Several years after writing Touching
the Void, the author's leg has recovered to some degree. Simpson is back in the Himalayas
attempting a difficult first ascent up the South Face of Pumori; a climb
that he is not really mentally prepared for even if he is physically
As part of the soul-searching about whether his body
and mind are up for the challenge of completing this climb, this book
ultimately swerves left into a lengthy discussion of the ethics of
mountain climbing including topics such as peak bagging, enviromental
concerns such as littering, overcrowding. Simpson details his
philosophy around the ethics of big mountain climbing. Once the book swerves
back onto the efforts of the climb, Simpson uses the ethics discussion
to frame many of the decisions that his team made during the climb.
A very interesting and rewarding book.