New Mexico rescue worker discovers fallen climber is ex-wife

Diablo Canyon - Santa Fe Bureau of Land Management

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Rescue team volunteer Scott Hicks was responding to a call about a woman who died while rock climbing when he received a shock: The body belonged to his ex-wife.

Hicks, 58, and other members of the Santa Fe County Fire Department technical rescue team were sent to Diablo Canyon to recover a body Monday afternoon. They were told a 59-year-old woman fell 175 feet to her death.

When he arrived, Hicks heard another climber providing the woman’s address.

“Of course I recognized it,” Hicks said. “So I looked at the paper and saw her name, and that’s when I realized it was my ex-wife.”

Hicks was married to the fallen climber, Susan Sarossy, for 19 years before they separated in 1999. The two have a 25-year-old daughter together, and Sarossy has a 41-year-old son from a previous marriage. Sarossy was a social worker, Hicks said.

Sarossy began climbing during their marriage, around the same time he was learning high-angle rescue techniques, Hicks said.

“She always told me, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing rock climbing because I’m afraid of heights, but I think this is way for me to face that fear,’ ” Hicks said.

Sarossy had gone to Diablo Canyon with about a half-dozen other climbers Monday. Steven Reneau told authorities that his friend was an experienced climber.

He told the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office that Sarossy was the last in the group and responsible for “cleaning the anchors,” collecting the gear on her way down.

Reneau said he was below Sarossy when she fell and wasn’t exactly sure what happened. He said she might not have anchored herself correctly before pushing off from the wall.

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