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					             JULY 2008 Issue 4 Vol 1

                                     JUNE 2008 Issue 3 Vol 1

                     C RAIG L UEBBEN
One of the greatest struggles in my life is trying to describe
the amazing people I have met over the years. Words never
seem to fully capture all the fantastic and unique characteris-
tics that define their personalities and I’m always left with the
unsatisfied feeling of only partially expressing who they really
are. Perhaps most difficult of all is Craig Luebben.

A simple history of his life would fascinate even the most
A.D.D. readers. Yet, without the multitude of anecdotes that
instantly come to mind, a very fundamental part of his char-
acter would be lost. What follows is a collection of facts and
stories about one of Northern Colorado’s most influential and
inspiring people.

While a student at CSU and as a local fixture at Horsetooth
Reservoir and other Northern Colorado climbing areas, Craig
became well versed in all aspects of climbing, including the
seldom-practiced art of offwidthing.

He also went on a mission to develop routes in the Poudre
Canyon, which resulted in countless climbs at Greyrock, the
Narrows, Combat Rock and other little known areas. As a
senior design project for his mechanical engineering degree,
Craig designed an expandable tube chock to protect offwidth
cracks. He named his creation the “Big Bro” and produced
the initial pieces by throwing “Big Bro” assembly parties at
his house.

By the mid ‘90s, he had made the first one-day winter ascent
of the Diamond (with Topher Donahue), onsighted Lucille, a
fierce Vedawoo testpiece and free soloed Bridalveil Falls (a
picture of which can still be found at the Town Pump in Fort
Collins) and the Ames Ice Hose in a day.

Yet, beyond his diverse accomplishments in climbing, Craig
also became strongly involved in the local community. While
John Shireman was manager, Craig and John bolted the top
                                                                                                       JULY 2008 Issue 4 Vol 1
                                                                  much finger pointing to an old climbing magazine of him in
                                                                  Cayman Brac.
of Washington’s Bar and Grill and spent a fair amount of time
toproping the sandstone walls. In 1991, he and Shireman or-       We were headed to develop sport climbs in Cuba and rather
ganized the first Horsetooth Hang. Over the next 17 years, the     than pay the extra cost for exceeding weight limits, we simply
Hang would grow from an outdoor climbing competition to one       loaded our carry-on bags with 80+ pounds of hardware. In
of the largest stewardship and community-building climbing        today’s age, our shenanigans would have earned us a short
festivals in the nation.                                          trip to Guantanamo Bay rather than the lush Valle de Viñales
                                                                  in western Cuba, but as it was, we only received dumbstruck
Craig eventually became a writer, photographer, guide, ex-        looks from the 15 Mexican security personnel huddled around
                                                                  the X-ray machine before being apprehensively waved
                                                                                 through onto the plane. After our success in
                                                                                              security, pantomiming became our
                                                                                                        preferred method of com-

                                                                                                             After finally arriv-
                                                                                        ing in Viñales, we set up camp on a bivy
                                                                       ledge 120 feet above the jungle floor, part way up the Mr.
                                                                  Mogote wall. Mogote loosely translates to “gonad” and is
                                               plorer, father,    used to describe the many plugs of limestone that litter the
                                     and countless other          landscape. The Cuban climbers had dubbed Craig, Mr. Mog-
                          noteable things, yet writing out a      ote after watching him boldly develop sport lines on his first
                   laundry list of his accomplishments does       trip to the island.
            his character little justice. A short resume of a
       select number of his achievements can be found on          Shortly after arriving, we settled into a daily routine that
   his website. I would prefer to share a few of my favorite      consisted of waking up, eating mangoes, crackers and sweaty
memories.                                                         cheese, developing and climbing routes all day, hitchhiking
                                                                  into town, eating dinner, then heading out to watch live music
I first met Craig out in the Desert. He was an offwidth legend     in Viñales or cabarets at a discothèque inside a huge cave
and I was a little lycra-clad trad monkey with a perspective      that was directly across from our bivy cave. After a week of
narrower than most of the finger cracks I incessantly threw        our routine, I found myself barely capable of jumaring the 120
myself at. Rapidly, I began viewing life completely different,    feet back to the bivy cave at night, but Craig somehow had
often looking out from the depths of a grovelly offwidth with     enough energy to party all night, sleep for a few hours, get up
the realization that the world was much larger and important      to take photos, and repeat our routine. It was one of the most
than my petty high school complaints.                             impressive displays of endurance and athleticism I have ever
                                                                  seen, and, without a doubt, that particular trip to Cuba still
Before I really knew what was happening, I found myself           remains one of the best in both of our lives.
sending a pack full of bolts, hangers, drill batteries, speaker
wire, and a Bosch through the X-ray machine at the Cancun         Now, after years of getting to know Craig, I have found that he
airport. As the conveyor belt came to a grinding halt, I cursed   has two very simple, but excellent guidelines. First—always
myself for not having studied more Spanish in school. With a      say thank you. Craig is generous far beyond expectation.
few broken words, Craig broke into a full-blown pantomime of      Before embarking on a trip to Central America, I asked him if
route development, complete with Bosch sound effects and          he thought I should bring a camera. Instead of simply reply-
                                                                                                        JULY 2008 Issue 4 Vol 1

                                                                   Johnson and Robinson crush at World Cup
                                                                   Vail, CO

                                                                   The first World Cup climbing event to be held in the US in
                                                                   nearly 20 years turned out to be an incredible success with
                                                                   America’s Alex Johnson sweeping the women’s category
                                                                   and Boulder based Paul Robinson placing third in the men’s
                                                                   division. As part of the Teva Mountain Games, this year’s
                                                                   event hosted top athletes from around the world for an action
                                                                   packed bouldering comp of thrills and a crowd stunning finish.

                                                                   With strong performances from Italy’s Gabriele Moroni and
                                                                   Paul Robinson, Kilian Fischhuber of Austria pulled off an im-
                                                                   pressive flash of the final men’s problem (checking in around
                                                                   V12) to win the men’s division in front of a frenzied crowd of
                                                                   spectators. Without a doubt, the day was filled with crowd
                                                                   shocking displays of athleticism from many of the world’s
                                                                   strongest climbers.
                                                                   Congrats to all the climbers, route setters, event organizers
                                                                   and spectators who made the event such a great success!

                                                                   Check out full results at:
ing, “Yes, of course,” he rummaged through his used gear and
put together a set of lenses and old SLR camera for me to use
on my trip. Beyond my wildest expectations, I thanked him
                                                                   Pics & Videos:
and set out on one of the best trips of my life that was forever
shaped by his considerate and gracious loan.
Second—do what you say. People often tend to make lofty
                                                                   frontpage (World Cup Interviews & World Cup Highlights)
claims when it comes to climbing (and life in general). Yet,
                                                          (2008 Bouldering World Cup Finals &
it is increasingly rare to actually find a person who follows
                                                                   Qualifier Round)
through with their aspirations. After getting frustrated by
countless Fort Collins locals flapping their jaws about things
they were going to do “someday,” Craig finally put up a climb
in the Narrows of the Poudre Canyon, calling it “Someday
Never Comes.” Committed to his word, Craig has succeeded
in converting someday into now, allowing him to accomplish
countless truly amazing things.

                                         ~Cameron Cross
Craig now lives on Lookout Mountain above Golden with his
wonderful wife Silvia and five-year old daughter, Guilia. They
just returned from a five-week family vacation in Australia.
Craig also recently finished writing Rock Climbing: Mastering
Basic Skills and Rock Climbing Anchors: A Complete Guide,
two excellent instructional books.
                                                                                                       JULY 2008 Issue 4 Vol 1

Woman onsights Lucille                                            climbers to coordinate with the Access Fund and local land
                                                                  management agencies (such as Boulder Open Space and
Vedawoo, Wy
                                                                  Mountain Parks) to keep climbers safe at local crags. We
                                                                  would like to extend a special thanks to everyone who has
Lucille, the coveted Jay Anderson offwidth testpiece, has
                                                                  been involved in the process; the public service is greatly ap-
bouted all but a select few wide crack masters. Craig Lueb-
ben made an impressive (onsight) second ascent of the line,
yet other onsight attempts have ended in scrapes, frustration,
                                                                  Master list of rebolted routes:
and general defeat.
Adding to an impressive list of heinous offwidth ascents, Pa-
mela Varco recently succeeded in becoming the first woman
to climb Lucille and made the second onsight ascent of the
line. Other area wide crack testpieces she has recently ticked
include, Go Spuds Go!, Squat, Eight Ounces to Freedom, and
Spatial Relations. You can read more about her ascent at the
link below:

                                                                  Stashed crash pads in alpine areas
                                                                  continue to pose problems
                                                                  Rocky Mountain National Park; Mt. Evans, CO
                                                                  Due to incredible quality and quantity, bouldering in many of
                                                                  Colorado’s alpine areas has become increasingly popular in
                                                                  recent years. Unfortunately, another trend has also accom-
                                                                  panied the recent surge of pad people slogging into the alpine
                                                                  environment. The practice of leaving crash pads stashed for
                                                                  long periods of time has turned into a prevalent occurrence
                                                                  and has attracted the attention of land management agen-
                                                                  cies in Rocky Mountain National Park and the Mount Evans
                                                                  Wilderness Area.
Boulder area routes get new hardware
Boulder, CO                                                       Contrary to the perceptions of many climbers, rangers at both
                                                                  areas have been monitoring the practice (and internet forums)
In an effort to make climbing areas a little safer, a few folks   for several years and would like to educate the climbing com-
have been steadily replacing old and unsafe bolts in the Flat-    munity on the primary reasons why stashing pads is not an
irons and other Boulder areas. In conjunction with Climbing       acceptable practice. On top of other impacts associated with
Magazine’s Anchor Replacement Initiative (ARI), Matt Samet,       bouldering as a form of recreation, pad stashing drastically
Kristin Bjornsen, Ted Lanzano, Stan Lanzano and a few others      increases the amount of trash found at and around boulder-
have succeeded in upgrading the hardware on lots of classic       ing areas. Rodents and other small animals frequently chew
climbs, including Power Bulge, Bidoigt, Hot Spit, Discipline,     on the unattended pads, spreading chunks of foam and fabric
Cornucopia, and even Eldorado’s, Your Mother.                     around the landscape. In addition, hikers and other users
                                                                  have found stashed pads and expressed concern about climb-
The ARI is a national program that has succeeded in replac-       ers leaving “trash” in the pristine alpine environment.
ing over 1,000 unsafe bolts from many popular climbing areas.
Supported by the North Face and Petzl, the ARI enables local      At this time, both land management agencies would like the
                                                                  climbing community to take initiative in reducing the impacts
                                                                                                        JULY 2008 Issue 4 Vol 1

                                                                  Denver Climbers Coalition Meeting
                                                                  Denver, CO
                                                                  In order to address access concerns in the Denver/Metro
                                                                  area, the Access Fund has initiated the formation of a Denver
                                                                  based climbers coalition. While providing invaluable guid-
                                                                  ance and resources, the Access Fund hopes to foster a local
                                                                  climbing organization (LCO) based on the vision and needs of
                                                                  the local Denver climbers involved.

                                                                  Climbers that attended the July 27th meeting discussed mis-
                                                                  sion statements, crags of interest, the potential structure of
                                                                  the organization, and appointed people to a variety of posi-
                                                                  tions. Dan Tyrgstad is secretary, Lyle Guthmiller is e-mail
                                                                  coordinator and Justin Jaeger is the Access Fund liaison.

                                                                  The next scheduled meeting for the new climbers coalition
                                                                  will be held at the Falling Rock in Lo Do on Thursday, July 24th
of bouldering, specifically concerning pad stashing. They are      at 6:30pm. Anyone interested in becoming involved in the
in support of organized clean up days and would like to see       group in order to help improve access at Denver/Metro area
the climbing community establish a no-stashing ethic without      crags should come to the next meeting, or e-mail Lyle Guth-
becoming involved on an official level. Thus far, bouldering       miller at or Charlie Boas with the
at all of the alpine areas is unrestricted. However, continued    Access Fund at
problems with stashed pads are likely to shape access on
some level. Reducing bouldering related impacts such as pad
stashing will surely help positively influence policy decisions
affecting two of the best bouldering areas in the nation.

Please help us keep these areas open by not stashing your
pad. If you find a stashed pad, chewed foam, or other trash
while bouldering, please pack it out. Pads turned into the
National Park Service at RMNP may be reclaimed by their
owners (First time—expect a written warning and educational
talk; repeat offense—a ticket will be issued). Stashed pads
found at Mt. Evans will be discarded or donated to local chari-
                                                                  Evans Seasonal Closure Lifts
                                                                  Mt. Evans, CO
                                                                  The voluntary seasonal closure of the Upper Chicago Lakes
                                                                  area at Mt Evans has lifted as of July 1st. The closure, de-
                                                                  signed to foster bighorn sheep and goat reproduction affects
                                                                  all climbing on the Black wall and adjacent cliffs in addition to
                                                                  all bouldering in the Upper Chicago Lakes Basin.

                                                                  All Mt Evans climbing areas are now open to use. Thanks to
                                                                  everyone who respected the closure and helped ensure wild-
                                                                  life reproductive success and continued access to several
                                                                  awesome alpine climbing areas.
                                                                              JULY 2008 Issue 4 Vol 1

Front Range Spring Skiing
Neptune Mountaineering—Boulder, CO
Thursday July 10th; 8pm
Join Aaron Miller, and the Snow Ninjas, as they show slides
from well-known descents including Cathedral Peak, Elk
Tooth, Ogallala Peak and Castle Peak. This gang of poorly
socialized snow sliding geeks is constantly dreaming of and
searching for the next great descent. Hikers typically respond
with gaping jaws and sputtering remarks when they hear
about the preponderance of corn littering the heights. Some of
the routes, to be revealed at the show, have been classified as
TOP SECRET until now.

Perfecto Movie Premiere
Boulder Theatre—Boulder, CO
July 16th; 8pm. Cost $10, $12
Join film maker Mike Call for the world premiere of Perfecto,
an action packed film about deep water soloing in Mallorca,
Spain. With climbers Boone Speed, Katie Brown, Nels Ro-
saasen, Ethan Pringle, Chuck Fryberger, Jen Walsh and Jay
Holowatch, Perfecto is guaranteed to make your palms sweat
and get you psyched to trade in your crash pad for a swimsuit
and plane ticket to the Mediterranean.
                                                                 Jason, Vista Cruiser 11b, Poudre Canyon
                                                                                              JULY 2008 Issue 4 Vol 1

Climb Talk Airs on KGNU
Boulder, CO (88.5 FM)
July 21st; 3pm
Climb Talk will be airing the 21st of this month at 3pm on Boul-
der’s KGNU. The show generally hosts prolific climbers such
as Pat Ament, Malcolm Daly, Robyn Erbesfield and others.
Although focused on climbing, the show is interesting and
engaging for non-climbers as well. Tune in to check it out.
If you miss the show, you can visit the KGNU site at the link
below and navigate to the Metro section on July 21st to listen
to it online. The program begins after the news.

Alpine climbing in RMNP
Neptune Mountaineering—Boulder, CO
Thursday July 31st; 8pm
An adventure of alpine rock climbing in Rocky Mountain
National Park, presented by loyal Neptunian’s Greg Miller and
Lukas Hill. Greg and Lukas set out with a rope, a rack, and 32
oz. of sausage. What they found was an enlightening moun-
taineering experience on this seven day “stay-cation”.

                                                                   Blue Light Special 13a, TenSleep, WY photo: Old Tobie
                                                                                                     JULY 2008 Issue 4 Vol 1

                                                                  Horsetooth Reservoir/Arthur’s Rock:
                                                                        Dry, Hot.
As of July 1, 2008                                                      Watch for snakes, a lack of friction and general
                                                                        greasiness associated with hot weather.
Colorado weather is typically schizophrenic, so the accuracy            Passing motorboats provide tunes and occasional
of the conditions listed below is approximate. Make sure to             waterskiing carnage
check the weather before you head out and bring an assort-
ment of clothes for all conditions.                               Carter Lake
                                                                        Dry, Hot
Summer finally appears to be here. The creepy crawlies are               Watch for snakes
out. Ticks have been spotted and snakes as well, especially
in the warmer, sunny areas. Mosquitoes are out in force at
a number of areas now so be sure to bring bug spray. The          Poudre Canyon (Palace):
spring runoff is fully underway. The Poudre River is running            Dry
consistently around 4 feet, which makes it impassable for any-          River Crossing: Impassable
one without a raft. The fire at Arthur’s Rock last month was a           River is dropping
good indication that undergrowth at many areas is drying out
and poses a considerable fire hazard. Be extremely careful         Poudre Canyon (Narrows)
with cigarette butts and other flammable items.                          Dry
                                                                        River Crossing: Impassable
Aside from a few nuisance days recently, the weather is                 Occasional kayaking sports action/chundering
spectacular and has been great for climbing at all areas. Per-          directly across from East of Eden
sistent snow is still hanging on at many of the alpine climbing
areas, but is rapidly melting. Bouldering in lower Chaos and      Poudre Canyon (420’s; other bouldering areas)
routes on formations like the Petit should be relatively snow           Dry, Buggy, Hot
free within a few weeks.                                                Climbable in early morning or late evening as long as
                                                                        you don’t mind playing a test subject for the West Nile
                                                                        virus. Bug spray highly recommended.
                                                                        River Crossing: Impassable

                                                                  Redfeather Lakes
                                                                        Dry, Hot
                                                                        An occasional cloudy day can create a decent climb
                                                                        ing day, otherwise RFL is too warm at the moment.

                                                                                           Ryan, Andy Warhol v11, Red Feather
                                                                                      JULY 2008 Issue 4 Vol 1

No matter what type of climbing you enjoy, if you’re
climbing in the mountains there is a good chance that at
some point you’re going to have a lightning story. In the
summers I live in Estes Park and climb moderate to easy
trad routes. Here’s my lightning story.

I got up about 5:25 in the morning. Wes and I left
our campsite by six and were hiking to Notch-Top by 6:30.
In hindsight, we probably should have left earlier. How-
ever, we were moving fast and although neither of us had
a watch we were at the base within an hour or so. After
racking up, we simul-climbed the first few easy pitches
then started swinging leads. The route and the morning
were both great.

There was only one cloud hanging out in the sky and it
was to our east. Said cloud didn’t move though, as clouds
are supposed to. It just sat there and got bigger
and darker and eventually moved west, directly over
us. We were one pitch from the top, and the atmosphere
was getting intense. The wind had picked up and it was
starting to spit rain. It was my turn to lead and it was a
short pitch, only 50 feet or so. Just as I started climbing
Wes looked at me and said “put me on an auto-block at
the top in case you get hit by lightning.”
                                                              Collin, Gym Arete 12a, Shelf Road, photo: Old Tobie
                                                                       JULY 2008 Issue 4 Vol 1

I fired the last fifty feet pretty quickly, slung a huge boul-
der for an anchor and yelled, “Off belay!” Just as I did,
the air started buzzing with the same noise that you hear
under high-tension power lines. I started cursing and
descended twenty feet or so. By this time it had started
snowing pea-size pellets of snow. I built another quick
anchor and put Wes on belay.

Lightning was everywhere.
I saw a flash, but didn’t hear any thunder. I am fairly
certain that the summit of Notchtop was struck as I
belayed Wes up. By the time Wes got up it was snowing
hard. He handed me my raingear from the pack we were
sharing. Lightning was striking in the clouds above us,
on the ground below us, and on the surrounding ridges.
The counts between lightning and
thunder were between zero and two
seconds. The hairs on my arms kept standing up
from all the static in the air. I kept petting them down
and for some reason this made me feel better. Not good,
but better.

As I put on my rain gear Wes traversed over to the rappel
station and began setting it up. I had my head down and
was in the lightning position. When there was another
flash I heard a snap, like when a light bulb burns out,
and it felt like someone had flicked my helmet with their
       I watched Wes setting up the
rappel and feared he would be struck
and fall. As I traversed over on an inch of wet snow
in my climbing shoes he said he had the same fear for
me. We rappelled down on the tattered webbing and the
storm moved on. The gully we rappelled down acted like
a channel and all the melting snow flowed over us. By
the time we had completed the three double rope rappels
the sun had come back out.
                                 -Reed Woodford                  Jason, the Abysss v4, Hells Hole