Land of the Earth-born Spirit

From the Land of the Earthborn Spirit.


Craig Luebben, 1960 – 2009

“If you put limits on everything you do, it will spread into your work and your life.

There are no limits, only plateaus. You must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

(Paraphrased from Bruce Lee)

Craig was one of my best friends. In the beginning (1986), he taught me to climb. I took a ‘bouldering lesson’ from him one summer afternoon and the next morning at 5 AM we were on the trail to Sky Pond Cirque (RMNP) to climb a thousand foot high detached spire called the “Petite Grapon’… my FIRST trad climb!!! Wow, I was hooked. And we were frequent companions in the ‘vertical world’ from that time on. We travelled far and wide looking for unclimbed terrain and wild adventures year ’round, from the Colorado high country to the remote Utah desert, from Vedauwoo, Wyoming to islands in the Caribbean Sea. From snow caves high in the Rockies to roasting like pigs on a spit on uninhabited tropical islands, we just ‘went for it’ and loved every minute. Craig was one of the most energetic people I’ve ever known. Rarely did we see a sunrise from inside our tent, we were already on the move.

Several of our adventures have been chronicled in magazine articles and guidebooks, while most I suppose will go undocumented. Wherever we were, you can be sure it was challenging to the limit of our ability. Craig was an extremely strong and conscientious climber, ascending and ‘authoring’ some of the most difficult routes in the world, including “off widths”, traditional climbs and ice. Craig met a very premature, untimely death in the winter of 2009 while training for his IMGA International Guide status. He leaves behind his beautiful wife Silvia, his daughter Giulia (aka ‘Jumar’), the self-admitted ‘light of his life,’ as well as all others he influenced in a profound way. I will never forget this man, and will continue to reflect upon his faithful friendship, boundless skill, curiosity, energy and wide-ranging abilities, most of which transcended that of us ‘mere mortals’. The photographs that follow represent brief ‘windows’ into this relationship …. and more will be added as I find them.

“The way that you wander is the way that you choose,

 The day that you tarry is the day that you’ll loose,

 Sunshine or thunder, a man will always wonder.

 Where the fair wind blows, oh where the fair wind blows.

 It ought to have been different, but often times you will find,

 the story doesn’t always go the way you had in mind.

 Craig’s story was that kind, oh yes …… it was his time”

(paraphrased from the theme song of “Jeremiah Johnson” )


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