Monday, October 01, 2007

Upcoming - Fred Beckey Slide Show

The man is scheduled for a visit at Rock & Snow on Saturday, October 27th.

This may be a hot contender for the largest audience in the venue...AS some may remember, last season when Lynn Hill did a show, the place was packed tighter than a pair of 38DD's in a 36B brasierre(c'mon - this post is about Beckey; that makes the turn of phrase appropriate).

Lynn is a Gunkie from back in the day, who put up hard, sparsely protected routes, so that may give her an edge. But....the meeting of Mr. Beckey is something on most every real climber's tick list.

Mentioning the show to another world class climber the other day, he said (something like)"Beckey's put up more routes than any other climber in all of history." No doubt - I remember seeing a photo of him on a route and he must have been in his early 20's. He's been climbing for how many years? He's something like 80 years old now - and STILL throwing down.

Fred Beckey, as a symbol of climbing, is sort of important to me. I have only been climbing 4 years, and I'm 45 years old. When I started, I was hooked. Hard. I devoured any materials I could find on the topic, wanting to immerse myself at every opportunity, whether I was out there on something or not. And so - like many others - I'd grab climbing magazines of the racks like they were bags of chips and could snarf them down in one sitting.

One day, I was thumbing through an issue, and all the pictures of young, beautiful climbers climbing incredible stuff(posed on sport routes, most likely) started to get me down. I started to think about how much I had missed out on. Here I was(I thought) beginning a thing that would probably be over for me in a few years. Climbing was..... the pursuit of the youthful(as well it may be; if age is only a state of mind, but that's not how I was thinking that day....).

So, page after page, beauty after beauty, I found myself slinking into self-absorbed sadness. I was pretty well suckered into the depths of that emotional off-width, really feeling sorry for myself.... And then, as with OW's, I moved the smallest muscle (I turned the page), and was free and clear. The sun was shining on my cloudy day, for there was a full-paged photo of Beckey, pulling up over a bulge, with the biggest grin on the wrinkliest face I'd ever seen. The myth I'd been believing in that moment, that climbing is for the kids, was busted wide open. And I owe that to Beckey, for being SO out there.

The man does live up to his various legends; that I can say is true. Having been introduced informally to him one evening in Jtree, the moment I made eye contact, he lit up like the panty-melter he's suggested of being. Maybe I started it, looking at him with gratitude, but he sure wasn't missing a step. An octagenarian - and STILL getting down? Surely, I couldn't say, but....that's the rumor... You'll just have to come to Rock & Snow and see for yourself.

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