This one is a week or so old, but just came to my attention today. British newspaper The Telegraph has published a great interview with Joe Simpson of Touching The Void fame. The article touches on his now infamous climb on Siula Grande with Simon Yates as well as his fascination with The Eiger and his book The Beckoning Silence which was recently made into a movie and aired on the BBC.
Simpson recalls that as a boy he read The White Spider by Heinrich Harrer and wondered why anyone would want to climb mountains. He also jokes that he wished he would have listened to his younger self when he was dragging himself down Siula Grande. But it was that book by Harrer that introduced him to The Eiger, and planted his own thoughts of climbing that iconic face that has lured so many others.
The story for Beckoning Silence centers around a famous, and famously doomed, 1936 climb on The Eiger that left everyone on the team dead, after a series of mishaps. The most famous of which was Toni Kurz, the last climber alive, who struggled to climb down to a waiting rescue team, only to die just a few feet our of reach.
Simpson talks about his own attempts on the Eiger as well. Six in all from 2000 to 2003. He never successfully climbed that face, and was turned back each time by the notoriously fickle weather on the mountain. He has now retired, but as the article indicates, he came out of retirement to assist with some of the climbing sequences for the movie.
It’s an excellent article and adds even more insight into a guy who is already a legend in the climbing community and beyond.