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Between a Rock and a Hard Place Audiobook, by Aron Ralston Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Aron Ralston Narrator: Aron Ralston Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2012 ISBN: 9780743543026
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One of the most extraordinary survival stories ever told, this is Aron Ralston’s searing account of his six days trapped in one of the most remote spots in America and how one inspired act of bravery brought him home.

It started out as a simple hike in the Utah canyon lands on a warm Saturday afternoon. For Aron Ralston, a twenty-seven-year-old mountaineer and outdoorsman, a walk into the remote Blue John Canyon was a chance to get a break from a winter of solo climbing Colorado’s highest and toughest peaks. He’d earned this weekend vacation, and though he met two charming women along the way, by early afternoon he finally found himself in his element: alone, with just the beauty of the natural world all around him.

It was 2:41 p.m. Eight miles from his truck, in a deep and narrow slot canyon, Aron was climbing down off a wedged boulder when the rock suddenly and terrifyingly came loose. Before he could get out of the way, the falling stone pinned his right hand and wrist against the canyon wall.

And so began six days of hell for Aron Ralston. With scant water and little food, no jacket for the painfully cold nights, and the terrible knowledge that he’d told no one where he was headed, he found himself facing a lingering death, trapped by an 800-pound boulder 100 feet down in the bottom of a canyon. As he eliminated his escape options one by one through the days, Aron faced the full horror of his predicament: By the time any possible search and rescue effort would begin, he’d most probably have died of dehydration, if a flash flood didn’t drown him before that.

What does one do in the face of almost certain death? Using the video camera from his pack, Aron began recording his grateful good-byes to his family and friends all over the country, thinking back over a life filled with adventure and documenting a last will and testament with the hope that someone would find it. For their part, his family and friends had instigated a major search for Aron, the amazing details of which are also documented here for the first time.

The knowledge of their love kept Aron Ralston alive, until a divine inspiration on Thursday morning solved the riddle of the boulder. Aron then committed the most extreme act imaginable to save himself.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place—a brilliantly written, funny, honest, inspiring, and downright astonishing report from the line where death meets life—will surely take its place in the annals of classic adventure stories.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “‘Hero’ is too weak a word.”

    Barne&, editorial review

  • “Riveting…if you only read one adventure book this year, this is it.”

    Great Outdoors

  • “Here is one man’s heroic struggle with the infinite, a searing and compelling read. Aron Ralston tells his agonizing, inspiring tale of survival with all the verve and honesty you’d expect of someone who somehow found inspiration even in the face of a lonely death.”

    Benedict Allen, author and explorer

  • “What makes his account of his ordeal extraordinary…is the detail and precision Ralston, a former mechanical engineer, brings to the telling, from the almost minute-by-minute chronology of his ordeal to topographical descriptions of the ground he’s covered in his life as an outdoor adventurer. It’s also the extremes of failure and achievement we see forged in this life-or-death crisis…all trumped by Ralston’s amazing resourcefulness in prolonging his supplies and finding a way out, his boundless enthusiasm for life, and his dogged force of will at enduring far longer than anyone could have expected.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Ralston’s story is one of the most gut-wrenching and compelling real-life adventures in recent years…It’s a truly remarkable story, and hearing Ralston retell it is alternately fascinating and unbearable. After a brief setup that details his life as an adventurer, he arrives at his moment of horror, walking the listener in painstaking detail through everything he felt and thought; his honest and blunt language…paired with his direct and non-sensational delivery, wrap the listener in a mental blanket of claustrophobia. Although squeamish listeners might find this audio presentation too overwhelming, it’s a riveting document of one man’s extraordinary trial.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This is a searing and amazingly detailed rendition of his ordeal, along with accounts of several of Ralston’s previous wilderness adventures. He is one active and tough guy, but readers never get the sense that he is boastful or seeking notoriety. Rather, he seems genuinely intrigued, even mildly befuddled, by his insatiable drive to be active in the wild. One could say he takes too many risks and that he has a tendency toward carelessness. He himself notes this. But the man’s drive and devotion to his calling are nothing but admirable…[A] nuanced, gripping survival story that belongs in most collections.”

    School Library Journal

  • “Ralston[’s] fortitude in his dire predicament was, as he would say, awesome, and from this it is possible to learn much about hope in the face of overwhelming odds.”

    Daily Telegraph (UK)

  • “Ralston manages to keep the tension flowing throughout…alternating each chapter of angst-ridden, present-tense narrative with a cozier chapter of climbing nostalgia. This lends the book a Hitchcockian rhythm, seesawing neatly between calm and tension…He is somehow able to chronicle the ebb and flow of his thoughts and feelings during his ordeal with an exactness that gives his book the emotional pull of a psychological thriller.”

    Mail on Sunday (UK)

  • “Aron Ralston recounts his own dramatic survival story…He captures well his frustrations at his predicament, and his pacing is excellent. Even knowing the ending, his reading is suspenseful enough to keep the listener riveted, and his unpolished, guy-next-door presentation makes for an interesting, though graphic, escape.”


  • A New York Times bestseller

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About the Author

Aron Ralston, a native of the Midwest, moved with his family to Colorado at age twelve, quickly becoming an avid outdoorsman. He retired from a career as a mechanical engineer at age twenty-six, when he moved to Aspen and attempted—among other things—to climb all fifty-nine Colorado peaks alone in winter. Since his accident, recorded in his book Between a Rock and a Hard Place and the Oscar nominated film 127 Hour, he has completed his unprecedented project of conquering Colorados peaks.