Santa Fe woman dies while rock climbing

SANTA FE – A Santa Fe woman fell to her death while rock climbing on a high cliff at Diablo Canyon northwest of Santa Fe on Monday afternoon, according to a report from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.

Susan Sarossy, 59, was at Diablo Canyon west of town, whose black cliffs are popular spot for rock climbers, when she fell off a cliff face and received serious injuries just after 3 p.m. Monday. Santa Fe County medical personnel failed to revive her.

A deputy made contact with three doctors – Stewart Walter, Keith Azevedo and Elise Lowe – who were climbing in the area and rendered aid to Sarossy after she fell. Walter said he heard what sounded like something falling followed by a loud scream.

He saw Sarossy falling face-first from 150 to 175 feet and found her lying facedown with “obvious compound fractures to her legs” when he went to help her. Azevedo said he turned Sarossy over and noticed her pupils were “fixed dilated” and had a faint pulse and major head trauma. Lowe told the

Journal via telephone Tuesday that she, Azevedo and Walter didn’t know Sarossy and were there as part of a separate climbing group.

Steven Reneau, who said he was a friend of Sarossy’s, told deputies he and Sarossy were there climbing with other friends and that this particular climb was the last of the day. He said she was the last climber and was responsible for “cleaning the anchors” on her way down. He said he was below her when she started falling and said she hit several large rocks on the way down.


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Reneau said he doesn’t exactly know what went wrong, but did say Sarossy may have been “confused” and didn’t anchor herself properly before pushing herself off the cliff wall. He said she appeared to be confused several times as they were climbing the wall. Reneau said Sarossy was an experienced rock climber and said he was shocked this happened.

Personnel from the Office of the Medical Investigator arrived and gave 5:15 p.m. as the official time of death. Sarossy’s body was taken to the agency’s campus for an autopsy. Deputies did not notice any signs of foul play and released Sarossy’s car to her next of kin, the report says.


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