/ Simon Yates
Have to say that I really 'connected' with a lot of what Simon Yates was saying. He came across as a really interesting person. Having a quick google about I was wondering if he'd written anything like a biography? as I couldn't find anything.
Also more generally I'm not a high mountain mountaineer but was intrigued to see at the end of the film something along the lines of " Simon came in for intense criticism from the mountaineering community for cutting the rope" Can anyone explain why? in terms of other options etc
he has written a book could "against the wall" (about attempting a first ascent on a big wall in Patagonia) , which is well worth a read!
" Simon came in for intense criticism from the mountaineering community for cutting the rope" Can anyone explain why?
I think when the climbing world heard Joe and Simons story about what happened there where lots of rumours being spread- This was the reason for Joe Simpson writing "touching the void", to tell people what realy happened. Cutting the rope which is stopping your climbing partner alive also a very controversial thing to do!!!
Joe Simpson doesn't critisise Simon Yates for his actions and that is good enough for me.
Did anyone criticise Simon Yates, really? I never heard that they did. It's not unknown for people to make idiotic judgements about accidents they were nowhere near, of course. But I'd have thought his rationale for cutting the rope was (a) pretty obvious, and (b) one of the most obvious imaginable scenarios that explains why mountaineers carry knives.
Do mountaineers carry knives because of the possibility of a similar scenario occurring or because of that particular tale? As far as I'm aware there aren't any similar stories out there, and granted I don't do anything near as serious as the climb they did, but none of my climbing partners carry knives.
I read a mountain rescue tale once where a guy hanging off the Ben was asked by the MR team "Haven't you got a knife?" I think you'll find pretty well all guides carry knives. I've never asked a guide why. But I can see that the reasons might well include having a last-ditch way of escaping the system, as well as less exciting uses like chopping tat, or turning lengths of spare prussik into extra slings etc.
Though also one of the least likely scenarios for its use!
I recently did my spa training with stu macaleese, he said he only carries a knife to cut cheese, out of interest was that to remove the idea from our heads due to the level of training? Is there any mention of it in any other qualifications? Mia etc?
Ahh kind of answers it, guess its a personal thing?
You could use a knife to repair a damaged rope, now I think of it. Suppose you're abbing off something long and desperate in a remote place and stonefall damages part of your rope. Depending on the level of damage, it could be a good idea to cut out the damaged section. (I think. I've never had to do this, and before I get sued, I'm not offering it as advice-- maybe someone who knows more about ropes will tell me I'm hopelessly wrong.)
If your repair involves tying the ropes back together therefore ending up with a knot to pass, assuming your abbing, would it not be better to remove the damaged section by tying it off into a bight of rope to remove it from the system?
Would that even remove it from the system? Is it better to have a complete but slightly damaged rope tied off like this or a rope in two parts with no damage tied together? Or just resort to shorter abseils if it's possible with the anchors etc?
You can use an alpine butterfly to 'bypass' damaged sections of rope. As to carrying knives what do people do to cut tat on multipitch routes, either when they need to escape the route or where there's an abseil descent involved? I'd have thought that 10m or so of cord and a knife would be incredibly useful to anyone who ventures of the 10m wonder grit crags and onto longer routes?
Well, if people are going to make idiotic judgements about accidents they were nowhere near, experience suggests that UKC is where they will make them...
Simon's written two books at least, The Flame of Adventure (covering most of his earlier climbing career) and Against the Wall, all about an attempt on the Central Tower of the Torres del Paine in Patagonia. He's done loads more wild stuff than that though.
According to Joe Simpson, various senior members of the 1980s climbing community misinterpreted events on Peru and there was talk of Simon being barred from receiving any funding from e.g. the Mount Everest Foundation, which as he was of a generation of notoriously cash-strapped climbers, might well have killed his climbing career. Hence, Joe wrote TtV partly to clear Simon's name, and partly perhaps as an attempt at catharsis or closure (and partly to try make some money!)
Seems unlikely to me given that he continues to do a lot for the AC (e.g. last night's presentation at Keswick as advertised on the AC website).
I'm pretty sure he wasn't ejected from the AC because he wouldn't have been in it at the time - he was only 24 or so when he came back from Peru, and didn't have that much alpine experience (a few summer seasons in the Alps and maybe a winter). But I'm also fairly sure there was some disapproval around from the AC elder statesmen types. I wonder, though, whether the rope cutting story was just a convenient peg on which to hang more generalised distastes. The group of Sheffield based alpinists that Joe and Simon were part of at that time enjoyed a somewhat chaotic and counter-cultural lifestyle (whose descriptions in Joe and Simon's books are maybe a bit sanitised) which may not have been universally approved of.
Of course Simon got criticised from some quarters at the time. I'm surprised you're surprised. I think the criticism generally did die down and probably did have something to do with Joe's book and his support for how Simon acted. It was however a very emotive subject (cutting the rope connecting you to your climbing partner and letting him fall to almost certain death - but amazingly not - to save yourself). It may have been then right decision but it was clearly a very hard one for Simon to make at the time and, from an armchair perspective, hard for some to understand. That's part of the attraction of the story, after all, no?
And an excellent book, really easy to read and with some superb stuff in about places even quite experienced mountaineers have barely heard of. Highly recommended!
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