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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

What listeners say about Touching the Void

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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What a story

I enjoyed this and finished it in just a week. Only off putting element was that Simon’s voice was abit like an evil genius but ah well

1 person found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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Great story and well told.

If it were fiction it would be a great story but to think it actually happened is incredible. How many times was Joe so close to death but cheated it every time. Luck or someone watching over him pulled him back many times. The interplay with Simon's side of the story was also a great and emotional part of the listen.

Quite amazing what the human body and mind can ensure when pushed to the extreme limit of survival, but I'm guessing maybe only 1 out of 100 or even 1000 would have the strength, courage and determination that Joe Simpson did.

I did have the book which was handy for the pictures and the maps as sometimes it was difficult to visualise the features and obstacles they were facing. Seeing the picture of the mountain ranges and the route up and down really helped.

A fantastic tale of survival and classic story well told. Excellent!

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Exceptional and touching

I saw the film and thought it a first class documentary. The book is so much better. Thank you Joe for this remarkable telling of yours and Simon's ascent of Siula Grande. Followed by the momentous decent and catastrophic turn of events. The fortitude and resilience in one man's will to survive is unforgettable.

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A Fantastic Listen

I found myself extending walks so I could continue listening, an excellent book read well.

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Classic book, a must listen for all climbers

A classic book which really captures you. If you're a climber you'll love it

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Excellent

Thrilling storytelling. I couldn't listen fast enough. Great story of a person pushing themselves to their limits and beyond.

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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.

10 people found this 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 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-06-20

Better than the Movie

I first saw touching the void during physics class in high school of all places. I was immediately inspired by it and it’s stuck with me throughout the years (I’m 26 now).

When I was looking for audiobooks to listen to on my long runs during my marathon training, I was surprised and pleased to see this one pop up as a suggestion. I am so glad I decided to purchase it! It’s been the best audiobook I’ve listened to so far (admittedly I’ve only gotten in to audiobooks lately so it’s basically 1 out of 10, but still).

I got so in to the story and narration that I couldn’t stop listening long after my run and found myself lying in bed still listening at 1am because I couldn’t go to sleep without hearing how it ended even though I already knew from the film!

It threw me off the first time the narration switched because I wasn’t expecting it, but it actually made the story a lot easier to follow and made it easier to understand the psyche of Simon and Joe by having their perspectives read by different voices.

2 people found this 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.

2 people found this 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 people found this 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 people found this helpful

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  • SoldierWife1990
  • 14-07-21

Didn't think I'd like it, amazing

Didn't think I'd like it, amazing. Short of the bone-numbing cold, I thought I was there. Wish they would've told us what happened after the frostbite.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-06-21

Inspirational and moving

Amazing story I listened to this with our 4 boys, and we loved every second of this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rob
  • 30-04-21

Could Not Stop Listening

This has got to be one of the most intense stories of survival ever told. I've never been so glued to an audio book. I've seen the documentary and it was also intense but there is more detail in the writing of this story. I'm glad Joe was a good writer... and that he survived of course, which is nothing short of a miracle.

1 person found this helpful

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  • My Opinion Only
  • 17-04-21

Love the movie, the book is better

This is a book that I have listened to on multiple occasions. Being a true story drew me in to my initial purchase of the book and I have certainly gotten my monies worth out of it. The movie of the same name is also worth a watch and gives the visual of what it was like. Beautiful but deadly. I'll be listening again some time soon.

1 person found this helpful