Susan's Reviews > The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier

The Ledge by Jim Davidson
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's review
Jun 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: personal_memoir_biography
Read from July 05 to 07, 2011 — I own a copy

“Resources in this world are not distributed evenly, especially the precious gift of time.”

When you take risks, the consequences can be horrible and deadly. If you don't take risks, the consequences will eventually be deadly anyway, it just may take longer. Jim Davidson and Mike Price, climbing buddies and friends, took the risks and Mike paid with his early death. Jim, given the situation he was in, should have died. He didn't. This story tells how the two men came to be stuck on a tiny snow ledge 80 feet down a crevasse, with unknown depths left to fall should the ledge break or they fall off.

This is a story that will appeal to climbers and us less brave souls, the armchair adventure voyeurs. It is more than a climbing story. It is about friendship, challenge, survival guilt. It is about doing the impossible when you know it is impossible but it is your only choice. And it is about how others view you when two people set out and only one comes back.

I learned about things I don't even want to contemplate, especially “corking,” a term new to me but one I'll never forget. Because I am not a climber (and, for the record, don't intend to become one), I had to pay close attention to the explanations of climbing and the equipment used, and the authors went to great lengths to help me understand. The bravery of the rangers and volunteers, people who are risking their own lives to save others, is inspiring. What courage that must take.

At the beginning of the book, there were too many time jumps for me to keep the time line straight. The writing was occasionally uneven, much better in some places than in others. I liked hearing about Mr. Davidson's early life, his summer jobs working with his dad, jobs that no sane person would undertake. I would have liked to know more about Mr. Price. Still, this was a fascinating story and a wonderful tribute from a climber to his friend and fellow climber.

(The quote at the top of this review is taken from an advance uncorrected proof given to me, and may have changed in the finished edition.)
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Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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Misfit Phhhhht.

Susan I'm new at this, and treading lightly. :)

Misfit Well with books from the Vine they're fine with posting reviews on site like GR or blogs, it would be say posting them at B&N or other bookseller they have issues.

Susan Cool -- I'll post. Thanks for the info, Misfit.

(If any of my GR friends wonder about this rather strange conversation, it's because I didn't originally post my review because I thought it wasn't allowed. I'm going back to post a review now.)

Misfit I've been posting vine reviews here for a few years and I know others do - no worries.

BTW, here's a video of the author talking about his experience, etc.

This is pretty scary too,

Rainier is a beauty of a mountain but she very much needs to be respected. The boss has climbed her many times. He's been lusting after this book for a while now...

Susan I admire the boss, but don't want to follow in his footsteps, at least not literally.

It is a beautiful mountain, loved the photos you included.

Susan And thank you for the youtube links!

Misfit Susan wrote: "I admire the boss, but don't want to follow in his footsteps, at least not literally.

It is a beautiful mountain, loved the photos you included."

He's freaking crazy. He's even done the seven summits on seven continents. That includes Everest. 'Course then he was out of our hair for three months :D

And yes, Rainier is just gorgeous. Even if you're not a climber like me, a visit to Paradise after the snow melts (and trust me that's late in the summer) and the wildflowers bloom is a sight to behold.

Susan Gorgeous! But it doesn't cause me to want to climb anything taller than a stepladder, just be content with looking from below.

Misfit You only have to drive to 5500' to see stuff like this. No climbing involved :)

Susan I did manage to hike *down* Pikes Peak once, after riding the cog railway up. But that is a gentle trail, very pretty. There is even a race where people *run* up and down the peak!

Misfit I did the Cog railyway too. Gorgeous, but although the two mountains are the same in height, they are very different in other ways. Rainier has all those glaciers - it's always an ice-cream cone up there. And for locals she is simple "The Mountain".

Susan Yeah, PP is relatively dry, relatively gentle, not nearly as dramatic or unforgiving as Mt. Rainier. There is even an annual car race up PP. My husband ran it three times, once in an open-wheel car and twice in a stock car, but that was eons ago.

This book, The Ledge really described the glaciers and crevasses well, I thought. I can't imagine anything much worse than "corking."

Misfit I'd never heard of corking either. *shudders*

message 15: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt all right, I'm curious. What is corking?

Susan I'm putting this as a spoiler so people who don't want to see it won't. (view spoiler)

message 17: by Tara (new)

Tara Chevrestt Wow. I think I am going to have nightmares. I shoulda waited till morning to read that. LOL

Susan And I didn't say it very well. What I was trying to explain is (view spoiler)

Misfit Scary stuff, no?

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