“I saw the rope flick down, and my hopes sank. I drew the slack rope to me, and stared at the frayed end. Cut! I couldn’t take my eyes from it. White and pink nylon filaments sprayed out from the end. I suppose I had known it all along. It was a madness. Crazy to have believed it, but everything was getting that way” (Simpson 114).
This is the exact moment Joe found out what had happened, and that Simon had cut the rope, letting him fall to his own death. I chose this passage because I found it a bit odd in the fact that Joe was so calm about it. I would have assumed his reaction would be a bit more angry/hurt/confused, but he states that he was shocked for a moment and then brushes it off like he should have known it all along. Maybe this is where a climber’s mindset comes it. He knew his own destiny would probably be death and he couldn’t count on Simon to help him. It was a fend-for-yourself situation to begin with and Simon was just trying to help as much as he could, or delaying Joe’s ultimate fate.
“I had been on to a loser from the moment he broke his leg, and nothing could have changed it” (Yates 121)
When I read Simon’s reaction to cutting the rope, I was surprised. I would think that he would have thought more about how he felt bad for Joe and his family, but it seemed like he was thinking more of himself. He was a bit selfish by thinking that he was the one was screwed over. Instead of being sad over his friend’s death, he was worried about being blamed, and the ridicule he was going to face when he got home.
“If they had gone, what then? The prospect terrified me. I knew the answer only too well. I couldn’t believe that they would have left. It seemed inconceivable after my efforts. Nothing could be that cruel?” (Simpson 181).
While reading this I found myself totally agreeing with Joe that nothing could ever be that cruel. It just seemed like, if he had had enough will to live then he would be able to make it, but it was ultimately a matter of chance that Richard and Simon weren’t gone yet, and what exactly was keeping them there? For all Joe knew, nothing was keeping them there, and at that point he felt overwhelmed that he had done all this work for nothing and that maybe he was suppose to die. I can’t imagine being in Joe’s position at that moment, and I probably wouldn’t have kept going if I thought they had gone already.