Touching the Void Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Joe Simpson (mountaineer)
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Which practice route does Al Rouse understate as 'a ridge of some difficulty'?

2. What is a pitch?

3. At the end of "The Final Choice", how does Simon feel?

4. What is a Karrimat?

5. Why does Simon cut the rope?

Short Essay Questions

1. What happens on The Bonatti Pillar on Les Petits Drus in the French Alps?

2. On the eve of the summit conquest, what does Simon do that leaves Joe in disbelief?

3. While thinking about the possibility of having fallen off the ridge while roped together, Joe talks about what incident witnessed by Simon?

4. On page 65, Joe says, 'I knew it would be a good day.' By the end of the day, how and why does his view of the day change?

5. Joe describes the beginning of their practice climb on Yantauri as 'inauspicious' (p24). Why?

6. When beginning his climb for the summit from the bivouac site 300 feet below the summit, what pros and cons does Joe mention about climbing in the daylight?

7. Describe the Peruvian family that lives in the huts.

8. What worries Joe and Simon the most about the final part of the route to the summit?

9. In "Storm at the Summit", how does Joe get a bloody lip and a cracked tooth?

10. After Joe tells Simon that he has broken his leg, he describes the pitiful look that Simon gives him as, 'a distance given to a wounded animal which could not be helped' (p74). From Simon's point of view, why does he give him this look?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Throughout the second half of the book, Joe continually refers to two minds. In the chapter, 'Mind Games', Joe says he is 'split in two' (p145). He labels one of these minds 'the voice'. What does Joe hear from his bifurcated inner self, and how does he react to each 'half'?

Essay Topic 2

In "Ten Years On", Joe includes an excerpt from Simon's book "Against the Wall", in which Simon describes the rope as representing a "powerful symbol of trust and friendship". Cite examples in the book that support or refute this notion. Is the climber's rope simply a safety measure or, as Simon suggests, symbolic of a powerful life-and-death bond of trust between men on the mountain?

Essay Topic 3

What influence does Richard have on the outcome of this story? Is he significant? Would the outcome have been different if Richard had not been with them?

(see the answer keys)

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