The regular readers of my blog and social media don’t need an introduction to Jim Davidson. We met in 2001 and have been great friends and climbing partners almost ever since. I consider him a mentor who has taught me a lot about ice and rock climbing, general mountaineering, and life.
Recently I had the opportunity to review his new book, “The Next Everest.” Oh my, what a read. Many people are familiar with his first book, “The Ledge,” co-written with Kevin Vaughan. In that book, he walks through the life-changing event on Mt. Rainier where Jim’s climbing partner and long-time friend, Mike Price, died after a fall into a deep crevasse. Jim almost lost his own life but demonstrated a miraculous human spirit to extract himself from the same crevasse.
Now, Jim takes us on another journey, this time to Mt. Everest. A life-long dream, Jim starts the book remembering being at Camp 1 in the Western Cwm at 19,700-feet on Mt Everest when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the region. I was a bit higher in the Cwm that day at Camp 2.Reading Jim’s description of the harrowing events, rescues, courage, and loss of life brought back vivid memories. But Jim does more than tell an earthquake story. He takes us inside his tent as he and his tentmate thought an avalanche would take their lives. He puts us in the helicopter to fly over the Khumbu Icefall and back to a decimated Everest Base Camp where almost 100 people were injured, and eventually 19 died. He deals with situations most of us will never face.
With his 2015 effort over, Jim ponders if he’ll ever return to Everest or move on with life. What I enjoyed most about his book was, clearly, the mountaineering stories, but also how Jim weaved life lessons he learned from his Dad, Joe, and his Uncle Bob as a teenager painting almost anything near Concord, Massachusetts.
“The Next Everest” will be widely available on April 20, 2021, but can be pre-order now from online sources Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Tattered Cover plus your local bookstore. If you preorder from the publisher, Macmillan, where you can get a limited-edition The Next Everest mini-carabiner.
Memories are Everything