Author who climbed Everest during deadly quake to speak at Bud Werner Memorial Library

Jim Davidson holds pictures of his family soon after experiencing the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and avalanches at Camp One (19,700 feet) on Everest in 2015. photo

Author Jim Davidson will be discussing his new book “The Next Everest: Surviving the Mountain’s Deadliest Day and Finding the Resilience to Climb” at the Bud Werner Memorial Library at 7 p.m., Thursday, June 30.

The book, a finalist for the Colorado Book Award for creative nonfiction, details Davidson’s experience being on Everest when a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Nepal on April 25, 2015.

Davidson explained that at first, there was an avalanche to one side. Suddenly, another avalanche on the other side.

“All of a sudden, the ground shot up into the air, lifted us in our tent, up about a half a foot and dropped us back down,” Davidson said. “We bounced vertically for a while, and then the whole thing started shaking back and forth.”

He and his team were trapped on Everest at 20,000 feet. It would ultimately become the deadliest day in the history of the mountain, with 18 people losing their lives during the quake.

Davidson said he would be showing footage of the earthquake that he took while trapped on the mountain at Thursday’s talk.

“I got my GoPro camera going when the aftershocks were happening,” Davidson said. “You’ll be able to see from my face and the emotional response going on, how scared we all were.”

If you go:

What: Author talk with Jim Davidson

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, June 30

Where: Bud Werner Memorial Library, 1289 Lincoln Ave.

In “The Next Everest,” Davidson details the group’s experience being trapped on the mountain for two days, as descent routes were blocked. Davidson and his team were ultimately rescued by helicopter.

He explained that initially after this near-death experience, he had no desire to go back. But as time passed, he was drawn to Everest once again.

“(After) about a year of kind of foot dragging and hesitating, I said, ‘Alright, I’m going to do it,’” Davidson said. “So, in 2016, I recommitted myself again.”

He reached the summit of Everest in 2017.

Looking across Everest base camp (lower left) up toward Mount Everest. photo

“I had that feeling of joy, the feeling of awe, but also the apprehension because I understood there were going to be more quakes someday,” Davidson said. “So that feeling of apprehension was always kind of an undercurrent to the joy.”

Davidson explained that he took on this challenge to push himself to continue growing and refine who he wanted to be.

“It’s not a story of conquering the mountain because nobody can conquer a mountain,” Davidson said. “What I want to do is share the benefits of taking on a big challenge and turning yourself into somebody who can meet that challenge.”

For Davidson, that challenge was Everest — but this lesson can apply to any walk of life, he explained.

Davidson, a Colorado resident, has been a mountaineer for over 37 years, and said he was looking forward to returning to Steamboat.

Courtesy photo

The library’s Literary Sojourn Festival Director Jennie Lay said Off the Beaten Path bookstore will be selling “Next Everest” at the event, which attendees can have signed by Davidson.

“Everest is a place that captures the imagination of people in this community, both because of its legend, but also tangible ways and connections that people have with the experience and the place,” she said.

Davidson emphasized you don’t have to be the outdoorsy-type to enjoy his book or talk.

“The main point is taking on the challenge, or you find yourself in a better version of you,” he said. 

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