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Touching the Void

Written by: Joe Simpson
Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Joe Simpson, with just his partner, Simon Yates, tackled the unclimbed West Face of the remote 21,000-foot Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in June of 1995. But before they reached the summit, disaster struck.

A few days later, Simon staggered into Base Camp, exhausted and frostbitten, to tell their non-climbing companion that Joe was dead. For three days he wrestled with guilt as they prepared to return home. Then a cry in the night took them out with torches, where they found Joe, badly injured, crawling through the snowstorm in a delirium.

Far from causing Joe's death, Simon had paradoxically saved his friend's life. What happened, and how they dealt with the psychological traumas that resulted when Simon was forced into the appalling decision to cut the rope, makes not only an epic of survival but a compelling testament of friendship.

©1988 Joe Simpson (P)2012 Random House Audiobooks

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  • David Shear
  • 17-01-14

Wonderfully told true story

Too often, books written based on a true story include too much hyperbole in turning the main character into a hero that did nothing wrong. This story is raw, and honest, and believable, and really well told.

The best part about this story is that it's true. No really, it's true. As you join Simpson in this tale, you'll find yourself saying "no way," but wow, it really happened.

The end of this story wrapped it up so well for me. I won't spoil anything in case you don't already know what happens, but I'll say, that any questions I had were answered by the end.

Whether you are a skier, a hiker, a mountaineer, or just love a great story about human strength and endurance, you'll love this story.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathy in CA
  • 14-04-14

Frightening, emotional & heart-warming true story!

I saw the movie and have never been able to get the story out of my mind. Touching the Void is a true story, a miracle of sorts--a mountaineer left for dead by his climbing partner and his incredible struggle to live. I have always wondered how this could have happened and more particularly, how Joe and Simon felt about what happened. Specifically, how did Joe Simpson feel about his climbing partner after the ordeal? How did Simon Yates react when he learned Joe was still alive when he abandoned him. You can't rely on a movie to tell the real story but you can rely on this book's narrative. It includes segments also by Joe's climbing partner, Simon Yates.

This is an incredible story, beautifully written and very moving. The narration was excellent and I highly recommend this book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark L. Berry
  • 12-05-16

Captivating Story

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Given to me by a climber friend. Awesome insight into that extreme sport.

Any additional comments?

Captivating story told in alternating first person. I want to see the documentary next.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • PoorMannsRose
  • 18-10-13

Amazing

Any additional comments?

For the non climbers, unfamiliar Mountaineering terminology can leave comprehension gaps in the audio version ( whereas easy to look up if reading ) but still a great story

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Heather Straub
  • 28-05-19

Is he a climber who writes or a writer who climbed?

Beautifully done. I love this author’s way with words. There is a section about 3/4 of the way through (sorry I didn’t bookmark it but it’s near where he recites Shakespeare) where he speaks of the moraines and the malevolent, menacing mountain that gave me deep chills. I’ve been alone in the mountains many times and in physically demanding situations. His descriptions of the patterns you get into when you have to keep going are spot on. Although I thankfully have been through nothing even a fraction as arduous as Joe (I suppose I feel like we are almost friends now after hearing about his ordeal), I recognize many of the sentiments. While many in outdoorsy circles have read this book in the US, I don’t think it’s as widely known here as in Great Britain. Maybe we should make it part of US students’ required reading too - so much more relatable (not to mention enjoyable) than the Last of the Mohicans! If you’re thinking of reading this, stop thinking and do it. It’s not too long and not one word was wasted— my measure of great literature.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Brandon
  • 05-12-19

THE Mountaineering Memoir

This is one of the finest pieces of climbing literature I have ever read. The story is nothing short of remarkable.

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  • Keren
  • 06-11-19

raw and real ice climbing experience

For any climber, this true story will transport you and you will have vicariously lived this experience. For those who have ice climbed, it will turn the marrow of your bones to jelly.

I loved this story and I watched the movie simultaneously. The only significant difference is that in the movie Joe said knew he didn’t believe in God since when he was under the pressure of death, he didn’t cry out to Him for help. In the book he said he hoped his Ma was praying for him, like she always did. I am sure she prayed and I pray that before facing the final void, Joe will know her role in his rescue and the source of that Voice.

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  • Nancy Peterson
  • 19-06-19

Fabulous!

I loved this true story! It kept me interested the entire time, waiting to hear what would happen next.

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  • Ritsuko
  • 03-06-19

Not for the squeamish

An amazing adventure from pre-GPS and selfie days. The story was so well told that I winced with every bit of injury...

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  • Tobias
  • 21-02-19

Great Book

if you have not seen the documentary I highly recommend it. They both do each other justice.

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  • Blair Ferguson
  • 13-04-13

Fantastic listen/read

This book is one of the most inspiring books i have listened to and the naration is first class cant recomend it highly enough

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • SARA-MADGE WYNNE
  • 19-02-13

A harrowing listen that will keep you gripped

A truly amazing account of survival that will keep you listening to the end and stay with you long after.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew Matthews
  • 10-06-15

Don't listen whilst driving!

Touching the Void had me hooked from chapter one. I often listened in my car which thinking about it was not so clever as there would be periods of excitement that knocked my concentration from driving!

It's a brilliant story that had me on the edge, made me squirm with thought and almost feel Joe Simpsons desperation.

A must read for anyone who likes real story's told truthfully by the person who experienced them.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Lance Johnson
  • 08-04-12

Much for all of us to learn!

An excellent read and amazing journey of strength. The way the author survived, setting small goals, going step by step, despite the disabilities he suffered, is amazing, and a lesson for us all. Truly gives illustration of the saying "A million mile journey begins with the first step". There are many issues missed in the the film, that have been covered by the book. Including insights during the incident, what happened after the characters were reunited, and the participants reflection over what went wrong. Much of the lessons learnt can be applied to our own lives. A great listen!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-11-19

Wow!!

Excellent but chilling (literally) story of adventure, suffering & a seemingly impossible fight for survival. Thoroughly recommended.

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  • Pete Aki
  • 10-11-19

terrifying retelling beautifully told

captivating, terrifying, challenging and inspiring in equal measure. If adventures ate your thing this is a must read..

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  • Mr. Damian M. Sears
  • 09-11-19

eye opening thriller

to laugh and cry is to live and this story inspired both in me. I hope that in my own adventures I'll forge such powerful and reliable connections as that which Joe and Simon have shared and described here.

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  • Olivia Hicklenton
  • 05-11-19

Outstanding story told in an outstanding way

I lived through this book while I was listening and felt like another voice urging Joe on throughout. Amazing story showing human strength and the crazy lengths a body can be pushed to in the most desperate of situations

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-10-19

Outstanding

A wonderful read which had me gripped from beginning to end. Beautifully written - so much human drama. Not only for lovers of mountains but for all students of human nature.

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  • neil b.
  • 17-10-19

gripping & unbelievable account!

This was a fantastic first account of disaster on a mountain. i couldn't stop listening to it. if you love mountaineering disasters then you'll love this.

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  • Walker
  • 24-03-19

A really slow start

I actually gave up on this book for a while. It seemed to go now where. Though, without giving anything away, there is a critically point where that all changes. From then on I was almost hanging on every word.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-04-18

Brilliant

Made me laugh, made my cry, made me gasp, made my trip quicker. Loved it.

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  • tom
  • 23-08-17

true stories are often the best stories

i would listen to it for no reason other than it's true, but there definitely are more reasons than that. a captivating story of survival.

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  • Matthew
  • 26-06-17

Harrowing

A small taste of what it might be like to slowly die, alone and cold on the side a mountain

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-04-17

unputdownable

absolutely amazing story. gives so many struggles a dose of perspective. just so vivid and raw.