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Holding Fast: The Untold Story of the Mount Hood Tragedy Hardcover – November 14, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; First Edition edition (November 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595551751
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595551757
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #923,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Karen James is a former award-winning journalist who has reported at ABC, NBC, and CBS TV news affiliates across the country. In addition to working in communications at AARP for a number of years, she is an accomplished painter and is co-owner of the public relations consulting firm James Nuñez Group. Karen was married to Kelly James, one of the climbers who tragically died atop Mt. Hood in 2006. Today she shares her life with her four stepchildren and greatly enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

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Customer Reviews

I enjoyed this book and read it in just a few hours.
Stacey @ The Scenic Life
Ms. James does a great job of detailing her feelings as well as what was happening day in and day out.
J. Bussell
I felt myself inspired by her faith and the love that she and Kelly shared.
Teresa M. Mankin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Joan N. on November 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Living on an island in Puget Sound, I am surrounded by mountains. I remember listening to the daily reports, not quite two years ago, of the rescue efforts to find three men on Mount Hood. I though at the time, "What would make one want to climb a mountain in the midst of winter?"
Karen James answered that question in Holding Fast, the story of her husband Kelly - one of those three stranded on Mount Hood. Through pictures recovered from her husband's camera, Karen was able to reconstruct what happened on that fatal climb. The men were avid ice climbers and had planned the climb for some time. After they began their ascent, they were aware of the impending bad weather and changed their plans to shorten their time on the mountain. It seems Kelly must have fallen and was injured. An ice cave was dug out for him while the others tried to go for help. As the storm of the decade settled in, with hurricane force winds near the peak, rescue attempts were thwarted. Only Kelly's body was eventually found. It is thought the others were swept off the mountain.
Kelly's death was a very public event and Karen shares the struggles she had. Yet her faith in God was sure as was the help and support of her friends.
For Kelly, climbing was like breathing - he had to do it. Karen surmises that all of this happened to show that Christianity is for adventurous and daring men. When people ask her, "Where was God?" she answers, "In the ice cave with Kelly, holding him."
Holding Fast is a refreshingly honest look at how Christians deal with tragedy. It is an amazing story of God's comfort and support in a time of great distress.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Annette Gysen on February 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The jacket copy for Holding Fast, by Karen James, tells the reader that this is "a real-life journey of adventure, tragedy, love, and loss on the summit of Mount Hood." Tragedy occurred in December 2006 when Kelly James (late husband of the author) and two other climbers were trapped on Mount Hood near Portland, Oregon. After it was discovered that the men were missing somewhere near the summit, family members and friends waited and prayed helplessly as storms pounded the mountain with hurricane-force winds so that rescue workers were unable to search for the victims. When the storms finally relented, rescue workers recovered the body of James from a snow cave near the summit. His companions' bodies have never been recovered.

Now, two years later, James's widow, Karen, shares the "untold story of the Mount Hood tragedy." The book also recounts Kelly's past: the challenges of a difficult childhood with an abusive father and then stepfather; the love story that evolved between Kelly and Karen; and Kelly's relationship with his four children from a previous marriage.

Most of the book is devoted to the events surrounding the climbing trip that took Kelly and his two climbing friends' lives. When Kelly and his two companions missed their pickup time at the base of Mount Hood on Sunday, December 10, 2006, Karen received the call she feared the most. Sheriff Joseph Wampler of Hood River, Oregon, called to make sure that Karen hadn't heard something from Kelly before he and his crew launched a search party for the three men.

That Sunday evening, Karen and the children succeeded in getting a call through to Kelly's cell phone, getting what information they could about where he was holed up in a snow cave near the summit.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark-r on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I too needed some closure. I didn't realize how this very public tragedy had lingered in my life.

During the event I was watching the news everyday and scouring the web for updates, or any hopeful information. It was difficult, and I think for most of us observers, painful. I think we all wanted to see the victorious return to their loved ones. For them to have beaten the odds, survived the unsurvivable.

I know I measured myself everyday too...could I hold up? Could I stand in front of cameras and give interviews with such grace amid such pain. What do I have to hold onto if I was so challenged?

This book helped me understand the depths of their pain and how they coped. It also provides hope in that we humans, with love and faith can survive almost anything. Through this book, I am secure in knowing there is a way for us survive the unthinkable, to hold fast to our anchors in life.

Its all the details, and then some...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Bussell on November 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is an amazing story of faith. Karen James, wife of Kelly James, takes you inside eight long days as many people attempt to rescue her husband and two other men off of the top of Mt. Hood. Karen provides detail into her ordeal, focusing on how she relied on God through it all.

The first half of the book details the account as many rescue workers worked day after day in the worst storm on Mt. Hood in a decade. When I first started the book, I had some recollection of what happened in 2006 as the entire country watched the events unfold. As I read further through the pages, many more of my memories of the story surfaced. Ms. James does a great job of detailing her feelings as well as what was happening day in and day out.

In the second half of the book, she provides detail of how she copes daily without the love of her life and how her faith in God has been strengthened through the entire process. Ms. James did a great job of making me feel like I was in the story. The way she discusses the details and her feelings is truly remarkable. This book is a must-read for anyone, especially those going through the loss of a loved one.
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