Joe Simpson, with just his partner, Simon Yates, tackled the unclimbed West Face of the remote 21,000-foot Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in June of 1995. But before they reached the summit, disaster struck.
A few days later, Simon staggered into Base Camp, exhausted and frostbitten, to tell their non-climbing companion that Joe was dead. For three days he wrestled with guilt as they prepared to return home. Then a cry in the night took them out with torches, where they found Joe, badly injured, crawling through the snowstorm in a delirium.
Far from causing Joe's death, Simon had paradoxically saved his friend's life. What happened, and how they dealt with the psychological traumas that resulted when Simon was forced into the appalling decision to cut the rope, makes not only an epic of survival but a compelling testament of friendship.
©1988 Joe Simpson (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks
For the non climbers, unfamiliar Mountaineering terminology can leave comprehension gaps in the audio version ( whereas easy to look up if reading ) but still a great story
This is the quintessential survival story, and it is true!
In 1985 Joe Simpson and Simon Yates decide to climb the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. I am no mountaineer, but even I could spot some of their errors. The book focuses on moral issues too.
A prime one being that Simon cuts the rope between him and Joe, remember Joe is the author, causing Joe to fall into a deep crevasse. Simon takes Joe for dead and returns to base camp, where Richard has remained to watch over their possessions. Simon didn't look down that crevasse to check and see if Joe really was dead. Was it right to cut that rope? Do you sacrifice one person's life to save another, or must both die? I can understand cutting that rope....given the conditions. What I find inexcusable is that when Simon returned to camp he did not immediately get help and search parties in to look for Joe. THAT is beyond my comprehension.********spoiler over******
Most of the time I could picture the glacial landscape. There are crevasses and ice bridges and morasses and fissures and glacial expanses, sparkling light and snow storms and it is cold and wet, freezing. I could NOT exactly picture what it was like in the crevasse as the author described it. So maybe the movie is better than the book? The author took part in the filming later in 2002.
Joe's fear, his physical pain and exhaustion, his terror, THAT I definitely felt. His hallucinations became my hallucinations. Simon corroborated with Joe in the writing of this book. Nevertheless, I did NOT feel that his words rang as true as Joe's. Simon's voice in the audiobook is narrated by Andrew Wincott. It was too slick, too quiet. No, he didn't even sound like a mountaineer. Joe's narration by Daniel Weyman was spot-on.
My gut reaction to the audiobook was that I liked it. I certainly was not going to stop in the middle, although I had to take breathers. I am a coward and couldn't sit still, it gripped me so! I liked that not many lines were spent on the medical treatments required after this escapade. I liked that there is a short epilogue covering Joe's philosophical approach to his experiences. Yes, he continued to climb mountains.
"Much for all of us to learn!"
An excellent read and amazing journey of strength. The way the author survived, setting small goals, going step by step, despite the disabilities he suffered, is amazing, and a lesson for us all. Truly gives illustration of the saying "A million mile journey begins with the first step". There are many issues missed in the the film, that have been covered by the book. Including insights during the incident, what happened after the characters were reunited, and the participants reflection over what went wrong. Much of the lessons learnt can be applied to our own lives. A great listen!
This book is one of the most inspiring books i have listened to and the naration is first class cant recomend it highly enough
"A harrowing listen that will keep you gripped"
A truly amazing account of survival that will keep you listening to the end and stay with you long after.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.