Father’s Day, June 21 1992. Jim Davidson and good friend and climbing partner Mike Price have just summited Mount Rainier via the more dangerous Liberty Ridge route and you’d think the decision to take the more heavily travelled Emmons glacier route back down would be the easiest part of the climb, but no…it wasn’t quite time to let their guard down. As careful as they are to test the glacier surface for unseen dangers, tragedy strikes when Jim missteps and tumbles into a hidden crevasse, and since they’re tied together both end up plummeting down. Thankfully their fall is broken by a tiny ledge, but only Jim survives it – and he’s got 80 feet of a solid ice wall to climb, limited equipment, only so many hours of daylight before night comes, he’s exhausted and grieving and battling hypothermia to boot. Can he do it?
Yes he did and what a harrowing experience, but there’s still more to come as he has to deal with grief over the death of his friend, his guilt over the *what if* questions about whether any one decision or action he might have taken that could changed the outcome of that fatal day, and whether or not he can ever bring himself to climb a mountain again.
I did have a few quibbles over how the book begins, with a prologue that throws the reader right into the heart of the fall, and then backtracking to Jim and Scott’s back history and friendship, but once their climb of Rainier started I had a hard time putting this down. This book does contain a lot of technical aspects involved in not only climbing the mountain, but Jim’s harrowing climb back out of the crevasse and may not appeal to all readers. That said, if you have a real mountaineer (my mountain climbing boss is so drooling over this) or an arm-chair one in your family, I suspect this might just be up his/her alley. The advance copy I received from Amazon vine is text only, but it would be nice if the actual edition contains some photos of the two friends, and the happy times before that fateful step into nowhere.