Book Review
Holding Fast: The Untold Story of the Mount Hood Tragedy

In December 2006, America’s attention was riveted to Mount Hood in Oregon, where a massive search and rescue operation unfolded. Three climbers had been caught in a horrific storm. Somehow, their plight became a national drama, and we were glued to news accounts for over a week, waiting to hear the outcome. I remember weeping when Kelly James’s body was airlifted off the mountain.

Somehow, Kelly’s widow, Karen, found the wherewithal to share her journey through shock, pain, and grief coherently, if emotionally. Holding Fast is, at its core, a love story. Karen shares more than the fascinating untold details of the search, recovery, and burial of her beloved husband. She paints the picture of their marriage, providing context for the great loss she suffered. The reader learns of Kelly’s zest for adventure, love for family, and faith in Jesus Christ.

Occasionally sappy, creating a few imaginary scenes of what Kelly might have been thinking or doing in his last days in the snow cave, Karen nonetheless opens her heart to the world, determined to share the “phenomenal husband, dad, son…” she loved. The book also contains numerous pictures, including previously unpublished ones from Kelly’s camera retrieved from the mountain. If you are anything like me, you’ll need the tissue box handy as you immerse yourself in this story of life, loss, and hope.

Holding Fast will hold your attention and capture your heart.