I’m going back to Mount Rainier.
Back to the mountain that nearly killed me, and tragically did take the life of my good friend and climbing partner, Mike Price.
As you may know, in June 1992, Mike and I summited the 14,410 foot volcano by the icy Liberty Ridge and then descended via the standard Emmons Glacier route.
On the way down, a hidden snowbridge collapsed beneath my boots, dropping me 80 feet inside the glacier and dragging Mike down into that dark, deadly crevasse.
My struggle to survive and face this tragedy was detailed in the adventure memoir, “The Ledge“, as well as in an episode of the TV show “I Shouldn’t Be Alive“. Writing the book with my co-author Kevin Vaughan was the emotional equivalent of having my ankle tied to the bumper of a car and then being dragged for miles along a bumpy dirt road.
But, now that the story is out I am glad as readers tell me the book has somehow helped and encouraged them. That support and the survival tales they sometimes reciprocally share have made me be a tiny bit braver. I am beginning to understand how strength shared is strength magnified. So, I am drawing a deep breath and returning to once again climb Mount Rainier. We leave in nine days.
I go back to honor my fallen friend, Mike. I go back because I have five good friends, all savvy climbers, who share their strength by roping up with me. I go back because I know that by wrestling adversity and uncertainty, I will, in the end, be more resilient.
It’s time to return to Rainier.
I know your dad and uncle rich will be with you !
Lots of love
Thank you Paula – their spirit and the valauble things they taught me, most certainly go with me. – Jim
Hey Jim, this is truly amazing. Having read your book so recently, it feels almost surreal that you will be going back. Like it’s a sequel to the book. (Return to Rainier) I’m certain that for you it has taken many years, fear and tears to reach a juncture in your life where you are ready to bring a good “finish” to the story and honor Mike. I am sure I join many that are wishing you all the best on this trip back to Rainier. As you put it, strength shared is strength magnified. Strength to you physically, mentally and emotionally, fellow climber and friend.
Laurie – that is very kind of you. Positive energy like that which you just shared definately makes me stronger. I tip my hat to you. – Jim
Gulp. I know this must be such a momentous decision for you, Jim, and I’m wishing you nothing but the most profoundly healing experience that a return to such a difficult site can be.
Yes, Kimberley Gulp. Thanks for the kind thoughts.