One of the most extraordinary survival stories ever told -- Aron Ralston's searing account of his six days trapped in one of the most remote spots in America, and how one inspired act of bravery brought him home.
It started out as a simple hike in the Utah canyonlands on a warm Saturday afternoon. For Aron Ralston, a twenty-seven-year-old mountaineer and outdoorsman, a walk into the remote Blue John Canyon was a chance to get a break from a winter of solo climbing Colorado's highest and toughest peaks. He'd earned this weekend vacation, and though he met two charming women along the way, by early afternoon he finally found himself in his element: alone, with just the beauty of the natural world all around him.
It was 2:41 P.M. Eight miles from his truck, in a deep and narrow slot canyon, Aron was climbing down off a wedged boulder when the rock suddenly, and terrifyingly, came loose. Before he could get out of the way, the falling stone pinned his right hand and wrist against the canyon wall.
And so began six days of hell for Aron Ralston. With scant water and little food, no jacket for the painfully cold nights, and the terrible knowledge that he'd told no one where he was headed, he found himself facing a lingering death -- trapped by an 800-pound boulder 100 feet down in the bottom of a canyon. As he eliminated his escape options one by one through the days, Aron faced the full horror of his predicament: By the time any possible search and rescue effort would begin, he'd most probably have died of dehydration, if a flash flood didn't drown him before that.
What does one do in the face of almost certain death? Using the video camera from his pack, Aron began recording his grateful good-byes to his family and friends all over the country, thinking back over a life filled with adventure, and documenting a last will and testament with the hope that someone would find it. (For their part, his family and friends had instigated a major search for Aron, the amazing details of which are also documented here for the first time.) The knowledge of their love kept Aron Ralston alive, until a divine inspiration on Thursday morning solved the riddle of the boulder. Aron then committed the most extreme act imaginable to save himself.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place -- a brilliantly written, funny, honest, inspiring, and downright astonishing report from the line where death meets life -- will surely take its place in the annals of classic adventure stories.
Ralston's story is one of the most gut-wrenching and compelling real-life adventures in recent years: in early 2003, the avid rock-climber and outdoorsman became trapped in a Utah mountain canyon when an 800-pound boulder pinned his right arm. He spent six days there, fighting both the physical challenges of pain and dehydration, and the psychological horror that eroded his hope and energy. Eventually, he amputated his own arm with his pocket knife in order to gain his freedom. It's a truly remarkable story, and hearing Ralston retell it is alternately fascinating and unbearable. After a brief setup that details his life as an adventurer, he arrives at his moment of horror, walking the listener in painstaking detail through everything he felt and thought; his honest and blunt language (" 'What are you doing, Aron? Get that knife away from your wrist!' I feel vaguely ill... my vision blurs in a nauseating swirl"), paired with his direct and non-sensational delivery, wrap the listener in a mental blanket of claustrophobia. Although squeamish listeners might find this audio presentation too overwhelming, it's a riveting document of one man's extraordinary trial. Simultaneous release with the Atria hardcover (Forecasts, Aug. 9).
The fact that Between A Rock And A Hard Place is based on the movie 127 Hours, it is so inspiring that both the book and movie will never get old even after 20-50 years. Aron Ralston inspired me in a way that I’ve never been so inspired in my life when I first watched the movie and read this book. This teaches people a lesson about letting your family members and friends know about what you are doing, where you are going, and when you are expected to return whether if it’s in or out of town.
This is one of the best book I have ever read. I have nothing but admiration for Aron. His story makes everything in our lives easier to deal with. Absolutely loved it!
This was an awesome book that kept me wondering (even though I knew he was going to escape) if he would escape. My only complaint is how much pages there were before the climax witch in my opinion was when he was cutting his arm off and proceeding to escape the canyon.