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The Ledge: An Inspirational Story of Friendship and Survivalby Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan
Synopses & Reviews
“My eyes travel up the frozen walls. I figure it is eighty feet up to the sunlight. The walls above me climb up at about eighty degrees, then they go dead vertical, and then, higher up, they overhang. It is as if I am looking out from the belly of a beast, its jagged white teeth interlocking above me.”
In June 1992, best friends Jim Davidson and Mike Price stood triumphantly atop Washington’s Mount Rainier, celebrating what they hoped would be the first of many milestones in their lives as passionate young mountaineers. Instead, their conquest gave way to catastrophe when a cave-in plunged them deep inside a glacial crevasse — the pitch-black, ice-walled hell that every climber’s nightmares are made of.
An avid adventurer from an early age, Davidson was already a seasoned climber at the time of the Rainier ascent, fully aware of the risks and hopelessly in love with the challenge. But in the blur of a harrowing free fall, he suddenly found himself challenged by nature’s grandeur at its most unforgiving. Trapped on a narrow, unstable frozen ledge, deep below daylight and high above a yawning chasm, he would desperately battle crumbling ice and snow that threatened to bury him alive, while struggling in vain to save his fatally injured companion. And finally, with little equipment, no partner, and rapidly dwindling hope, he would have to make a fateful choice — between the certainty of a slow, lonely death or the seeming impossibility of climbing for his life.
At once a heart-stopping adventure story, a heartfelt memoir of friendship, and a stirring meditation on fleeting mortality and immutable nature, The Ledge chronicles one man’s transforming odyssey from the dizzying heights of elation and awe to the punishing depths of grief and hard-won wisdom. This book’s visceral, lyrical prose sings the praises of the physical world’s wonders, while searching the souls of those willing, for better or worse, to fully embrace it.
“The authors bring extreme climbing to life....Perhaps no author can rationalize why some choose to risk their lives...for the thrill of conquering a mountain. The Ledge comes perilously close and tells a ripping true story at the same time.” The Denver Post
“Plunges readers into a dark, icy chasm from which escape seems impossible.” Jim Sheeler, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of the National Book Award finalist Final Salute
“How [Davidson] rescued himself is the core of The Ledge, and its most gripping part. The physical effort and will involved are astonishing.” The Plain Dealer
“A moving portrait of friendship and loss.” The Wall Street Journal
In June 1992, best friends Jim Davidson and Mike Price stood atop Washington’s Mount Rainier, celebrating what they hoped would be the first of many milestones in their lives as passionate mountaineers. Then their triumph turned tragic when a cave-in plunged them deep inside a glacial crevasse — the pitch-black, ice-walled hell of every climber’s nightmares.
An avid adventurer since youth, Davidson was a seasoned climber at the time of the Rainier ascent. But the harrowing free fall left him challenged by nature’s grandeur at its most unforgiving. Trapped on a narrow frozen shelf, deep below daylight, he desperately battled crumbling ice, snow that threatened to bury him alive, and crippling fear of the inescapable chasm below — all the while struggling to save his fatally injured friend. Finally, alone, with little equipment and rapidly dwindling hope, he confronted a fateful choice: the certainty of a slow, lonely death or the near impossibility of an agonizing climb for life. A story of heart-stopping adventure, heartfelt friendship, fleeting mortality, and implacable nature, The Ledge chronicles the elation and grief, dizzying heights and punishing depths, of a journey to hard-won wisdom.
About the Author
Jim Davidson is an accomplished climber, speaker, and science writer. He has brought inspiration to corporate audiences and associations across the United States and overseas through his professional business, Speaking of Adventure. Davidson lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with his two adventurous kids and his very tolerant wife.
Kevin Vaughan is a versatile reporter and writer at The Denver Post. In 2008, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. He wrote a five-part series, “The Crevasse,” which delved into the accident on Mount Rainier that took the life of Mike Price and changed Jim Davidson forever. Vaughan lives in the Denver area with his wife and three children.
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