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Touching The Void By Joe Simpson

1704 words - 7 pages

As two experienced climbers gazed upon the majestic snow packed, Peruvian Andes, with the sun glistering off the icy peaks, the possibility of the mountains being their snowy graves never crossed their mind. Touching The Void was written by Joe Simpson; publication of this memoir was by Harper Collins Publishers on February 3, 2004. Not only will young and old adults enjoy this book, anyone with sense of adventure can be captivated with the story. Joe Simpson also wrote The Beckoning Silence, Dark Shadows Falling, Storms of Silence, and The Game of Ghost. The memoir novel, Touching The Void, was a success due to the vast descriptions, courage, and true emotions displayed by the climbers. These elements of the account made the story form in the readers mind as the novel evolved.
Touching The Void’s adventure began with a practice climb up, Rosario Nortel by Joe Simpson. and Simon Yates, in May 1985. If that climb went well Joe and Simon would climb other peaks in the grouping. The main event was to hopefully take place ten days later, the unclimbed west face of the mountain Siula Grande. This was to be their major success. One of their main concerns while waiting to make their first climb was the weather. “By midday banks of cumulus would move in from the east, followed by the inevitable rain. On the high slopes this came as heavy snowfall, and the risk avalanches and liners of retreat cut off would suddenly become a reality” (Simpson 19). The precipitation did not allow them to reach the Summit of Rosaria; however, they did climb 18,000 feet which was a meritorious achievement for both of them.
Over the course of the next few days, Simon and Joe tried reaching the summits of the South Ridge of Cerro Yantauri, and the South Ridge of Seria Norte. None of these ascents came close to reaching the summits. “But we were fit, acclimatized and ready now for our main objective - the west face of Siula Grande” (Simpson 25). Simon and Joe calculated with aplomb that the climb would take four days or five at the longest to make. The 21,000 feet climb began at the bottom of the glacier with a cold that permeated into their bones, but even the temperature could not diminish their ferment for the adventure to begin. As the ascent began, they realized that the ice wall of the mountain was almost vertical which made climbing very difficult. Day one of the climbed lasted 15 exhausting hours covering 19,000 feet which left them with only 2,000 feet remaining until the summit. Even though they believed that they would reach the summit on the second day, they did not. The rugged climbing elicited snow and ice to come down on each other. “The best part of a hundredweight of icicles smashed down to my head and shoulders and clattered away down to Simon” (Simpson 44). Three hundred feet remained until the summit.
As the ascent continued on the third day, the summit could be seen looming above them. The distance was not considerable to the top,...

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