Author(s): Aron Ralston
On Saturday, 26 April 2003, Aron Ralston, a 27-year-old outdoorsman and adventurer, set off for a day's hike through a remote part of Utah. Eight miles from his truck, in the middle of a deep and narrow canyon, he was climbing down off a wedged boulder when suddenly the rock came loose. Before he could get out of the way, the falling stone pinned his right hand and wrist against the canyon wall. After forty-five minutes of frantically trying to move the boulder, Aron realized it wouldn't budge. He was stuck. In his backpack, Aron had some climbing equipment, a rope and a multi-tool, but no jacket, and only insignificant amounts of water and food. It wasn't much ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ certainly not enough to last until help could arrive. He had to get himself out. At first, Aron used the tool's knife to try and chip away at the boulder, but after ten hours he had made only a tiny dent. He then rigged up a pulley system to heave the boulder up off his trapped arm, but the rock was too heavy. On Sunday, his hand already dead, Aron considered cutting off his arm. However, his knife wasn't sharp enough to saw through the bones and he concluded that a serious attempt to sever his arm would be a slow act of suicide. As he eliminated his options, one by one, Aron faced the full horror of his predicament. No one knew where he was; no one was coming to rescue him. Day passed into night and then day again. Hour after hour of dehydration, starvation and sleep-deprivation passed. By the end of the fourth day he had stopped fighting death and even welcomed it as an end to his misery. During that fifth night, the temperature plummeted and Aron was wracked by uncontrollable shivers. He was certain he wouldn't live past midnight and scratched his epitaph into the canyon wall: RIP, Aron, Oct. 78 ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ Apr. 03. However, hallucinatory visions of his parents, his friends, and even his future son sustained him and he survived that most terrible night. Then, at 10.32 in the morning of 1 May, a moment of epiphany revealed to him the solution to the boulder's riddle: he could use the rock's vice-like hold to break his arm bones, the fist step in setting himself free<
Between a Rock and a Hard Place is more than an adventure story. It is a brave, honest and above all inspiring account of one man's valiant effort to survive, and is destined to take its place among adventure classics such as Touching the Void.