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Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Concise and yet packed with detail, Touching the Void, Joe Simpson's harrowing account of near-death in the Peruvian Andes, is a compact tour de force that wrestles with issues of bravery, friendship,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

EXTREME ADVENTURE IN THE PERUVIAN ANDES...

This book recounts an amazing tale of courage, fortitude, and the will to live, despite dire circumstances. The author, Joe Simpson, and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, attempted to ascend a perilous section of the Peruvian Andes. Near the summit, tragedy struck when Joe, up over 19,000 feet, fell and hit a slope at the base of a cliff, breaking his right leg, rupturing his right knee, and shattering his right heel. Beneath him was a seemingly endless fall to the bottom. When Simon reached him, they both knew that the chances for getting Joe off the mountain were virtually non-existent. Yet, they fashioned a daring plan to do just that. For the next few hours, they worked in tandem through a snowstorm, and managed a risky, yet effective way of trying to lower Joe down the mountain. About three thousand feet down, Joe, who was still roped to Simon, dropped off an edge and found himself now free hanging in space six feet away from an ice wall, unable to reach it with his axe. The edge was over hung about fifteen feet above him. The dark outline of a crevasse lay about a hundred feet directly below him. Joe could not get up, and Simon could not get down. In fact, Joe's weight began to pull Simon off the mountain. So, Simon was finally forced to do the only thing he could do under the circumstances. He cut the rope, believing that he was consigning his friend to certain death. Therein lies the tale. What happens next is sure to make one believe in miracles. This is an absorbing read and one of the great stories in mountaineering literature.

EXTREME ADVENTURE IN THE PERUVIAN ANDES...

This book recounts an amazing tale of courage, fortitude, and the will to live, despite dire circumstances. The author, Joe Simpson, and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, attempted to ascend a perilous section of the Peruvian Andes. Near the summit, tragedy struck when Joe, up over 19,000 feet, fell and hit a slope at the base of a cliff, breaking his right leg, rupturing his right knee, and shattering his right heel. Beneath him was a seemingly endless fall to the bottom. When Simon reached him, they both knew that the chances for getting Joe off the mountain were virtually non-existent. Yet, they fashioned a daring plan to do just that. For the next few hours, they worked in tandem through a snowstorm, and managed a risky, yet effective way of trying to lower Joe down the mountain. About three thousand feet down, Joe, who was still roped to Simon, dropped off an edge and found himself now free hanging in space six feet away from an ice wall, unable to reach it with his axe. The edge was over hung about fifteen feet above him. The dark outline of a crevasse lay about a hundred feet directly below him. Joe could not get up, and Simon could not get down. In fact, Joe's weight began to pull Simon off the mountain. So, Simon was finally forced to do the only thing he could do under the circumstances. He cut the rope, believing that he was consigning his friend to certain death. Therein lies the tale. What happens next is sure to make one believe in miracles. This is an absorbing read and one of the great stories in mountaineering literature.

Bone crunching, nerve freezing drop into the edge of life and death.

This is a true story of a mountain expedition in the Andes where two British partners take risks acceptable to experienced and fit climbers. But here they draw a spectacularly bad hand - first with Joe having a terrible bone crunching accident that leaves him scarcely able to move, and then with rapidly deteriorating weather. Partner Simon attempts the impossible and begins an inventive, courageous one-man rescue operation, but half way down the mountain he is forced to make a ghastly choice: stay roped to Joe and both will perish, or cut the rope and make a desperate bid to reach the bottom. Simon chooses the latter, and the result is horrifying: with Joe plunging into a deep crevasse with no way of climbing up the sheer ice. But of course this memoir is written by Joe so we know that somehow, against all odds, our author will also get himself to safety. How he does so, and how he skirts around the very edges of death provides the book with its extremely powerful human resonance. I read this after seeing the excellent movie, and Joe's reflections, at the end of this book about the experience of helping make the film and reliving the horror (he and Simon are played by actors in wide shot, but the climbers provided all the close-up technical shots)- provides additional and unexpected depth and humanity. There's another reviewer below who was bored by this book. They must have been having a really bad day because Joe's writing takes you right into the heart of his ordeal. This is a stunning story. Five stars aren't enough.

A mountain tragedy with a difference.....

A good many books and short stories have been written about mountaineering accidents and tragedies. Every bookshop worth its salt will have at least one or two to chose from, but if this one is on the shelf - get it! This is a tale which will grow on you as you turn each page, compelling you to read on and on to its breathtaking conclusion. Simpson nearly died the first time, but there was worse to come. The author has made no attempt to glorify the story, nor alter the facts to shed a kinder light on his own thoughts and words, or the actions of his partner. This book is not just an account of a human tragedy on a mountain; it is a journey into the depths of a man's soul. It is as much about philosophy as it is about mountaineering, but don't let that put you off - it's a real heart thumper!

Incredible

Ive done some climbing, traveled and climbed in the Andes and read many climbing books and this book is outrageous. I guess there are not many tales being told from that close to the edge (the authors tend not to survive). Stay alive Simpson and give us more of your writing. You are absolutely no bs. (congratulations on a spectacular first ascent)
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