19-year-old Sheridan College Student Dies in Climbing Fall

19-year-old Sheridan College Student Dies in Climbing Fall

(Updated with memorial service information)- A 19-year-old Sheridan College student died from the results of her injuries sustained in an accidental rock climbing fall Sunday afternoon near the Red Grade Road, Bear Gulch trail area, according to information from the Sheridan County Sheriff's Office.

Kevin Sessions with the Sheridan County Coroner's office said Monday morning that the individual was Aspen Rawlings of Parkman.

Lt. Mark Conrad with the Sheridan County Sheriff's Office said that Rawlings, along with two male college friends, had hiked down the two-track trail below the parking area on Red Grade Road.

The three were climbing the rocks that faced to the south, when Rawlings apparently slipped and fell a ”substantial distance”, Conrad said.

“There's no information that would direct our minds anywhere else that it was anything more than a tragic accident,” Conrad said.

Sheridan Search and Rescue, Rocky Mountain Ambulance, and Sheridan County Sheriff's deputies responded to the call at around 3:30 pm Sunday.

Conrad said that they face new challenges these days when it comes to making sure correct information is released, concerning these types of incidents that are sensitive to family and friends.

“The position we find ourselves in daily is that with things like Facebook and text messages the information is out there before we release it,” Conrad said. “Sometimes it's totally accurate and sometimes it's so far from what actually occurred.”

Rawlings was a 2010 graduate of Tongue River High School, and she played basketball at TRHS (pictured, above).

Memorial Services

There will be a viewing, visitation and rosary at 6 pm Thursday at Holy Name Catholic Church for Rawlings. A celebration of her life will be held at 5 pm Friday at Tongue River High School. Mass of the Christian Burial will be held at 10 am on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Holy Name with father Rob Spaulding officiating.

A memorial fund has been set up at Cowboy State Bank in Ranchester.


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