I have read "Touching the Void" five times.  I have thought that it was best story that has ever been told of man v. mountain.  But, I am very new to mountaineering, and I have seen some negative comments made about this event.  What do you all think about it?  Is it a taboo story?  Is Joe Simpson a prick and that is why this story is though of a bunk?

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This is an interesting topic. The Joe Simpson event along with the 2006 death of David Sharp on Mt. Everest are some of the most controversial mountaineering topics in history, with lots of opinions on both sides. I think they have to do with leaving fellow climbers behind. My take on things are the media and non climbers tend to blow them out of proportion. It’s easy to judge when you haven’t been in the situation yourself. My advice is to absorb and learn from them.

I'd like to hear what some of the other climbers on Fitclimb think about this?
I have not read the book, but I've seen the film, so my comments are correlated to how the film depicts this story. I think the whole idea of a climbing "team" disintegrating in the midst of a disaster is partly due to the innate human desire of self-preservation. Our survival instinct takes hold when we feel we are in danger, and for some, sacrificing a team member ecclipses genuine philanthropy. Numerous stories on Everest climbs are evidence of this. The comraderie shared by a rope team seems to quickly morph into a one-man-for-himself mindset, once disaster strikes, and fatalities likely. Thankfully, I've never been in such predicaments, but I can see how a climber might think, "Either we all die, or I save myself to live a life burdened by guilt", especially when the temperature is -20, and the drop is 2,000 feet. I'm not condoning this attitude, but I think it's easier to criticize climbers' actions when retrospectively discussing the event from the comfort of a warm place on level ground. To answer the question, "What would you do?" requires the actual experience of the tragedy for oneself.
As far as I can tell (having also only seen the film), they were well and truly stuck; if Simon Yates hadn't cut the rope, they'd probably both be dead. As it is, they're both alive... Seems like from that criterion, he made the right decision.


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