For those who know me, they will surely know how much I love tales of endurance, human spirit and the will to survive in the toughest of conditions. And that is why I have been a big fan of movies like Everest, Gravity, 127 hours and books like Miracle in the Andes to name a few.
I recently watched a documentary called Touching the Void which is the story of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates who scaled the Siula Grande in the Andes in 1985. While they scaled the 6,300m peak in about 3 days, the journey back was almost nearly fatal. As soon as the decent began, Joe broke his leg and Simon had to make sure that both he and his friend came down together since they had tied the rope to each other when they had started and one’s death meant almost a fatal plunge for the other.
As things got from bad to worse, Simon was forced to cut the rope between him and Joe leading to Joe’s 150m fall. The rest of the story deals with the way Joe survives and is an ode to his resilience to live. Mind you, all this while Simon had thought that he had seen the last of his friend.
Ironically, at many points of this story, I was reminded of 127 hours and what Aaron Rolston had to go through. Interestingly after watching this, I ended up watching The Beckoning Silence which is the story of Toni Kurz, a German mountain climber’s attempt in 1936 at ascending the Eiger peak’s North Face. In 1936, there still hadn’t been a successful attempt at Eiger’s North Face and instead all there had been were a number of deaths.
You need to watch this one to know the similarities with Joe Simpson’s story 46 years later.
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