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Touching the Void

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Touching the Void is a 2003 documentary film based on a book by Joe Simpson about Joes' and Simon Yates' near fatal attempt to summit mount Siula Grande. The Siula Grade peak is located in the Peruvian Andes and is 20,814ft high. It was first climbed in 1936 on the North Ridge by Arnold Awerzger (de) and Erwin Schneider (de) from Austria and secondly by Spanish climbers Jordi Corominas and Oriol Baro who made an ascent in May 2007, very few people have tried to climb Siula Grande because of its extreme isolation. It takes at least three days on foot to make it to base camp, however this was not going to deter Joe and Simons ambitious summit plan.

 

As we watch the documentary Touching the Void directed by Scottish director Kevin Macdonald (born 28 October 1967) we see what dedication is required to reach such feats of climbing. Simon and Joe were the first people to make a summit attempt by climbing the treacherous west face of the mountain and everything seemed like it was going to plan since they made it to the top without incident  however on the decent Joe falls and badly breaks his leg. To get him off the mountain Simons has to use ropes but their is a huge storm approaching and things will only get worse for the pair.

 

The situation progressively worsens for the climbing duo and they come to terms with the high probability that they will not make it out alive as the sub-zero storm rages on... This is a story about human determination against the might of mother nature which won Best British Film at the BAFTA awards in 2004. A quote from Indiewire calls it one of "10 incredible documentaries that weren't nominated for an Oscar".

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