Even though Simon was subjected to quite a bit of criticism by the mountaineering community, I do not think it was completely justified in the sense that when Simpson did not see any reason to accuse Yates for his actions, then the mountaineering community had no right to criticize Yates for cutting the rope. In hard times such as these, it is necessary that difficult decisions are made for the better good. After all, in the end, Yates’ decision did allow Simpson to survive.
Also, the decision made by Yates was based on the evidence he had at hand. Yates was guided by the sense of rationality and made a choice that was harsh and cold but a necessary one if he had to save one of the two lives involved. After all, Yates was also willing to lower Simpson down the full way after Simpson had gotten injured and perhaps had Yates known that Simpson was alive, he might have thought out an alternate solution.
The tale is similar to that presented by Jon Krakauer in “Into the Wild” in the desolation and the abandon that we find the lead character suffering through although it differs greatly in the conclusion that both stories meet. Also, in “Into the Wild”, the lead character is free to make his decisions and abandons all that is close to him in the very beginning, whereas in “Touching the void”, the element of sacrifice does not enter until later in the series of events.
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