Synopses & Reviews
The author of the award-winning Touching the Void shares new stories and insights about his life-long penchant for risk.
When mountain climber Simon Yates cut the rope and sent his friend and climbing partner Joe Simpson plummeting to an ordeal few mountaineers can have contemplated, the outcome was totally unpredictable. That Simpson survived his experience on Peru's Siula Grande is a revelation of the power of the human spirit to overcome fear, pain and deprivation of almost unimaginable intensity. He did not expect to live it all over again - more than once. The first test was to write his award-winning account of the ordeal in Touching the Void. That meant dragging the terrifying experience out of the deeper shadows of his memory. Next, another fall in the Himalaya crippled and almost broke him. He felt forced to test his nerve again, and struggled on crutches to 20,000 feet on Pumori, near Everest. On his descent he heard that a young, first-time climber had been killed by a chance rockfall. What sense could he make now of this game of ghosts that had claimed the lives of so many of his friends over the years he had been climbing, while he had survived so many events that should have meant certain death? In an attempt to find catharsis for his confused emotions he wrote this e xtraordinary memoir, revealing his early ife and his fifteen years of climbing on three continents, before and after the life-changing experience of Siula Grande. His gripping story recounts, with total honesty, experiences that range from hilarious to poignant to nearly unbelievable. Here are the signposts that have directed him since childhood to measure fear and embrace the unknown. He wonders about the luck or the choices along the way that have caused the loss of so many climbing friends: "Ghosts everywhere I look, all Isee are ghosts - or perhaps I am the ghost, a spectre of my past, standing in the rubble of my present, anxiously awaiting the future". This is a compelling work of adventure and introspection that will hold both moutaineers and armchair travelers spellbound.