Niels Tietze

A Tribute to our Dear Friend and Colleague

We are profoundly saddened at the passing of Niels Tietze, a close friend, colleague and compassionate soul who was dedicated to our work. Niels passed away in a rappelling accident on Fifi Buttress in Yosemite Valley on November 16.

When they first met, Niels had an immediate impact on HCP Co-Founder and Chairman Geoff Tabin who described him as a “force of nature.” The pair connected in 2010, not long after the death of Niels’ older brother, Kyle, when the Tietze family requested that donations be made to HCP in lieu of flowers. Niels was a young college graduate and free spirit who was an avid climber and bonded with Dr. Tabin over their shared passion for life.

“Niels Tietze was a master of the improvisation of life; answering every opportunity with “Yes! And!” - Geoff Tabin, Rock and Ice Magazine

Inspired by the work of Dr. Tabin and HCP, Niels became an Ophthalmic Assistant training at the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Kathmandu, Nepal, our flagship partner. Niels was highly engaged in our work, always ready to provide help and dedicated to helping overcome blindness in Africa.

HCP super volunteer, James Garrett said of him, “Niels seemed to be everywhere in our lives. He was so much older than me in wisdom but now he will be a part of the team of those who are forever young.”

Niels was scheduled to leave this week to join Dr. Tabin at three high volume cataract outreaches in Ethiopia, followed by 10 days of climbing in South Africa with another longtime HCP volunteer, Timmy O’Neill. This tragedy has filled the team headed to these outreaches with both melancholy and determination. We dedicate our efforts this month to Niels.

Click to read Dr. Tabin’s heartfelt tribute to Niels featured in Rock and Ice Magazine

Niels is survived by his parents Becky and Chris, and sister Johanna. Our hearts go out to all of them.

Niels on top of an unclimbed tower in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Photo: Nico Parkinson

Additional photos: Ace Kvale

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