RIDGWAY – Extreme athlete, emergency-room nurse, inspiration and friend to many in the Ridgway-Ouray area, Allison Kreutzen was killed April 26, with her boyfriend, in an avalanche on Split Mountain in California’s eastern Sierra. She was 41.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 14, at 4 p.m., in the backyard of friends Bruce and Amy Eriksen (751 Hyde Street in Ridgway, on the corner of South Mary and Hyde). The event will be a potluck barbecue and is open to all. For details, contact Danika Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kreutzen was born in San Francisco and grew up skiing in the Sierra, where her family took their vacations. She lived in Ouray and Ridgway from 2002 to 2009. She worked as a nurse at Montrose Memorial Hospital. She moved back to the Lake Tahoe area in 2009, where she and Kip Garre, 38, who was also a sponsored athlete and longtime guide for Points North Heliskiing, based their many adventures: climbing, skiing, kayaking, and mountain biking.
A friend from Allison’s past said on his blog: “She liked to do hard things for the sake of doing hard things, not because she wanted any recognition. She enjoyed getting the best out of herself, and tomorrow was another chance to do it.” She sported a bumper sticker on her car that said: “Girls kick ass.”
Rescuers who found Kreutzen and Garre in the avalanche debris reported that both still had their crampons on. So, most likely they were still on the way up when the avalanche swept them off.
Kreutzen and Garre were both known as extremely strong, competent mountaineers. According to friends, both also had playful, creative sides. Allison was known for wearing pink wigs and glitter – even on a mountain summit.
“She made her plans to play with vigor and enthusiasm,” said the blogger. “She was much more interested in what she was going to do next than what happened yesterday.”
Ridgway guide and close friend Danika Gilbert compared the loss of Allison to that of local teacher and climber George Gardner, who died while climbing in the Tetons a couple of years ago. “She was in that category with George, those bright lights, losing the most special, brightest lights in our lives.”
Kreutzen is survived by her parents, Dick and Sharon Kreutzen of Log Hill. And by brothers Jeff and Tim Kreutzen, both of San Francisco.
Donations can be made in Allison’s name to the following organizations: Girls on the Run, www.active.com/donate/GirlsOnTheRunIntl and to the Eastern Sierra Land Trust, www.easternsierralandtrust.org.