May, 1985 – Peru. Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, ambitious young mountaineers, set off to scale the hitherto unclimbed West Face of Siula Grande, a remote and treacherous peak in the Peruvian Andes. Simpson and Yates reach the summit but shortly after starting the descent, an accident turns their daring expedition into a desperate fight for survival.


In 1985 Joe Simpson and fellow adventurer Simon Yates, descended into the Peruvian Andes to scale the summit of Siula Grande a mountain peak that had never been climbed before. They believed in their abilities so much so that they decided to tackle this mountain without any rescue plan. As most climbers will tell you, 80% of accidents occur on descent and this is where their story takes a dramatic turn. An extraordinary tale of survival unfolds.

Recreated by film maker Kevin McDonald with breath taking cinematography, exquisite sound design, cut-away interviews and body doubles. He even convinced Yates and Simpson to don the climbing gear for some wide shots. Touching the Void is a real life docudrama of the highest degree. Initially I believed a camera crew was right along side them during this adventure. This film exposes the conundrum faced by extreme sports endeavors. Is this an act of courage or stupidity? Even though that question kept going through my mind I was riveted to the seat with the rest of the audience as this is story telling on a grand scale.

Comments by Megan Spencer:
An example of Kevin Macdonald's skill as a master filmmaker in both documentary and drama. This guy loves to obsess over detail as we saw with One Day In September. Touching The Void is a gripping tale of human endurance and a film that will make you shake your head in disbelief.

Comments by Fenella Kernebone:
Touching The Void is an engrossing survival tale, set in an unrepenting landscape with intricate re-enactments, although it's hard to feel much sympathy for anyone who willingly puts themselves into such a dangerous situation. The filmmakers cinematography does justice to the majestic scenery and they succeed in making you feel like you too are experiencing the freezing temperatures that Yates and Simpson endured.