Mountain rescue: life and death on the line

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine

Mountain rescue: life and death on the line
Colorado's beautiful peaks can be deceptively dangerous. Each year, scores of people are lost; some die. Meet the author of a new book that takes you inside one of America's premier mountain rescue teams for a spellbinding account of the courageous men and women who put their lives on the line to save others.

When backcountry skiers are caught in avalanches, the mountain rescue team mobilizes a search. Here, dramatic avalanche footage, and a simulated search.

More video
A gripping account of an actual body-recovery mission, told through video clips, book excerpts, and photographs.

Q&A with author Hal Clifford
Hal Clifford, author of the newly published book, The Falling Season, is here to answer your questions and talk about rescue work. So ask him anything.

Why this story needed to be told
"Rescue work is very stressful; it's a place where all pretense is stripped away, and you get raw human interaction. Few people realize that these aren't a bunch of hardbody Lone Rangers; these are ordinary people struggling with egos and feelings, wickedly critical of each other--yet willing to put their life on the line for a fellow team member."
--Author Hal Clifford

Excerpts from The Falling Season
"If I think it's messy, brutal, if I think somebody is going to die and scream and fight and leave us all with nightmares for a year, I'm going to send the people I think can handle it. If you're afraid of fire, and I send you out on a downed plane where there are six charred bodies, it's probably going to do things to your psyche that I can't imagine. I don't want to do that to you."
--Rescue leader Tom McCabe

Outside Online

About Outside Online | Member Services | Let us know what you think

Copyright © 1995 Starwave Corporation. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form.

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web

Not Now

Open a World of Adventure

Our Dispatch email delivers the stories you can’t afford to miss.

Thank you!