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

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  44,193 ratings  ·  1,489 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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YellowPecoraH It's about two mountaineers and their incident in Perù during a climbing

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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  44,193 ratings  ·  1,489 reviews

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Nov 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Mike Steven
Jul 24, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
``Laurie Henderson
Joe Simpson and Simon Yates were young, fearless and a little too careless when they attempted to climb a 21,000 peak in the Andes.
They were tired of their climbs in the Alps with all the traffic and thought a secluded climb in a beautiful setting would be a welcome change.
They were enjoying their seclusion on the mountain until disaster struck.

Joe Simpson suffers a serious fall and breaks his leg on the top of the mountain. He is completely helpless and wholly dependent on Simon to save his l
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
Dec 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
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)
Pete Marchetto
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Hippo dari Hongkong
Jul 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Hippo dari Hongkong by: Njum

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


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
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Estos libros de supervivencia en situaciones extremas siempre gustan y enganchan. Solo le sobran algunas páginas y que no fuera tan detallado para ser redondo.
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1980s, walks, hills
Not since Moses climbed 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 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 popping from ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lett-inglese
Toccando il vuoto

1985, Perù. Joe Simpson (l’autore del libro) e Simon Yates, due alpinisti britannici, affrontano la scalata alla cima andina della Siula Grande (6.536 metri).
L’ascesa non comporta grandi problemi, ma durante la discesa Joe cade e si frattura un ginocchio. A quelle altezze un alpinista con una frattura del genere è praticamente un uomo morto. Ma i due non si danno per vinti: Simon lega Joe alla corda e lo fa scivolare lungo il pendio per tutta la durata della corda (una cinquant
We climbed 'cause it's fun. And mainly it was fun. That's all we ever did. And we were fairly anarchic and fairly irresponsible, and we didn't give a damn about anyone else or anything else, and we just wanted to climb the world. And it was fun. It was just brilliant fun. And every now and then it went wildly wrong. And then it wasn't. ~ Joe Simpson

I must confess: I’m a couch potato. I’m not proud but I’m honest. Regardless, this doesn’t keep me from enjoying watching others push their bodies to
Courtney Allen
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Picture this: an incredible panoramic view of a rugged mountain range and the camera slowly pans to the point where you see two tiny black specs climbing a 21,000 foot, shear-faced mountain wall. It's well below freezing. The wind is ripping through the air. And two climbers are hanging by their fingertips and boot toes but lashed together with a single strand of nylon rope and a few pitons hammered into the rock. After twelve hours, they crest an outcrop of rock and have just enough room to sit ...more
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, favorites
This is a story which asks you so many questions of yourself. What would you have done? How much inner strength do you have? Physical strength is only one aspect of survival. Could I forgive someone who left me to die? Could I leave someone to die? I read this before I saw the excellent film but I don't think it would matter which way round you met this amazing story.
May 12, 2008 rated it really liked it

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
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure, memoar
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
If you are looking for a great book about rock climbing/mountaineering, or a book about beating the odds, or a book that is just going to make you squirm in sympathetic pain, then this is the book for you. It’s a great story and true; it’s terrifying and gripping. I read it mostly on the edge of my seat. Simpson’s very blunt and straight forward storytelling is refreshingly honest and humble, and it also places you directly in the moment with him. There is no buffer between the reader and the na ...more
Mar 17, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Mar 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Lisa Vegan
Aug 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Nancy Baker
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't know when I have read a book that left me so emotionally exhausted. And knowing (or worrying about) the fact that my resting heart rate only averages around 50, yet while reading this book I could actually FEEL my heart pumping in my throat, it left me equally physically exhausted. I'll start out by saying that I'm afraid of heights -- deathly afraid of heights. So why would I read a true story about two men attempting to climb a face of the Peruvian Andes not yet conquered? Honestly -- ...more
Mar 24, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: survival
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
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how long it's been since a book kept me up reading until the wee hours. This one was riveting. And I initially wanted to say this book was also inspiring because "indomitable will to live," "when you're going through hell keep going," etc., but really, it was just painful. I've been thinking for the past few months that I want to kick my climbing up a notch and start mountaineering. And then I read stories like this and I'm not so sure. It's not that it can't be done more safely tha ...more
May 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Een verhaal over bergbeklimmen en de ontberingen die ze moeten doorstaan. Een verhaal over de dood in de ogen en onmacht, maar vooral over doorzettingsvermogen en overleven.

Ik kan er niet veel over vertellen omdat ik geen spoilers kwijt wil. Maar het boek zegt voor mij genoeg. Je leeft mee, voelt mee en persoonlijk wil ik nu niet meer bergbeklimmen.
Maar hoe close kan je met elkaar worden als je een top hebt behaald.

Ik heb lang over het boek gedaan, niet omdat het slecht was. Integendeel ik wi
Ash Gawain
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it
As a mountaineer, I consider there are two types of mountains. The mountains one climb for fun, and the mountains one climbs because of the peer pressure because they are ‘a classic.’ The same applies to books about mountaineering. This book belongs to the second category: one reads it because it’s a classic.
The story is very predictable, especially if you have had climbing friends talking about it. Having said that, if you are a mountaineer, it’s not a complete waste of time. You will learn abo
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It wouldn’t make you want to climb any snow capped mountains any time soon!!
This is the story of young mountaineer Joe Simpson. Along with his friend Simon Yates, he is attempting to climb a mountain in Peru, Siula Grande by a route that had never been climbed before. During their time in the mountains, however, disaster strikes. First a fall leaves Joe with a serious injury and while they are trying to get back down the mountain, another fall results in Simon having to cut the rope joining them together to save his own life and effectively condemning Joe to die on Siul ...more
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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
“Life can deal you an amazing hand. Do you play it steady, bluff like crazy or go all in?” 17 likes
“Life can deal you an amazing hand. Do you play it steady, bluff like crazy or go all in? I'll never know. -” 2 likes
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