Poudre Canyon Rock Climbing Guide, 2nd edition

by Craig Luebben, Ben Scott, & Cameron Cross 

The Story

Craig Luebben started this project almost 20 years ago when he published a Greyrock climbing guidebook (1991). During his time in Fort Collins, Craig contributed many first ascents to the canyon. With Craig’s support, Ben Scott and Cameron Cross of the NC3 spearheaded the effort to release this book online and free of charge to the climbing community. Tragically, on August 9th, 2009, Craig died in the North Cascades while training for an AMGA guide’s exam. While Craig could not be a part of the final stages of the process, the NC3 released Poudre Canyon Routes Select as a free download last fall.

Why this Book Is Special

After Craig’s death, his contributions to the climbing community are helping fulfill a dream he himself never realized - seeing his daughter Giulia attend college. 100% of the profits from the sale of this book will be donated to the Craig Luebben Memorial Fund, and will specifically be invested in a CollegeInvest 529 Plan for his daughter. Thanks to a generous donation for the printing costs, every penny you spend on this book will go into that fund.

Opportunity & Gratitude

This project began over 10 years ago. Craig Luebben, who had previously published a Greyrock climbing guidebook (1991), had also compiled a vast amount of information for other areas in the canyon (many of which he developed). His vision was to write a guide for the entire Northern Colorado area. I signed up to help him on the project, but soon realized it was a lot more fun to climb routes rather than document them. I dropped the ball. Hard. The Northern Colorado guide never became a reality.

Almost a decade later, with still no guide available to the public, the Northern Colorado Climbers Coalition (NC3) recognized a need to publish information on the Poudre Canyon, which remained largely undocumented. Building on the Poudre Canyon guidebook by Rodney Ley & Steve Allen (1972), the Greyrock guides of Pat McGrane (1985) and Craig Luebben (1991), and the Palace guide by Sam Shannon and Tim Wilhelmi (2004), we began conducting interviews with first ascensionists and local climbers in order to try to capture the elusive and complex history of the canyon. While we had spent countless hours researching the Poudre, we encountered a devastating blow shortly before releasing the first edition.

On August 9th, 2009, while training for an AMGA guide’s exam in the North Cascades, Craig Luebben was killed in a climbing accident. Without a doubt, this event was crushing. Beyond being a well-known member of the community, close personal friend and climbing partner, Craig was an enormous resource for the Poudre. He developed hundreds of routes, climbed far more, and was a living reminder of thousands of stories that helped shape the character of the canyon.

Although many of Craig’s experiences were lost with his death, we felt fortunate to have a vast resource base of interviews with the most active first ascensionists in the canyon, from the earliest recorded days of climbing at Greyrock, to routes where the dust is still settling from the drill. Synthesizing the massive amount of info we compiled, we released the first edition of “Poudre Canyon Routes – Select” as a free online download.

We were never concerned with making money from our guidebook. Our sole motivation is to provide accurate and well-researched information that is accessible to the public. As Craig would say, “It should be free, so that everyone can benefit from it”. Continuing with our vision, we also offer this guide and several others as a free download on the NC3 website.

However, there is something truly unique about the book you are holding in your hands right now. Craig touched the lives of people around the world. Everyone has an anecdote about Craig; mine is about opportunity. Without a doubt, he enabled me to achieve things that I never thought possible (including finishing this guide). While other people may recall other things, one thing that seems to be universal is a feeling of gratitude.

In an unprecedented display of solidarity, the climbing community has come together after Craig’s death to allow him to realize one of his greatest dreams—seeing his daughter Giulia attend college. As a result, 100% of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Craig Luebben Memorial Fund. Tragically he will never see her receive her diploma, but all the people who have donated, the companies like Fixed Pin, Neptune Mountaineering, Bent Gate Mountaineering and The Wilderness Exchange who have given up profits from the book, and community members like yourself who purchase this guide will make it a reality. Thank you.

~Cameron Cross

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