Did anybody else watch this documentary/movie last night, on Channel 4 (UK), about the true story of two climbers attempts to reach the summit of Siula Grande in Peru?
The closer you are to death. The more you realize you are alive.
Joe Simpson and Simon Yates set out to climb the west face of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. It was 1985 and the men were young, fit, skilled climbers. The west face, remote and treacherous, had not been climbed before. Following a successful three-and-a-half-day ascent, disaster struck. Simpson fell a short distance and broke several bones in his leg. With no hope of rescue, the men decided to attempt descent together with Yates lowering Simpson 300 feet at a time in a slow, painful process that could have potentially been deadly for both. One further misstep led to Yates unknowingly lowering his injured partner over the lip of a crevasse. With the gradient having gone from steep to vertical, he was no longer able to hold on. Certain they were about to be pulled jointly to their deaths, the only choice was to cut the rope. How Simpson survived the fall, and made it back to base camp is a story that will astound and inspire. In Touching the Void, Yates and Simpson return to the Siula Grande for the first time to retell their story.
That gives a little insight, but certainly doesn't do it justice. This is a true story, and one that will inspire anybody. What that summary doesn't say, is that when Joe fell, he literally split his femur vertically in half, with his knee and lower leg going up inside his femur each time he put pressure on that leg. What it doesn't tell you is how he fell some 130 feet in to a crevice when Simon cut the rope, then after an incredibly terrifying night, 130ft under ground (It is impossible to imagine how intimidating this is without actually seeing it) he lowered himself a further 100ft or so to what he thought was the bottom of the crevice, in fact, it wasn't, it was a snow ledge, that was hollow underneath and could have collapsed at any moment.
He found a way to slide from the snow ledge to a hole leading out of the crevice, still with this broken leg, all he could do was slide. This was now 4 or 5 days in since they set out on the climb. He then had to slide for miles across the glacier, literally sliding through a minefield of crevices, following the path that his friend, Simon, who thought Joe was dead, had made the day before when he walked off the mountain. Simon made targets for himself, if he didn't make it to X in Y time, he was incredibly annoyed at himself, and if he made it with a minute to spare, he was overjoyed. (Notice the incredible power of setting targets, we all should do it).
He got off the glacier after about 2 days of sliding, only to find he had miles of solid rocks and boulders to get over. He couldn't slide, he had to walk. Every step he made, he fell, each time he fell it felt like he broke his leg again. He eventually made it back, incredibly dehydrated (it's pointless melting and drinking snow, your body uses up more energy melting the snow than you get from drinking it), only to come across a horrible smell, that took him hours to diagnose as the base camp latrine, yes, he had just slid through the base camp crap!
Almost 5 days after Simon cut the rope and assumed Joe was dead, and 7 days after the start of the climb, Joe was found by Simon and their friend who was looking after base camp.
It is an incredible feat of survival. Never has one TV programme had so much effect on me as this one did.
I highly recommend renting this and watching it, or at the very least read the book.
When they got back to the UK, Simon was verbally abused by many climbers for cutting the rope his friend was attached to, hopefully now that it has been made in to a film, they will fully understand why he had to do it.
I haven't given the full story away, I promise, there are still many twists and turns to it, all 100% fact.
Incredible, is all I can say. Having walked on a couple of glaciers full of crevices myself, it's safe to say I didn't get to sleep very easily last night.
Yep, I think it is the human effort to survive in some difficult situation ( something like survival for the fittest) somewhat luck factors and some inner inspiration which gives strength in unfavourable condition
It is adventurous and encouraging, I have read similar effort for human struggle for survival in dense jungle in south Africa.
I have read many different books, and watched several documentaries and movies about human survival in the wilderness, but this one really did top the lot. It is impossible to describe in words what they achieved, that was why I was hoping others had seen it and could back me up, darn you all missed a good night.
That stuff is so dangerous,i wonder Y people do it!!
Because of the amazing sense of achievement afterwards. I often wonder why people stay within their comfort zone, I would find it incredibly boring if I didn't step over the line of where I feel safe and where I don't.