USA (September) with Layton Kor.

1967 El Matador IV A3, Devils Tower, WY. FA with Eric Bjornstad.

1968 Direct East Buttress IV 5.8 A4, South Early Winter Spire, North Cascades, WA. FA with Doug Leen.

1968 South Face III 5.8 A1 Cathedral Peak (Okanogan), North Cascades, WA. FA with Dave Wagner, John Brottem and Doug Leen.

1968 Northeast Face, Mount Hooker, Canadian Rockies, Canada. FA with John Rupley.

1970 Beckey’s Spire aka Christianity Spire, Sedona, AZ.

1996 Mount Beckey, Cathedral Mountains, Alaska, USA – 1996, with John Middendorf and Calvin Hebert.



  • Charles Cohen says:

    Fred has lived his life selfishly, and in doing so, has sacrificed much. But by doing so, he has done what artists have done throughout history. He imagined and created what could be, rather than what was or ‘should be’. Fred is an artist. His routes, books, photos and friends are facets of his art.

  • Rick Costea says:

    Happy BD Fred Beckey. I started climbing in late 70s in the Canadian Rockies and into the 80s and have repeated a few alpine climbs done by Fred in the winter and summer and i consider the routes a classic.He taught me how to utilize the inner voice and to pay close attention to it while climbing and to this day i still stay connected to that voice deep down saying lets do it another day.
    cheers to you Fred