Kip Garre, 1973-2011

Bodies of Garre and Allison Kreutzen discovered near Split Mountain in Sierras

Kip Garre, on the Haute Route in the Alps, Winter 2009. Photo: Kip Garre collection

Kip Garre, on the Haute Route in the Alps, Winter 2009. Photo: Kip Garre collection

(Ed’s note: This story has been updated, below.)

By Mike Rogge and Tim Mutrie

Overdue since late Tuesday from a ski mountaineering outing to Split Mountain, south of Bishop, Calif., the bodies of Kip Garre and Allison Kreutzen were discovered today during a search-and-rescue operation, Powder.com has confirmed.

Garre, 38, an accomplished skier, guide and mountaineer, and his girlfriend, Allison Kreutzen, intended to climb the Split Couloir on Tuesday, April 26. They did not return. Both Garre and Kreutzen lived in the Tahoe area.

Allison Kreutzen. Photo: FB

Allison Kreutzen. Photo: FB

When reached via telephone by Powder.com this afternoon, Inyo County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Carma Roper said, “There was a search and rescue effort launched at 8 a.m. this morning. They were two very experienced hikers/skiers and they were overdue, near the Split Mountain area.”

Roper later confirmed that two bodies had been discovered; Powder.com independently confirmed Garre and Kreutzen as the two skiers involved. “The wind situation right now is horrendous and the helicopters aren’t able to get into certain areas that they should be able to,” Roper added.

Seven of Garre’s and Kreutzen’s friends assisted in the search-and-rescue operation, according to Roper. Powder.com reached one of those skiers this evening, California time, just as they were making their way out of the mountains. That person declined to discuss details of the situation until first connecting with friends and family.

Garre grew up in Hancock, New Hampshire. Captivated by the freeskiing movement of the early 90s, Garre moved to Squaw Valley and was an early supporter in the park scene before shifting his focus to ski mountaineering and backcountry adventures. He made descents down some of the world’s most elusive mountains, including in Kashmir, Pakistan, China, the Tetons, the Alps, Alaska, Antarctica and his beloved Sierras.

“Kip was pretty much the most stoked skier on the planet,” said fellow Squaw skier Cody Townsend when reached by phone. “Just everyday he was fired up.” Upon learning of his friend’s death, Townsend added, “It’s a pure tragedy. He was the most underground hero of Squaw. Everyone here knew him and thought he was the nicest person in the world.”

Garre was also a longtime and revered contributor to Powder Magazine, and the entire Powder family sends its sincere condolences to the friends and family of Garre and Kreutzen.


Update: Thursday, April 28: 7:18 p.m., PST

Powder.com just reached Robb Gaffney, one of Garre and Kreutzen’s friends from Squaw who was involved in today’s SAR operation. Gaffney provided details on the incident:

“Three days ago Kip and Allison went down to ski the Split Couloir on Split Mountain. They slept and then went out early the next morning [Tuesday]. Usually at the end of a big day, they’ll call and share the details and let people know it went OK,” Gaffney said. “But nobody had heard from them, so yesterday Dan Molnar drove up to trailhead and found their car with Allison’s dog still in it. That was pretty alarming, because it’s a day trip and they didn’t bring gear with them for over-nighting.”

“Yesterday was an organizational day to get the rescue mission going, so about five of us from Tahoe” — John Morrison, Emily Turner, Jesse Bushey and Glen Poulsen and Gaffney — “got together and drove down to assist search and rescue today. We skinned up and approaching the couloir you couldn’t see a whole lot, just a bit of debris. But the scale is pretty large, so what at first looked like a bit of sluff was actually a big slide.”

“Then we saw a ski, then, partially, a body. It wasn’t a deep debris pile, five to six feet deep, but it came from the east-facing couloir, from about two-thirds of the way up the couloir. It appeared that they were probably climbing the couloir when the avalanche hit from above, and it looked like a pretty powerful avalanche.”

“Each of them was partially buried—Kip a little bit more so, while Allison had been ejected to the side. We were able to dig them out and all the property, probably over more than a thousand vertical feet down the path, and marked all that. Then we waited for search and rescue to come. … We got them down as far as we could, but the helicopter couldn’t fly in today, so maybe it’ll be tomorrow or the next day that they’re able to get their bodies out, when the winds are supposed to calm down.”

The friends rescue crew also coordinated with pilot Jim Morrison, the brother of John Morrison, who was on the ground team; Jim Morrison, with Jim Zeller riding along as a spotter, flew a plane out of Truckee this morning in order to scan the search area from the air, Gaffney said. Through cell phones and radios, the ground crew was able to communicate with Morrison and Zeller as well as a helicopter from the California Highway Patrol. Volunteers from the Inyo County Search and Rescue Team and Inyo County Sheriff’s Office also participated in the SAR mission.

“By the time we had all the organization and coordination with the different agencies, we were underway from the trailhead at 7:30 or 8,” Gaffney said. “And we were feeling a little anxious. We wanted to be out much earlier than that. It probably took us two-and-a-half hours to get to the bottom of the couloir, and we were going pretty fast. But those guys meant so much to us, so sitting at home knowing there was a rescue going on would’ve been way more challenging than being there today.”

Gaffney said it was difficult to find the scene as they did. “Kip’s been a part of our life for a long time in Squaw and he’s just this special guy who everyone loves. And a little more than a year ago, he started dating Allison. She’d just moved out from Telluride and she was just a gem. Everyone loved her, and loved them as a couple. So it was just horrible to come up on this debris pile and see this ski there,” he said.

“They were just people who enriched our lives. It sounds cliché, but it’s true, especially within the tight-knit Tahoe backcountry community. Definitely a big loss, and the emotions came in waves throughout the day. We had a lot to take care of, so you sort of had to keep your chin up and do what you needed to do. But every once and a while a wave would just come and hit you.” — Tim Mutrie

Add a comment

  • http://www.bamuniversity.net Rob Tremp

    Kip and I were freshman year roommates at Western State. We had so much fun toghether skiing and doing other 18 year old fun stuff. We connected instantly; I have so many great memories with him. I’m crushed. Love you Kipper! Thanks for always being there for me! Rob Tremp

  • http://www.ecotahoe.com Brook

    Allison has got to be rolling her eyes being refered to as the girlfriend. Allison was a Super Hero. When I started in the lot at Squaw in 87, she was already the coolest kid on the block with a sweet seasonal job in Valet Parking. Fly, Jason, who else? She was a social engineer and avante garde fashionista. She’s from Truckee. Where the Men are Tough and the Women are Tougher. John Muir Trail in 5 days, 100 mile crazyness, V-Whatever Bouldering, 5-Hard Climbing, Grade V Kayaking A handful of years crushing the Rockies. Solid Career and a wake of friends and admirers like few others. I can only guess at the friends she has made in her world-class adventure through life.
    Allison was a truly unique woman. She wins the prize for most smiles per mile. What a bright star! I’m lucky to have called you one of my very best friends.

    • frank klotz

      Right on brook!! This woman was exceptional, and to be relagated to ” girl friend” is just nuts.

  • Phebe

    Right on Brook! Allison was a hero in her own right, and a long time resident of Truckee as well. The only thing I’d add is that she found a beautiful love with Kip, and in that sense she was proud to be known as his girlfriend. But maybe more importantly than being rad adventurers, these were two of the kindest, most loving people I know. They will be hugely missed.

  • http://phylliserck.net Phyllis Erck

    My condolences to the friends of family of these 2 beautiful souls. May you find peace during this painful loss.

    -Phyllis (Billy Poole’s Mom)

  • Jamie Kelley

    I grew up with Kip in Hancock and have years of great memories with him. We did everything from playing pond hockey non-stop behind his house to pilfering our first Heinekens from his dad, and one thing I remember about Kip was that he was good at everything. It didn’t matter if it was skiing, riding a dirt bike, skateboarding, or launching our BMX bikes over ramps we built in the driveway, Kip always made everything look easy.

    He was also one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever known. My deepest condolences to his family; both is mom and dad were like surrogate parents to me because I spent so much time at their house. His dad could fix or build anything and his mom always bent over backwards to make sure we had everything we needed; pretzles and cream cheese stand out as a snack we used to have.

    Anyway, I’m heartbroken to learn of Kip’s passing but I take a lot of solace knowing that he lived his life to the fullest at all times. I lived vicariously through Kip over the past few years by following his adventures from afar. He went places I’ll only dream of going and did things I can’t even dream of doing. The world is definitely a worse place without Kip in it, but I’m extremely grateful for the years I knew Kip, for the adventures we had together, and for the pleasure of getting to be such a close friend to him and the entire Garre family growing up.

    Rest in peace, Kip, I love you buddy.

  • Alex Slok

    My condoleances to the family and friends. A terrible loss.

  • Lee Syrjanen

    My heart is with you Squaw Valley, I’m very sorry for your loss.

  • Kristie

    Brook, Phebe, I could not have said it better! Allison was such a bright light in my life, and my kids. Missing her doesn’t begin to describe it. I feel so fortunate to have had Allison in my life for as long as I did. She will always inspire me.

  • Rosamond

    Rest well and ski hard up there Allison. From here on out there’ll be nothing but perfect powder and fine clear corn snow days for you, while all us chumps down here hafta keep dealing with Sierra Cement. If we’re lucky, we’ll catch up with you later, kid. Allison Kreutzen, mountain warrior; you will be missed.

  • Brian Willllliams

    Met Kip in Peterbourogh, N.H. in 1989. That’s right ’89. He was the little shop rat @ Greg Harrington’s family bike shop. Years later we re-met on a ski trip to Whistler. Lucky me. Got to work several years with him @ The Resort @ Squaw Creek where he was a ski tech. Waves of emotion have been rolling over me all day. I can’t stop thinking of his infectious smile and enthusiasm for life.

  • erv wolf

    Kip and I have been friends for over 20 years and this tragedy is a giant loss to the world, myself, and our beloved ski family, which Kip is at the top of the family tree. At the top because I don’t know a skier on the planet that didn’t look up to him and his genuine soul for who he was and his accomplishments! Kip is the true definition of a friend and a brother and i have so many beautiful memories of our long life together. From high school to Tahoe to Chamonix, Kip was always there for his friends. He would always give you his time to engage and talk. Always asked to find out how I and my twin brother Rob was doing and feeling, no matter how much time had passed between talking. We shared so many funny, fun times together. Some of those best early days of skiing as a teenager were spent with Kip. Those days that we as skiers all know about, and remember everything about, especially who you were with. I was lucky enough to be with Kip, and anybody he touched in his awesome life should feel as lucky! He is, and will always be one of my greatest motivators of getting out there and “make it happen”- (one of his old school quotes). He amazed me! All the time! Every time I talked to him he had something cool on his plate. If you took just one of the many, many adventures Kip did, it is more than most people would ever dream of doing in their entire life. As Jamie said, Kip was good at everything and made everything look easy. All of our friends would just nod in ahhh of what he could and would do. Kip – you have loved, and you will be missed by many loving people! You are precious to the world and you will live in all of us forever Kip. I love you, Erv

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  • Ned Bair

    I worked with Kip guiding on Mount Shasta in 2003. He was living the life. He had a beat up old van that he was living out of. It looked like something from Aspen Extreme. He always had a smile on his face. His enthusiasm was infectious. Every time I’d see a picture of him ripping it up in Powder, it made me smile. What an awesome person! I feel lucky for the few times we spent skiing, climbing, and just hanging out.

  • Erv Wolf

    Kip and I have been friends for over 20 years and this tragedy is a giant loss to the world, myself, and our beloved ski family, which Kip is at the top of the family tree. At the top because I don’t know a skier on the planet that didn’t look up to him and his genuine soul for who he was and his accomplishments! Kip is the true definition of a friend and a brother and i have so many beautiful memories of our long life together. From high school to Tahoe to Chamonix, Kip was always there for his friends. He would always give you his time to engage and talk. Always asked to find out how I and my twin brother Rob was doing and feeling, no matter how much time had passed between talking. We shared so many funny, fun times together. Some of those best early days of skiing as a teenager were spent with Kip. Those days that we as skiers all know about, and remember everything about, especially who you were with. I was lucky enough to be with Kip, and anybody he touched in his awesome life should feel as lucky! He is, and will always be one of my greatest motivators of getting out there and “make it happen”- (one of his old school quotes). He amazed me! All the time! Every time I talked to him he had something cool on his plate. If you took just one of the many, many adventures Kip did, it is more than most people would ever dream of doing in their entire life. As Jamie said, Kip was good at everything and made everything look easy. All of our friends would just nod in ahhh of what he could and would do. Kip – you have loved, and you will be missed by many loving people! You are precious to the world and you will live in all of us forever Kip. I love you, Erv

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  • Mike Bellew

    X2 about Allison.
    Such sad news. I went to grade school & high school with Allison.
    We used to ski together on HS Ski Club trips.
    We lost touch in the 90s, the last time I saw her was at a Jerry Garcia show @ the Warfield.
    We literally had just reconnected via facebook 2 weeks ago.
    So sad.
    At lease she (they) went out in style… Doing what they loved.
    It’s just a shame it was so soon.

  • Bill Gentry

    My dear Allison. She was to me a 22-year friend and priceless jewel of a spirit. We first met in Chico honing the outdoor skills which would come to shape the rest of our lives. Along with an extremely lovely cast of crusty individuals we learned the soft and hard skills which would come to help us become leaders in the oudoors and life in general. Once armed, she guided on the river with us for a short bit before leaving for Colorado to test herself. She left in her wake an inspiring cadre of hard-women and amazed boys, all of whom benefited from her presence, power and love.

    I always felt honored and blessed to be one of Allison’s kayaking friends. Time with her on the river, sitting in the star thistle drinking beer trying to hitch a ride to put-in, or simply paddling silently watching a Bald Eagle soaring over our heads, was just perfect. My last day kayaking with her was about two weeks ago, when she confirmed our kayak date for the Truckee river that afternoon, from “…a peak just behind Granite Chief…I’ll meet you there BillyG!” Not surprisingly, she beat me to the river.

    The last time I spent with our dear was shaking booties to The Mother Hips at the CBC recently. I’ll never tire of remembering her just staring up at them, smiling, wiggling, sipping her beer and being alive. Pure life, pure life.

    I don’t think Allison will ever rest in peace. I believe she’s exquisitely pleased that she and Kip will never have to suffer a “down day”- doing laundry and resting or whatever else she hated, ever again.

    Peace my dears

    • http://www.careerleadershipcoaching.com Kris Parfitt

      Billy G. that was beautiful and just the perfect funky-fly awesomeness that captured Allison’s spirit. AliK darlin’, you were and will always be an extraordinary inspiration~

    • Keith Bunney

      Thanks Bill – “A priceless jewel of a spirit.” My heart aches knowing that I won’t see her again!

    • Robin Klutts

      Bill that was beautiful and perfectly said! I had not seen Allison since our Chico days. I’m saddened by this news.

  • Dave Keaveny

    I knew Kip as my j3 coach at Temple Mountain during the 93-94 season. He was a cool guy to have as a mentor. He taught me a lot then, and has been an inspiration to me as an adult with his skiing and mountaineering career. Whenever we would have a race, Kip would take our skis home the night before to wax and sharpen them for us, then would meet us at the race the next morning with our skis and a bagel. I wish that I got to know him as an adult.
    My heart goes out to Kip and Allison’s families and all of their friends.

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  • Kim Roddey

    I worked with Allison in the Emergency Room in Montrose Colorado. As all of you have said, she always had a smile on her face and a spark in her eye. I always remember she would take any down time during our shift to stretch and exercise her legs in preparation for her next ski day. It was very suprising to me the first time i came walking into the nurses station and nearly tripped over Allison doing crunches or situps on the dingy floor lol. My favorite memory of Allison is when she described herself as rarely getting enough sleep because she had FOMO….FEAR OF MISSING OUT. Well Allison you will never miss any important and exhilerating adventures again due to need for sleep. May you rest in peace……no thats not gonna happen cause i bet you are still taking every opportunity to get the most out of every second just as you did here on earth. I’m honored to have known you and am mourning the loss of such a wonderful woman, nurse and outdoorsman.

  • frank klotz

    Hey, Listen people, every one is talking about kip and his “girl friend”. to set the record straight this woman had considerable accomplishments. Things that no one had done before. Kip although a “great guy was just redoing great stuff many people have already done. This was and is a remarkable , beautiful ,humble woman. She was not a self promoting, self congragulatory piece of crap, with a slide projector. Allison had an understanding internally that the value of her efforts and accomplishments , was in the effort and not in any reccognition.

    • fishbliss

      Hey Frank.. nobody’s disrespecting Allison by saying Kip’s girlfriend. they are saying “Kip’s girlfriend” because they didn’t know her . they were both amazing people… there is no need to compare or contrast.. they both kicked ass and made their lives what they were.. AWESOME… leave it at that

  • Betty Tremp

    To the Parents and Family of Kip Garre: Please accept our sincere condolences on the loss of your wonderful son Kip. We had the pleasure of spending time with Kip and our son Rob who were freshman roommates at Western State. People may wonder how we could remember someone you met only once and quite some time ago. It’s easy to remember Kip, as he was a gentleman; he was kind; he was a good roommate to our son; and above all he was very respectful of us. We would like to think that the double rainbow which greeted us after white knuckling it through Monarch Pass was for Rob and Kip. They remained good friends throughout the years. We will keep you in our prayers. Sincerely, Bob and Betty Tremp, Traverse City, Michigan

  • Julianne Peterson

    What heartbreak over this great loss. Two of the brightest lights any of us knew. I loved Alison and was continually inspired by her incredible positive attitude and motivation for any adventure. I didn’t know Kip but heard many times over the past year some of the most beautiful compliments I have ever heard about anyone. Alison was head over heals for him. Her dream come true to meet him and share this incredible year! Ali, you will live on in my most brilliant memories!

  • Jennifer Sheehan Holdcraft

    So sad he was my childhood best friend in Hancock. I remember how we loved to play in the woods and catch garter snakes. Rest in peace.

  • William Nance

    Warm, kind and a big spirit. I never saw him without a smile. Damn!

  • Red

    Kip Garre was a dear friend of mine, this man did everything he could to help me at one of my lowest times of my life. I will never forget you Winger for what you did for me. Thank you for being there for me

  • millie miller

    Allison was with our friend Tyler Thorburn when he die on the slopes of Chili two years ago. She watched him do 12 perfect turns down the mountain and then fall. She skied down to him, and gave him CPR … to no avail.But she was there for him in a far away land and has been such a comfort to his family and us all. We will always remember her care and caring. So sorry to get the news of her untimely death as well. Know we always remember her.
    Sincerely, Millie MIller (friend of the Thorburns)

  • Chip Garre

    Kip’s mother and I want to thank everyone very much for thier love and kindness towards Kip and Allison.

    They were two wonderful individuals We are very proud parents, and losing them has left a large hole in our hearts.

    Thank you very much for your love and wonderful comments.

    Chip Garre

  • Grace

    Well, Kip was my cousin and I only got to meet him once when i was like two or younger. I had always seen pictures of him in my aunts house and hopes to meet him soon so this was devastating news. Just glad I can be with my aunt to comfort her :)

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