We'd have to throw it, and the impact would be too much


Senior Member
In the following passage, what does the underlined part mean? According to the context, I haven't seen that they threw the rope. So what does "throw it" mean?

Osborn in haste climbed onto a snow layer, which he thought was covering on rocks. It is, however, not covering at all, but merely a cornice or unsupported platform clinging to the side of the mountain. Below it was not rock, but blue air.
Osborn hesitated, then took a downward step. But he never took the next. For in that same instant, the snow directly in front of him disappeared. It was just soundlessly and magically no longer there.

"Don't move!" Nace shouted.

"The rope--" I heard myself saying.

Nace shook his head. "We'd have to throw it, and the impact would be too much. Brace yourself and play it out." As he spoke, he..(From Top Man by James Ullman)
Thank you very much.
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It appears that the snow in front of Osbourne had fallen away, and that Osbourn was now standing on deep snow at the very edge of a precipice.

    Nace suggests throwing the rope to Osbourne, but Ullman realises that, if the rope were thrown, then when the rope hit the snow near Osbourne, that would be sufficient to cause the snow that Osbourne stood on to collapse, and Osbourne would fall to his death.

    (Crossposted but less succinctly...)


    Senior Member
    Did Nace suggest throwing the rope to Osborn? The text says "Nace shook his head. 'We'd have to throw it, and the impact would be too much.' "
    Nace shook his head, which seems to imply he did not suggest throwing the rope, but then he said "We'd have to throw it..."
    I am totally confused.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "We would have to...." to utilize that plan. But if we did, it would cause a much bigger problem. So we shouldn't (utilize that plan).
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