The Beckoning Silence by Joe Simpson Online

The Beckoning Silence
Title : The Beckoning Silence
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780898869415
Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 315

“I had to stand there and watch while the rest of my life was determined by the shaky adhesion of a few millimetres of fractured ice and the dubious friction of a tiny point of metal in a hairline crack in a rock wall…”Marking the climax of his climbing career, Joe Simpson confronts his fears and mountaineering history in an assault on the North Face of the Eiger. Since hi“I had to stand there and watch while the rest of my life was determined by the shaky adhesion of a few millimetres of fractured ice and the dubious friction of a tiny point of metal in a hairline crack in a rock wall…”Marking the climax of his climbing career, Joe Simpson confronts his fears and mountaineering history in an assault on the North Face of the Eiger. Since his epic battle for survival in the Andes, recounted in Touching the Void, Joe Simpson has experienced a life filled with adventure but marred by death. He has endured the painful attrition of climbing friends in accidents which call into question the perilously exhilarating activity to which he has devoted his whole life. Probability is inexorably closing in. The tragic loss of a close friend forces a momentous decision. It is time to turn his back on the mountains that he has loved. Never more alive than when most at risk, he has come to see a last climb on the mile-high North Face of the Eiger as the cathartic finale to his climbing career.In a narrative that takes the reader through extreme experiences from an avalanche in Bolivia, ice-climbing in the Alps and Colorado and paragliding in Spain -- before his final confrontation with the Eiger -- Simpson reveals the inner truth of climbing, exploring the power of the mind and the frailties of the body through intensely lived accounts of exhilaration and despair. The subject of his new book is the siren song of fear and his struggle to come to terms with it.


The Beckoning Silence Reviews

  • Sarah

    I’m constantly (and morbidly) fascinated with stories of the amazing triumphs and horrific despair of mountaineering. Death comes so readily it seems, but the love of the mountains, the rush of adrenaline, and the battle itself bring these cliff-hangers and ice-climbers back time and again. It seems to be, quite like drugs or plastic surgery, an addiction that always drags you back for one more self-defining round. I’ve read of Joe Simpson’s harrowing tales in other books- his survival is [...]

  • Martin

    A great book for climbers, many of the thoughts and ideas that Joe Simpson shares are mirroring my own convictions about fear, death, dreams and life in general. He just found the words to describe those things in a clear and distinctive way. I'm recommending this book to everyone who wants to understand me and my "selfish" inclination for the Mountain.

  • Terence Livingston

    Enjoyed this - not as much as Touching the Void - but a good ripping, teeth biting, neck chilling climbing book is as good as a holiday! Now back to reality!

  • Mosco

    a differenza di quel trombone di Messner, Simpson è proprio molto simpatico e autoironico. Scorrevole e brillante, mi sta piacendo parecchio. Devo vederla di persona la nord dell'Eiger. Da sotto, tranquilli!

  • L.K. Chapman

    I read this after reading Touching the Void earlier this year and being completely blown away by it, and decided to read more books about climbing because something about it seems to resonate with me even though I'm not a climber myself and I don't even know anybody who is!This book was an interesting combination of Joe talking about various different experiences while climbing, some personal experiences from his own life, and also accounts of earlier climbers who attempted the north face of the [...]

  • Bill Tyne

    This is the story of Joe Simpson creeping doubts about the wisdom of keeping on climbing - too many funerals of friends lost in accidents begin to take their toll on his confidence and love of climbing. He examines these feelings and explores the reasons behind his own and others love of the sport. Before he gives it all up he is talked into doing a few last climbs, the old what ifs you don't want to leave undone. The main focus of the end of the book is his attempt on the North face of the Eige [...]

  • Karen Terrell

    There were passages in *The Beckoning Silence* that were exquisite and poetic. Simpson brings us into his inner world, and allows us to share in the feelings and thoughts of a mountaineer nearing the end of his career. By the end of the book I think every reader can understand why Joe Simpson would consider retiring from climbing. My 97 year-old dad (Dee Molenaar, a veteran of several mountaineering expeditions) recently remarked: "I'm glad I did the climbing I did. I'm also glad I don't have to [...]

  • Jerry Smith

    I am a fan of Simpson's writing and very much enjoyed "Touching the Void" for both it's writing and the story itself and this has obviously given him some notoriety and admiration in the mountaineering community, and deservedly so.This is a very good read too, although I did take a while to get into the main part of the story which is the author's attempt to climb the Eiger North Face and being peripherally involved in another tragedy on that infamous climb. This is the best part of the book by [...]

  • Tracey

    I'm absolutely terrified of heights , so to find a love of reading about mountaineering and the climbers tale is somewhat strange I admit. But the honesty that comes from these climbers , the bravery , determination and courage to go on some of the most dangerous climbs where life has already been lost is something I can't help but admire. I know id never do anything like this myself , and reading these books is my way of experiencing it. This book has had me close to tears several times , espec [...]

  • Emma (M)

    Enjoyable read but I did get frustrated at the level of irrelevant detail in his retelling of events. I also felt it sort of finished a bit unfinished. We never find out if he and Ray go back to the Eiger together and finish what they started, which was a bit annoying. However, I liked the glimpse he gave into the climbing fraternity and his honesty about the growing fear he felt as he got older.

  • Kindling Micky

    I remain entertained by the way Simpson portrays his experiences in the extreme conditions of challenging mountains. His resilience post-injury, determination and narrative are excellent.

  • Jane Thompson

    Moutain ManThis is a follow up to the author's book about his ordeal when the rope was cut. In this book he describes his try on the North Face of the Eiger. He is older and has fears that he did not have before.

  • Will Atwood

    A moving and intimate look into the mind and mindset of one of the truly great climbers of this or any generation. Perhaps others are technically more adept but none are able to describe the terrifyingly beautiful world of rock and ice with Simpson's clarity and candor. Amazing !

  • Tali

    This is a good book. I'm not disputing that. It's well written, fast-paced and it's got and dramatic conclusion on the North face of the Eiger. But at the same time, I can't quite like it, mainly because I think Joe Simpson is the kind of person I will never be able to understand and so never get on with.I haven't read Touching the Void, but I loosely know the story, and apparently this book treads different ground in that it's a lot more philosophical, questioning why people climb mountains and [...]

  • Shelley

    This is not a gripping survival tale like Touching the Void. Rather it is a somewhat loosely structured autobiography on Joe Simpson's mountaineering life, centered around the period when he is about to "give up" climbing altogether.There are brilliant passages. The few pages on the sublime perfection felt after climbing the Bridalveil Falls in Colorado is lovely, a small compact jewel that comes close to conveying the unconveyable. The description of the Eiger storm is fantastic. One can almost [...]

  • Suzi

    This is only the second book in this mountain climbing, true life story genre I have read and I have to say I absolutely loved it. Simpson's style has changed so much since he wrote Touching the Void and this is a mature, beautifully written account of his dangerously addictive past time. He captures the epic mountains brilliantly with descriptions that make them sound sublime. His matter of fact style when narrating the deaths of others is interspersed with emotional outpourings of grief at the [...]

  • Kim Brown

    Joe Simpson writings are always a good read. An adventure narrative - takes you first seat, this one is no different. The tone has changed from his earlier writings. 'This Game Of Ghosts' held me spellbound, but he was more cocky, a youthful writing. This was speaking in age Wisdom, a reckoning with so many lives he seen lost. It has affected his writing, he's so much more honed in this. It's raw and emotional, he's ok with letting us the reader see his vulnerable side. This was a great, fast pa [...]

  • Tammy

    Nothing can beat the drama of "Touching the Void" by Simpson. This book suffers in the comparison. It follows Simpson's journeys through fear, but this is the fear brought on by age, experience, and settled wisdom. It is occasionally gripping in its raw treatment of what it is like to face utter terror and carry on (see the first chapter). Much of the rest of the book deals with Simpson's desire to climb the Eiger, and it provides a brief snippet of the many tragedies on this amazing mountain. H [...]

  • Denise

    Joe Simpson can really write. His use of language as he explores his often conflicting thoughts about climbing is masterful. The decision to attempt the North face of the Eiger and the agonising shifts and changes in his feelings about it created a genuine suspense - would he or wouldn't he?The stories of earlier climbers and so often their tragedies were beautifully crafted, but I found his foray into paragliding less interesting.I saw Touching the Void when it was first released and was captiv [...]

  • Nam

    I was introduced to mountain sports recently by my friends and I've fallen in love with mountains ever since. This book inspired my to do a hike on my own following the Eiger trail from Grindelwald to Lauterbrunnen. Standing in front of the magnificent North Face made my imagination of the dangling lifeless body of Kurz on the wall or the wind howling Longhi's last words, "fame, freddo," was just as real as if I were there on those fateful days. Such a monument of nature can discourage any man o [...]

  • Tressa

    I've already read this book twice. Joe Simpsons' style of writing pulls me into the story and makes me personally feel the triumphs and tragedies that he so eloquently writes about.I enjoyed learning more about the Eiger and now understand just how hard a climb it is and why it's so feared. The tragedies that happened on the mountain are heartbreaking. Especially the three deaths that happened when Joe and Ray were making their ascent. I enjoyed the DVD of Touching the Void, and am really anxiou [...]

  • Jim Fourfourfour

    just amazing ,,,,,we thank you joe for letting us poor non climbers understand the mere tip of what it is to be truly free of our lives in modern times!i cannot express how much i have enjoyed all your books to date ,,,,,and makes me want to better my own life and push for more experiences beyond this hum drum fake reality hats off to you joe,,,,,your an inspiration ,,,even if ya don't know it mate to anyone not already engulfed by joes writings ,,,do yourself a favour and get in there ,,,,aweso [...]

  • Jono

    This is a book about Joe more than it is a book about mountains. But Joe's had an interesting time.There's some gripping passages - but what I liked most was how he brought the mountains alive with the stories of the climbers, and, often, the tragedies they experienced. I couldn't help keep looking back the photographs of the first climbers. And the mountains became so much more interesting once he had given them meaning through the stories of those who came to climb them.The book jumped around [...]

  • Fraser

    This was a book just begging to be written I feel. It gets into the discussions of mountaineering not just as a sport, but a way of life, and doesn't shirk from the more unpleasant consequences of pursuing this way of life.I like Simpson a lot. He seems to have the sort of character that can endure anything (read 'Touching the Void'), but he doesn't seem to be bitter about anything, just simply open and honest in his appraisals. He seems to know more about his subject than most, and I for one ha [...]

  • Michael Heneghan

    My friend Sue Keevil, of PV Sea Dive fame, loaned me this book many moons ago and it didn't disappoint. Joe Simpson is a professional climber and author and this book details some of his great climbs and paragliding. In the first half of the book, each chapter is a self contained story of one of his excursions. Better by far is the second half, wherein he tells the harrowing tale of his climb of the Eiger in the Alps. If you like Jon Krakauer books, climbing, or any high adventure reading, this [...]

  • da-wildchildz

    Just a look, mind, nothing more.Last line from The Beckoning Silence by Joe Simpson. Whereas Touching the Void offered an escapade full of drama that had you on tenterhooks, with The Beckoning Silence, Simpson slows down the pace and offers you snippets of his adventurous life, which though not immediately obvious, gradually builds to the final tragic journey. Whilst each story isn’t related to the other, they have once common theme, death or human vulnerability. Became more and more engrossed [...]

  • Annie Wynkoop

    Soulful InsightJoe Simpson can tell a story. This one starts out a little dry and then he hooks you. He' one of those authors who will one moment make you laugh out loud then make you cry. He bares is soul many times in this book. You understand why he is drawn, yet fearful of the mountains. He is grateful to be able to write about his experiences , his travels and friendships. This mountaineer definitely reveals himself truly!

  • Brian

    By the author of Touching The Void, this book seemed to start out as a memoir of why this accomplished climber hung up the crampons, but then he got sucked back in to one last climb of the Nordwand. Most of the book was a rehash of Eiger history, but I skipped through it all because John Harlin did a better job of it with his book (and had a more compelling story of why he wanted to climb the North Face of the Eiger). Bottom line, not my favorite book ever.

  • Markéta Kimi

    Skvělá kniha nejen o horách, ale i o překonávání sama sebe, o vášni, o tom, co dává našim životům smysl. Zároveň čtenáře vzdělává - dozvěděla jsem se o tolika zajímavých lidech, kteří podnikli prvovýstupy na místa, kam se normální člověk i bojí pohlédnout."Na horách je něco, co hýbe duší. Probouzejí v člověku silný pocit duchovní podstaty a povědomí naší vlastní pomíjivé a křehké smrtelnosti a naší bezvýznamnosti ve vesmíru." (Joe Simpso [...]

  • Nina

    I love Joe Simpson’s books. He’s smart, he knows his own demons, he’s ornery and he can write.In Touching the Void, he told a story of his personal experience (as well as that of his climbing partner Simon). In The Beckoning Silence, he takes on the North Face of Eiger, which has quite the dramatic history on it’s own.I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes adventure books, or stories told by an ornery guy…