The Ledge

In April 2007, I heard Jim Davidson speak at the Northern Colorado Writers Conference in Fort Collins. The Rocky Mountain News had just published my 34-part serial narrative, The Crossing, and I was on the prowl for my next project.

On June 21, 1992, Jim Davidson, left, and Mike Price celebrate on the summit of Mount Rainier. Photo courtesy of Jim Davidson

Jim spoke about climbing Mount Rainier with his good friend, Mike Price, and I felt a knot tighten in the pit of my stomach. Then he detailed the terrible accident that befell them, one that took Mike’s life and left Jim facing his own seemingly impossible climb to save himself. I started scribbling notes, and I had a pretty good idea that this was a story I wanted to pursue. The Democratic National Convention slowed me down for a while, but the result was “The Crevasse,” a five-day series telling Jim’s story in detail published by The Rocky in October 2008.

I knew from the beginning that there was a book to be written here, and following the publication of my series Jim and I began discussing the possibility of working together to make that happen. We were lucky that early on in the process we were introduced to Dan Conaway, an agent at Writers House in New York, who believed in us and our project and set about to help us navigate the book world.

Dan kept us sane through two nerve-racking days in New York as we met with publishers interested in our project. Those meetings led to a deal with Ballantine Books, a division of Random House. Over the next 18 months, Jim and I wrote and revised — and revised again and again — and experienced several title changes and considered various iterations of the cover and the book’s layout.

The result is The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier, published by Ballantine Books on July 26, 2011. The paperback version, The Ledge: An Inspirational Story of Friendship and Survival, was published by Ballantine on Jan. 1, 2013. There’s also an Italian version, Il Cerchio Bianco.

Along the way, The Ledge has won a National Outdoor Book Award, been named one of the year’s “Best Books” by Amazon, and been honored as a finalist in the Banff Mountain Book Competition.