“When Yates cut the rope, Simpson plummeted down the cliff and into a deep crevasse. Exhausted and suffering from hypothermia, Yates dug himself a snow cave to wait out the storm. The next day, Yates carried on descending the mountain by himself. When he reached the crevasse he realized the situation that Simpson had been in and what had happened when he cut the rope. After calling for Simpson and hearing no reply, Yates made the assumption that Simpson had died and so continued down the mountain alone.
Simpson, however, was still alive. He had survived the 150-foot fall despite his broken leg and had landed on a small ledge inside the crevasse. When Simpson regained consciousness, he discovered that the rope had been cut and realized that Yates would presume that he was dead. He therefore had to save himself. It was impossible for Simpson to climb up to the entrance of the crevasse (because of the overhanging ice and his broken leg). Therefore his only choice was to lower himself deeper into the crevasse and hope that there was another way out. After lowering himself, Simpson found another small entrance and climbed back onto the glacier via a steep snow slope.
From there, Simpson spent three days without food and with almost no water, crawling and hopping five miles back to their base camp. This involved navigating the glacier (which was scattered with more crevasses) and the moraines below. Exhausted and almost completely delirious, he reached base camp only a few hours before Yates intended to return to civilization. Simpson’s survival is widely regarded by mountaineers as amongst the most amazing pieces of mountaineering lore. “ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touching_the_Void
Over Winter my friend and fellow blogger Felicia wrote a post about a movie that had inspired her. If you like to read it here is the link: http://embracethesoul.com/2014/08/05/yes-when-opportunity-calls/. This post reminded me of a movie I watched over a decade ago, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touching_the_Void_(film)) that taught me an important life lesson, which has served me well since the day I watched it, that I wish to share here with you.
What impacted me the most about Simpson was his approach to the impossible task ahead of him when he realized that his climbing partner had left. The movie (I can only give you a link to the trailer for copyright reasons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9Y6MNyWp6s) goes into a lot more detail about his trip back to base camp than the above article I found on Wikipedia, so if you have the time, watch it first (from your own trustworthy video rental places on line or local stores), before you read on and find me spoiling all the suspense.
At the time I watched the movie I was a different person to what I feel I am today. I was nervous, insecure and easily overwhelmed by the multiple tasks I felt I had to do every day, so you can imagine my awe for Simpson as I watched him crawl his way back to base camp with his broken leg in such extreme conditions! My awe for this achievement has only grown with attending several incidents involving broken legs, seeing the resulting pain first hand in casualties, as a first aider in the last 7 years.
What I remember most was how he dealt with it. Contrary to my own way of looking at tasks, he first set himself an achievable one. He said to himself: “If I can drag myself to that rock over there, I improve my chance of survival”. Then, after he managed to do it, he looked for the next section he could see himself making. He did not dwell on the big picture ahead, but chose to focus on what he expected to be achievable at that moment. The result was an amazing achievement that saved his life!
There are many more benefits that came out of this ordeal as a result of him sharing his experience, that are impossible to see and measure in it’s entirety, with so many people that have seen the movie or read his book. All I can do is share what it has done for me since I have started implementing this life lesson in my own life. I now understand the importance of setting a small achievable task or in other words segmenting the big ones. I do not get overwhelmed any more, feel happier, live more in the “now” and look for more inspiration and life lessons in stories about experiences of others that successfully dealt with their hurdles! You can always find someone who went through more than yourself! This has helped me grow as a person, realize how strong people can be and has even given me better tools to help ease the suffering of the first aid casualties I come across.
I did not realize the full impact this movie had on me until years later, as it took some time for me to change my old ingrained habits, but I am so GLAD I watched it when I did! Have you seen any movies or doco’s that made a big impact on your life? Please share in the comments below. I look forward to your suggestions 😉
With love and gratitude,