Sunday, January 16, 2011

127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place - Aron Ralston

Rating: *****
After hearing all of the hype about the movie 127 Hours, I decided I would read the original book. I’m so glad I did.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place is an autobiography telling the story of Aron Ralston. When Aron moves to Indiana when he is younger, he first experiences his love for the outdoors. He loves outdoor activities so much that he leaves his job as an engineer to pursue as many outdoor experiences as possible. While he is on a hiking trip in the Blue John Canyon in Utah, a boulder falls and crashes on Aron’s arm, trapping him in the isolated canyon. For the next five days he remains trapped, examining his life and recalling past relationships. Aron finally gathers the courage and willpower to amputate his right arm with a dull multi-tool. He then manages to scale the canyon wall and hike over eight miles before he is finally rescued.
This is one of the most amazing and inspiring stories of human perseverance that I have ever read. I was in absolute awe when I read that he was able to gather enough courage and determination not only to amputate his own arm, but to do so with a dull knife. While at the beginning of his situation, Aron accepted that his death was inevitable. He was able to summon enough will power to escape such a situation is a true testament to the human mind. It also goes to show that sometimes an accident can happen that no pre-trip planning and precautionary measures can prevent. However, Aron was ill-prepared when it comes to communication. If he had equipped himself with a satellite phone or a signal of some sort, he would have been able to escape his predicament sooner than he did. He may have even made it out with his arm. I, for one, always plan to have a means of communication easily available. He also didn’t inform any local authorities of his location, which is also important when taking an outing in the outdoors.
Aron’s story is truly inspiring, but also demonstrates the importance of communication within an outdoor trip environment.
• Ralston, Aron. 127 Hours: Between A Rock and a Hard Place. New York: Atria Books, 2004. Print.

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