Boulder, Colorado - On Sunday, August 9, 2009, AMGA Instructor Pool member, Certified Rock Guide and former member of the AMGA Board of Directors, Craig Luebben died of injuries sustained while climbing in North Cascades National Park. Craig and Willie Benegas were climbing and training together for an upcoming AMGA Alpine Exam at the time of the incident. On the 9th 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 0630 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. Craig's passing is a tremendous loss to the AMGA community and the climbing world. If you would like to send your thoughts and prayers along to the family please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or PO BOX 1739, Boulder, CO 80306 and we will make sure to pass them along.