Chapter 6 – “The Final Choice”

Part 1

Some of the problems that Joe and Simon faced as Joe where that they were only able to descend straight down, this meant that they could not change their line of decent easily as they would have to make flow traverses sideways. Another problem was that Joe’s leg kept getting stuck in the snow, which caused him even greater discomfort. The seats that Simon lowered Joe from caused further problems, as they only just lasted long enough for Joe to be lowered one rope (300 feet) length. “It had been quite impossible to descend in a diagonal line to the right. Gravity had turned me into a dead weight and no amount of scrabbling against the snow with ice axes had prevented a plumb vertical descent.” “… I concentrated on keeping my leg clear of the snow. It was an impossible task.”

Part 2

Joe uses minor sentences to recreate tension during pages 94-95. They show us that Joe is thinking in short bursts that only barely make sense due to tiredness, his injury and the fact that he has adrenaline running through his system. We can tell this because if Joe had been in a complete functioning state then he wouldn’t have been talking in short irregular outburst, he would be speaking in fully formed sentences. This shows us that Simon and Joe are not functioning physically, mentally or emotionally anywhere near to 100% of there capacity and this adds to the tension during this section as we are thinking about things they, Simon and Joe, could have done differently that they didn’t or couldn’t think of.

Part 3

There are multiple factors that influenced Simons decision to cut the rope. One of the main factors that influenced his decision was the cold, because of the cold he had frostbite which meant he couldn’t hold the rope properly, the cold also reduced his strength this meant that he couldn’t hold the rope properly and for as long. Another factor would have been exhaustion because Simon had already lowered Joe around 2700 feet he was worn out already this meant what little he could have done differently, he was not able to. The factor that ultimately forced Simon to cut the rope was the fact that the belay seat started to collapse this kicked Simon into action to save his own life it was ultimately the only thing that caused him to cut the rope as he was only acting on instinct. It was important to include Simons perspective in this section for two reasons. One it gives us insight into what events happened to Simon that caused the rope to be cut, and secondly it is to show everyone else that Simon did everything in his power to save Joe right up until he no longer could, this is so that people who were not there understood Simons actions and forgive him, or at least leave him alone.

One Reply to “Chapter 6 – “The Final Choice””

  1. Liam, you have supported your first answer about what obstacles/difficulties the men faced on their descent, with specific, relevant quotations. Continue to include quotations for the points you have made about Joe’s erratic thoughts through “minor sentences”, and Simon’s narration.
    – A few relevant quotations would validate these additional answers.

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