Touching the Void (Movie Tie-In)

by Joe Simpson | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 0099452294 Global Overview for this book
Registered by BC-08041015142 on 1/19/2004
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
20 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by BC-08041015142 on Monday, January 19, 2004
Absolutely outstanding account of an attempted ascent of the remote, 21,000ft Siula Grande mountain in the Peruvian Andes.

From ...
"Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck.Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. In the hours that followed, darkness fell and a blizzard raged as Yates tried to lower his friend to safety. Finally, Yates was forced to cut the rope, moments before he would have been pulled to his own death.

The next three days were an impossibly grueling ordeal for both men. Yates, certain that Simpson was dead, returned to base camp consumed with grief and guilt over abandoning him. Miraculously, Simpson had survived the fall but, crippled, starving, and severely frostbitten, was trapped in a deep crevasse. Summoning vast reserves of physical and spiritual strength, Simpson hopped, hobbled, and crawled over the cliffs and canyons of the Andes, reaching the base hours before Yates had planned to break camp.

How both men overcame the torments of those harrowing days is an epic tale of fear, suffering, and survival; a poignant testament to unshakable courage and friendship"

A "must read"!

216 pages - Paperback


1. Zyana - Portugal
2. Scarlett17 - Cardiff, UK
3. Lady-Mondegreen - Eastleigh, UK
4. Camis - Norwich, UK
5. Cable - Cumbria, UK
6. dododumpling - St. Neots, UK
7. Tramgirl - Melbourne, Australia
8. Carpediva - SF, USA - Omit - Not responding to PMs
9. Labmomnm - NM, USA
10. BernardSampson - Glasgow, UK
11. Spike1972 - Cardiff, UK
12. Helly77 - Burnley, Lancashire
13. Cambridgelass - Cambridge, UK
14. Anfield - Bagshot, Surrey
15. Torialouise - York, UK
16. MoJeDenUK - Melton Mowbray, UK
17. Beebarf - Sheffield, UK

18. UrbanSpaceman - London, UK
19. Katie1980 - Poole, UK

Released on Monday, January 26, 2004 at ... by mail :) in Sent to a fellow BookCrosser, Bookring Controlled Releases.

Journal Entry 3 by Zyana from Porto - City, Porto Portugal on Thursday, January 29, 2004
Arrived today safe and sound! I'm overwhelmed with the sheer number for Bookrings Books I've received in the last couple of days so I can't (however much I'm tempted) start this one right away ... but I expect to do so in a weeks time. Meanwhile bear with me ...

Thank you so much GlasgowGal for organizing this ring and sending it to me, I'm really looking forward to reading it!

Journal Entry 4 by Zyana from Porto - City, Porto Portugal on Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Finished reading this remarkable book late last night and despite not living up to my expectations it was a bone chilling tale of survival. Joe Simpson's account redefines the word pain and gives you an insight of how much the human body and spirit can endure and how powerful the instinct of self-preservation can be, even under the most harrowing circumstances. Simpson fought until he no longer knew if he wanted to fight ... at times one feels that he struggled without insight and simply because of a stubborn will not to give in. He concentrated on short-term objectives and that's probably what enabled him to succeed. The precarious life-line he threaded could have easily snapped if he were to succumb to pain and exhaustion even for the smallest amount of time ... as it was he very nearly made it.

It's a truly inspiring story. For those who enjoy it I recommend "The Ice Master" by Jennifer Niven, another astounding story of survival.

I'm just waiting for the postal addy of the next person on the ring in order to send it on his way!

Journal Entry 5 by Scarlett17 from Bexley, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Arrived in the post this morning. Will put this to the top of the TBR pile as I'm really looking forward to this book

Journal Entry 6 by Scarlett17 from Bexley, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, February 14, 2004
I really enjoyed this book. I'd heard the story of how it came to be written on the radio, and had intended to see the film but missed it, so I really wanted to join in this bookring. I read it in less than 24 hours and found it really gripping. It's incredible to think that's it's a true story. How anyone could survive such an experience is miraculous.

Posted out this morning to the next person on the list.

Journal Entry 7 by Lady-Mondegreen from Basingstoke, Hampshire United Kingdom on Monday, February 23, 2004
This arrived just before I went away for a few days so I didn't get a chance to record here. Sorry if you have been worried! Thanks for sending it. I took it with me on my trip up to York and it made good reading on the long, horrible coach journey home again. A compelling read so far... I will probably finish it soon and record my thoughts here again and then send it on it's way to camis.

Journal Entry 8 by Lady-Mondegreen from Basingstoke, Hampshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, March 02, 2004
This is an excellent well-written account of the author’s survival against the odds after a climbing accident.

Not knowing the first thing about climbing/mountaineering, I found some of the terminology puzzling and my lack of knowledge did make it difficult for me to follow the story coherently sometimes but overall I found myself caught up in the events and keen to follow the story through. It didn’t answer the basic question for me as to why such risk takers do these dangerous things but then I suppose it can’t. I am not of that temperament and never will be and I liked the T. E. Lawrence quote at the start “ All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. I also found what Simon Yates says about responsibility struck a chord with me. Because what he says is true for all, the daydreamers and the night-dreamers: “Ultimately we all have to look after ourselves. In my view that is not a licence to be selfish, for only by taking good care of ourselves are we able to help others. Away from the mountains, in the complexity of everyday life, the price of neglecting this responsibility might be a marriage breaking down, a disruptive child, a business failing or a house repossessed. In the mountains the penalty for neglect can often mean death”. I think Yates’ last sentence can also be held true in our everyday life, particularly in our modern hedonistic culture.

Journal Entry 9 by camis from Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom on Thursday, March 04, 2004
Received in the post from Lady-Mondegreen today. Looking forward to reading it soon.

Journal Entry 10 by camis from Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom on Tuesday, March 09, 2004
I had heard about this story some time ago in a newspaper article and so was lookign forward to reading this. And I wasn't disappointed. Although some of the mountaineering jargon was over my head, the story itself was easy to read and well worth the time taken.

None of us could truely say how we would feel or what we would do in such a deperate situation, but the courage and determination of both men makes you realise just what people are capable of if the situation determines it.

Will be sending on to the next person in the ring shortly.

Journal Entry 11 by Cable from Carlisle, Cumbria United Kingdom on Monday, March 15, 2004
Hooray! Got this in the post today. Been looking forward to this book so am gonna start reading this now. :0)

Journal Entry 12 by Cable from Carlisle, Cumbria United Kingdom on Thursday, March 25, 2004
I thorougly enjoyed this book and found it full of cliffhanger moments (excuse the pun). It really was a fantastic tale of survival and human endeavour, I couldn't believe Joe Simpson managed to survive. It just goes to show what the human body is capable of accomplishing.

My only critisism of the story was the lack of organisation. This was regarding the fact that they never had any kind of expaditionionary force or medical team with them when they went to that remote location. It felt as though, after their unfortunate incident, Siula Grande was laughing at them and taunting them for having successfully made their accent.

All in all though it was a really good read and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Journal Entry 13 by Cable from Carlisle, Cumbria United Kingdom on Thursday, March 25, 2004
Posted this book today. On its way to the next lucky bookcrosser :0)

Journal Entry 14 by dododumpling from St. Neots, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Friday, April 02, 2004
Just got this (have just returned from holiday, so sorry for the delay). I'm really looking forward to reading it, it looks just the kind of thing I'll enjoy!

Journal Entry 15 by dododumpling from St. Neots, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 07, 2004
As expected I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The survival story was of course amazing but I think I was most touched by the element of luck that Joe had in finding Simon in camp just hours before he was due to leave. Even though I knew the outcome I found myself willing Joe to make it to camp before Simon left. The relationship between Joe and Simon was excellently portrayed: Simon's feelings of guilt and Joe's acceptance of his partner's decision were very moving.

A few points: I didn't understand all of the mountaineering terms - well, most of them in fact - so maybe a glossary of some kind would have been handy. And I felt it would have been nice to have some background of Joe and Simon - how long had they been climbing? Had they climbed together before? This didn't in any way detract from my enjoyment of the story, maybe it's more an indicator of my nosiness!

Thanks to GlasgowGal for offering this as a bookring. :)

Sent to Tramgirl on 8 April 2004

Journal Entry 16 by TramGirl from Ballarat, Victoria Australia on Tuesday, April 13, 2004
I received this in the post yesterday 13/4). How quick was it, dododumpling only posted it on the 8th (last Thursday - before the Easter long weekend!!). What a nice surprise when I got home from work!! Anyway it is now 3rd on my TBR pile...

Journal Entry 17 by TramGirl from Ballarat, Victoria Australia on Friday, April 30, 2004
This book was very insightful, I cannot even begin to imagine what it must have been like but this book certainly opened my eyes up to the emotion and especially despair these guys overcame to get down the mountain and stay alive. I enjoyed the book and look forward to seeing the movie when it comes out here in June.

On a side note, not good to read about the initial accident to the knee (graphic description of bone/blood!) while you eating lunch (as I did), put me off a bit!!

Waiting to hear back from Carpediva...

Journal Entry 18 by TramGirl from Ballarat, Victoria Australia on Sunday, May 16, 2004
Carpediva was skipped in the order as I never heard back from them. The book has been sent on to Labmomnm, I posted it on Saturady 15th May. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 19 by winglabmomnmwing from Albuquerque, New Mexico USA on Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Received in the mail from TramGirl...spiff! I saw the movie a month or so ago and am looking forward to the book (a few ahead of it in line, though).

6/18/04 - Finished this last night - it was painful to read, just because of the subject matter. I wonder if I'd have been less freaked by it if I hadn't seen the film, first? Interesting to see the things that were left out of the film, too. This edition is great because of Simpson's additions at the end of the original text - about his reactions to the film and the bit in the Himalayas. He writes really well - I'll have to try one of the novels and see if he can handle fiction, too.

Heading back to sunny Glasgow tomorrow......

Journal Entry 20 by BernardSampson from Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on Saturday, June 26, 2004
Received from labmomnm today. It's next in line to read.

Journal Entry 21 by BernardSampson from Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom on Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Page turning account of extreme endurance. I enjoyed reading it.

Posted on to Spike1972 yesterday.

Journal Entry 22 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Thursday, July 22, 2004

Recieved this morning from BernardSampson. Thank you ;o)

I'm looking forward to reading it, but for now it has to go to the foot of Mt TBR.

(If anyone else should want to read it, please let myself and/or Glasgowgal know. She needs to know as it's her book! ;o)}

Journal Entry 23 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Saturday, October 02, 2004
Well, I know I may've taken a little over a month to read this, but by *my* standards, that pretty damn quick! ;o)

I suspect that's because it's a VERY good book. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and the way that Joe Simpson put so much detail and passion into his writing. At times I felt I could have been there with him, (even if I didn't want to be..)

For me, I found his portrayal of his feelings and experiences, both good and bad, very powerful and believable. And I admit to wincing sometimes when he told of some of the pain he had to endure, and injuries sustained. (Yes, I'm a wimp, I know!)

I've not seen the film of the book yet, but I intend to. I also suspect that when I do, if I hadn't read the book, and know that it really DID happen, I would probably accuse the makers of going too far, and not believing what happened.

After having read this, for a while it left me a little stunned knowing that it did happen, *exactly* as Joe Simpson wrote it.

Thanks very much to Glasgowgal for allowing me to share this. It's off to Helly77 when I get an address.

Journal Entry 24 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Thursday, October 07, 2004
I'm sorry for the delay in posting, but managed to get this book in the post to Helly77 as of 6/10/04.

Journal Entry 25 by Helly77 from Preston, Lancashire United Kingdom on Friday, October 08, 2004
Will read as soon as possible! Unfortunately 4 rings have arrived this week, so it may take me a couple of weeks before I can send it on its way!

Journal Entry 26 by Helly77 from Preston, Lancashire United Kingdom on Wednesday, October 27, 2004
This was a fabulous read. really gripping and hard to put down. Truly awe-insiring. the way he survived what he did was amazing!
I enjoyed it so much I have rented the DVD! Just want to see the story come to life :o)

Will be sending it on next time I get to a Post Office!

Journal Entry 27 by Helly77 from Preston, Lancashire United Kingdom on Sunday, October 31, 2004
I've just watched the film of this and it was fantastinc. It really brought the story to life, but was done in a documentary style so it felt more real. I recommend it to all. Oh, it also made it so that you didnt need to understand mountaineering terms either. (that was what i struggled with in the book!)
I recommend it to everyone!

will be releasing this this week.

Journal Entry 28 by Helly77 at Bookring in to another bookcrosser, By Post -- Controlled Releases on Monday, November 01, 2004
Released on Sunday, October 31, 2004 at about 7:00:00 PM BX time (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada) at Bookring in to another bookcrosser, By Post Controlled Releases.


Off to Cambridge (2nd Class)

Journal Entry 29 by cambridgelass from Cambridge, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Arrived safe and well this morning, thank you helly77.
will begin asap.

have now sent onto Anfield.

Journal Entry 30 by Anfield from Bagshot, Surrey United Kingdom on Friday, November 19, 2004
This arrived safely this morning, thank you to Cambridgelass. Stands at #3 on Mt Tbr so I should get to it in around 10 days.

Postscript. I kept this way too long and then realised I didn't actually write anything about it. Doh! It was very gripping and quite scary too.

Journal Entry 31 by cambridgelass from Cambridge, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Friday, November 19, 2004
i haven't made my comment yet so thought i had better do it.
I really enjoyed this one. An amazing survival story, you actually feel as if you are with joe all the time, you feel his pain and desperation. This book furhtered my enjoyment of Alive (Piers paul read) which is another survival story. Both take place in Chile, it made me connect more with the characters from the story because from what an experianced mountain climber went through makes you even more amazed how a rugby team can survive such conditions and threats of snow cave's/glacier (or whatever they were called). So just to sum up, such a great read that all should read.

Journal Entry 32 by torialouise from York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Friday, February 04, 2005
Arrived safely this morning - i have one book on the go at the moment but will then be on to this one - looking forward to it!

Journal Entry 33 by torialouise from York, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Friday, February 25, 2005
I finished this book as the snow began to fall - very fitting!!! A good book - although, like others, i did get a little lost with the mountaineering references which sometimes made the situation hard to imagine. A good read - looking forward to the watching the film.

Passing on to MoJeDenUK now. Thanks!

Journal Entry 34 by RedDahlia from Folkestone, Kent United Kingdom on Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Arrived in the post today thanks. Will read it in a week or two now as I am just towards the end of one Ray and have another I must read next.

Journal Entry 35 by RedDahlia from Folkestone, Kent United Kingdom on Sunday, April 03, 2005
Decided to read it before the other *ray* in the end as it looked a quick read and I finished it in only a couple of days. I have seen the film and it was very true to the book and I am just so amazed at Joe’s courage and determination to complete the descent with a smashed knee. It was almost like it was meant to be. He kept hearing *voices* in his head telling him to keep going, don’t give up, keep to the schedule, everytime he just wanted to lie down and sleep. Maybe he was just hallucinating through the awful pain he was experiencing (but can you hallucinate without drugs?) or perhaps it was a spiritual experience and he really did have a guardian angel guiding him down to base camp. In his position I am sure I would have given in to the pain and agony. I would have done the relatively easiest thing and lay down to die in the crevasse and fervently hope I would not wake up to the cold and fear of being alone and abandoned. I really admire his guts for fighting that and meeting the danger head on. What a guy! What a story!

Journal Entry 36 by RedDahlia from Folkestone, Kent United Kingdom on Monday, April 11, 2005
Posted off to Beebarf today.

Journal Entry 37 by beeofgoodcheer from Stowmarket, Suffolk United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Received last night. And started :o)

I heard Joe Simpson on Desert Island Discs and he was really interesting. He seemed very self contained and self reliant ... and that comes through here, along with his passion for mountains. Even knowing what happened, I'm gripped.

Journal Entry 38 by BC-08041015142 on Wednesday, April 13, 2005
I just wanted to thank everyone on this ring for looking after my book so well. I can't believe it's got round 17 members, from the UK to Australia, and (fingers crossed!) looks like it's heading home in one piece. Thank you all for ensuring this ring made it to all the participants!


Journal Entry 39 by beeofgoodcheer from Stowmarket, Suffolk United Kingdom on Monday, April 25, 2005
This book isn't deathless prose, although it is certainly more articulate and insightful than many of it's genre. Instead, I think the book's power comes it's depiction of the strength of human will, and the incredibly deep bonds of trust between Joe and Simon.

I'm finding words difficult to wite because of the depth of questions it's stirred within. Definitely one of the most thought-provoking books I've read in a while.

Journal Entry 40 by beeofgoodcheer at on Saturday, May 07, 2005

Released 15 yrs ago (5/7/2005 UTC) at




Journal Entry 41 by UrbanSpaceman from Kingston upon Thames, Greater London United Kingdom on Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Arrived in the post from Beebarf today. It's #4 on my pile of ring books, but I'll get on it asap.

Journal Entry 42 by UrbanSpaceman from Kingston upon Thames, Greater London United Kingdom on Monday, May 23, 2005
This was a superb book in so many ways. The story itself is gripping, the description is excellent and the narrative is scrupulously honest. As an illustration of what humans can survive, I don't think I have read anything like it before (although I am waiting for Between a Rock and a Hard Place - also ringed by GlasgowGal).

Will post to katie1980 tomorrow.

Journal Entry 43 by katie1980 from Basingstoke, Hampshire United Kingdom on Thursday, May 26, 2005
Received safely from UrbanSpaceman yesterday. I am currently reading the other ring he mentioned - Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and then I will be sending it on to him!
I'm looking forward to reading this, as it is an example of just what people can survive :)
I saw the dvd at a market on Sunday, and I was wondering why the title seemed familiar! Now I remember! *lol*
I'll journal again when I've read it - but it ought to be quite a quick book to read because it's only little :)

Journal Entry 44 by BC-08041015142 on Sunday, July 03, 2005

Thank you so much to all the participants - all 19 of you - who have read, reviewed, and enjoyed my book over the past 18 month. Thank you for taking such good care of it as well.

Many many thanks,

Journal Entry 45 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Sunday, July 03, 2005
And Thank You GG, for introducing me to such a brilliant book, one that I'd probably never have read otherwise.

I've since seen the film as well, which just emphasised what a brilliant story/series of events this was.

I'm now looking forward to maybe finding other books by the two climbers.

Journal Entry 46 by BC-08041015142 on Monday, July 04, 2005
Bringing this back under my shelf's control.

Journal Entry 47 by katie1980 from Basingstoke, Hampshire United Kingdom on Sunday, July 10, 2005
What an amazing book! Sorry, GlasgowGal, for being so late in journalling but this is the first chance I've had to journal this book since I read it! It was a gripping book and I read most of it on the plane back from Milan last week.

It was amazing what they both went through, especially Joe. As I read this very close to reading "Between a rock and a hard place" it was interesting to se the similarities between how Aron and Joe got through their ordeals, especially as they both had voices talking to them!

This was one of my favourite (most gripping) passages from the book when Joe was on his jorney out of the mountains:
"The voice, and the watch, urged me into motion whenever the heat from the glacier halted me in a drowsy exhausted daze. [...] I would look ahead and note some features in the waves of snow, then look at my watch, and the voice told me to reach that point in half an hour. I obeyed. Sometimes I found myself slacking, sitting in a daydream, lost to what I was doing, and I would start up guiltily and try to make up time by crawling faster. It never let up. I crawled in a mechanical automatic daze because I was told that I must reach the prescribed spot in time."


Journal Entry 48 by katie1980 from Basingstoke, Hampshire United Kingdom on Monday, November 21, 2005
Just in case anyone is interested, Channel 4 are showing the movie on Thursday this week (24th November 2005). I missed it last time it was on, so will be setting my video this time! It will be interesting to see how the film differs from the book and from the images in my head created by Joe's words...

Journal Entry 49 by spike1972 from Cardiff, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, November 21, 2005
Thanks Katie ;o)

I've seen it, and can definitely recommend it - the film is almost as good as the book ;o)


Journal Entry 51 by BC-08041015142 at Muggleton Inn in Maidstone, Kent United Kingdom on Thursday, May 17, 2007

Released 13 yrs ago (5/17/2007 UTC) at Muggleton Inn in Maidstone, Kent United Kingdom



Journal Entry 52 by Cass01 from Maidstone, Kent United Kingdom on Friday, May 18, 2007
Picked up at Maidstone meet, which transferred itself from the Muggleton Inn to 'Roadhouse' Coffee Shop!

Was recommended as a great read so looking forward to it :-)

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