Chapter 1 – Beneath The Mountain Lakes
The narrator, and author of the book Joe Simpson, and his friend Simon are at the bottom of the mountain, looking around the area, trying to get a general idea of the types of terrain and weather patterns of the mountain Siula Grande.
They talk to their friend Richard, from the area but who is not and experienced mountaineer to find out about which routes they should take to reach the summit of the 21,000 foot mountain.
Joe Simpson is not used to to weather patterns in the area, as he climbs the Alps, and this mountain region is completely foreign to him, as he is used to there being storms, or much more extreme weather conditions when there is lower pressure, and cumulus clouds as there is in the Alps, however in the areas in Peru the lower pressure doesn’t mean that there is always a storm to follow.
Joe Simpson describes Simon as being a good person to work with, as they are both similarly skilled when it comes to mountaineering, so they get along well.
Simon and Joe begin their first steps towards the summit of the mountain, taking the route on the west face where it is flat, and powder snow wont settle on it, making it much more difficult to climb on. They get along steadily and manage to make shelter in the snow further up the mountain without any hassle.
Chapter 2 – Tempting Fate
As they start to new day to continue climbing, Joe Simpson feels uneasy from the cold of the mountain, but soon forgets about it, knowing he wouldn’t feel as bad if he warms himself up.
As they begin to climb, and Simon goes further up the mountain, screwing in points for their harness to attach to in the event of someone falling, there would be the other person the counter act the fall preventing the other from falling further down the mountain.
The ice is varied in density, so it shifts from being soft, to harder, making it more difficult to climb the mountain, and fit their ice picks in to the face of the mountain.
As they reach higher up part of the ice further above Joe breaks, and rocks and chunks of ice fall narrowly missing Joe’s head.
The day begins to get darker and Joe and Simon cannot find, nor recall where they intended on setting a base at for the night on the face of the mountain.
Simon then begins to find softer spots in the ice, ideal for digging out and camping at over night, and squeals in joy when luckily finding it in time.
When getting more settled into the small base made in the snow Joe recalls when he was on the Alps and had set up a camp similar to the one he was on. During Joe’s time on the Alps he has set up a camp on a harder area of more compacted snow, but it wasn’t sitting on the mountain, but on snow compacted inside a crack in the mountain. The snow began to slowly melt, then a massive shift in the snow was caused, collapsing their entire base into the crack. Joe and his fellow mountaineer at the time Ian were disturbed in their sleep, falling a hundred feet down the mountain, only luckily supported by a screw in the ice, which then hung them both by a harness, hanging at this point, with only one piece of rope, torn from the rocks falling on it. They were then rescued by a helicopter, and Ian then returned to the Alps to never climb again out of fear.