Main themes of touching the void
This man never chose to be poor or go to a lesser hospital. He makes a splint for his leg from his foam sleeping mat. He cannot go up — but dare not go down. Col — a gap between two peaks which offers a way through. A real sense of life seems to be only possible when you are so close to death. Once in Cajatambo, the nearest town, they hire a pick-up truck to get them to hospital in the Peruvian capital, Lima. The book and the film As a way of dealing with his experiences, and justifying the actions of Yates, Joe Simpson wrote Touching the Void, which was published in What's important is that Joe didn't think that, and the first thing he did when he crawled back into camp was to thank me for trying to get him down. He includes a lot of beautiful description and seems to be more cautious than Simon about the choices he needs to take. Then he suddenly feels himself drop and after hitting snow slips into the crevasse where he falls again until he smacks into a rock ledge. He crawls on but is wearied as much by fear as the sheer physical effort needed to keep moving. Just as Joe is drawn to Simon because of his different personality, so Richard contrasts with both of them. Even in those dreadful moments of danger, his good humour keeps them going.
Richard comes across as someone who relishes adventures such as his diet of grubs and berries in the rain forests of Zaire and his night in the pigsty. In characteristics Cole is angry young man who wants to get attention from his divorced parents.
As he notes in his diary, he likes this way of living which seems easier. The mood is relaxed. But on the way down disaster struck, and the story of hardship and survival became famous, and infamous, beyond the world of mountaineering.
Chapter 7 — Shadows in the Ice Joe dangles on the rope, expecting to drop any moment and have Simon dropping with him. He is exhausted, without food and water and in great pain. This is the central image of the whole book and it looms like a huge adversary.
These appear in Chapter 2 when he nearly died during the night on a climb ; Chapter 4 the death of the Japanese climbers ; and Chapter 6 Toni Kurtz dying on the Eiger.
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