- "If your looking for Qualen, try about 4,000 feet south of here. He'll be the one wearing the helicopter."
- ―Hal Tucker to the FBI
|Nationality:||United States of America|
|Profession:||Mountain climber/Rescue ranger|
|Significant other(s):||Sarah (deceased)|
|Played by:||Michael Rooker|
Hal Tucker is a Colorado Search-and-Rescue mountain climber and the secondary protagonist in Cliffhanger.
While climbing a narrow peak in the Rocky Mountains called "The Tower", with his fiancee Sarah, Hal got a knee injury and was unable to climb down. So, he called his friend Gabe Walker from Rocky Mountain Rescue to pick them up via helicopter. While climbing along a steel cable to the helicopter, Sarah's harness breaks and she is left dangling over a deep chasm. While the others try frantically to come up with a solution, Gabe straps himself in and goes out to save Sarah, but is unsuccessful; her gloved hand slips through Gabe's and she falls 4,000 feet to her death in the chasm.
Eight months later, Hal still works in the Search-and-Rescue team after Sarah's death and Gabe's resignation after the tragedy. A radio distress call comes in to the local rescue center. Hal heads off to find the stranded climbers while Jessie pleads with Gabe to join Hal's rescue attempt. Battling his inner demons Gabe meets Hal on the mountain, where Hal lashes out for his failure to save Sarah and almost throws Gabe off a ledge.
The distress call turns out to be a fake; the two climbers are taken prisoner by a group of ruthless thieves led by former Military Intelligence member Eric Qualen, who seeks to recover three suitcases containing $100 million in uncirculated $1,000 bills belonging to the U.S. Treasury Department. With the aid of turncoat U.S. Treasury agent Richard Travers, Qualen and his mercenaries attempt to steal the suitcases via a daring air-to-air transfer, but the transfer is foiled by an undercover FBI agent and the three suitcases are lost among the mountains and three die during the heist. The thieves' plane loses power during the attempt and crashes. The suitcases holding the money have beacon locators, but the thieves need expert help locating them in the mountainous terrain, thus prompting them to summon the unwitting Gabe and Hal to their aid.
The group locates the first of the three cases, and Gabe is tethered to a rope and ordered to scale a steep wall to retrieve it. Gabe frees himself from the rope, and the group begins firing up the mountain, causing an avalanche which kills Heldon, one of Qualen's thugs. Seeing the money flutter down from the top of the mountain, Qualen presumes Gabe dead and orders the group to proceed to the second case. Hal leads Qualen and his men to where the second case is. They find the case empty (except for a single $1,000 bill with the words "Want to Trade?" written on it), realizing that Gabe is still alive and split up to find him. Qualen's mercenary Ryan chases after Gabe and Jessie. Hal and the thugs watch as Gabe and Ryan slide down a hill, fighting and the thug is killed when he flies down into an abyss, as Gabe hangs onto a cliff at the last second.
Two of Hal's friends casually hanging out on the mountain, run into Hal and the thieves. Hal tells them to run, and as they do, one is shot dead by Qualen's mercenary Kynette. The other parachutes off a cliff, where his parachute is caught on a tree branch, leaving him dangling off the ground. When Gabe makes an attempt to climb out of a crevice, he is spotted by Kynette. A fight ensues between Gabe and Kynette in the cave, resulting in the Kynette being impaled on a stalactite. Gabe tries to pick up the thief's radio to call the rescue helicopter, but Hal alerts Gabe that Qualen is planting explosives directly above him and plans to kill him. Gabe and Jessie barely escape. The thieves, with Hal still as their guide, make their way to the abandoned cabin for the night. Meanwhile, Gabe and Jessie hole up in a cave and stay warm by burning the money they found to stoke their fire. The helicopter pilot, Frank, having not received any response from Jessie, Gabe, or Hal, flies over to the mountain, where he finds Hal's friend stuck in the tree, cuts him down, transports him to safety, and alerts the authorities as well. The following morning, Gabe and Jessie attempt to beat the thieves to the remaining case. Kristel flags down the helicopter. Against Qualen's orders, Delmar shoots Frank. Hal crawls over and Frank, just before dying, gives him a knife. Hal sticks it in his boot, and the thieves walk over to the helicopter. Travers, at this point, pulls a gun on Qualen, telling everyone that he is now in charge of the operation. Qualen, held at gunpoint, states that without someone to pilot the helicopter, nobody will even be able to get off the mountain, and shoots Kristel dead, the only other mercenary with piloting experience. Once again with leverage over Travers, Qualen asks Travers, Hal, and Delmar track the case. Once within a reasonably close distance to the case, Travers leaves Delmar to kill Hal, only to find that Gabe has beaten him to the case once again. Delmar beats Hal and nearly kicks him off a cliff, but Hal stabs Delmar in one of his legs and shoots Delmar off the ledge with his own Smith & Wesson 3000 shotgun. Meanwhile, Jessie, who signaled the rescue helicopter thinking it to be Frank, is taken hostage by Qualen. Travers discovers that Gabe has found the last case before him, and furiously chases him causing Gabe to fall into the frozen river. Under the ice, Gabe outsmarts Travers and shoots the corrupt Treasury agent with his bolt gun. His dead body is carried away by the river. Communicating by radio, Qualen and Gabe make a deal to exchange Jessie for the money Gabe collected from the third case. Gabe kills Qualen and the three wait for rescue.
|Heroes||Gabe Walker - Hal Tucker - Jessie Deighan|
|Villains||Eric Qualen - Richard Travers|
|Allies||Frank - Walter Wright|
|Henchmen||Kristal - Kynette - Delmar - Ryan - Heldon|
|Other characters||Sarah - Evan - Brett - Walter Wright|