Friday, January 2, 2009

Between a Rock and a Hard Place Book Review 3

Between a Rock and a Hard Place is a book by Aron Ralston and is a true story of what happened to the author himself.This guy would pass any test Jigsaw made! Aron Ralston is a keen outdoors man,hiker and climber.He moved to Colorado when he was around 12 and he began his love affair with the outdoors.He joined a ski club and soon became a good skier.Then he climbed his first "fourteener" in Colorado which is a mountain that is higher than the magic line of 14,000 feet.He resolved then and there to climb all 59 of the fourteeners that are in Colorado.He became so accomplished that he began doing solo climbs and hikes.

Then in April 2003 he drove his truck to Utah into a remote area until the road ended then he mountain biked for a while as far as he could.After that he hiked up to a place called Blue John Canyon.This would normally be routine for him but as he was going through it he came to a ledge.He wanted to go down the ledge so he looked over it and saw a big stone a few feet down.Where he wanted to climb down was only roughly the width of one person so space was very tight.He stepped onto the big stone and holding onto it he lowered his body and dropped down.As he did so,the stone moved and fell down on him.This kind of thing had happened to him before and usually he just used his hands to deflect it away.He would be hurt but not that badly.This time the stone falls and he puts his arms up but as there was no room the stone became wedged again between the two walls.Unfortunately this time it trapped his hand and lower arm against the wall!!!

So he is stuck in a canyon with hardly any water but the crucial thing is that he didn't tell anyone where he was going or when he was going to be back! Above here is his picture that he took himself after 48 hours trapped.

The book details his efforts to escape his predicament by trying to move or chip away the big stone while flashing back to his other climbing exploits and giving us an account of his life leading up to the accident.He reminded me of Macgyver in that he had only his penknife and climbing gear with him but he thought of brilliant ideas to escape.He set up a pulley system to move the rock but none of the ideas worked.He managed to last five days with his water running out and drinking his own urine!

Then he realised that he would have to cut off his arm or end up dead in that canyon.He had thought this was impossible to cut through bone for the first few days but then he thought of the idea of breaking his arm bones and cutting away the rest with his penknife!!!!!

This is the one pictured above here on the right with his tourniquet that he used to try to stop the blood! It's even gruesome just to even think about it and especially when you listen to the author himself decribe what happened in this video!!!

The book goes into great detail from the start to finish and reads like a psychological thriller as we listen to his thought process at the time from when he is trapped to trying to reach help before he bleeds to death.It is a riveting and compelling book that would inspire anyone who reads it and shows the human spirit just refuses to give up.It's also heart breaking as he uses his camera to record his goodbyes as he thinks he won't live to see another day.

My only minor quibble about the book is that it seemed to run through his rehabilitation a bit too quickly.There are only about 11 pages of it and I would have liked a bit more details about life with a prosthetic arm and how he got used to it.This is only a small thing as I would thoroughly recommend you track this book down to read it.Here he is on the right still climbing even with a prosthetic! I found it very hard to stop reading the book as it was so compelling!! Some parts are gruesome,heart breaking and inspiring! It was like a roller coaster and one of the best books I have ever read. It would motivate you to do anything in life and its apt that Ralston is now a motivational public speaker.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston (10/10)


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