Friday, September 27, 2013

Cephalopod Coffeehouse September: Between A Rock And A Hard Place


Aron Ralston's amazing story has already been told in the media and on the big screen, but in 'Between a Rock and a Hard Place' you get the whole story in his words. 

Ralston is a real-life adventurer, who quit his engineering job of five years to pursue mountaineering full time. As he describes in his book, he 'had to make a choice between following [his] bliss and keeping his job...In the end, it didn't even feel like a sacrifice.'

Almost a year later, on April 26, 2003, Ralston was hiking in Utah's Canyonlands National Park when a giant boulder fell on his right arm, pinning him to the wall in a remote slot canyon. 

On the fifth day of being trapped, he amputates his own arm, rappels (one-armed) 150 feet to the bottom of the canyon, and hikes, dehydrated, 40 pounds lighter than when he went in, and rapidly losing blood, five miles until he comes across a family who sends for help.

The book alternates between the days of being trapped and his years of mountain climbing, skiing, hiking, rafting, and search and rescue. I know nothing about mountain climbing, so constant talk of carabiners made my eyes glaze, but eventually I started to daydream about climbing Denali and watching the sunrise and still making it down the mountain in time for breakfast...

He ran out of water on the third day. His will to survive, even though he was sure he was going to die, was incredible. I highly recommend the book...

Go see The Armchair Squid for more reviews and to enter your blog for next month! :)

20 comments:

  1. Wow he wanted to live for sure, shows all to just keep on pushing on

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    1. Yes, he just refused to stop, refused to sit down, refused to pass out...truly amazing.

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  2. Amazing story! Have you ever read "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer? It's about an Everest climb gone horribly wrong - also a true story.

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    1. I have not, but I want to. Aron Ralston actually referenced it in the book. 19 people, he said...

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    2. Another fun read, though nowhere near as harrowing, is A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. It's about hiking the Appalachian Trail.

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    3. I do need to read that! I'm in London, Ky.for the weekend, which is in the Appalachian foothills, and like home to me. I can't wait to find that one! Thanks! :)

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  3. Hi Michelle. You made me remember this guy. I just go all squiffy when I think about him hacking off his arm, but he wouldn't be here if he hadn't. I didn't see the film, but I might be game to read the book. Thanks for reviewing it for us! :D

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    1. Hi Denise,
      Oh me too, he went into detail about the 'procedure' in the book and I was cringing with one eye shut and my hand over my mouth...but it was still riveting.
      I didn't see the movie, either, but now that I've read the book I'm considering it. Now I know what the '127 Hours' stands for...LOL.

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  4. Aron Ralston's story is so unreal. I've thought about this a lot, and about the Dutch family into whose arms he staggered on his way out...jeez. They gave him water and an some oreos which must've tasted like manna from heaven. I would love to visit that part of Utah, but his story just gives me the heebie-jeebies... must read...

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    1. He said he ate each of the Oreos in one bite. By the time he found the Meijers, he was really slowing down, so instead of gulping the water like he wanted to, he used an old Indian trick and kept mouthfuls of water in his mouth as he walked to keep him more hydrated.
      The couple wanted him to rest and he insisted he keep moving because; then, a couple miles later, he wanted to rest and the Mr.Meijer wouldn't let him. He was so close to dying all day that day when he was rescued. The whole thing is unbelievable, but it happened, and he made it happen.

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  5. I only heard about Ralston's story this year when I read about him in another book. Apparently, people fainted at his speaking engagements when listening to his harrowing tale!

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    1. I can imagine! I've heard the same thing about the movie. :)

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  6. This was an absolutely fascinating movie too. I'll get the book and compare them. Thx!

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    1. Definitely, and I've got to see the movie!! :)

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  7. Hadn't heard this story before. Terrible he had to endure a lifetime of hardship in a week. Must be a very very resilient person!

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    1. He was in top physical condition, but I think mentally no one knows how they would react in that situation until they're actually in it. He was extremely cool under pressure when the situation required it. Wow...

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  8. I wasn't familiar with this story, but it sounds quite awe-inspiring. Thanks for sharing, I'm going to put this on my "TBR" (along with a thousand other books that are on there already :P).

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    1. Awesome! Oh I know, I have a huge list of books to be read too! :)

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  9. I'd like to think I'd never get myself into a predicament like that...

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    1. You know, me too, but then you never think that something is going to happen like that. I don't know how many wrecks I've been in where I've thought, oh no, I am in trouble here. Accidents surprise us.

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