I love the mountain. My father is a passionate mountaineer and our parents would take my brother and me on trips to the mountains every summer in our childhood. Those remain some of my best vacations. The feeling you have when you are on the top of the mountain has no comparison… Without much effort, you empty your thoughts and what you experience is absolute freedom. All these emotions came back to me when I watched Touching the Void last week and were probably what made a remarkable true story even more impactful. Without pretending to know more about it than I do, I believe that you have to know a little about the mountain to understand why for some people this is their life.
The film was based on the international best seller of Joe Simpson, one of the two young professional mountaineers who, in May 1985, set off to scale the unclimbed West Face of Siula Grande, a remote and treacherous peak in the Peruvian Andes. Simpson and Simon Yates reached their summit, but shortly after starting the descent, an accident turned their daring expedition into a desperate fight for survival. A lesson of life, camaraderie, human endurance and undying motivation to live when your experience and every ache in your body tells you that in fact your chances of survival are close to zero. I’ll tell you this: Joe Simpson is now one of my heroes. 18 years later, at the time this movie was made, he still had tears in his eyes when he was recounting his story. His book is already on my wish list.