Joe Simpson and Simon Yates set out to climb the west face of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. It was 1985 and the men were young, fit, skilled climbers. The west face, remote and treacherous, had not been climbed before. Following a successful three-and-a-half-day ascent, disaster struck. Simpson fell a short distance and broke several bones in his leg. With no hope of rescue, the men decided to attempt descent together with Yates lowering Simpson 300 feet at a time in a slow, painful process that could have potentially been deadly for both. One further misstep led to Yates unknowingly lowering his injured partner over the lip of a crevasse. With the gradient having gone from steep to vertical, he was no longer able to hold on. Certain they were about to be pulled jointly to their deaths, the only choice was to cut the rope. How Simpson survived the fall, and made it back to base camp is a story that will astound and inspire. In Touching the Void, Yates and! Simpson return to t
To describe Touching the Void
as a mountaineering documentary would be to do this breathtaking drama an injustice. By intercutting narration from the climbers themselves with a nail-biting reconstruction of their remarkable adventure in the Peruvian Andes, the film has the best of both genres: the authentic stamp of factual storytelling and the edge-of-the-seat tension of a dramatic movie.
In 1985, two British mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, embarked on a daring--arguably reckless in the extreme--attempt to climb the previously unconquered mountain Siula Grande. A mixture of overconfidence in their own abilities and underestimation of the climb's difficulties brought them to grief after the successful slog to the summit. What follows is an often harrowing account of their perilous descent.
Based on Joe Simpson's gripping book, the film boasts glorious widescreen photography of Siula Grande and its notorious glacier. Actors take the place of the two climbers for close-ups, though Simpson did return to Peru in order to reenact parts of his dreadful crawl back down the ice. The story of Simpson's almost-superhuman fortitude has become legendary in climbing circles, and even for viewers uninterested in mountaineering, Touching the Void is an astonishing slice of real-life drama, magnificently retold. --Mark Walker