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Editorial Reviews

In an extraordinarily measured, even comforting tone of voice, Davidson reads his own story of surviving a harrowing near-death experience on Mount Rainier, Washington. In 1992, he and his mountain climbing partner, Mike Price, fell 80 feet into a glacier crevasse. The fall killed Price within minutes; Davidson, who was not badly hurt, escaped by climbing a vertical and sometimes overhanging ice wall 80 feet back to the top, where rescuers found him and brought him to safety.

The benefit of hearing Davidson read his own story is obvious, and far outweighs the fact that he's not a professional voice-over actor. He brings to the narration the actual, physical experience of having lived through the events of the book: the terrifying fall into darkness, trying unsuccessfully to resuscitate Price, the excruciating moment when he realizes that if he doesn't climb out of the crevasse by nightfall, he'll die there. Davidson's voice has a Zen-like quality that makes it easier for the listener to understand how he found the incredible physical and mental strength necessary to climb out of the crevasse and save his own life. The calm, even tenor of his voice suggests both his presence of mind and the fact that he has examined each scene of the story and fully understands what the experience meant to him and the insights it has brought to his life.

Davidson reading his own story makes a difference not only when he is relating the adrenaline-pumping aspects of the fall. His empathic voice also delivers the stories of how he first got hooked on mountain climbing, the development of his rock-solid relationship with his father that sustained him throughout the Rainier experience, and the day he met his future wife. His reading of his back story gives the listener the sense of having gotten to know Davidson the man, not just the climbing accident survivor. —Maggie Frank

Publisher's Summary

On June 21, 1992, two best friends summited Mount Rainier. Within hours, their exquisite accomplishment would be overshadowed by tragedy. On their descent, Jim Davidson fell through an ice bridge on Rainier's northeast flank, plunging eighty feet into a narrow crevasse inside the Emmons Glacier and dragging Mike Price in after him. Mike fell to his death; Jim, badly injured and armed with minimal gear, faced an almost impossible climb back out of the crevasse, up a nearly vertical ice wall. Mourning his friend's death, he miraculously climbed out of the crevasse and lived to relate his experiences.

Told in parallel narratives of the tragedy and the climbers' lives, The Ledge is both a riveting, wrenching story and an inspirational adventure tale.

©2011 Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan (P)2011 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Davidson and journalist Vaughn have crafted a modern Aristotelian tragedy." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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wholesome and honest account of tragedy

Jim is not a seasoned writer but his words are well thought out. He has put a lot of work into dealing with and portraying every detail, emotional and physical, of a tragic climbing accident.

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  • Mark
  • SAINT CHARLES, MI, US
  • 10-28-17

Fantastic post read to "Deep Survival"

Awesome book arraigned modestly and with raw emotion. Great read for adventure, military and first responders.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lee
  • Sandia Park, NM
  • 11-16-16

Inspiring

Enjoyed very much until last couple of chapters which could have been nicely summed up in several paragraphs.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Remarkable

Interesting story, well told. It starts slowly with the necessary background info but i listened to the entire book in a single day because it became that compelling.

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  • Don Lance
  • Murfreesboro, TN United States
  • 02-22-13

Story Drags In A Few Places

Overall a good story of Jim's tragic account during a climb on Mount Rainier, and the circumstances he had to overcome to survive (although his friend Mike did not). I found it informative and contemplative, and wondered how I would have handled it if faced with a similar situation.

There were some parts of the book which I thought were far longer than they needed to be. His account of climbing out of the crevasse seemed to take a long, long time to describe. Also the end of the book (after being rescued) also seemed unnecessarily long. You would think the book would end, but it kept going. (For example, it went into lengthy descriptions of Jim's dealing with the tragedy, which included more details about Buddhist ceremonies than I wanted to know). At these parts the story dragged and I found myself wishing it would skip over some details and would move on.

Overall, still a good book that I would recommend to anyone who would like to learn from a true survival story.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • D.
  • BURLEY, ID, United States
  • 08-12-12

Just a great story and the effects of Mountains.

I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. I first read about this from an article I read in Climbing magazine. The whole time I listened I kept thinking, how would I react in this situation. I loved how the author scratched the blood off the wall in the cravasse because it was a false high point. SO COOL. Way to be true to your self.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Steve
  • Delmar, NY USA
  • 07-28-12

Narrated by the guy who lived it

A friend who had read the print version of this book recommended it to me. When I found it on Audible, I was a little apprehensive because I have never been a big fan of "narrated by the author" books. In my experience, there are few people who can do both well (Neil Gaiman comes to mind).

In this particular case, the author, who lived through this amazing experience, is the perfect choice to recount what happened. The emotion and intensity of what happened is there, but not over the top. He really brought something to this story in his reading of it.

I'm going to recommend the audiobook version back to my friend!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Heartfelt and Brave.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Not really, but he does kind of draw it out with all the talk of going to Nepal, but I understand as it was to honor his friend.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Ledge?

The parts where he cared so much for his friend that he still treated his body like it was still alive and important, and did not want to lose him.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

No much. He was an armature, but it was cool that it was the real guy.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

I think it is already on a tv show "I shouldn't be alive".

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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yellow kayaker

I absolutely loved this audio book. I was riveted to it from beginning to end and felt that I lived the challenges with Mike and Jim. Thank you yellow kayaker

0 of 2 people found this review helpful