It took me nineteen years to write The Ledge.
No, I didn’t scratch out twelve words daily for 6,935 days. But I thought about this story every day.
You see, my best buddy, Mike Price, died on June 21, 1992. He died while we were climbing Mount Rainier. On our descent from the summit, a weak snow bridge collapsed beneath my feet and dropped me and Mike deep inside a giant glacial crevasse. Though we both fought hard to save him, Mike passed away inside that glacier. And, I have thought about that day ever since.
Grieving the loss of my climbing partner and returning to the high mountains took six years. Then, I spent a decade learning that besides post-traumatic stress, difficult traumas and loss can also increase your resilience through post-traumatic growth. Finally, I was ready to write.
After teaming up with my skilled co-author, Kevin Vaughan, we wrote the book in six months. Penguin Random House published The Ledge on July 26, 2011. Our book shares Mike’s life story, and it reveals how I escaped that dark crevasse by climbing alone up an eighty-foot-tall overhanging ice wall. And, it uncovers how I had to survive the survival.
Back in 2011, I steeled myself for the harsh possibility that after all that pain and effort, our book might hardly see daylight before sinking into a vast sea of “out of print” literature. I am grateful that the opposite occurred.
It sold in hardcover and then in paperback. The Ledge came out in ebook, audiobook, and Italian. Over several years the book won a few nice recognitions and became a New York Times bestseller. Discovery Channel even made the story into a hit episode of the international TV show “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” (see video trailer).
Recently we received the exciting news that our book will continue to be available. Penguin Random House will again reprint The Ledge in paperback, which will be its sixth printing in English. The audio version remains available as Tantor Media just renewed the audiobook license for years to come.
I’m gratified that the story is still being told. And, I’m humbled by the kind messages I get from readers who find some strength and inspiration in the story.
It’s great that eight years after its publication The Ledge continues to find new life. Especially because it took nineteen long years to bring it to life.