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Mountain Dew

Touching the Void question...

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I know a guy named Andy. ;)

 

Are you saying no way to anchor the rope with a bollard? dead man or picket maybe then? Just can’t anchor in the Andes? Regardless, my point isn’t as much what Simon coulda woulda shoulda done as much as what I’m trying to take from it.

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It's kind of funny to read folks here type in their "situation averted" assessments from their comfy ergo office chairs.

 

Both the movie and book clearly depicted what was an obviously desperate situation: a belayer who is already slipping over a cliff edge on very steep terrain covered with a layer of unconsolidated snow (typical for those kinds of Andean flutings) at altitude with his partner's full weight on the rope. Simply whip out your picket and pound it into the...the...rock...um, sugar snow...uh...let's try cutting a bollard with my free hand (??????)...wait, now what did I do with that emergency bolt kit?

 

Just a little different from that time you got out of your belay by clipping to the tree behind you during the Intermediate Climbing Course...while sitting on flat ground.

 

And Simpson? He dropped his prusik because his hands were frozen after many hours in harsh conditions. What a dumbshit, Eh?

 

I mean, this is all great for what-if-Mighty-Mouse-fought-Superman-speculation purposes, but come on. To those armchair critics of whom I speak: at the very least, try doing some comparable stuff first, then, by all means, pontificate away about the mistakes of others with your new found expertise to back you up.

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Check out Joe Simpson's movie The Beckoning Silence. Its about an attempt at climbing the North Face of the Eiger. Its up on youtube. I'm not really doing it justice with that description but its pretty dang good.

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The snow in the Andes is unbelievable unconsolidated. Even the best snow in the Andes would be considered complete sugar in the Cascades. I can't imagine rapping off a snow bollard in the Andes. Pickets work in the Andes but only in neve...

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Nicely said Tvash.

 

What makes Touching the Void such a compelling story is not the accident or the what ifs, but the amazing force of will and determination and cunning to survive when the shit totally hits the fan. It is about digging deeper than you ever thought possible, going on when all seems lost, and then being willing to bare your soul in print for others to gawk over. Sure, see the movie, but definitely read the book. After you finish that go read the tale of the Endurance. THAT is harrowing beyond imagination and it plays out over more than a YEAR.

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Tvash had a point, or a couple of points. Good ones. But is his view of the book or movie the only "right" one? No. Part of what makes the story so compelling is that it has so many layers to it.

 

Armchair analysis from beginning or experienced climbers alike, literary criticism, and just plain "wow" are all perfectly appropriate topics for discussion.

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It's kind of funny to read folks here type in their "situation averted" assessments from their comfy ergo office chairs.

 

Both the movie and book clearly depicted what was an obviously desperate situation: a belayer who is already slipping over a cliff edge on very steep terrain covered with a layer of unconsolidated snow (typical for those kinds of Andean flutings) at altitude with his partner's full weight on the rope. Simply whip out your picket and pound it into the...the...rock...um, sugar snow...uh...let's try cutting a bollard with my free hand (??????)...wait, now what did I do with that emergency bolt kit?

 

Just a little different from that time you got out of your belay by clipping to the tree behind you during the Intermediate Climbing Course...while sitting on flat ground.

 

And Simpson? He dropped his prusik because his hands were frozen after many hours in harsh conditions. What a dumbshit, Eh?

 

I mean, this is all great for what-if-Mighty-Mouse-fought-Superman-speculation purposes, but come on. To those armchair critics of whom I speak: at the very least, try doing some comparable stuff first, then, by all means, pontificate away about the mistakes of others with your new found expertise to back you up.

good point! But I think it'd have been more core if he chewed his way through that damned rope. Just sayin'.

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Another one of my favorites is "Minus 148 Degrees" by Art Davidson. If you have not yet read this one, it covers the epic first winter ascent of Denali and is just as good as touching the void (IMO).

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...The Beckoning Silence...Its up on youtube...

 

Joe: "This mountain [i.e., the Eiger]. Its quite addictive."

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Nicely said Tvash.

 

What makes Touching the Void such a compelling story is not the accident or the what ifs, but the amazing force of will and determination and cunning to survive when the shit totally hits the fan. It is about digging deeper than you ever thought possible, going on when all seems lost, and then being willing to bare your soul in print for others to gawk over. Sure, see the movie, but definitely read the book. After you finish that go read the tale of the Endurance. THAT is harrowing beyond imagination and it plays out over more than a YEAR.

 

The lessons I took from this story, one of the most incredible I've ever read or seen, for sure, is this:

 

1) When the shit goes down, it's all about you, babe. Most of us don't realize what we're really capable of.

2) Never give up. If living for another hour becomes your only remaining goal in life, put everything into it.

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That was not my point of view, but I guess you had to take your requisite shot. Fortunately, some others here got my points a bit more accurately.

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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Another one of my favorites is "Minus 148 Degrees" by Art Davidson. If you have not yet read this one, it cover the epic first winter ascent of Denali and is just as good as touching the void (IMO).

 

:tup:

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The snow in the Andes is unbelievable unconsolidated. Even the best snow in the Andes would be considered complete sugar in the Cascades. I can't imagine rapping off a snow bollard in the Andes. Pickets work in the Andes but only in neve...

 

The Cordilleras Blanca and Huayhuash have some of the most stable weather of any of the great ranges. After the Andean winter (February-May), the Peruvian Andes get weeks of sun. I'm no snow scientist, but I have climbed a bit in the Cordillera Blanca, and let me tell you, when the tropical sun is beating on the snow, it sure looks like it goes through melt-freeze metamorphism in a hurry. Ever been to the Sierra Nevada in the spring? Imagine the same strength of sun, but at 10 degrees latitude rather than 35.

 

I can't comment on the snow flutings, though. Those do look terrifying.

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Another one of my favorites is "Minus 148 Degrees" by Art Davidson. If you have not yet read this one, it cover the epic first winter ascent of Denali and is just as good as touching the void (IMO).

 

:tup:

 

I will look for this book on Amazon; Sounds good! :)

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