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Between A Rock And A Hard Place PDF - books library land

Between a Rock and a Hard Place Book PDF Free 11


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be trapped in a remote canyon for six days with no one to help you? How would you survive? How would you escape? How would you cope with the physical and psychological challenges? These are some of the questions that Aron Ralston answers in his gripping memoir, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. In this article, I will give you a summary and an analysis of this remarkable book, as well as some information on how to get it for free in PDF format.

between a rock and a hard place book pdf free 11

What is Between a Rock and a Hard Place?

Between a Rock and a Hard Place is a non-fiction book written by Aron Ralston and published in 2004. It tells the story of his extraordinary survival ordeal in April 2003, when he was hiking alone in Blue John Canyon, Utah, and got his right arm pinned by an 800-pound boulder. He had to amputate his own arm with a dull pocketknife to free himself after six days of being trapped. The book is based on his video diaries, interviews, memories, and research. It also includes photos, maps, diagrams, and appendices.

Who is Aron Ralston?

Aron Ralston is an American engineer, adventurer, author, speaker, and motivational trainer. He was born in 1975 in Indiana and grew up in Colorado. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with degrees in mechanical engineering and French. He worked as an engineer for Intel before quitting his job to pursue his passion for outdoor activities. He is an avid mountaineer, skier, cyclist, climber, and canyoneer. He has climbed all 59 of Colorado's fourteeners (mountains over 14,000 feet) solo in winter. He has also completed several marathons, triathlons, and ultra-marathons.

Why is the book titled "Between a Rock and a Hard Place"?

The title of the book is a clever play on words that reflects Ralston's situation. On one hand, it literally describes his physical predicament of being stuck between a rock (the boulder) and a hard place (the canyon wall). On the other hand, it figuratively expresses his dilemma of having to choose between two difficult options: staying put and hoping for rescue (which was unlikely) or cutting off his arm and risking bleeding to death (which was terrifying). The title also suggests that Ralston was facing some personal challenges in his life before the accident, such as his relationship with his family, his career choices, and his sense of purpose.

Summary of the book

The hike in Blue John Canyon

The book begins with Ralston's account of his hike in Blue John Canyon on April 26, 2003. He had planned to spend a weekend exploring the canyonlands of Utah, a region he loved for its beauty and solitude. He had left his truck at the Horseshoe Canyon trailhead and biked 15 miles to the Blue John Canyon entrance. He had not told anyone where he was going or when he would be back. He had only brought a backpack with some water, food, gear, and a video camera. He was confident in his skills and experience as a canyoneer.

He entered the canyon around noon and enjoyed the scenery and the challenge of navigating the narrow slots, drops, and pools. He met two female hikers, Megan and Kristi, along the way and helped them cross some obstacles. They invited him to join them for a party at their campsite that night, but he declined, saying he wanted to continue his hike. He parted ways with them around 2:30 p.m. and headed deeper into the canyon.

The accident and the entrapment

At 2:41 p.m., Ralston reached a section of the canyon where he had to climb down a 10-foot drop. He spotted a large boulder wedged above him and decided to use it as a foothold. As he stepped on it, the boulder dislodged and fell on him, crushing his right hand and wrist against the canyon wall. He was trapped.

He tried to push, pull, lift, twist, and kick the boulder, but it was too heavy and too tight. He tried to chip away at the rock with his pocketknife, but it was too dull and too small. He tried to rig a pulley system with his ropes and carabiners, but it was too weak and too short. He screamed for help, but no one heard him. He realized he was in serious trouble.

He checked his supplies and found that he had about a liter of water, two burritos, some candy bars, some nuts, some crackers, some cheese, a fleece jacket, a hat, a headlamp, a first-aid kit, a multi-tool, a pocketknife, some duct tape, some ropes, some carabiners, some webbing, some matches, some batteries, some magazines, and a video camera. He rationed his water and food carefully, knowing they would have to last him for days. He wrapped his arm in a tourniquet and an insulating sleeve to prevent infection and frostbite. He used his camera to document his situation and record messages for his family and friends.

The survival and the escape

For the next six days, Ralston endured pain, thirst, hunger, cold, boredom, loneliness, fear, despair, and hallucinations. He also experienced moments of joy, gratitude, humor, hope, faith, and love. He reflected on his life and his relationships. He remembered his past adventures and dreamed of his future plans. He read his magazines and listened to his music. He prayed and meditated. He celebrated his birthday on April 27 by playing his favorite song ("Lovely Day" by Bill Withers) and eating his last burrito.

He also faced some dangers and challenges in the canyon. He had to deal with a flash flood that nearly drowned him on April 28. He had to cope with a raven that taunted him every morning but also gave him company. He had to watch out for insects and rodents that could bite or infect him.

As time passed by, he realized that no one was looking for him or knew where he was. He had not left a note in his truck or registered at the trailhead. He had not answered his phone or checked his email for days. His family and friends were worried about him but had no clue where to start searching for him. He knew he had to save himself or die trying.

On May 1st (the fifth day), he had an epiphany that changed everything. He realized that he could break the bones in his arm by twisting it against the boulder's pressure points. Then he could use his knife to cut through the soft tissue and free himself from the rock. It was a gruesome but feasible idea.

On May 2nd (the sixth day), he decided to execute his plan. He drank his urine to hydrate himself. He made a makeshift harness out of webbing to lower himself after cutting off his arm. He used his pliers to tighten the tourniquet around his arm. He used his knife to stab into his arm until he hit the bone. Then he twisted his arm until he heard a snap.

He repeated the process for the other bone in his forearm. Then he began to cut through the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels with his knife. He felt excruciating pain and shock, but he kept going. He finally severed his arm and freed himself from the boulder. He looked at his severed limb and said goodbye to it. He took a photo of it with his camera.

He then rappelled down the cliff with one arm and started to hike out of the canyon. He was bleeding profusely and feeling weak. He had to stop several times to rest and drink more urine. He hoped to find someone who could help him or a place where he could get a cell phone signal.

After hiking for about six miles, he encountered a family of three hikers: Eric, Monique, and Andy. They were shocked and amazed by his story. They gave him water and food and alerted the authorities by using their whistle. Soon, a helicopter arrived and airlifted Ralston to a hospital in Moab. He had survived.

Analysis of the book

The themes of the book

The book explores several themes that relate to Ralston's experience and personality. Some of the main themes are:

Survival and self-reliance

The book is a testament to Ralston's remarkable will to live and his ability to rely on himself in a dire situation. He demonstrates his survival skills, his knowledge of the terrain, his ingenuity in using his resources, and his courage in making a drastic decision. He also shows his resilience in overcoming the physical and emotional challenges of his ordeal. He learns to appreciate his life and his body more than ever.

Adventure and risk-taking

The book also reflects Ralston's passion for adventure and his tendency to take risks. He describes his love for the outdoors and his thrill for exploring new places and challenging himself. He admits that he sometimes pushed himself too far and ignored safety precautions. He acknowledges that his accident was partly caused by his own mistakes and choices. He also questions his motives for seeking adventure and whether he was trying to escape from something or prove something.

Nature and spirituality

The book also reveals Ralston's connection with nature and his sense of spirituality. He expresses his awe and respect for the beauty and power of nature. He also shares his spiritual beliefs and experiences, such as his faith in God, his visions of his future son, and his feeling of being guided by a higher force. He also explores the meaning and purpose of his life and his role in the world.

The style and tone of the book

The book is written in a conversational style as if Ralston is talking directly to the reader. He uses an informal tone, personal pronouns, simple words, rhetorical questions, analogies, metaphors, and humor. He also engages the reader by providing details, descriptions, emotions, opinions, anecdotes, and insights. He switches between different time frames, perspectives, and topics to create variety and suspense.

Humor and irony

One of the most surprising aspects of the book is Ralston's use of humor and irony throughout his story. He often makes jokes or sarcastic remarks about his situation or himself. He also points out the irony or absurdity of some events or circumstances. For example, he jokes about how he had always wanted to lose weight or how he had been looking for a good story to tell at parties. He also notes how ironic it was that he had survived so many dangerous adventures only to get trapped by a rock or how he had met two attractive women just before losing his arm.

Honesty and emotion

Another striking feature of the book is Ralston's honesty and emotion in sharing his story. He does not shy away from revealing his thoughts, feelings, fears, hopes, regrets, joys, sorrows, doubts, or dreams. He also does not sugarcoat or exaggerate anything. He tells it as it was, with all its glory and gore. He admits his faults and mistakes as well as his strengths and achievements. He also expresses his gratitude and love for everyone who helped him or cared for him.

Detail and description

A final characteristic of the book is Ralston's attention to detail and description in recounting his experience. He provides vivid and accurate descriptions of the places, people, events, and sensations that he encountered. He also includes technical and scientific information to explain some aspects of his situation, such as the geology of the canyon, the physiology of his arm, or the mechanics of his escape. He also adds photos, maps, diagrams, and appendices to supplement his narrative and to illustrate his points.


The impact of the book

The book has had a significant impact on both Ralston and his readers. For Ralston, writing the book was a way of coping with his trauma and sharing his message. He wanted to inspire others to overcome their challenges and to live their lives fully. He also wanted to raise awareness and appreciation for the wilderness and the environment. He donated some of the proceeds from the book to various causes and organizations that he supported.

For the readers, the book has been a source of inspiration, education, entertainment, and emotion. The book has received critical acclaim and commercial success. It has been praised for its honesty, humor, suspense, and depth. It has also been criticized for its graphic violence, self-indulgence, and recklessness. It has sold millions of copies worldwide and has been translated into several languages. It has also sparked debates and discussions about topics such as survival, adventure, risk, nature, spirituality, and life.

The adaptation of the book into a movie

The book was adapted into a movie in 2010 by director Danny Boyle and starring actor James Franco. The movie was titled 127 Hours, which is the exact duration of Ralston's entrapment. The movie was faithful to the book in most aspects, but it also made some changes and additions to enhance the cinematic experience. For example, the movie added some flashbacks and hallucinations that were not in the book, such as Ralston's memories of his ex-girlfriend or his fantasies of being on a game show. The movie also used music, sound effects, camera angles, and editing techniques to create tension and emotion.

The movie was also a critical and commercial success. It received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. It was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, and Best Film Editing. It won several other awards and honors from various festivals and organizations. It also grossed over $60 million worldwide at the box office.

The final message of the book

The final message of the book is that life is precious and unpredictable. Ralston learned this lesson the hard way by facing death and losing his arm. He realized that he had taken many things for granted in his life and that he had not appreciated them enough. He also realized that he had made some mistakes and missed some opportunities in his life and that he had not expressed his feelings enough. He decided to change his attitude and behavior after his ordeal. He decided to live more fully, more gratefully, more responsibly, more lovingly, and more happily.

He also wanted to share this message with his readers. He wanted them to realize that they could also face unexpected challenges or tragedies in their lives and that they should be prepared for them. He wanted them to appreciate what they have in their lives and not waste it on trivial things. He wanted them to pursue their passions and dreams but also be careful and respectful of themselves and others. He wanted them to express their love and gratitude to their family and friends before it was too late. He wanted them to live every day as if it was their last.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the book:

  • How did Ralston manage to cut off his arm with a dull pocketknife?

Ralston used a technique called "bisection", which involves cutting through the soft tissue around the bone until reaching the marrow cavity. Then he snapped the bone by applying torque with his body weight. He repeated this process for both bones in his forearm (the radius and the ulna). He then cut through the remaining skin, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels with his knife.

  • How did Ralston survive without water for six days?

Ralston survived by rationing his water intake carefully. He drank only small sips every few hours to avoid dehydration. He also drank his urine twice when he ran out of water on the fifth day. He avoided eating too much food or exerting too much energy to conserve water.

  • How did Ralston prevent infection or bleeding to death after cutting off his arm?

abiner to compress his arm and stop the blood flow. He also used an insulating sleeve made out of a CamelBak tube to protect his arm from dirt and cold. He prevented bleeding to death by using duct tape and a bandana to cover his wound and apply pressure. He also used a multi-tool to tighten the tourniquet periodically.

  • How did Ralston get rescued?

Ralston got rescued by a combination of luck and providence. He happened to encounter a family of three hikers who were on their way out of the canyon. They gave him water and food and alerted the authorities by using their whistle. They also stayed with him until a helicopter arrived and airlifted him to a hospital. The helicopter was part of a search and rescue operation that had been launched earlier that day after Ralston's parents had reported him missing.

  • How did Ralston cope with the loss of his arm?

Ralston coped with the loss of his arm by accepting it as a necessary sacrifice for his survival. He did not regret his decision or feel sorry for himself. He was grateful for being alive and for having a second chance at life. He also adapted to his new condition by using a prosthetic arm and continuing his outdoor activities. He became an advocate for amputees and disabled people. He also wrote a book and gave speeches about his experience.



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