Dark Shadows Falling
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Dark Shadows Falling

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  293 ratings  ·  19 reviews
First time in paperback!

On the heels of a swirl of controversy surrounding mountaineering, Joe Simpson wonders if the essence of the sport has been completely lost. From a gripping introduction detailing one climber's dying moments, witnessed by other climbers who offered no help, Simpson moves on to question the May 10, 1996, events on Everest, offering an objective, wel

Paperback, 207 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Mountaineers Books (first published 1997)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Kilimanjaro and Beyond by Barry FinlayInto Thin Air by Jon KrakauerAnnapurna by Maurice HerzogNo Shortcuts to the Top by Ed ViestursTouching the Void by Joe Simpson
Climbing and Mountaineering
22nd out of 99 books — 46 voters
Trek by Paul StewartAnything Worth Doing by Jo DeurbrouckGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellInto Thin Air by Jon KrakauerKnight of the Purple Ribbon by Jennifer Leigh Wells
Epic Survival Stories
5th out of 6 books — 3 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 443)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Aug 18, 2008 Audra rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who loves mountains
Shelves: mountaineering
I think I'm in love.

Joe Simpson tackles the really big questions in this book: what are our obligations to our fellow humans? To the mountains? To the people who inhabit those mountains?

He includes in this book a full colour two page spread of the 1989? photo of the camp on Everest, complete with dead body and oxygen canisters and trash strewn about. He examines some of the recent mountaineering and trekking tragedies and compares them to earlier expeditions.

I feel the same way about a lot of...more
Simpson provides an expert insider's account of the state of top level mountaineering in the late 1990's. He is scathing in his criticism of methods, groups and individuals whom he believes have departed from the true spirit of high altitude mountaineering into a win at all costs and profit mentality.

Simpson discusses the disastrous 1996 Everest expeditions, also well covered in John Krakauer's excellent book 'Into Thin Air', railing against what he sees as an unforgivable lapse of basic human e...more
"Dark Shadows Falling" is yet another example of a climber decrying the media for its coverage of mountaineering accidents, then writing a book and making money by offering opinions about the accident themselves. I always find this odd.

However, Joe Simpson certainly has something to say that's worth hearing. His own near-death experience, well documented in the excellent book "Touching the Void," gives him an interesting perspective. This book, which is part memoir and part essay on concerns abo...more
Bit of a 50/50 book this one, it's a little uneven and veers all over the place as Simpson clunkily tries to jam together a story of the '96 Everest disaster, his own thoughts on Mountaineering ethics and a (slightly pointless) coverage of his own Everest attempt. There are some really interesting and brilliant insights in here though so you still come away wanting to read more of his books but is all a bit of a muddle this one. A shame because he has some really important things to say here.
For Simpson, the new fad of "I summited Everest last May" is the latest high society cocktail name-dropping, but is stripping the very soul of mountaineering. Both blunt and reflective - deeply troubled by the changing face of climbing, and haunted by his own losses in the high peaks.
Alexandru Popa
The book has a lot of interesting information but the form is lacking a flow to follow.

There are two ideas that Simpson seems keen to reveal, the growing indifference among the climbers on Everest with regard to fellow climbers in need for help and the trekkers indifference with regard to their porters, especially in difficult, life threatening situations.

Unfortunately, these two ideas are not well structured, Simpson's thoughts and feelings about them being randomly mixed with statistical and...more
The moral high ground
Alison Jardine
Joe admits to being opinionated and even unlikeable, but he is not afraid to give his honest point of view. Like a lot of mountaineers his age, he is of a time when mountaineers did it for the love of the challenge and the wilderness, not because they had money and wanted a status, as so many people do now. I agree with him, right or wrong, and admire him for his crude honesty. He has earned his day in the sun.

I enjoyed this book enormously.
Jo Deurbrouck
This is not a pure adventure story. Joe has a point to make and some table banging and gesticulating to do. But his topic is interesting and, as usual, the writing is ultracompetent. I loved it for way he clarified ideas that had bothered me -- vaguely -- for a long time about how we writers tend to approach adventure stories, especially adventures gone wrong.
I decided by the end of this book that I didn't like Joe Simpson! He doesn't like others being on mountains unless they are fully competent and are also pure climbers in what they are doing BUT how do you get competent unless you climb mountains!! Basically wants the mountains all to himself!
Matt Baker
As a climber I'm inclined to give this 4 stars - non climbers may enjoy it less. It is more of an ethical treatise on climbing than one of personal climbing endeavor (like Touching the Void and The Beckoning Silence". Similar in themes to the classic "Into Thin Air".
As an eye-opener to the 'darker' side of mountaineering, its not bad but as an account of his ascent/travelogue it was so so. I couldn't relate to his 'climbing details' i.e. his words didn't take me along on his journey.
Joe simpson wrote about over mountaineering adventures too. this book is some of them. Pretty intense and pretty impressive!
The stories were interesting, the conversations were too doctored, it didn't really flow together. meh
This was one that I couldn't put down, I started it before work, had to hurry home and finish it.
I just love how Simpson describes the mountains, he brings them alive in his books.
Huw Thomas
As ever Joe make you think about mountaineering, the dangers and the ethics
Sean Pentony
Tremendously dark account of what the bitter side of climbing can be like.
A great mountain climbing story.
Feb 18, 2013 Rachel added it
Nicole Fraser
I Love Joe Simpson.
Briema marked it as to-read
Jul 31, 2014
Pedro marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2014
Mark Blonde
Mark Blonde marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2014
Hp marked it as to-read
Jul 15, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14 15 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The White Spider
  • On the Ridge Between Life and Death: A Climbing Life Reexamined
  • Forever on the Mountain: The Truth Behind One of Mountaineering's Most Controversial and Mysterious Disasters
  • A Life on the Edge: Memoirs of Everest and Beyond
  • The Will to Climb: Obsession and Commitment and the Quest to Climb Annapurna--the World's Deadliest Peak
  • The Mountains of My Life (Modern Library Exploration)
  • Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season
  • Dead Lucky: Life After Death on Mount Everest
  • Savage Summit: The True Stories of the First Five Women Who Climbed K2, the World's Most Feared Mountain
  • K2: Triumph and Tragedy
  • Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2's Deadliest Day
  • Above the Clouds: The Diaries of a High-Altitude Mountaineer
  • High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest
  • Facing Up: A Remarkable Journey to the Summit of Mount Everest
  • K2, The Savage Mountain: The Classic True Story of Disaster and Survival on the World's Second Highest Mountain
  • The Crystal Horizon: Everest-The First Solo Ascent
  • The Lost Explorer: Finding Mallory on Mt. Everest
  • Captain James Cook: A Biography
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...
Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival The Beckoning Silence This Game of Ghosts Storms of Silence The Sound of Gravity: A Novel

Share This Book