Chapter 5 ‘Disaster is the most action-packed, and nail-biting, this chapter is the climax of the book. Disaster occurs when Joe and Simon are climbing down the west face of Suila Grande after reaching the peak. Joe falls down a nearly vertical, steep section of the cliff, breaking his leg.” Everything was still, silent. My thoughts raced madly. then pain flooded down my thigh – a fierce burning fire coming down the inside of my thigh, seeming to ball in my groin, building, and building until I cried out at it, and my breathing came in ragged gasps. My leg! Oh, Jesus. My leg!” quotation from the book. For Joe, this is as close as he has gotten to ‘touching the void’ while climbing Suila Grande, as many close calls as they have had, this is the far greatest. Joe describes his surroundings still and silent even more than usual, his thoughts racing madly. He writes in such a hasty way, written at such a fast pace that in a way that the audience can imagine, a headache from the swarm of thoughts, “Left here? Alone? I felt cold at the thought. I remembered Rob, who had been left to die… but Rob had been unconscious, had been dying. I had only a bad leg.” but also the silence, the knowledge that he has a high chance of dying and reflecting on that fact. The imagery of a fiercely burning fire building and building in his leg allows the audience to imagine his pain and suffering from his sustained injury. A piece of figurative language composed of a metaphor used to create an effect giving the words even more power and value to the reader. Joe Simpson has used language and writing style techniques to draw the reader into his own experiences while climbing down the almost vertical cliff. The use of strong syntax sentences adding an emotional effect on the audience showing the anger and frustration of this sudden event but also a period of strong reflection his rational thoughts heartbreaking but understandable to the readers. The audience then becomes engrossed in his journey back down to the descent of the mountain a burden to Simon, the struggles and the endurance of both Joe and Simon after this life crisis.
Joe includes a passage of text he interviewed Simon while writing the book on a point of view during the event where Joe shattered his knee joint. It gives the audience a different perspective on how Simon was feeling during this disaster. Simon’s bluntness and rationality giving the reader a different opinion on his character, quote ” You’re fucked, matey. You’re dead… no two ways about it! I think he knew too.” an example of their rising tension, Joe becoming another burden for Simon to carry along with the fact that had no gas, so no way to get hydrated. The controversy of what to do, leave Joe behind, save himself, to make a realistic decision, better one dead than both. Simon goes through this repetitive, self-damaging thought process before he lends his hand out to help Joe. The normal human behavior is to help when help is needed but also the act of selfishness comes into play. We are taught from a young age to put others before ourselves but only if there is no risk of harm to ourselves when harm comes into play we go into survival mode to protect ourselves even at the risk of others.