Known for his sparse, vagabond lifestyle, surly demeanor and commitment to climbing, Beckey was a prolific author of climbing guides and mountain books. He had a fondness for the Cascade Range.

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Fred Beckey, a climbing legend who pioneered dozens, if not hundreds, of new routes and first ascents in North American mountain ranges, died Monday at age 94.

“He died in my arms this morning just after 12 noon,” said longtime friend, Megan Bond. “He’s been living with me, and he became sick nine days ago. His lungs and heart could no longer keep up with who he was.”

Known for his sparse, vagabond lifestyle, surly demeanor and total commitment to climbing, Beckey was a prolific author of climbing guides and mountain books. Beckey grew up in Seattle and had a particular fondness for the Cascade Range.

Beckey traveled and climbed into his 90s.

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“We’ve been attached at the hip for about a decade — terrific friends,” Bond said. “We traveled the world together, climbed all over the world together. We went to lots of places people don’t get to go.”