Mountain Climbing

Merrimon Book Reviews

Touching The Void
by Joe Simpson

Prusik Knot

Endless Knot

From Merrimon Book Reviews
The Ledge:
An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainer
The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainer by Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan
by Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan

Survival, friendship and interconnections

In June 1992, mountain climbers and best friends Jim Davidson and Mike Price headed down Mount Rainier after a triumphant, joyful summit.  In the flash of seconds, the journey turns into disaster as Jim Davidson plunges into a deep crevasse with his friend falling in behind him.  With his friend dead and help nowhere to be found, Jim Davidson must not only battle the extremes of the crevasse itself, but he must also battle the inner demons within him if he is to survive.  Trapped on a narrow ledge within the crevasse, he needs to find a way out without the support of his partner and little gear to aid his ascent.

THE LEDGE is a fast-paced adventure story and a moving affirmation of friendship between mountain climbers Jim Davidson and Mike Price.  Written with the support of Mike Price's family, Jim Davidson and Denver Post journalist Kevin Vaughan rely on previous tape recordings, letters, notes, newspaper stories, journals and other interviews and research (sources listed in the back) for accuracy in detail while the separation in time from the event and the book brings a new perspective from which to view the events.  In the beginning, the authors discuss the backgrounds of both Jim Davidson and Outward Bound instructor Mike Price.  Jim Davidson's discussion of his relationship with his father not only prepares the reader for climbing attitudes and experiences of the author but also gives a background to the moving account of the role his father plays within the author while struggling in the crevasse.  In the beginning, there is one narration shift without name identifier that makes it difficult for readers to determine whether the speaker is Jim Davidson or Mike Price but otherwise the narration shifts follow smoothly while preparing readers for the subsequent adventure.  By building up the characters of the two friends, the story of the climb itself has more effect.  Through all parts of the story --- the preparation, the climb and the aftermath --- Jim Davidson's friendship with Mike Price is ever-present. 

THE LEDGE is a chilling action-packed adventure story of survival in an extreme landscape that will appeal to mountain climbing enthusiasts but the book is so much more than descriptions of mountain topography and climbing gear. 
THE LEDGE is a powerful testament to the friendship between two climbing partners even beyond the moment of death.  Though the author is often alone, knowing there is no one there to rescue him, the reader feels the closeness of friends and family.THE LEDGE is a moving story of one man's struggle against himself, within the crevasse and within his heart and mind as survivor guilt threatens to turn him inward.  THE LEDGE is an inspirational story of turning the blackest moment into beauty, of moving outward to others as the author moves forward in his life.  One need not have ever climbed a physical mountain to enjoy THE LEDGE.  I was unable to put this book down once begun.  Once finished, the imagery of the book continues to stir my imagination.  Don't forget to read the acknowledgment notes from both authors at the end.  One clearly feels the connection between the two authors in reading them side by side.  Indeed, in the end, THE LEDGE is a book about connections, from the friends Mike and Jim, between father and son, between past climbers and present day ones (such as Joe Simpson and Jim Davidson), between authors, and finally between authors and reader as climbing adventure story moves from mountain outward.

Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 26, 2011)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
Review Courtesy of Amazon Vine
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