Little Cottonwood Canyon is celebrating the life of Tucker Taffe, who died earlier this week while skiing on Mount Rainier. Taffe, 33, was an employee at the Alta Lodge and an experienced and passionate backcountry skier.
Taffe had always wanted to ski Rainier and following a trip to the Sierra, he traveled to Washington to attempt this goal. On Tuesday, May 10, Taffe and his three partners were ascending the upper Nisqually Glacier on skis. Taffe, the strongest of the party, was first. At approximately 13,180 feet, Taffe fell into a crevasse, Mount Rainier National Park spokesperson Patti Wold told reporters. Taffe's team quickly assembled a rescue party, receiving help from climbing guides who were training nearby. According to Wold, at least one guide descended into the crevasse to discover that Taffe had fallen 100-150 feet and died.
Nicknamed Tucker "de la Wasatch" for his unconditional desire to tour in those mountains, Taffe was front desk manager at the Alta Lodge. He had lived and worked at Alta for over a decade. The news of his passing fell hard on the small community at Alta, who are remembering Tucker as a phenomenal athlete and a wonderful person.
Tucker was an accomplished climber, telemark skier and mountain biker, and once won the Wasatch Powderkeg, a backcountry ski race around Brighton Ski Area. According to friend Sheridan Davis, "In a town where athletic prowess rules, Tucker was considered King."
"Aside from his formidable strength, he was also a very kind and genuine person," added Davis. "He truly honored his calling, which was to be in the mountains. He really was beautiful and we're going to miss him a great deal."
This summer, friends and family will plant a tree for Tucker at the Alta Memorial Grove and expect to hold a memorial service to spread his ashes in the mountains he loved.