The old expression "It takes all kinds" acknowledges the many differences between people. Being a person who is prone to "play it safe" I never quite understood what would possess anyone to skydive, participate in some of those "extreme" sports or climb the highest mountains. From the opening pages of "The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier" it becomes quite apparent that Jim Davidson is cut from a different cloth than most of us. Jim's dad Joe challenged him from a very young age to confront and overcome difficulties and obstacles. Joe gave his son the skills, will and resiliance that would one day be instrumental in saving his life. In 1992 Jim Davidson and his best friend Mike Price were descending from Mount Rainier in Washington state when disaster struck. It was a warm June day and Jim and Mike were gingerly navigating a snow bridge that spanned a deep crevasse in the mountain when suddenly the snow bridge collapsed plunging the pair deep some 80 feet inside the mountain. Jim was badly shaken but not seriously injured but his buddy Mike was not so lucky. Mike was dead and now Jim faced the gargantuan task of extricating himself from his predicament before the sun went down or else he would freeze to death. It was about one o'clock in the afternoon. "The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier" recalls Jim Davidson's harrowing experience in intimate detail. It is an unforgettable story of courage and ingenuity that you will positively never forget.
Now not being one to scale mountains on a regular basis I have to admit that I was totally unfamiliar with equipment like carabiners or cams that are considered essential to serious climbers. In other words, I was totally clueless about the subject at hand. No matter. In "The Ledge" Jim Davidson and co-author Kevin Vaughan tell this incredible tale in language all of us can relate to. I felt as though I was right there in that crevasse with Jim as he was scrambling to assimilate all that had befallen him while at the same time trying to assess what he had to do to get the hell out of there. The emotions were simply overwhelming. We are a party to Jim Davidson's thought processes as he ponders his rather limited options and makes the decision to attempt to climb out of there against overwhelming odds. And once his courageous ascent began I felt as though I was right there alongside Jim every step of the way. The images sear into your consciousness as Jim Davidson struggles mightily to overcome the seemingly overwhelming obstacles that are confronting him. I simply cannot imagine the pain and the sheer terror that Jim Davidson endured. When the ordeal on the mountain was finally over Jim would face yet another agonizing moment when he has to confront Mike's parents for the first time. Would they blame him for the death of their son? The way the Price family conducted themselves in this extremely difficult set of circumstances will greatly impress you.
Jim Davidson is an exceptional human being. He did not let the unfortunate events of June 21, 1992 destroy him. Rather, he has gone on live to an extremely productive life. He and his beloved wife Gloria are the proud parents of two children and Jim's career has taken some amazing twists and turns along the way. Today he is pursuing a career he simply could never have imagined two decades ago. Stated quite simply, "The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier" is the one of the best books I have read thus far in 2011. This is an extremely well written book that is sure to hold your attention from cover-to-cover. I now have a much better understanding of just what it is that makes folks like Jim Davidson and Mike Price tick. Very highly recommended.
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