On August 9th the Colorado Mountain School lost one of it’s closest friends, senior guide, and all around mountain guru, Craig Luebben, due to injuries sustained while climbing in North Cascades National Park. We’ve all be stunned by the sudden loss of such an important part of our community. Craig was a teacher and mentor to everyone who worked at CMS. He inspired us to take our profession to the highest level but reminded us to enjoy every step. We will miss his guidance, smile, and never-ending energy.
Craig and Willie Benegas were climbing and training together for an upcoming AMGA Alpine Exam at the time of the incident. The pair were attempting to climb the Torment and Forbidden Traverse, starting the traverse on the SE Face of Torrent via the Taboo Glacier. At the bergshrund, with Craig leading and Willie belaying, Craig attempted to bypass the remnant ice hanging above the bergshrund by ascending rock on the right, and then traversing left on to the ice for the exit moves. According to Wille, at approximately 06:30 as Craig transitioned from the rock to the ice, a block of ice described as being the size of a car calved off taking Craig with it and, resulting in a 30 foot fall. While not struck by the initial block, Craig was pelted by debris as he hung from his rope. Willie managed to get Craig to his belay stance in the bergshrund, stabilize and treat his injuries, and contact rescue personnel. Despite Willie's heroic efforts and a swift response from NCNP SAR personnel, Craig succumbed to his injuries.
Willie suffered minor injuries to his leg and is expected to make a full recovery.
Our deepest condolences and sympathy go out to Craig's wife Silvia, his daughter Giulia, and his many friends around the world. A Memorial Fund for Craig’s family has been set up through the Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition. Follow this link to donate today.
Click here for more information on the Vedauwoo “Next Step” Climbing Clinic August 29-31. Craig had organized a series of these programs and we still plan to host this great three day course with all the proceeds going to help Craig's family. Please join us!
Source: AMGA E-News