Aron Ralston, an experienced 27-year-old outdoorsman, was on a days solitary hike through a remote and narrow Utah canyon when he dislodged an 800-pound boulder that crushed his right hand and wrist against the canyon wall. Emerging from the searing pain, Aron found himself completely stuck. No one knew where he was; no one was coming to rescue him. With scant water and food, and a cheap pocketknife his only tool, he eliminated his options one by one. On the fifth night, wracked by delirium and uncontrollable shivers, Aron scratched his epitaph into the rock wall, certain he would not see daylight.
Yet with the new morning came an epiphany: if he could use the rocks vise-like hold to break his arm bones, his blunted pocketknife could serve as a surgeons blade....
©2010 Simon & Schuster Audio; ©2010 Aron Ralston
I saw the film and heard some snippets of Ralston's interviews online. This made me wonder why he said he wouldn't avoid this accident if he were to do it over again. This book helped to explain what the experience has done to enrich the author's life. Although the book would do a service to readers by adding some advice on avoiding similar incidents, it's a great story from a standpoint of overcoming adversity, facing fears, "growing" spiritually/intellectually, etc. The book does not, however, provide much advice in terms of "lessons learned." I enjoyed that it was ready by Aron Ralston himself. I always like audio books that are read by their own authors; you can be pretty sure that all the voice inflections are correct interpretations of the author's tone.
Climbing since 1995
It was neat to listen to the voice of Aaron retell his own story. That said, he isn't an actor, but the way it was told is true to character. I'd already read quite a bit about the story, I'd watched NBC's report with Tom Brokaw. This book made me feel like I was there in the slot with him. Small warning, about the use of the F*** word just after he gets trapped by the rock. Other than that I'd recomend it to any young reader.
If you listen to the story with the intent to criticize the author for mistakes made, or to second guess him "Well I would have done....." then you will not get the most out of this book. Rather this book can teach how amazing the will to live, and explore really is. It is an inspiring book.
I started competitive Rock Climbing in 1996, and since then have drifted between the worlds of bouldering, trad climbing, mountaineering, ice climbing, and even have a few big walls, under my belt. This book is fuel to get me home.
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