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Touching the Void Review

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by Phil Hinton Jun 1, 2004 at 12:00 AM

    Touching the Void Review
    Touching the Void is a true story about two 20 year old British climbers who attempt to climb Siula Grande, a 21,000 ft. peak in the Peruvian Andes, which had never successful been achieved. They set out to scale the steep western face of the mountain using an old fashioned technique of just one base camp and a straight push for the summit. The ascent is dangerous but easier than they imagined, however coming down is about to change their lives forever. As they look for the easiest way down the mountain Simpson falls breaking his leg in the process. Normally the safest thing to do would be for the other to go and get help, but this would mean certain death for the one staying behind. Instead climber Simon Yates tries to save his friend Simpson by lowering him down in stages on a rope, this goes well and they near the bottom of the mountain but Simon lowers Simpson over a crevice and is unable to hold the weight after an hour or so, Simpson has no way to climb back. In the end the rope must be cut and this must mean certain death for Simpson.

    The film is unusual as both Simpson and Yates narrate the story in interview form, the climbers are played by actors for the reconstructions, yet the whole package works for the viewer. Although it is a story about mountaineering and disaster, you don't have to understand climbing to be transfixed by the men's plight towards survival. The story is harrowing and horrifying yet the courage and vigour of Simpson in his fight for survival is heart warming and truly shows the strength of the human mind to overcome the worst. This film is highly recommended.