Niels Tietze


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Gym climber
Great White North
Nov 21, 2017 - 08:23am PT

Social climber
The internet
Nov 21, 2017 - 09:13am PT
Chatted with him a bit when he was working on the free linkup. He seemed like a solid guy - friendly, talented, psyched, full of life. Very sorry to hear of this.

Nov 21, 2017 - 09:49am PT
This news is absolutely heartbreaking. I met Niels on top of El Cap about 4 years ago after my friend and I finished up The Shield. Niels is gonna help us out with humping loads down. He shows up that evening with a huge smile and congratulations for us. “Man, I was wondering if you guys were gonna just move in up there”, he says as we had to bivy on the headwall for a couple of days waiting out a storm. His enthusiasm was infectious. Then comes the man’s strength. As darkness sets in, he sets up both haulbags and ledges and starts the hump down with both loaded up like a T. We enjoy a pleasant night on top and an easy stroll down the next morning. When we meet up with him at his YOSAR site, we ask how much. He smiles and replies, “132 pounds!”. I’m dumbfounded and then say, “no, how much do we owe you?” “Oh, that”. We pay him and his smile gets even bigger as he says, “cool, now I can get my clutch fixed.” Awesome!!

Trad climber
La Cochitaville
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 22, 2017 - 05:47pm PT
My friends...the family is planning a memorial on December 2nd in Salt Lake.

More details to come.

All heart and fuerza as Niels would have written.

Midpines, California
Nov 22, 2017 - 06:37pm PT
To be alive: not just the carcass
But the spark.
That's crudely put, but…
If we're not supposed to dance,
Why all this music?
~ Gregory Orr

You are missed, buddy.

Boulder climber
Institute of Better Bouldering-DirtbagDad Division
Nov 24, 2017 - 07:16pm PT
I am so sorry.

I am now on the one post per calendar year plan (all I can afford according to Chris Mac), so I have to choose what to post very judiciously and with great care. This seems like the one for 2017.

I didn't know Neils, but as happens with our clan, I already do know him. That recognizable spirit, lightness, and sense of presence are familiar. The connection and friendship that comes easily for those who are at home moving through the natural world. The awareness, unspoken, that we share the same perspectives and approaches.

This has been a strange and difficult year. Neils, we painfully know, is not the first to have suffered an event that brings us to dark reflection. "I wiped away my millionth tear of the season and cracked a cold one in his honor." So well put.

I am so sorry.

Peace, cold ones, and hugs (apply in order as you see fit).

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 24, 2017 - 07:28pm PT
I didn’t know Neils but it sounds like he was an exceptional person. It has been a dufficult year with the loss of so many young climbers whose human qualities exceeded even their exceptional climbing ability.
Having lost my son when he as twenty, I know what the heartache is like.

Bogota, Colombia
Nov 25, 2017 - 05:28am PT
From a text i wrote about NielsT

Niels inspired trust. He exuded the affection of a lovable wombat, yet he was as patient as a rattler sunning on a ledge. His empathy permeated every conversations, from the deepest to the most superficial. He listened and knew to tune out distractions. He countered and delved into perspectives you hadn’t thought of yet. We often end up using the word real to describe these types of friends. Perhaps real is how we want to differentiate what we deem authentic from the rest of our noisy lives and the relentless performance. Niels once told me that all societies wear masks, and that Americans were specialized in constantly doing things just to prove they can. Maybe this explains his disdain for Instagram and social media, little more than a performer’s stage, a parade of fine physiques engaged in the ungraceful dance to win contests of sponsorship, likes, and popularity. Do we have to continually prove to ourselves that we exist?

“I got dropped from a big climbing trip to the Chilean Patagonia for not being famous and pretty enough. There are all kinds of hilarity surrounding the growing number of climbing expeditions these years. Where are those in pursuit of total adventure? Seems a rare breed to me.”

full text:

Trad climber
Nov 25, 2017 - 08:16pm PT
I thought he drove off, peering from the Meadow out of the corner of my eye, heading who knows where - Florida, Ethiopia, maybe back to Tuolumne? I walked out to my van with a sunken heart. He just left. No goodbye.

But he hadn’t. He’d been packing away his life into the mess of his truck - haul bags, journals, books of poetry, dead flowers, animal bones, incense, body odor.

Keep it cool, Alix. I reminded myself. Walk on past.

He stopped in the middle of the road. Confused, I was. He got out, kissed me, said he might never see me again and then drove away.

Am I in love? Who is this person? What the f*#king f*#k was that?

Minutes later, I found his scribble on a piece of paper on my van, ‘Don’t break too many holds or hearts this season. Stay Gold. - Niels’

A few days later, he told me to check the post office. There, he'd left a package with a small mug he'd made, just big enough for a morning coffee from a percolator (his favorite method of caffeinating). I loved that mug.


I've been writing memories of our time shared together. Niels was so ridiculous. I loved it. I loved him. As Libby said earlier this week, 'hard to love, hard to hate.' Despite the heartache and frustration at times, he always made me smile and laugh. He was such a romantic. Oh, Niels...

Trad climber
La Cochitaville
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 29, 2017 - 04:52pm PT
Rock and Ice mention of Niels by his medical mentor, Dr. Geoff Tabin

Trad climber
La Cochitaville
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 30, 2017 - 11:18am PT
The Storytelling Memorial for Niels will be Saturday evening in the Salt Lake area. DM for specifics.

Here is the piece I've been working on about Niels...

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 30, 2017 - 11:49am PT
What a nice remembrance! I think you should post it in a new thread so that it doesn't get lost. Sometimes people don't go back to threads they have already visited.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 30, 2017 - 03:36pm PT
Beautiful piece, Libby. So sorry for your loss(es).

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Nov 30, 2017 - 07:58pm PT
thx Velvet. He won't be forgotten.

Trad climber
La Cochitaville
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 30, 2017 - 09:09pm PT
For anyone interested in joining Niels' friends and family at his Storytelling Memorial December 2nd, please reach out to me for the specifics.

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
Nov 30, 2017 - 09:12pm PT
Amazing writeup, thank you. ((Hugs))

Trad climber
Bend, OR
Nov 30, 2017 - 10:14pm PT
Libby your sadness is shared, he sounded like an incredible soul. I'm sorry you're having to endure his loss.

Dec 1, 2017 - 07:12am PT
thanks for writing and sharing these stories here Libby (I'm not on FB so wouldn't see otherwise)

i'm sad and simultaneously inspired

Trad climber
Salt Lake City
Dec 1, 2017 - 02:06pm PT
I recently learned about his passing through mutual friends and it broke my heart.
I met him about 8 or 9 years ago in Yosemite. He was growing spinach in the back of his truck. I wanted to ask him if the plant I saw then was really spinach the next time I ran into him. He was also spraying lots of bleach all over his truck, telling me that bleach would keep the bears off. Did it work, Niels?
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Dec 1, 2017 - 04:30pm PT
Niels was the real deal,
My life is poorer for not having known him.

My sincere condolences Libby.

He certainly squeezed the marrow out of life.
Messages 41 - 60 of total 64 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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