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The Falling Season

Inside the Life and Death Drama of Aspen's Mountain Rescue Team

  • 272 pages
  • Mountaineers Books
  • 978-0-89886-633-9
  • Feb 28, 1999


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* Offers an inside view of the dangers, emotions, and politics of a mountain rescue group
* Covers one of the most publicized mountain rescue operations of the decade: Express Creek

To write fairly about mountain rescuers, journalist Hal Clifford was told, you must become one yourself. And so began the most challenging assignment of his career -- in the wilderness around Aspen, Colorado, where each year the destinies of a handful of skiers, hikers, and climbers intersect with those of their rescuers. The Falling Season is Clifford's thrilling account of an insider's life and time on one of America's premier mountain rescue teams. Giving new voice to the adrenaline rush, he recounts the harrowing moments and the against-the-clock, painstaking procedures of more than a dozen mountain rescues, including 1993's infamous Express Creek crisis and its attendant media circus.

Throughout, he profiles his teammates, dedicated volunteers who leave warm beds and meals at a moment's notice and brave unimaginably harsh conditions to save an injured stranger's life. Here are their thoughts and motivations as they dangle from cliff sides, risk avalanches, and wait for fateful words on static-filled radios. Unflinchingly honest, Clifford also talks about the divisive politics, personal struggles, egos, and occasional unhappy outcomes that are an inevitable part of rescuing life.


  • 272 pages
  • Mountaineers Books
  • 978-0-89886-633-9
  • Feb 28, 1999

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