Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Review - The Ledge


Yesterday I finished book #1 of 2012.  It is a mountaineering book called The Ledge, written by Jim Davidson and Ken Vaughan.  The Ledge tells the story of Jim Davidson's climb of Mt. Rainer, June 1992.  The glory of the summit was soon tarnished by the death of Davidson's friend Mike Price after both men plummeted through a soft snow bridge down into the depths of an ice crevasse during the descent.  The high point of the book is the detail of Davidson's amazing climb for survival 80 feet up nearly vertical ice with minimal equipment.

In the beginning of the book Davidson details some of his experience's working for his father's painting company, and how those times shaped and influenced him as a man.  He also shares the story of who Mike Price was and how the two of them became such great climbing friends.  The end of the book contains a brief section explaining how he has since coped with survivor's guilt, the lessons he's learned since the climb, and how he has worked to honor the legacy and memory of his friend Mike.

Despite the tragedy involved, the book includes some great insights about pursuing your dreams, reaching to unimaginable heights, persevering through trouble, and pushing yourself to accomplish more than you ever thought you could.  Davidson shares some thoughts about how being level headed, analyzing your resources, and determining what you can and cannot control are not only skills that enabled him to survive his climb out of the crevasse, but are also skills anyone can use to overcome crisis and trouble situations they may find themselves in.

Here's a quote from page 249,
In time, I recognize that the most important things I learned were not about scaling overhanging ice walls but about what allowed me to climb out of that crevasse.  Life is full of scary crevasses.  Illness, accidents, and financial disasters can appear without warning.  Seemingly secure institutions like banks, businesses, and marriages collapse, lust like snow bridges weakened by the sun.  At some time, everyone will fall into a one of life's crevasses; mine juts happened to be a crack in the ice.  Crawling out of these crevasses, overcoming life's challenges, is something each of us must face.  Finding resilience for surviving and thriving through adversary is part of the climb.
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