Photo: Heading into the Never Summer Wilderness Area, Colorado – May 2002
The mountains claimed the life of a wonderful soul this past Saturday, May 21, 2011. Our longtime friend, Joel Levenberg, (third from the left w/snowboard) passed away after getting caught up in an avalanche on Colorado’s Torreys Peak. He was accompanied by two close friends, and although he survived the avalanche, his injuries prevented him from making it out of the mountains alive. Joel is survived by his partner, Alexandra (“Alex”), and an incredible family of friends and relatives – most of whom will be gathering this week in Colorado. Joel was 38.
Joel’s zest for the mountains was inspiring, and his passion for exploring them ran deep. In a letter he published in Backcountry Magazine, he shares, “The untracked experience is indescribable; the pounding of my heart as I push to maintain a skinning or snowshoeing pace; gaining new perspectives or rediscovering old ones at the top; and dropping into gravity defying blower – the sublime rhythm. It is truly futile to explain, but it sure is fun trying.”
Although Joel logged most of his mountain time on a snowboard, a few of us seemed to rub off on him, and in more recent years he also learned to enjoy the mountains as a skier. As we flip through images of Joel, imagine him talking in his subtle Alabama-bred twang, and reflect on all the fun adventures we’ve shared together, it’s hard not to imagine hanging with him once again some day – if not in spirit, then in glisse heaven.
Joel, you will be missed. May the snow be deep and the views endless wherever you are now.
-Brian and Emily
Daily Camera Obituary – LINK
Summit County Voice (story and images) – May 22, 2011 – LINK
Images below feature Joel snowboarding in Rocky Mtn National Park and skiing near Mt. Zirkel, CO (Click to enlarge)
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