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Against The Wall Paperback – 1 Jan 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (1 Jan 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099766418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099766414
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 247,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Elegiac, immensely readable, full of the real excitement of climbing" -- M. John Harrison Times Literary Supplement "An engaging book, both the story of another great climb and a wistful acknowledgement that nothing, in any area of our lives, is ever quite what it seems" -- Sara Wheeler Literary Review

Book Description

'Elegiac, immensely readable, full of the real excitement of climbing' M. John Harrison, Times Literary Supplement

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Jim 8888 on 23 Feb 2002
Format: Paperback
I wasn't too sure about this book in the beginning as I began to suspect that Simon had been on some sort of writing course before it. He writes in quite short sentences. Almost keeping it simple and manageable. Being careful not to drift from the point. Once I got into the story, however, I forgot about the style and in the end I felt I had more of an idea into how these types of vertical wall climbs are conducted. Simon is quite frank about his own vulnerability, describing how he retches with fear over some of the dangerous moves he has to commit to on the climb. This vulnerability increases as the expedition extends, and I enjoyed his introspection and conclusion that his addiction has to be kept in balance before it kills him. There's no romance in it - like anything else out of balance, it can seriously detract from your life as you lose friends, roots, family and eventually identity. The writing becomes tinged with disappointment and depression in this search for understanding, but he comes through it and is uplifted in the end.
This is not a typical climbing book, but I found it to be a more balanced account of the climber, what he does and why he has chosen to do it than many others.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "mstruck2" on 31 Jan 2005
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book, I am a non-climber and could not put the book down, so much so I have since visited a seminar which proved that Simon is as good at public speaking as he is at writing. Simon knows you do not need to make a vertical assent to climb a mountain. I am looking forward to picking up the Flame of Adventure Simon's second book, and I can not wait.
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By Stewart M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Sep 2009
Format: Paperback
Simon Yates is likely never to escape from his role in the "Touching the Void" saga, being the "one who cut the rope". If this is to be the case then it is both unfair and saddening in a way, for with this book he shows himself to be both a writer of some skill and sensitive human being.

Mountaineering has always relied on the twin skills of mind and muscle, and if either fail the results are likely to be disastrous for the climber. If the mind is always subservient to muscle, risks are taken that are not needed. Many of the of climbers who have died on their way up or more often on the way down mountain may have succumbed to the lure of machismo over maturity.

"Against the Wall" is a tale of this battle between mind and muscle, dread and desire. Yates and three other climbers face many of the problems we have come to expect for those who climb in the high and remote places of the world - in this case the Tower of Piane in Chile.

The first section of the book is a straight forward, but none the less, highly readable account of the actual climbing of the tower - the repeated trips up fixed ropes and back to camp and the toll that they take. This is a tale of the "muscle" section of mountaineering. The second section concentrates on Yates's growing mental battle with the Tower - mountaineering in the mind. This section is far more complex, more subtle, than the first. In the end it is the battle of the mind that is most crucial for Yates.

I left this book with a very high regard for Simon Yates, both as a writer (he is no craftsman here, but his style is more than effective enough) and as a climber who knew when to say "enough is enough". Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Oakman on 15 Mar 2009
Format: Paperback
Remember when you read this that it is Yates's first book. And it is an absolute cracker - unputdownable! The tale is not what you might think and the climax is as surprising as it is compelling. If you have already read Touching the Void you will begin to observe the different personalities of Yates and Simpson. These guys are both no braindead climbers. Reflective, sensitive adventure writing at its best.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Eady on 14 July 2007
Format: Paperback
Simon's description of his attempt to summit the Central Tower of Paine in Patagonia was slightly disappointing to me in its lack of emotional description. He does describe the technical difficulties of climbing a vertical rock face very well, enabling readers to envisage just what an enormous undertaking this is. As I read the book through, I felt I was always waiting for something more from Simon, but it never really happened. He writes well how he comes to realise that climbing the summit is not worth risking his life for, but this also makes the book ending slightly flat. I have read far better written mountaineering / adventure books.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By andysmudge@t-online.de on 22 May 2000
Format: Paperback
Simon Yates, The man who cut the rope, Knows better than anyone the difficult decisions one must be prepared to make in order to survive on the remotest of mountain ranges.One of the most difficult decisions to make can be the most straight forward of all Do I want to do this? . Simon is the only author to my knowledge who has posed this question in print, yet probably it is the secret question that every climber asks him/herself when faced with the task they have set themselves ( or been pursuaded into). To go or not to go ? After perhaps weeks if not months of preparation, simply to have doubts on a route and question the reason for, takes an extraordinary amount of inner strength. Simon Yates eloquently relates his thoughts into text and any climber or would be expedition member will benefit from reading this book.
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