Sherb Talk: Karen Risch presents "No Individual Heroes"
Ouray County, Colorado, a popular tourist destination, has dramatic mountains and amazing winter ice climbing. Challenging terrain and high altitude can push visitors to their limits and beyond. deaths from unforeseeable accidents, at altitude, can occur in bad weather or areas that make helicopter rescue impossible or extremely dangerous. For five decades the Ouray Mountain Rescue Team has helped those in trouble in this unique place. as journalist Roger Anderson wrote: "the San Juans, for all their seemingly benign majesty, can be as unforgiving as they are beautiful."
Many areas in Colorado and the united States have rescue teams, but Ouray's is unique. The Million Dollar Highway, infamous for sharp curves, narrow roadway and steep cliffs, cuts through the southern part of the county. Winter's numerous avalanches -- especially the riverside Slide -- can strike cars without warning. In summer Mt. Sneffels is a popular climb. the south approaches are challenging, the north side highly technical. rescues are often needed. Much of the county is Wilderness and lost hikers and adventurers often need help.
Imaginative, sensitive, compassionate people are drawn to serve on the Ouray Mountain Rescue Team. they often see one- of-a-kind problems that must be overcome. radio communication may be nonexistent in these steep mountains and remote valleys. rescuers often encounter terrified people caught in miserable, deadly circumstances. Working as a team creates solutions. there are no individual heroes -- they are all heroes! This book explores some of their most remarkable, memorable rescues
Karen Risch’s latest book, No Individual Heroes: Ouray Mountain Rescue Team, was published in August 2018. A 14-year veteran of the team, she lives and works in Ouray. Her lifelong backcountry experiences – hiking and mountaineering -- have proved useful in producing Hiking Trails of Ouray County and the Uncompahgre Wilderness Map and Guide and Hiking Ouray With Kids – And Everyone Else! for the Ouray Trail Group.
During a professional career of 30 years she taught English and journalism and served as Department Chair at Alameda High School in Lakewood, CO. In 1986 she completed her doctorate in Eighteenth Century British and American Literature while teaching at the University of Denver.
She has lived in Ouray for 24 years, hiking the San Juans and serving as Ouray’s National Weather Service observer. An avid high altitude gardener, she writes a monthly column on weather and gardening for the Ouray County Plaindealer.