Some of the issues both Simon and Joe are facing are highly alarming, death has never seemed so close and bittersweet, for both men to succeed climbing down the mountain making it out alive seems preposterous. After running out of gas it seems bad, having no water to boil, to rehydrate. After Joe shatters his knee, the situation has doubled. The universe has thrown Simon in the deep end, Simon now has a weight-bearing down on him, not only to save his own life he has to save Joe’s life as well. Frostbite is at the men’s grasp, both Simon and Joe are both having the gnawing ache in the back of their mind that frostbite due to the windchill factor which could be the death of them as it is stopping Joe from knotting a rope as well as heavily affecting Simon’s ability to hold the rope tied to Joe to save himself from the 100foot drop below him. Quote “Both were frozen. I could move the fingers of my right hand, but my left hand, which had been still as I held onto the rope, had seized” End quote
Joe Simpson has used structural narrative and language techniques to describe the tension himself felt while being lowered down the cliff quite literally “into the void” Quote “The speed increased, and my heart jumped widely. Had he lost control? I tried braking again. Nothing. I stifled the rising panic and tried to think clearly – no, he hadn’t lost control.” End quote. The use of Minor sentences to give a fastpaced unformal tone to the piece of text, Joe has cleverly used this giving a tension stricken feeling, allowing the audience to be aware of his suffering due to the unwanted situation on the treacherous climb down the cliff face.
When Simon cut the rope connecting Joe to himself after Joe gets stuck on their path down, Joe falls down into a crevasse, the suggestion the book tells you is that Joe is dead, but we know he is not due to the fact he lived to tell the tale. We as the audience can assume that Simon cut the rope because of how likely death is becoming. Quote “There had been nothing else left to me, and so I had gone ahead with it…I was alive because I had held everything together right up to the last moment. It had been executed calmly” Simon’s thinking is that if one of us makes it, it is better than none. After hanging on for Joe for so long as a heavy burden when all he could have done is got ‘help’, and let Joe die a slow and peaceful death instead of excruciating pain along with the issues of no gas and an unfunctional leg.