Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival
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Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  22,250 ratings  ·  926 reviews
Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. In the hours that followed, darkness fell and a blizzard raged as Yates tried to lower his friend to safety. Finally, Yates was forced to cut the rope, moments before he...more
Paperback, 218 pages
Published February 3rd 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published 1988)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Andrea
Me and Simon decided to climb this one mountain in Peru. We went to the mountain. We met this other guy along the way. He was weird.

We hooked our doohickeys into the thingiebobbers and climbed over such-and-such thing. It was hard. Then we attached our zippity-do-dahs into the crack of this one big hunk of ice/rock and did this climbing thingie. Then we spent the night.

The next day we blabbidy-blahed over the thingimajig. We thought we might have to garbledy-gook over the cattywhompus but we m...more
Mike Steven
Joe Simpson had a remarkable experience - totally of his whole making, but nevertheless the way he survived was pretty amazing. Sadly, reading about it is a far less remarkable experience. To enjoy the book, you may need to really know what a 'col' is, what a 'moraine' is and the dangers and qualities of three types of snow and countless types of ice.



Essentially, it's one hundred pages of very, very detailed descriptions of climbing up a mountain - who belayed when is covered in full detail, as...more
Graham
May 22, 2008 Graham rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone, even non-climbers
Recommended to Graham by: Denali
One of my absolute favorite books, it transcends the genre.

Some readers might be put off by talk of abseils, carabineers and crampons, but this is more than a book about mountaineering, this is a book about being human. It speaks of mortally, determination, suffering, hope, and friendship. Joe Simpson conveys what climbing is to reader whom has never be off asphalt, what suffering is to the reader whom has never been off a cushion, and, what friendship is to the lonely. This book will take you t...more
Chrissie
Exciting? Yes!
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.
(view spoiler)...more
Idle Hippo
Oct 19, 2008 Idle Hippo rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Idle Hippo by: Njum

By the time I reach the last page I recalled I heard myself screaming
"Man, this dude is really something!"
"Edaaaaaan!"
An unbelievable and gripping story about survival and never say die spirit at its best

POSSIBLY SPOILERS

Joe Simpson dan sahabatnya, Simon Yates melakukan pendakian gunung Siula Grande (6.300m dpl) dipegunungan Andes, Peru. Setelah berhasil mencapai puncak dan dalam perjalanan menuruni gunung Joe terperosok sehingga kakinya patah. Suatu kondisi yang bisa dianggap vonis mati digunun...more
Judy
Jan 27, 2012 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventure memoir junkies
This book operates on two speeds: fast and faster. If I hadn't been reading several other books at the same time, it would have been a one or two day read with its scanty 174 pages.

The story takes place on Peru's 21,000 foot Siula Grande, a peak in the Andes Mountain range. Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, are alone on the mountain when disaster strikes and Joe slips, falls and fractures his leg. Plenty of excitement follows, but I will leave mention of any details for readers...more
Brad
I never really understood what there was to debate in the "big debate" surrounding Touching the Void.

Joe Simpson and Simon Yates made the first ascent on the west face of Siula Grande in 1985 but ran into some serious trouble coming back down. A storm kicked up, and Simpson fell on the ice, driving his tibia through his knee. His leg was a serious mess, and the pair tried to descend as fast as they could with the bad weather getting worse (more on that later).

They made their descent with Yates h...more
ValerieLyn
Dec 22, 2007 ValerieLyn rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone!
okay. i am still not going to climb any mountains, at least not any that are covered with glaciers and are over 10K feet.
but what really got me about this story, what deeply deeply moved me to a new understanding of human endurance, was not that he climbed the peruvian andes, suffered sub zero temperatures huddled in a dugout snow cave, got frostbitten digits, put his life in his climbing partner's hands, or alternately held his climbing partner's life in his own hands, or that he shattered his...more
Scott
Not since Moses clambered up Sinai to meet his maker has the story of a man, a mountain, and a brush with infinity attracted so much attention as Joe Simpson's Touching the Void (1988). The book has become a perennial favorite with adrenaline addicts and is found near the top of most mountain literature must-read lists. Though the first chapters are laced with technical climbing jargon, the great chunk of the story is related in the short cries, grunts, and obscenities you would expect to find p...more
Palsay
Sungguh bersyukur bulan November ini saya kebanjiran buku-buku bermutu.

Salah satunya adalah buku ini. Touching The Void adalah kisah mengenai pendakian di pegunungan Andes, Peru, yang dilakukan oleh Simon Yates dan Joe Simpson. Sesungguhnya pendakian berlangsung sempurna dan mereka sempat mengambil gambar-gambar yang menakjubkan sebelum akhirnya kelelahan.

Hawa dingin dan cuaca yang tak menentu juga ikut menentukan nasib mereka. Simon terserang frostbite yang cukup parah pada jari tangannya, se...more
Lukasz Pruski
I find it very hard to review non-fiction books because it requires carefully distinguishing between the impact of the real-life events they describe and the quality of the description itself. Joe Simpson's "Touching the Void" (originally 1988, but I have read the 2004 edition) presents an absolutely amazing story of a mountain climber's survival. Yet, despite the tremendous impact of the events shown, the book is not outstanding.

Joe Simpson and Simon Yates are climbing the yet unconquered West...more
Diane
This is a classic survival book and it includes examples of all the things I look for in a good classic read. Two young mountain climbers attempt a new ascent of a remote mountain in Peru. To save weight and space they do not take enough tools and food with them, then weather and other unexpected difficulties lead to the ascent taking longer than expected. The two climbers push themselves when they should have rested and take some other unnecessary risks so when the author Joe Simpson falls and...more
Marie
http://mariesbookgarden.blogspot.com/...

My husband went to prep school with Joe Simpson in England (although Simpson's a few years older than him), so I've wanted to read this book for some time.

Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, climbed a mountain peak in the Andes--the 21,000-foot Siula Grande. While ascending, Joe broke his leg...which can be an immediate death sentence for mountain climbers. However, Simon risked his own life to lower Joe 3,000 feet down the mountain while Jo...more
Walt
This is the second time I have read Joe Simpson's Touching the Void. In younger years, when I had more energy and less sense, I probably would have rated it four stars instead of three. Not now.

As to adventure, it pumps adrenalin through readers' veins as fast as the government these days pumps money through the failing finincial institutions, especially after a major catastrophe and the so-called ethical dilemma toward the middle of the book.

What becomes very obvious very soon is how young, imm...more
Rachel
This book contains a lot of technical climbing descriptions that were difficult to understand precisely, but its story is heart pounding and I found I oouldn't put it down. It is the account of author Joe Simpson's survival after breaking his leg descending 21,000 foot Siula Grande with his climbing partner, Simon Yates. Yates did not leave Simpson after the accident, but risked his own life lowering him for the next 3,000 feet, until Simpson, unbeknowst to Yates above him, fell into a deep crev...more
Brian Robbins
Excellent read. Many other books on mountaineering reflect the author's passion for the pursuit & are admirable reads, but also very dry reads for the non-participant - in this case a fell walker who only approaches the dangers of real climbing safely ensconced in a comfy armchair.

For once the blurbs on the book about excitement, suspense & powerful emotional content turned out to be true. I have to say that I have never wept before while reading an account of a climb, but Simpson's even...more
Lisa Vegan
Aug 30, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy nonfiction mountain climbing books
Ok, even though the reader knows how it ends: as one of the mountaineers wrote this book, it’s incredibly suspenseful. I do seem to adore mountain climbing books, although it’s a totally vicarious experience as you could never get me on one of these expeditions. Especially this one as their method was different than all the other accounts I’ve read of mountain climbers. On the one hand I felt infuriated with these 2 men for taking such huge risks, but their story is unbelievably riveting and wel...more
Sandy
20 stars and then some!!!

I think this has got to be one of the best books I have ever read in my life. I must have read it, or portions of it, at least 10-15 times. It is just awe-inducing. The personal struggles of Simon and Joe, the agonizing seconds and minutes and hours of Joe's exhausting drag through the moraines, his inner struggles with life and death, Simon's excruciating conviction that he had not only had to abandon but most certainly killed his friend.... The tension and exhilaration...more
Pete Marchetto
Long, long ago, I used to play pool in the Broadfield pub in Sheffield. I used to play another bloke regularly, nice guy - if a bit irascible at times - and, one day, he asked me what I did. "Writer," I said, "but unsuccessful."

"Oh," he said. "I've written a book too. Published. It's not doing too badly."

He seemed like an interesting bloke, intelligent, given to philosophising, had seen a bit of the world as a mountain climber, so I thought I'd give it a shot - as much out of politeness as anyth...more
Muhammad Arqum
Brilliant! This isn't your regular survival story. There is more to it, there is a lot more to it that cannot be articulated.
Paul
Actual rating: 3.5 stars.

A gripping survival story that captures and conveys, it seems to me, the incredible dangers of alpine climbing on unexplored, ice- and snow-covered peaks. Joe Simpson includes a lot of technical language, but you quickly grasp what he's talking about (and can refer to a glossary at the back of the book if you don't, so no excuses). He does have a gift for making things understandable.

Joe's fall, subsequent falls, abandonment, near death experiences, his epic crawl back t...more
Jessica
What this guy experiences coming of the mountain is one of those sequences of events that will either convince you that there definitely is...or there definitely is not... a God.

It's like Robert Frost's poem 'Design':
I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth --
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth --
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
...more
Leila
Aug 11, 2013 Leila rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
After ascending a 21,000 foot peak in the Andes, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates are on their way down when Joe falls and breaks his leg. Rather than leave his partner behind, Simon begins the arduous task of belaying Joe down the face of the mountain. Suddenly, as Simon is lowering Joe into the mists, all of Joe's weight pulls the rope taught. After several minutes, with no release of weight and his own position in serious danger, Simon makes the painful decision to cut the rope on his partner.
U...more
Alyce (At Home With Books)
I'm a big fan of survival stories, so this book appealed to me right from the start. Had I not known that Joe survived his ordeal on the mountain, I would have said that it was impossible for him to have lived after all that he had been through. Human capacity for survival against the odds is truly amazing, and this book is an excellent example of the triumph of the will to survive.

After reaching the top of the mountain, Joe is injured and the two climbers try to work out a special system of low...more
Jordy
The cliched tagline for this book reads 'one of the most incredible survival stories ever'. Despite having a general idea for this true story, I was still blown away by this book. Mr. Simpson writes so that you can't help but feel the same emotions he felt on that mountain almost 30 years ago. The famous and infamous tale of a pair of climbing buddies confronted disaster and the unfathomable yet correct (in my humble opinion) decision to cut the rope is still talked about by climbers today. In f...more
Emily
Col. Moraine. Crampons (I figured out what those were). Flutings. Seracs.

If you understand these terms and other mountaineering vocab you will probably enjoy reading this. For some reason, I struggled more than I did trekking the Inca Trail. I know they're not one and the same, but this book had me frustrated. Like climbing a mountain, I thought what was the point? Don't get me wrong, this is an incredible and amazing tale of survival. The obstacles and feat these men overcame is astounding. How...more
David Hebblethwaite
A million books were given away across the UK on World Book Night in April, and I got one of them at my local branch of Waterstones. I tend to think that the ideal book for World Book Night is something that you wouldn’t ordinarily think of reading, but that looks interesting once you start to consider it – a gentle nudge away from your comfort zone, in other words.

That’s just the sort of book I received in Touching the Void, Joe Simpson’s account of his and Simon Yates’s 1985 expedition to clim...more
Alexander Sirstins
Alex Sirstins
3/20/13
B 7-8

Everyone goes through trials, some more than others. These trials teach us to persevere and never give up; this is why Touching the Void by Joe Simpson is a great adventure book to show you courage, sacrifice, friendship, and spirit.

This is an adventure book because it demonstrates the miraculous journey of two men and it has several intense and thrilling situations. The author tells the account in first person which helps the reader to feel the actual first hand experi...more
Raghu
In the mid-80's two young British climbers attempt to reach the summit of Siula Grande in Peru; a feat that had previously been attempted but never achieved. Simon Yates and Joe Simpson set off to scale the mount in one long push over several days. They reach the peak; however, on the descent Joe falls and breaks his leg. Still, the two continue with Simon letting Joe out on a rope for 300 meters, then descending to join him and so on. At one point, Joe goes out beyond an overhang and finds hims...more
Bear
This book addresses many shadows within ourselves; when you are by yourself or with someone else in a dangerous situation, there are always choices... and what is a good or bad choice, and is there such a thing? And how to handle the outcome?

This story makes for interesting reading... particularly when the subject could result in your demise if you were to choose unwise options. Most of us in our white-bread world don't have those decisions; the double-latte crowd are really good at expressing o...more
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Around the World ...: Judy Recommends Touching the Void 3 19 Feb 29, 2012 04:07PM  
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Joe Simpson is the author of the bestselling Touching the Void, as well as four subsequent non-fiction books published by The Mountaineers Books: This Game of Ghosts, Storms of Silence, Dark Shadows Falling, and The Beckoning Silence. The Beckoning Silence won the 2003 National Outdoor Book Award. The other three published by The Mountaineers Books were all shortlisted for the Boardman Tasker Awa...more
More about Joe Simpson...
The Beckoning Silence This Game of Ghosts Dark Shadows Falling Storms of Silence The Sound of Gravity: A Novel

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“Life can deal you an amazing hand. Do you play it steady, bluff like crazy or go all in?” 13 likes
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