Book: Between a Rock and a Hard Place / Aron Ralston

Being someone who enjoys the occasional solo outing, even though I haven’t started canyoneering, gives this story an extra grip on me. (Aron amputated his lower arm after a boulder pinned his hand to the wall of a slot canyon in the Canyonlands of Utah). It’s a fascinating survival tale, which Aron tells candidly in fine detail and lucid prose. He manages to make his survival comprehensible, replacing the impression of a superhuman act with one of a strong, but attainable outdoor spirit.

The wake up call for me here is that Aron was usually better about leaving a trip itinerary with his roommates for every outing he did. As a couple, this is difficult for us, and will get harder when we travel. Who do we burden with the responsibility of a potential rescue? We ask our less outdoorish acquaintances to do this for us sometimes, but we’re not too comfortable with that, and it’s not always even an option. SPOT products target this market, but for some reason that system seems to me to add too much cost and complexity to something that should be simple. But maybe I need to give that up until I have a better system.

3 responses to “Book: Between a Rock and a Hard Place / Aron Ralston”

  1. I would be happy to contribute to a fund for you-all to buy something like SPOT. Its capability for “real-time” position reports might allow for some very interesting blog or website presentations. Being the sort of person you are, I suspect that you would make something special out of it.

    – Tom

  2. you know, i always have this issue every time i go out. maybe we should start a website where people can post their travel plans and then post again when they return. and if they don’t post again, s&r is called.

    might be too cumbersome, but i bet there’s a way to do it.

  3. Thanks for the offer Tom! I’m sure we’ll play with SPOT at some point, but I think there are probably less complicated alternatives that would be equally effective. A web system might also easily get too complex. I came up with an email system to try, and if that works, maybe I’ll post it on Outdoorism.

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