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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 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,...
Published on 29 Dec 2002 by Lawyeraau

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mountaineers will love it.
Touching the Void is the first hand account of a mountaineer who survived a near fatal experience on an Andean mountain in Peru. Originally published in 1988, this book tells the story of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates' disastrous ventures on the Siula Grande. The 2008 Vintage Classics edition has some updated retrospective comments in the afterword.
This book was...
Published on 30 July 2010 by P. McCLEAN


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EXTREME ADVENTURE IN THE PERUVIAN ANDES..., 29 Dec 2002
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Touching the Void (Paperback)
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 to do just that. For the next few hours, they worked in tandem through a snow storm, 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.
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102 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The remarkable true story of a mountaineering accident, 25 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Touching The Void (Hardcover)
In 1985 two English climbers set out to climb the remote western face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. The face had repulsed several previous attempts, and despite the odds the two experienced Alpinists made the summit. It was during the descent that the author fell down a small ice cliff and broke his leg. The few paragraphs describing what happens when his climbing partner reaches him, and the descriptions of what is going through their minds and what is said and what is not said is perhaps one of the most tense things in the book. What follows is perhaps one of the most outstanding and dramatic accounts of the human will to survive ever written. Simpson wrote the book whilst recovering from his injuries and has admitted that he found reliving the ordeal painfull. Consequently he wrote the book in a very succinct fashion; he does not use ten words if he can use one, and he always chooses the words well. This book is real edge of the seat stuff, and I read it through in one night, dosed up on coffee, and turned up at work the next day babbling about the book. My advice is don't start reading it if you have work the next day. I have spoken to several other people who have read it and without exception they have found it memorable. A truly remarkable book, one you will remember for a long time. Now move the mouse to the order button !
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touching the Void, 23 Jan 2006
This review is from: Touching The Void (Paperback)
I think this is a wonderful book and I am only a teenager. Simpson gives you a detailed account of his ordeal on Siula Grande. It is one of the few books that have you looking upon life differently and consider that maybe there is more to life and death and anything in between. He tells us how terrible dying alone is and how much he longed for company on those fateful nights.
Simpson gives good descriptions on the technical side of mountaineering and the photos of Siula Grande are absolutly wonderful. I was also quite shocked to hear that Simon Yates, Simpsons climbling partner, was harshly criticised about cutting the rope, as to me it was the only option to save at least one of their lives, and as a catch22 situation, one of them or both of them was bound to die. However but got away with it and I'm sure it is something no human could ever even imagine was possible.
All in all, a superb book and I recomend it to anyone, climber or not, because I honestly could not put it down and kept re-reading it for a month.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dig Deep., 9 Dec 2006
This review is from: Touching The Void (Paperback)
Dig Deep/Touching the void

For me the controversy is of secondary concern because, for me, Touching the Void contains some of the most inspiring chapters ever written. With broken limbs and a dehydrated body, Joe Simpson is forced to make his way down a treacherous mountain, to his base camp. Simpson talks of a tiny voice in his mind, pushing him onward when everyone else had seemingly left him for dead. These chapters contain the very definition of digging deep and can be inspiring for anyone, whatever there day to day life contains.

The controversy is in regards to the breaking of the ultimate climbing rule, cutting the rope. Climbers, climb joined together by a line and in cutting the rope the Joe's partner had to take a fall that would have killed him. There are no apologies here for that, and the author regards his critics as armchair adventurers.

The writing style is frank, honest and accessible. It is a riveting account of an extraordinary event.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary people in extraordinary circumstances..., 10 Jan 2004
This review is from: Touching The Void (Paperback)
I must admit I’d had this on my bookshelf, unread, for a while after having acquired a copy of it. Friends of mine kept showering praise on the book but I always seemed to have a ‘reading list’ as long as my arm and somehow I just never managed to fit it in. Prompted at last by the release of the feature length documentary I begun reading it, all the hype and exposure surrounding it still in the back of my mind. To say I understand what all the fuss is about now would be an understatement.
It’s not just Joe’s (and Simon’s) endurance and bravery that is astonishing, but their rich, utterly captivating narrative reads like the best (true) thriller, transporting you effortlessly to the sub-zero wind-blasted heights of the Peruvian Andes. The weather and the mountain begin to take on a menacing personality as they’re pitted against an almost tangible nemesis. Extraordinary people in extraordinary circumstances really do extraordinary things. Inspiring and thrilling in equal measure.
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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to be called a classic, 25 Mar 2004
This review is from: Touching The Void (Paperback)
Joe Simpson doesn't tell us much about where he's from or what he is about as a person. This actually gives the book its intimacy. As the cruel and miraculous events of his story play out, Joe's struggles to survive become a voice crying in the wilderness, a voice that the captivated reader almost comes to feel as his own. I couldn't believe what he was going through, and yet felt very much as if I was with him all the way. Touching The Void is a book where you take an unrelenting horrible trip and savor each victory over death with elation. There is plenty of food for thought; especially about the infamous rope-cutting incident, and Joe's realisation that his partner on the mountain is already thinking that he's dead as soon as he's hurt himself. It is a book I'd recommend for everyone, say, 13 years and older. It not only leaves you with wanting more of the same: a taste for more epic stories that essentially take place in the author's skull, even as they physically labor. My hunger to go deeper and further led me to Peter Hillary's kaleidoscopic memoir `In The Ghost Country'. While there's been nothing yet in the mainstream press about the book -- probsably because Hillary was all over the news six months ago, with the 50th anniversary of his father's (and Tenzing Norgay's) historic climb on Mount Everest) -- but there is a real word-of-mouth buzz happening with `In The Ghost Country'. It is a masterpiece, where you start out thinking it's one kind of book and find out -- in its overall effect, more than in its individual stories -- it's like nothing else you've ever read. It made me believe you can really talk to the dead, when in extremis anyway. Deserves to be a classsic as much as Joe Simpson's book, and through great democratic forums like this one, it's becoming one.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Menace on the Mountain, 19 Aug 2005
By 
This review is from: Touching The Void (Paperback)
This book is addictive. You just can't leave it alone once you start it.
Although I have no head for heights, Mountains & those who pit themselves against such awesome and spectacular obstacles hold a deep fascination for me.
When Joe Simpson fell and injured himself, he was a dead man.
In such an extreme environment as the Peruvian Andes, if you can't help yourself you are doomed. Yet Joe's partner, Simon Yates, took the first of some very courageous decisions & set about extricating himself & Joe from a very precarious situation...
Such determination & the sheer guts displayed by these two men in the face of such overwhelming difficulties makes your heart soar, when set against the normal world in which most of us live.
If Gallantry, Humanity, determination to survive against and defeat an implacable foe, the indomitability of the human spirit despite the frailty of it's physical shell are the qualities that inspire you then read this and be uplifted.
Joe Simpson & Simon Yates faced their demons together and alone, fought them and defeated them. I wish them well.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story told well., 27 Mar 2000
This review is from: Touching The Void (Hardcover)
Sometime in the early 90s I read a brief article that described the awful decision that was forced on Simon Yates one night on a mountain in the Peruvian Andes. The image of that situation stayed with me although I had long forgotten the names of those involved and the title of the book that chronicled their ill-fated climb. Eventually I got around to searching the 'Mountaineering' section of a bookstore and found the book. I have no interest in climbing mountains but from the first page I was held by Joe Simpson's excellent and effective descriptions of their ascent and his subsequent accident. The life or death situation that faced Simon Yates may be the most sensational aspect of this book but there is much more there for the reader. Joe Simpson gives armchair adventurers like myself the ability to taste some of the fear and elation that the real adventurers experience but he does so with humility and humour. Most of us can only imagine how it feels to climb a mountain but we can all empathise with his reluctance to get out of his warm sleeping bag to make the first cup of tea of the day. Like most other readers I couldn't put this book down and I read it from cover to cover in one sitting.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome story, superbly told, 19 July 2004
By 
Andrew Kerr "Alabony" (Dunfermline, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Touching The Void (Paperback)
Even by reading the blurb on the back cover, you're hooked by this tale. Better still, the contents of the book more than live up to the blurb.
Let's be clear - I'm not a mountaineer. The most extreme I go is hillwalking on mossy, patently un-terrifying hillsides. But that's the beauty of this book - you don't need any specialist knowledge or experience to understand the immense poignancy of the tale, and the danger Joe Simpson finds himself in.
I read this book in three days - probably a record for me. 'Unputdownable' is a convenient and hugely over-used word these days, but this book is genuinely unputdownable!
As other reviewers have said here, the amazing thing about Joe's writing style is that you find yourself BEING him, his 'character' throughout his terrifying and all-but-fatal ordeal. As soon as his accident happens, you immediately forget that he got out alive and become immersed in his situation.
It's not just a rip-roaring tale of death-defying mountaineering, though. There are a few points where you snap out of the story for a moment, and consider what YOU would do in the circumstances. And it's almost invariably a less courageous decision than Joe, or his unsung partner Simon, takes.
Exciting, engaging, challenging, thought-provoking, inspiring. This book is all of these and more. I challenge anyone to get more inspiration per than reading this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Story for all!, 30 Dec 2002
By 
Francisco Machado (Little Mill, Pontypool United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Touching The Void (Paperback)
I am not a climber and came across this book by accident. I was gripped from the first chapter. What an amazing story that deals with friendship, courage, the will to live, not giving up, human motivation to keep going when all seems lost.
As a doctor and a teacher i will recommned this book to patients and students & hope that some of the authors' determination will imspire them to better things.
Much, much more than a book about climbing but more a guide on survival for all of us!
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