Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Good Belay

A hardcover book lives on a table in our living room.  I keep the dust brushed off of it and flip through it often.  It is heavy with pages and thick with rich written details and full color photos of mountains and daydream inducing rock walls.  It was created by Fred Becky who was a prolific climber and writer known for hundreds of first ascents of mountains and other climbing routes all over the world.  He managed to establish and repeat so many routes that in his later years was able to write Fred Beckey’s 100 Favorite Climbs of North America.  

My own climbing career that has been inching along since 2005 consists of a few un-monumental ascents all with the exception of maybe one in suburban New York that have seen an uncountable number of ascents before I ever considered trying them for myself.  The number of ascents Becky has accomplished is difficult to comprehend.  100 Favorite includes routes he established but also many that he repeated and found memorable in one way or another.  Even still, most of the climbs contained in the book are long and committing often consisting of a dozen pitches or more and requiring several days to complete.

Not included in his latest book is a route called Becky’s Wall named after he was the first to climb the route in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah.  My climbing buddy Kayleigh and I scrambled the 4th class approach to the base the route that is often called the best 5.7 climb in Little Cottonwood.  While racking gear and stacking rope she found a PBR in her pack that was at her best guess a weeks old.  Naturally it had to go up the route with us.   

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