Touching the Void

Touching the Void is an incredible story of survival in the face of death. This part documentary, part dramatic reenactment follows Joe Simpson and Simon Yates as they climb the previously unclimbed west face of Siula Grande. The ascent goes well, but, as Joe states, "80% of accidents occur on the way down."

Released 2003; Runtime 106 minutes

  • Confidence: At the beginning of the movie, they believed they would be the first ones to do it because they were better than the previous climbers, but experienced a loss of confidence following the injury (felt "doomed" and "psychologically beaten").
  • Goal Setting: After injury, Joe repeatedly makes time-based goals for motivation as he crawls across the top of a glacier to get back to camp.
  • Injury: Shortly into the descent, Joe falls and breaks his leg, rendering him crippled the rest of the climb.
  • Motivation (Intrinsic): At the very beginning, Joe and Simon talk about how much they love climbing.
  • Self-Talk: Joe and Simon discuss their thoughts while they were climbing throughout the entire documentary.
  • Team Cohesion: Joe and Simon were tied together, requiring a great deal of trust in each other; After the injury, Simon attempts to lower Joe down the mountain one rope length at a time.
Reader Note: Lots of sport psych examples running through it. However, would need to watch entire movie as opposed to just a clip, otherwise significance of themes like goal setting and diminished confidence would be lost.