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The Beckoning Silence
Joe Simpson

I've enjoyed every one of Simpson's books that I've read. It's hard to say why -- maybe it's because his books seem more personal than others or maybe it's because his books tend to ramble in a personal way that cover a lot of ground -- from personal to philosophical and then to the side of the mountain. At any rate, this book starts with a climb in the Andes and a near call with a collapsing serac and Simpson's increasing sense of his own mortality. For some people, this would be called a mid-life crisis and Simpson explores the impact of this realization on his own endeavors. Unlike other people, though, Simpson decides to climb the classic route up the North Face of the Eiger. As he prepares for the climb, he reflects on some of the historic efforts in the 1930s -- and then as he details his climb, he relates the stops and efforts to the history. In fact, he revels in the history as he ticks off some of the stops on the route. I get the sense that we haven't heard the last of Simpson yet.

Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award for Literature in 2003. Notes from the award citation:

This is the story of a mountaineer in the autumn of his career coming to grips with his own mortality and dwindling physical resources. An extraordinary storyteller, Joe Simpson takes us on a series of adventures which span the globe, culminating in one final, career-ending climb of the North Face of the Eiger. Simpson is at his best when the chips are down and the line between life and disaster is stretched paper thin.


Related Books

bulletTouching the Void: The Harrowing First Person Account Of One Man's Miraculous Survival by Joe Simpson  My Review 
bulletInto Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer Read Review
bulletA Slender Thread: Escaping Disaster In The Himalayas by Steven Venables  My Review
bulletDark Shadows Falling by Joe Simpson  Read Review
bulletThis Game of Ghosts by Joe Simpson
bulletStorms of Silence by Joe Simpson
bulletThe Naked Mountain by Reinhold Messner


Click here to see the full list of books that we have reviewed.


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