At 93, legendary climber Fred Beckey still plotting routes

August 13, 2016 GMT
In this photo taken July 26, 2016 in Seattle, Fred Beckey, 93, the legendary mountain climber who has bagged more first ascents than any other mountaineer and wrote the definitive guidebooks to a major North American mountain range, uses a cane as he walks into a meeting room at the Seattle branch of The Mountaineers for a promotional event for "Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey," an upcoming documentary feature film about his life. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
In this photo taken July 26, 2016 in Seattle, Fred Beckey, 93, the legendary mountain climber who has bagged more first ascents than any other mountaineer and wrote the definitive guidebooks to a major North American mountain range, uses a cane as he walks into a meeting room at the Seattle branch of The Mountaineers for a promotional event for "Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey," an upcoming documentary feature film about his life. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
In this photo taken July 26, 2016 in Seattle, Fred Beckey, 93, the legendary mountain climber who has bagged more first ascents than any other mountaineer and wrote the definitive guidebooks to a major North American mountain range, uses a cane as he walks into a meeting room at the Seattle branch of The Mountaineers for a promotional event for "Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey," an upcoming documentary feature film about his life. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
In this photo taken July 26, 2016 in Seattle, Fred Beckey, 93, the legendary mountain climber who has bagged more first ascents than any other mountaineer and wrote the definitive guidebooks to a major North American mountain range, uses a cane as he walks into a meeting room at the Seattle branch of The Mountaineers for a promotional event for "Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey," an upcoming documentary feature film about his life. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
In this photo taken July 26, 2016 in Seattle, Fred Beckey, 93, the legendary mountain climber who has bagged more first ascents than any other mountaineer and wrote the definitive guidebooks to a major North American mountain range, uses a cane as he walks into a meeting room at the Seattle branch of The Mountaineers for a promotional event for "Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey," an upcoming documentary feature film about his life. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE (AP) — He’s notched more first ascents than any other American mountaineer, wrote the definitive guidebooks to a major North American mountain range, and at age 93, Fred Beckey is still plotting routes — though more slowly and buoyed by a cadre of fiercely protective partners.

For years, stories have floated around about the man known as much for his eccentric personality as for his singular obsession with climbing, said Alex Bertulis, 77, a retired Seattle architect who climbed with Beckey for decades.

Some were true, some not. “But that’s OK. That’s how legends are built,” Bertulis said.

Now, a documentary feature film in the works, “Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey,” is putting the spotlight on a man who has shied from such attention during decades of exploits. It is expected out next year.

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