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Dark Shadows Falling

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  549 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews

* Concise, objective account of the 1996 Everest debacle
* One of Simpson's most controversial and challenging books
* Short listed for the 1997 Boardman Tasker Award
In 1992, an Indian climber was left to die alone high on the South Col of Mount Everest by other climbers who watched his feebly waving hand from the security of their tent thirty yards away. Some film foo
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by Mountaineers Books (first published 1997)
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Aug 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
"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
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
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.
Kindling Micky
Superb insight into the ethics of high altitude mountaineering at the cusp of survival. As ever, Simpson's ability to write is one of the best in this genre and his own experience makes this credible.
Nov 14, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is kind of all over the place and I struggled to find a unifying theme or through line (there really isn't one). It's more like Joe Simpson's meditations on climbing and preaching about how he believes people should climb/should behave on mountains and in general. There are also interesting vignettes about various climbers that perished at high altitudes. It also discusses the dangers of taking Everest for granted (i.e. assuming it's easy because a lot of people do it) and the real con ...more
Darla Ebert
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Having followed Joe Simpson's writings for years my interest was piqued when I stumbled over this gem in a used bookstore here in the Philippines! I was not disappointed as the subject matter was thought provoking and should invoke guilt in anyone with a human heart. I had to look deep inside asking myself how I would react in similar situations as have faced the climbers of Everest. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to experience Everest vicariously but would caution against a too-q ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
I just found it insufferable.
Alexandru Popa
May 24, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Alison Jardine
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
David Douglas
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Certainly gets his view of the 'commercialism' of modern day climbing across. He links this to the late 90s disasters on Everest which displayed some shocking lack of empathy to several injured/dying climbers. I must admit I would agree with his view that these mountains have all been climbed in alpine style ascents without oxygen and therefor should only be attempted by people capable of doing this or not at all.
Jo Deurbrouck
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Matt Baker
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 27, 2009 rated it liked it
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!
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was one that I couldn't put down, I started it before work, had to hurry home and finish it.
Oct 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Fair book but not the best.
Nicole Fraser
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I Love Joe Simpson.
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
The moral high ground
Feb 11, 2008 rated it liked it
A great mountain climbing story.
Joe simpson wrote about over mountaineering adventures too. this book is some of them. Pretty intense and pretty impressive!
Feb 18, 2013 added it
Apr 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
The stories were interesting, the conversations were too doctored, it didn't really flow together. meh
Sean Pentony
Nov 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Tremendously dark account of what the bitter side of climbing can be like.
عادل ابراهيم
rated it really liked it
Dec 14, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Mar 26, 2015
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Mar 16, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Aug 21, 2012
Mark Glover
rated it really liked it
May 08, 2013
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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
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