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November 25, 2005

Touching the Void

Touching the Void was on again last night – the story for those who don't know is pretty incredible. Joe Simpson and Simon Yates were involved in a serious accident climbing down from the 21,000ft Siula Grande when Joe fell and smashed his leg to pieces.

The story of how Simon tried to lower Joe down the side of the mountain and eventually cutting the rope, dropping Joe into a crevasse is pretty remarkable in itself. The fact that Joe was able to escape the crevasse and then crawl for 4 days back to the camp, exhausted, delerious and dragging his smashed leg behind him is truely amazing.

I went to see Joe talk about the experience at a lecture in Worcester a few years ago. Hearing it from the man directly is incredibly powerful, especially when talking about the night spent alone in the crevasse. As he says –

"You don't die of a broken leg"

One of those stories that really asks questions about what we are capable of and the limits of human endurance and sheer bloody mindedness.

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