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Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite Paperback – March 28, 2007

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite
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  • Over The Edge: Death in Grand Canyon, Newly Expanded 10th Anniversary Edition
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  • Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park, 2nd Edition
Total price: $55.28
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Editorial Reviews


This book is much, much more than a simple accounting on tragedy. It is rich in historical context and develops the setting and background for the deaths chronicled. It provides valuable lessons to be learned and to be re-learned and reinforced. Through the investigative reports, it puts you into the minds of some of the people involved and even into the minds of the victims. It provides rare insight in the world of Yosemite. --Michael Finley, Superintendent of Yosemite 1989-1994

About the Author

Michael Ghiglieri earned a Ph.D. in Ecology from U.C. Davis for research on wild chimps in Uganda. He has worked as a wilderness river and trekking guide in the Sierra Nevada and many other regions and countries since 1974, rowing 141 trips down Grand Canyon. His book Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon is still Northern Arizona's regional best selling book. Charles R. "Butch" Farabee earned his M.S. from the FBI Academy and during 34 years with the National Park Service (10 in Yosemite) rose from protection ranger to superintendent. He has responded to 1,000+ Search & Rescue missions and has managed these departments in Yosemite and Grand Canyon. His books Death, Daring and Disaster: Search and Rescue in the National Parks and Ranger: An American Icon are sold in nearly every National Park in America.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Puma Press LLC; 1st edition (March 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970097360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970097361
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

150 of 151 people found the following review helpful By Fritz R. Ward VINE VOICE on May 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When I was last in Yosemite, April of 2007, I hiked to the top of the Yosemite Falls Trail and, after taking a quick break, decided to head for Eagle Peak. Alas it started to snow and after about 1/2 mile I turned back. A trail maintenance ranger at the bottom of the trail, who knew of my plans, asked when he saw me if I had made it. "No," I replied. "I turned around." He then mentioned that someone else, facing the same conditions that day, had not made the same choice. On the broad shoulder of Half Dome, with snow flying, this person had decided to go for the top, even in the bad conditions and even though the cables were not properly strung. He slipped and fell. I never found out if he lived, but the description offered by the ranger fits a pattern found repeatedly in this fabulous book. Young men taking foolish chances end up hurt and/or killed.

This book is a sequel to the immensely popular Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon and like the first volume it is somewhat morbid. The authors, one of whom was a Search and Rescue (SAR) ranger in Yosemite for many years, catalogue all the ways one could conceivably die in Yosemite and then devote a chapter to each. Murder, suicide, and motor vehicle deaths are all covered, but so too is a variety of deadly accidents experienced by climbers high on cliffs, hikers lost or off route from established trails, drowning victims, people falling over the edge of waterfalls, and even people who jump off cliffs hoping to parachute safely to the valley floor (BASE jumping).
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Kassir on April 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Ghiglieri nails his subject - complex personalities, surrounded by natural beauty, dealing with danger and threat. Dr.Ghiglieri brings a wealth of experience as a naturalist, historian and river guide to weave a spellbinding tale. Dr. Ghiglieri was a lead guide on a OARS trip I took in the early 90's from Lee's Ferry to Phantom Ranch. We vived to be in his boat - to learn history, geology, river skills, and people skills. Deep in the wilderness, the experts such as Ghiglieri learn only only to read rivers and nature, but also to read people. The naturalists observe individuals and couples thrust into a new enviromnent stripped of accoutraments, family/friend networks, and electronic diversions. After his viewing many couples for many summers, I took to heart Dr. Ghiglieri's observation that a relationship tested and happy after 11 days of wilderness, camping, rowing on the Colorado was sturdy for the long run.

Off the Wall: Death In Yosemite and well as the companion Grand Canyon book superbly combine the oh so human qualities with sublimb natural situations. Dr. Ghiglieri's books are gripping and memorable. I was at Yosemite yesterday strolling through the valley cemetary for Effie Crippen - age 14 - dead in the 1880's after wading in lovely Mirror Lake and stepping on a glass bottle. I was alone and wanted to hike - but didn't. Caution. The story of Ms. Crippen humanized the grand monoliths of stone, enriched my understanding of the valley. I highly recommend Dr. Ghiglieri's books Death In Yosemite, Death In the Grand Canyon, and Canyon for "bringing to life" and telling the stories of our national parks. Laurie Kassir, San Andreas, CA. and Houston, TX
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By R. Giesecke on October 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I returned from my first trip to Yosemite five days ago. I bought this book during the last two days I was there and began reading it. Oddly enough I bought it the day after I had managed to scale down the infamous, "Four Mile Trail" that begins at Glacier summit and basically ends at the foot of Sentinel rock.

As I scaled down that well-worn-and-established trail, I started to become wrapped in the sense that the valley-floor was not emerging fast enough, and merely wondered whether or not a more "direct route" was attainable. Fortunately for me, this was only a passing thought.

I also noticed that the switchbacks, thought mostly broad and even, did contain waiting peril for those not circumspect. It occurred to me also, that my initial impulse to try and beat the bus carrying my family back down the mountain was fraught with the fatal potential to cause me to run right off a sheer cliff.

The next day I'm reading accounts of people who'd managed to make both decisions on that very trail. Talk about one's blood running cold in the stream of familiarity. . .

Very well written. I won't go so far as to say the details are endlessly morbid, but they are offered occasionally to underscore the power of mistakes that are--when removed from an unparalleled place like Yosemite--merely capers laced with the occasional bone-break or contusion.

I do not undersell the fact that anyone considering climbing Half-Dome--especially those who want to use the "cable route," should first read this. The same goes for any erstwhile hiker and rock climber that assumes their cat-like reflexes are insurmountable. They might be the very things that kill you.
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