Sunday, 19 February 2017

Loyalty: One of life's true blessings?

This movie was brought to my attention recently. It is a 2003 docudrama about two British men who got into trouble while climbing the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes.

I had never heard of it before but I was told that it was an interesting movie. Fortunately I found it on Netflix and settled in to watch it.

Basically these two men climbed the west face of Siula Grande and on the way down, they got into trouble and one of the men had to make the agonising decision to cut the rope because his partner was dangling over a crevasse and it was impossible to get back up or down.

Can you imagine having to make that kind of decision? I can't and I wouldn't want to. To effectively kill your partner to save yourself is one decision that I could do without, any of us could do without.

Miraculously the man who was cut loose survived the fall and even though his leg was badly broken and he didn't have any provisions he was able to get himself out of the crevasse and he was able to crawl back to base camp over the best part of four days.

What I like about that story was that the man who was cut loose, Joe Simpson has always supported his partner, Simon Yates' decision to cut the rope. Simpson says that he would have done the same thing if the roles were reversed. In reality, Yates' decision to cut the rope helped save Simpson's life.

The idea of loyalty to his climbing partner and not changing his story is something that impresses me about this story of survival. Simpson could have easily been bitter and angry towards his climbing partner but he appears to not be and that says a lot about him. From what I have read, it seems the two are not really friends in the truest sense of the word but to have someone defend you like what Simpson did with Yates is one of life's true blessing and is just as good as a friendship in my book anyway.

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